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Dear Kay,

As Kaffe Fassett’s designs evolved for Field Guide No. 13: Master Class, I knew very early which project would be my first to knit.

The Stranded Stripe Throw, oh wow. The obvious choice.

ADORABLE Baby not included.

This project hits everything I love to do in knitting. I wanted to make my own version of this idea, picking motifs and colors of my own.

Epic Scale

I like a big blanket.

I embarked on my odyssey the night before Halloween. I got so jacked up on Milk Duds that I decided then and there that I would make my blanket 252 stitches across, aiming for 42″ width, not the 174 stitches listed in the pattern, which comes out at 32″ wide. I’m aiming for 60″ height, not the 40″ of the sample.

Stranded Colorwork

It’s the most fun. I love what happens when you knit two colors in one row. It looks so fancy. But it’s actually not. I’m no Hazel Tindall when it comes to Fair Isle speed knitting, but I do find I’m in a groove now.

The simplicity of Kaffe’s motifs makes this totally rhythmic knitting.

I also have stopped fixing food, making the bed, and am mostly wearing what can charitably be called athleisure. Pare down the distractions and all of a sudden, you have a lot more time for something like this.

Tons of Colors

As written, Kaffe’s design uses 14 motifs and 17 colors of Rowan Felted Tweed. Fabulous!

Before this golden age of gradients and ombrés and fades, knitters had to create color-shifting effects one yarn at a time, blended row by row as a Fair Isle pattern was knitted. I’ve made several pullovers in this way, so I craved the prospect of combining colors and thinking about the effects that are possible using solid color yarns.

I spend a fair amount of time gazing upon the back of this blanket.

And Felted Tweed is a truly extraordinary yarn. I scavenged all the spare balls and oddments that had been used for photo shoots and samples. I ended up with 27 colors. I doubt I’ll use them all, but it’s fun to have such a paintbox at hand.


The blanket is knitted in the round, with a steek to cut at the end. A five-foot-long steek? Who wouldn’t want to go for that?

The steek is five stitches that will be cut down the middle and secured during the finishing of the blanket.

The Secret to Making a Big Kaffe Fassett Blanket?

It’s pretty easy, actually: to make a big Kaffe Fassett blanket, all you need to do is to start.

Once you commit to the starting, you’ll soon wake up in the morning thinking things like: That triangle chart. The next pattern will be that triangle chart. Or you’ll be in line at CVS and get whacked on the head with the idea of Tawny and Granite. TAWNY AND GRANITE THAT IS THE ANSWER.

Tawny and Granite in the Boxes motif, which I edited to make less busy.

So there you go. We instantly sold out of our Stranded Stripe Throw Bundles, so I know there are other nuts out there like me. I can’t wait to see how your blankets come together. (More bundles are on the way, so when you place a backorder now, we’ll get your bundle to you as fast as we can. Or you can pick your own individual palette of Felted Tweed colors from the Shop—we do have 30 to choose from.)

Colors I’ve used so far: Turquoise, Mineral, Seafarer, Lotus Leaf, Alabaster, Treacle, Vaseline Green, Zinnia, Camel, Tawny.

I’m a third of the way through, and it’s November 12. Two weeks in. I guess you could say I’m properly into it.




  • Your blanket is beyond BEAUTIFUL! And your enthusiasm is encouraging me to give this a go, also.

  • I want to do this too! Now!

  • I want to knit a Fair Isle Blanket of epic proportions! Thank you for enabling.

  • This would be a good project for the cold, dark (short) days ahead. The challenge of the pattern, addictive. I’ll be thinking about doing this.

  • Jacked up on Milk Duds….so funny. Is that all it takes? Ann, I cannot even do Fair Isle (arthritis) and you have me contemplating at least a table runner. Just so I can reply, when someone asks how I did it – well, I was jacked up on Milk Duds. Can’t wait to see your finished product!

    • It’s now December 2022 so I could be too late to help you.
      I’ve taught myself to knit by the German method (yarn in left hand – I’m a lefty!). There’s very little hand movement using this method so could be useful anyway if you’re arthritic. BUT using the German method (picking) for one colour and the traditional method (throwing) for the second colour, it’s a doddle knitting with two colours. I have just completed the fabulous Kaffe Fassett throw (without the cute baby, I’m afraid ) and it is my VERY FIRST two colour project – I was beguiled by the amazing colours and patterns!
      I feel so proud I could burst. Can’t wait to start another two colour project!

    • My book and throw kit arrive today. I was also thinking that I wanted it to be bigger and am going to follow your lead. I know that I will need more yarn but am thinking that Rowan will be happy to make more and that you will be happy to sell it to me once I get a feel for what I will need. When you cast on the 252, that does not include the steel stitches, correct? (That is my interpretation of the pattern but I like to check because that is a lot of stitches to knit for a bunch of rows before deciding that your repeats are off because you cast on the wrong number of stitches.) While I should finish my Marlisle baby sweater before I cast on, I know that I will probably be casting on (or at least swatching) as soon as the UPS truck pulls away. One more question, what length needle are you finding is comfortable for that width blanket?

      • Steek stitches, not steel. Silly autocorrect.

  • Your blanket is STUNNING! My box of book and yarn arrived yesterday like a jolt of joy. I am trying to finish a gift scarf of gradients of gray before I dive in…but the colors are making my heart sing!

    • What does the yarn feel like? It is soft? Is it scratchy?

      • Very soft

    • Yarn is like an addiction. Even though I have 6 other projects started I have to do something with that new beautiful yarn that is just calling out to me open me. Knit me! Lol

  • Obvious choice? I wholehearted agree it had me from the start. The lure of all that color work. (I also enjoy looking st and feeling the back)
    With the added idea of the possibility of choosing my own colors, I’m going to take the plunge. As soon as I explain that to all my current WIPs and my ‘cast aside for the next big thing’ projects that are patiently waiting to be finished. .

    • Fantastic! So inspiring! I have tried to ignore the chats, the postings, the blogs regarding anything Kaffe Fassett, steeks,stranded colours, Rowan felted tweed and, somehow, I am learning the vocabulary, am looking at pictures, reading anything I can about floats, two-hands knitting, theory of colours, . I give up, I give in. I am in for the throw. Sigh!

  • Your blanket is beautiful. I love your choice of color combos. Inspiring! I so enjoy reading MDK daily letters, each one is a treat … and such a nice start to the day. Thank you!!

  • I love your blanket! Gorgeous colors and tweaking the boxes pattern looks great!

  • Yes, just start! A life rule we knitters can learn over and over!

  • Yesssssssss!

  • This is absolutely stunningly gorgeous!!! And I love the line that “I also have stopped fixing food, making the bed, and am mostly wearing what can charitably be called athleisure.” So funny! Wish I could just stop working full time, so all I could do is KNIT!!!!! My book arrives today, and I can’t wait to see what I’ll cook up for my next project, after I finish the cardigan for my DIL (that I have not even started yet!!!)

  • Your blanket is beautiful! I’m so excited for this field guide and yarn! I actually dreamed last night about the coin motif – totally smitten!

  • You never fail to inspire me! Went with the book and pillow to start, now I wish I had ordered the Stranded Strip Throw. Hmmm maybe a Christmas gift to myself.

  • My kit should be at the post office today. I’ve spent the past week frantically finishing several other projects so I can start the blanket as soon as it arrives. Must go get some Milk Duds!

  • Gorgeous! This might be the solution for blanket boredom.

  • Yer killin’ me, Ann. The inspiration level here is slightly dizzying. I just just last night finished a charted colorwork pattern and I pushed through to finish it because it’s flipping beautiful, even though I HATED THE KNITTING but ugh, I was like “I’m throwing away all colorwork patterns because this is a thing I don’t like to do” and this is my hobby I do because I LIKE to do it, so no more colorwork for me, no way, no thanks, that’s an easy pass.
    And then there you are. With memorizable patterns with a rhythm (mine was 26 rows and 70 stitches). With no twisting of the floats, just….letting them chill. And I’m all… “I mean, it’s not like I don’t like colorwork in PRINCIPLE…”

  • I purchased and downloaded Master Class immediately and am deep into creating my own colored charts to work from. I am diving right into the Throw, keeping to Kaffe’s color scheme (how can one improve on perfection?)
    However, I noticed Kaffe’s version uses 18 colors, not 17, in case you’re sticking with original colors. Kits are on BO but I assume it will not have that 18th color, Electric Green. With so much color play and room for interpretation, it seems this will hardly matter, but wanted to mention it. See Rnds 160-198 Bowl of Fruit, Rnds 229-230 Right Peerie, and Rnd 262.
    Think I’ll copy Ann and make it larger also! Pattern mentions not all motifs will be complete at end of rounds so I don’t think number to CO matters too much though majority of motifs seem to be in repeats of 12 or 24 stitches. Can’t wait to cast on!

  • Uh, oh. Kermit is the mascot for Team Socks. But this is something he can nap upon. Does he stay loyal to Team Socks? Does he take a nap on Ann’s Stranded Stripe Throw? What a dilemma!

  • Wozers on the blankie!! Lovely!!

    So, how do you, the designer…..?)….. develop the colors…….I’ve done abstract colors in log cabin and merely grab colors off the shelf that I think contrast nicely…..snag some plain color skeins, …..keep them away from too bolds……then as I work, knit or crochet, I snag the next possibility color skein and lay it next to the color being knitted to see if I like it…..even variegated…… and I’m not sure I understand what I don’t understand…..stopping now and again to see what conidition my condition is in……. ? (((((:

  • Oh, after thought…..big blankie…, three. Full size…..thinking 54″ x 74″…, when I buy yarn, uh, ah, hmmmmm, Lordy, where’s my cart?!!

    ((((( Hubby makes Scotheroos…..a decent sub for Milk Duds! LOL!!

  • A-MAZING! Also GREAT is that Kaffe designs for MDK! Does it get better than that?

  • Thank you for this post, of course it’s obvious (slaps forehead), the blanket is the starting point!!! I love the entire book and have been paralyzed by indecision. Which pattern to knit first? This is not normal for me. I’m a jump right in with both feet girl, especially when it comes to color. NOW I can get started, you have solved my dilemma (what a dilemma to have had, grin), thank you.

  • I bought the book tray at the Had very in St Paul. It was the last copy they had which is, it seems, a definition of red hot success. The actual knitting may wait awhile, but it makes me excited for January when real knitters knit for themselves !

  • This is soooo inspirational! I knew who Kaffe was before I was even a knitter! I’ve always admired his use of color. I’m starting with the coins cowl, but I aspire to this lovely, giant blanket!

  • Steeking. That seems to be an unnecessary stressor for an otherwise relaxing pastime. There must be some benefit but I can’t imagine what it would be! Knitting a blanket in the round in order to cut it apart is mystifying. (I wrote this in a light-hearted tone but liking at it I sound like a Debbie Downer. Don’t want to rain on y’all’s enthusiasm.)

    • No worries—I get your point! I really dislike knitting Fair Isle flat. The few times I’ve done it, I found it really frustrating—keeping track of a stitch pattern backwards, while purling, is not my idea of fun. Knitting it in the round is the opposite—easy to keep the pattern straight, and no purling. And as for steeking, I love it—it’s a time-tested method that is simple, quick to do and works well.

      • Can’t wait to start this project. Would love it if you would post a how to secure your steek video … I’ve used the crochet method before but these directions seem different. Love a new technique

    • No purling. Works for me

  • I know I’ve said this before, but I always enjoy the way you play with color, Ann 🙂

  • Nice! I have my mom’s copy of Glorious Knitting. KF is amazing. Are you going to use the ‘dishes with the little grapes/olives’ chart? Maybe they are energy balls (Larabar Bites?), not sure.

  • WOW

  • OMG.. I have a baby blanket on my needles. Another one to go and on the side my little grandson needs a scarf. Posting a pick on my to do list. Spring I should be able to get started. Is there a place I can get the charts?

  • This is a lusciously colorful blanket of epic proportions, Ann! I love it!

    My project will have to be smaller. Those cute little stripe cowls are right up my alley. A quick little reward between design projects.

  • those colours ! that yarn !!

  • Loved this! I tend to just wear whatever clothes I took off from the day before and I think that’s just fine. Gorgeous project!

  • Did you notice how interesting the steek section of alternating colors is in the larger design scheme? I find myself musing about how that could become a part of a new design approach…Although, you would only want to cut through one of the steek sections – I guess you’d have to work that aspect into the overall design. Thanks for the inspiration! 🙂

  • Dear Ann, happy happy 2020/ shana tova
    I adore the colors you posted on the 12 th of November!! I would love to know what other colors you have added since then!

  • I have read all the posts so excited to start as soon as I vacuum knitting will begin on my epic blanket

    • Lol- know I’m a stranger but I keep telling myself- “as soon as I finish up my other knitting projects (I don’t vacuum) this is for me”! It’s so compelling!

  • I am not a novice but have not done difficult fair isle I really enjoy it. This blanket is amazing! Love it! Will there be a backing placed on the back of the blanket to hide floats? I am curios. Where are you steeking?

  • I am doing my own version of this blanket… a CO of 180 stitches on size 6 needles (US). Starting with leftovers of my Rowan Tweed Boathouse KAL sweater (7 colors) and added more. My LYS is doing a Kaffe KAL using the Lidya scarf pattern in this yarn… I am doing this blanket as my participating project. So far I have, elephants, teacups, a StarTrek emblem, quilt blocks, owls, geometrics, knit stitch motif and plans to add dragons, foxes, corgis. I CO 2-20-20 and am at over 200 rnds of the original blanket’s 304 rnds. I think mine will be longer too. And I want to make another of just Christmas motifs from family stockings and more. And contemplating a mitered border versus log cabin style. Absolute obscession!

  • I am late to the original party, but now we have a NEW party: social isolation. So let’s get *this* party cranked up! I’ve cast on 272 sts. Yes, you read that right. This ain’t no hankie. Since that compote of bon-bons steals the show, I wanted all of them to be whole, not lopped off on either end. And I want them centered, so an odd number is necessary.

    272 sts., if I get gauge, will bring this in at 44″ wide before the binding rounds. A throw that you can really crawl under and hibernate with.

    Who will join me at this new and amped up party? C’mon, you know you want to knit this. November was an odd time to start anyway: Too many gifts to finish knitting. NOW is the time for all good throw knitters to fire up the needles, and while we’re cocooning at home, what could be more fun and uplifting than all this COLOR? Bust out your Field Guide 13’s and let them rip!

  • Inspiring work. I love the colorway so much, I bought a bundle from you and have crocheted over 100 six round granny squares! For a blanket or two. I am new to crochet and this is an absolute thrill.

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