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Dear Ann,

I tried not to dither too long on my choice of pattern for my wheel of Rifton in our exclusive Appalachian Trail shade. I was curious as to how it would knit up. In the wheel (or cake), it looks less contrast-y than the Winter shade of Rifton that I used for my Metronome this past summer.


Metronome, with its mesh of intarsia stripes, highlighted the light/dark contrasts in the Winter shade, and the garter stitch further compressed and sharpened those contrasts.

I was searching for a pattern that would emphasize the misty ombre transitions of Appalachian Trail.

At some point, you have to stop looking and cast on. My choice: Hei by Olga Buraya-Kefelian.


Here’s Hei in Rifton’s Summer colorway–plum and brown.


And here’s my start on Hei in Appalachian Trail.

Jill Draper had told me that the transitions were delicate in this colorway. It is a thrill waiting for palest blue to turn to pale caramel, and caramel to turn to green. The faintest of green speckles. It’s like the first moments of dawn; you’re not quite sure. I kept looking at the cake to confirm: yes, green is right there, green is happening.

Hei’s stitch pattern is a bit fussy: knit-3-togethers and slip-slip-slip-knits are involved, every 8 rows. Basically, a lot of buttonholes. So far I think it’s worth the trouble on those rows. I love the shading.

People keep asking for pattern suggestions, so here they are.


Magmatic by Laura Nelkin.

Magmatic has that Missoni vibe that is always chic, and cool twisted fringe. There is a neat trick: Magmatic is knit in the round, and the fringe is created by steeking. Ooooooh! Spicy! I like a twisted fringe. It seems so much tidier.  Plus, in Rifton, you end up with some barber-pole fringes.  (For the same stitch pattern in a boomerang shaped shawl sans fringe, check out Laura’s Magmatic Boom. Both patterns only take one skein of Rifton. Boom.)


Dotted Rays by Stephen West.

Believe it or not, this is one skein of Rifton. How fun to knit those splashy, curvacious stripes without cutting yarn!

Metronome, Magmatic and Dotted Rays are all tried-and-true–we can cast on with an idea of how Rifton will play with the pattern.

Two other patterns are intriguing possibilities that invite experimentation:


Lokken (pictured above) and Ephemera, both by Megi Burcl.

I haven’t found a Rifton version of either pattern, but both were designed for long-striping ombre yarns, and the designer has Instagrammed that she is working on a Rifton version of Ephemera.  Can’t wait to see it!

(For those in possession of a skein or two of Rifton Mono and a skein of regular Rifton, I’m going to suggest, strongly: MAKE A HAP. The center in the solid, and the lace border in the ombre Rifton.)

[Friends: please chime in other suggestions for patterns that you think would work with Rifton, and please please please send in pictures of any projects in Appalachian Trail.]

I’m making quick progress on my Hei but am still not through all of the color changes. Patience is a virtue, they say.











  • I was thinking it would look nice as a cardigan with an Apalachian Trails yoke and Skies over the Cumberland body and arms.

  • Franchise, that is a great idea. The garter yoke cardi would fit the bill, lots of people have knit the yoke with a self striping yarn.

  • Agh, autocorrect! Sorry Francie.

  • I was thinking maybe Masgot using the mono colors and the full on Appalachian Trail.

  • I think I’m going to make Casapinka’s Welcome Back Garter — I’ll be able to use Appalachian Trail AND both mono skeins. Bonus: I had already purchased the pattern!

  • I’m considering either Trust Me With a Twist:
    or Keiran Foley’s Fleece:
    Metronome is in the running, too. Maybe you can tell I’m a sucker for unusual techniques.

  • I was thinking Hap! Then you don’t have to change the yarn all the time! No messy ends:)

  • I am thinking Kirsten Kapur’s Abide shawl from Drop Dead Easy Knits:

  • I was sitting here thinking that I’d never use a hap and rarely use shawls; I need a sweater that takes advantage of the 600 yds, which a yoke would not.

    Then I looked up at MDK’s related posts: Bingo! (I think. The ombre would be more subtle but maybe?)

  • You have no idea how hard it was for me not to buy the pale green solid rifton and the color change and make a Beacon Shawl for myself. My budget didn’t approve…but my budget is a jerk.

    Well now you have an idea how hard it was because I just mentioned it…but man it was tough!

  • Zuzu’s Petals by Carina Spencer is nice with a slow-changing gradient.

  • Well, now you’ve done it! I placed my order and I hope you’re satisfied! 🙂 (you got me with the Hap suggestion)

  • Wingspan! I did mine (which has a bit of edging and bindoff left – but friends keep having babies) in a self striping sock yarn (shorter changes, cool pooling) – but I think the changes of the Rifton would be lovely!!

  • I was going to wait but then the hap suggestion and now I had to go back and buy another skein. Such enablers!

  • You can’t go wrong with Olga B-K, if you ask me.

  • Thank you very much for the shout out to my Hei pattern! I can’t to see yours finished! I love love Rifton!

  • Twisted Fringe? Isn’t that the old metal band with eye shadow in all the colors of the ’67 Buick line? (A simple rib-knit scarf should look great with the Rifton color changes.)

  • Your metronome is so beautiful!

  • Does Hei use the whole cake of Rifton?

    • Excellent question. I’m in the middle of repeat 4 out of 5 1/2 and it looks like I will have a lot left over. I will weigh the scarf and the cake when I’m done and report back. I’m thinking it takes something over half of the 600 yards.

      This makes me happy because I have leftovers from my Winter shade of Rifton, and I’m saving up for some kind of modular blanket, maybe mixing in Noro.

      • Rifton mixed with Noro? OMG, the thought makes me week in the knees, and I think I’m having trouble catching my breath because my heart is all a flutter! Are the lights going out, or is it just me?
        Don’t do this to me, Kay… 😉

        P.S. will the new modular blanket be featured in the next field guide?

  • I just received my single skein of Appalachian Trail Rifton, and I’m still trying to decide what to do with it. I’d like something that would actually take up as much of the skein as possible, and stay a roughly similar stitch count throughout. If don’t like my color change stripes getting skinnier. I think I may have some leftover Noro from a felted bag I made a few years ago, so even though I’m generally not a fan of mixing different brands of yarn together (don’t I sound like a pain?), I may do so here.

    PS, Ann & Kay, I’m not sure who was responsible for the gorgeous packaging of my order, but please know you have at least one VERY APPRECIATIVE customer.

  • So many great suggestions!

    I wonder how the longer color runs would look on a sweater like Salween:

    But I’ve been thinking of making something for my shoulders like:

    Lately, though, I’ve also been falling in love with a lot patterns based on versions of Old Shale that I think might work, like:

    Ackkk! So hard to choose.

    • I am making L’enveloppe, which lends itself beautifully to the colour changes. Will post a photo when it’s done.

  • The long and subtle color changes would be great for this stole 🙂

  • How about Roses? I’ve just started it in a Rifton-like yarn…

  • I’m swatching my Rifton and I’m having a hard time considering it fingering weight. So far I like the fabric on size 6 needles (or even 7s), for a pullover. It’s behaving like a worsted/light worsted — anyone else have this experience.

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