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It’s no secret that I love a good technical knitting project, something that provides a frisson of learning a new skill or doing something beyond the usual. But I’m also the biggest fan of the relaxing knit: the kind of project that soothes and just works out, without having to seek out a tutorial or remind yourself of how to handle special stitches.

The Moss Field Throw in Field Guide No. 26:Moss fits both those needs for me: it’s such relaxing knitting, in a truly delectable combination of yarns. Plus you get to do something fun, interesting and clever at the same time. The genius thing is that the fun, interesting and clever thing is just as relaxing as the rest of the project.

Let me explain how this magic works.

The blanket is constructed of striped garter stitch strips, and each strip has three distinct sections. The strip is worked in two strands of yarn—one of Plotulopi and one of Love Story. The Color and Motif Tables tell you which colors to use for each section, and how many rows in each color combo.

For example, for Square 1, you work with Plotulopi color B, and alternate between Love Story colors F and G. You start with Plotulopi B and Love Story color F, and work 74 rows.

Then change to Love Story color G, and work 1 row with the new combination. Change back to Love Story color F, and work 1 row with that combination…and so forth. Hélène smartly suggests spit-splicing to reduce the number of ends to weave in.

(For info on splicing and other ways to join yarn, see this article.)

At the same time, there’s a motif to be worked. The motifs are worked with three strands of yarn: the two already attached (which are designated, together, as the MC) and another strand of Plotulopi (designated as CC, the color of which is indicated in the top line of each square’s table).

In “real” intarsia, you would literally drop the MC yarn and work only with the CC, twisting them around each other so you don’t make holes. But this isn’t “real” intarsia.

Hélène’s clever trick here is working the CC strand with the MC strands. It saves an awful lot of twisting and joining and weaving in of ends, as the only strand that starts and stops is the CC.

You can see how this looks and works in this sample. I’m using my fave Atlas here, so the stitches are easy to see.

The marling effect is lovely, too…perhaps we should call it marl-tarsia?

The Circle motif starts with 8 stitches worked in the three strands. Join the CC at the start of those stitches, knit 8 with the three strands, and then drop the CC, leaving it at the front of your work.

Leaving the CC strand in front of the work when you’ve finished with it means that it’s positioned correctly for the next row.

Each row of the chart is worked twice, once reading from right to left (when working the odd-numbered RS rows), and once reading from left to right (when working the even-numbered WS rows).

Note that spit-splicing doesn’t apply here: my recommendation is to tie the new strand of Plotulopi around the existing MC strands, leaving yourself a 4-inch tail that you can weave in later. Leave a similar tail length when you finish up with this new strand, too.

For Row 3 of the circle, pick up the CC one stitch earlier, and knit 10 stitches with all three strands. Always leave the CC strand sitting at the front of the work when you drop it. As you work through the chart, the three-strand motif sometimes starts and ends a stitch or two over from where you dropped in on the previous row. That’s fine, just grab the CC from where it lies, lightly twisting all the strands together, and start knitting. There’s nothing special you need to do to bring it to the new position.

A little twist brings the CC over to where you need it.

For the second chart, the Witches’ Ring, you’ll need to attach a second ball of the CC, to work rows 15 to 38. You work the two sides of the circle separately, so that there’s no need to carry or hide to do anything tricky with floats.

This is the magic of Intarsia, as opposed to stranded colorwork: pick up the yarn when you need to start using it, and then drop it when you’re done with it for the row. And then once you hit row 39, the second ball of CC can go. You’re back to just one to work across all the motif stitches.

Give it go! So clever, and so much fun!

About The Author

Kate Atherley is a teacher, designer, author and technical editor. She’s also the publisher of Digits & Threads, a magazine all about Canadian fibre and textile arts.


  • Great tutorial – no video necessary – just clear, artful descriptive writing.
    Ahhhhhhh . . .

  • This reminds me of the Painted Windows shawl by Casapinka. I made one in 2016 and thought I would try the technique again later but never got around to it. So here is a wonderful design, Marl-tarsia!

  • Your clear instructions have made this seem less daunting. I may just have to give it a go.

  • I’ve just completed the first square of a pattern I was, thanks to the pictures, very excited to start. But I’m a little disappointed for several reasons, most of which I’ll save for the Lounge (if I can ever figure out the Lounge.) But mainly the color: the first square is almost completely rather dark grey, with an even darker circle – none of the beautiful light greens of the photo, no matter how I rearrange the squares in my mind to look for the first one. The Love Story is so thin in this combination as to hardly make any difference (“subtle”, for sure.). Yet we’re to alternate LS colors *every row*, – not every two – which makes for a lot of split-splicing for hardly any difference. But the pictures remain inspiring, so I’m soldiering on.

    • Ginny,

      Be sure to check the Errata for this pattern as there is a major mix-up in 6 of the 9 squares.

      The back ground colors for Square 1 are actually for Square 4 and Square 4 background colors are actually Square 1. The colors mentioned in this article are not for Square 1, but rather for Square 4.

      Hope that’s helpful.


      • Wow, Cindy thanks so much. I actually did check the errata page because there was a note on the Ravelry page for the pattern – but there were corrections for other patterns in the FG but none for the throw. I must have checked before they got posted – darn! Now I have to figure out what to do. I wish the errata had been mentioned in one of these MDK postings earlier. Well, thanks so much for your reply.

        • @Ginny, You’ll have to wait for one of the MDK Team to weigh in on what you should do now, but I wonder if you can ever so gently take it back to the motif and then resume as per Square 4?

          I agree that mentioning the Errata somewhere in this article would be helpful especially for those who may have checked for Errata before they started the project, but after the changes were posted or those don’t look at the project on Ravelry.

          Hopefully, they can also correct the colors mentioned in the article before too long because I think that’ll also cause some confusion since at the time I’m writing this comment the colors mentioned in paragraph 4 (B/F/G) correspond to the original pattern (Square 1) instead of the Errata (which would be Square 4)! I’m sure they’ll get to it as quickly as they can :).

          I just love the way this blanket looks in the photos 🙂


  • I am also to the color changes in block one. I’m fudging it, because the yarn I’m using doesn’t spit splice easily. So, instead on one row of a color, I’m doing two. I feel that as long as my rows add up to 120 per block I can do it any way that’s practical. And, one row, or two, it’s hard to see the difference when doing it all in garter stitch. My row numbers aren’t that much different from the directions, and I think my block looks fine.
    Another observation: the photo shows the circle in block three as white. However, the directions call for black.

    • Sally,

      The motif is incorrect in a couple of the Squares. Be sure to check the Errata for this pattern.


      • Where do we find errata for specific patterns? I entered errata in the MDK search bar but that didn’t help, then looked under each pattern for the Moss field guide and saw errata for only the Crowberry sweater.

        • Beth, you’re right – searching by “errata” gets you nowhere. You have to search by “Corrections” to get the errata page. I’ve been using the MDK web site for years and I just discovered this! Sigh.

          Scroll all the way to the bottom:

          Moss Field Throw by Hélène Magnússon

          Page 45 Color and Motif Tables:

          Note: read the tables from top to bottom.
          Square 1 is actually Square 4, Witches ring motif knit in CC (D)
          Square 2 is actually Square 5, Circle motif knit with CC (C)
          Square 3 is actually Square 6, Circle motif knit with CC (E)

          Page 46 Tables

          Square 4 is actually Square 1 (Starting Square, bottom right) Circle motif knit in CC (E)
          Square 5 is actually Square 2, Witches ring knit in CC (D)
          Square 6 is actually Square 3, Circle Motif knit in CC (C)

          Page 47 Tables
          Squares 7, 8, and 9 are correct.

          • Thank you Cynthia! and thank you Kate for this clear description on how the yarns are managed for the throw. Looking forward to seeing everyone’s examples.

  • After 4 years I still define myself as a beginning knitter, so reading this could have been me opening a Latvian language book! But Kate’s enthusiasm for the project is what counts and that came shining through. Have at it all you amazing knitters out there. Looking forward to seeing your results.

  • How about just “Martarsia”?

    Thank you Cynthia for the errata. I am printing it out and taping into my Field Guide so I won’t forget when I start. (That is, someday. I got the kit before it runs out, but I still haven’t knit the Kikimariko rug, which kit is sitting on the shelf staring at me sadly every time I open the armoire. )

    • Oh, get to that rug! One of the most fun projects ever! I did it during COVID and it brought me so much enjoyment. I use it in my guest bathroom that opens to the hallway. Admire it every time I walk past. And my cats like to fly in there and treat it as a magic carpet. No problem, it is holding up very well!

      Have fun!

    • @Gardenpoet You should make the rug right now! That was SO FUN :).

    • Boy, you’re not the only one, GardenPoet – I started a sweater in 2019 that I haven’t touched in two years! If it’s any consolation, the Kikimariko rug goes really fast, plus it’s fun because you get to felt it. Makes an excellent little rug, too – very soft.

  • Sounds manageable. Thanks for the good tips.

  • May I respectfully and humbly suggest that an errata or correction alert be emailed to every knitter who bought the Moss Field Guide, either with all the corrections or explaining where to find them on the MDK website.
    Maybe that’s crazy and impossible, not sure…?

    • I agree that having this information sent via email would be useful. I could print it out and put it in my Field Guide. If I chose to order at some point in the future, I might not remember that these adjustments need to be made.

      Regardless, it is a fairly significant adjustment for this particular project. I do not think it is the sort of surprise people want to have right from the start.

      I am guessing MDK has email addresses for Subscribers and anyone who has chosen to store information to make ordering easier.

    • For a kit of yarns that is almost $300.00 one would expect that knitters should not have to have this much confusion about the pattern instructions!!!

    • I would also like to suggest that the Errata page have the newest projects listed first so they are easier to find :).

    • I agree, except I wouldn’t have gotten it in time – though I ordered and received the Throw bundle well after I received the FG, I still checked the errata/Corrections page too early; the sweater corrections were there but nothing for the throw.

  • I found a reference to the errata on Hélène Magnússon’s site, when I was looking up the video on spit splicing her yarn. I was so glad I saw it!

    I’m really enjoying knitting the blanket — the yarns are beautiful.

  • Will the kit be re-stocked?

    • We’re waiting on a couple of components to arrive, but yes.

  • I’ll take your “Marl-tarsia,” although I do rather like the three syllabic ring of “In-marl-sia” a bit better… especially since we use three strands of yarn for this subtle color building effect. I’m looking forward to giving it a try!

  • A little confused but love it.

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