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Dear Kay,

It’s one of the good things about knitting, the way we can shift our game to suit the mood.

For example, after doing what I consider a respectable amount of marling (two blankets, a scarf, and a sweater), I caught myself eyeballing cable patterns. Time to move some stitches around! Time to get dimensional!

The design I kept drifting toward, Erika Knight’s Escalator Scarf, has been on my mind for many months, given the production schedule for our Field Guides. As Field Guide No. 20: Atlas came together, I looked at the photos again and again, trying to figure out what exactly that cable was doing.

See? It’s asymmetrical. Yet symmetrical. The cables shrink and swell as they twine their way up the scarf. It’s not like any cable I’ve seen before.

And—the thing that really gets me—there’s a long ladder that runs from top to bottom, the result of dropping a stitch and letting it go, all the way down.

I have never in my knitting life done such a thing. All my dropped stitches have been tiny tragedies, not triumphs. This just looks like fun.

Picking a color of Atlas yarn was the biggest impediment to starting. Worrying about the color of a scarf is the kind of worrying that I can really dig into. I thought about this a lot.

I went with Tutu, as part of my ongoing program to knit colors I’ve never knitted before. (I highly recommend Picking Unexpected Colors as a way to wake yourself up.)

Tutu is a team favorite here at MDK. So much love for this pink.

As I’m knitting with it, Tutu changes color all the time, depending on the light. I guess that’s true of all colors, but this Tutu is a real switcheroo—it goes Double Bubble.

Then Balanchine pale.

Then straight-up Pepto-Bismol.

Which to me is the ultimate optimistic color, because every time I have had to turn to the Pink Cordial, I have felt nothing but gratitude that the Pink Cordial was available to me.

I realize that sounds kind of terrible, but really—this scarf is supposed to be a comfort, right? What’s more comforting than a lil cup of chalky, bright-pink relief?

Stay tuned. I am having a swell time with these twirly cables, and the thrilling ladder moment is coming.

If you’re looking for a cable staycation, this is the one.




  • It’s lovely Ann! ❤️

  • Beautiful! And your description of the ultimate optimistic color…

  • Your color descriptions are delightful! As is this scarf. Whisper is also a color-shifter, albeit less iconic. 😉 I’m loving it. And this is the perfect yarn/project to learn to cable without a cable needle – ask me how I know! Atlas The Yarn stitches stand perkily and squishily at attention while awaiting their destination.

  • When I finally finish day-tripping, my escalator awaits! Thank you for being my tour guide!

  • Where is the annual March Madness competition? The highlight of the knitting year is seeing all the gorgeous new work out by designers. Such a support to them and to all of us who would not otherwise know to seek out and knit those designs. Please bring this back!!!!

    • Maybe we could have May Mayhem.

  • So, I shouldn’t be knitting with only blue yarn?! Hmmm, will have to think about that one!

  • I don’t see any dropped stitch ladder in your beautiful scarf Ann, am I missing it?

    • It happens at the very end, after knitting the two pieces of the scarf. Stay tuned for this thrilling drama …

      • Oh I just saw your reply, thanks!

  • Its beautiful but I don’t see the slipped stitches and ladder effect in yours Ann. Am I missing this?

  • I love the Balanchine reference! Oh how I would love to make Tutu Escalators for all of us ladies in the adult ballet class I am taking now – a return to my childhood joy and the best exercise ever. Maybe one for the teacher, at least. I could probably get it done in time for Christmas (Am finally making my first Daytripper now, and then there are hats and mitts and shawls to be made… and that wonderful Scrap Tote with baby blanket leftovers!)

    • Would love pattern for baby blanket leftovers “Scrap Tote pattern”

  • The cables are interesting, but the fine/non -fringe is of and the length of the scarf seems dangerous to me.

  • Dear Ann, your ‘unpacking’ (is that the currently approved millennial term?) of various Field Guide patterns has made them more approachable, even for the likes of me. Thank you for getting me from (A- living in a blissful stockinette world to C- actually buying the yarn for one of those beautiful designs). I’m not up to complicated cable patterns yet but one day, who knows.

    • It’s easier than it looks, and so much fun. Just try a cabled swatch- you’ll be hooked.

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