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Dear Kay,

I am not tired of knitting socks, let’s just be clear here. I’m on Sock No. 23 and feeling strong for many more socks. This pair, using Barnyard Knits A Walk in the Woods, is really doing it for me in terms of awesome woodland color action.

That said, the new Field Guide No. 12: Big Joy has put me on a new course that looks to be every bit as absorbing as socks.

Gauge Shift Wow

Going from a size 1 needle to a size 13 makes it feel like I’ve taken on an entirely new hobby.

SO BIG. A stitch is an event. A round of knitting with Rowan Big Wool means I can see visual proof of progress on every single round. It’s so satisfying.

I jumped in on the Brambleberry Cowl as my entree to knitting Jen Geigley’s designs featured in Field Guide No. 12.

The color here? One of Rowan’s excellent names: Glum. The light here makes this appear less glum than it actually is.

Never has glumness brought such happiness. The brambleberries are just a bobblesque moment where you knit three stitches into one, then knit three together later on.

Moment of Improv

My needle inventory coughed up exactly one size 13 needle, a circular that is approximately ten feet long—it was a needle I used at least a decade ago when knitting rugs. You need a lot of cable when you’re knitting a floor covering.

Here, I used my newfound skills with Magic Loop to get myself a serviceable circular as soon as possible so that I could start cranking my Brambleberry.

This knitting came together in a couple of nights. (Sorry for the color shift—here’s Glum in its glorious glumness!)

It’s the thing to do when you’re feeling like you’re getting nothing done. This thing is going to be DONE. SOON.

Thanks to everybody for giving Field Guide No. 12: Big Joy such a warm welcome. Be sure to share your giant knits on Instagram at #MDKfieldguideno12.




  • My hands ands fingers hurt if I knit with needles bigger than 8. That has been the case for many years, even when I was much younger than I am now. But I’m enjoying seeing these patterns and hearing about knitting with bulky yarn. I just have to avoid it.

    • Sadly, so do mine! There are so many cute, quick projects out there – and in this field guide – but if I can’t manage it on a US8 (or preferably smaller than a US6), it’s not for me. Mind you – I do love looking at them!! And they can be such statement pieces.

  • I love this post, and I love seeing the fat stitches that look so amazing! I am going to make this!

  • Why not make the same patterns in DK but do the maths to get the size right, it might help sore hands.
    Just a thought why call it Magic loop when in fact you make two loops. When I realized this the method worked for me.

  • I am a HUGE fan of big yarn, big needles so I’m in 7th heaven with Field Guide No 12 (mine arrived yesterday and I’ve already started Brambleberry Cowl). Can’t wait for my Lopi to arrive so I can swatch for Main Squeeze Cardi!!! And now I know what to tag on IG 😉 Thx Ann, Kay, & Jen for giving me Big Joy!!!

  • I have heard of knitters who have trouble with big needles. Not me. In fact, in the first few years of my knitting journey “13” was my very favorite needle size! I have the opposite problem. Knitting small circumferences on small needles makes my hands cramp up. Perhaps paradoxically, I am also a loose knitter who generally has to go down 2 needle sizes to get gauge. (For example, I knit worsted weight socks on size 2 or 3 needles.) So, despite what Kay says about “gauge is gauge is gauge” no matter the needle size, I generally avoid patterns that call for anything less than a size 3 needle, as that means a size 1 for me…and 1 is as low as I am willing to go! That said, I totally understand the Alice-in-Wonderland feeling that comes from switching to large circumference needles to small or vice-versa!

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