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Dear Kay,

For pity’s sake, I thought I was going to be making a striped scarf. But the mysteries of multicolored yarn have taken me on a little odyssey this weekend.

First of all. To all who have jumped on the Colorwash Scarf Superfast Springtime Knitalong, welcome! (Details here.) It’s a quick trip, I’m finding, but it’s like going to Mammoth Cave, just an hour up the road from Nashville, only to discover vast caverns of surprise lurking right under my nose.

How long have we been working on Field Guide No. 3? Since the Carter era? The Roaring ’20s? I feel like Kirsten Kapur’s Colorwash Scarf has been a part of my life for a very long time. But I’ve waited to make it because it’s more fun to make things with fellow knitters.


A couple of things about this Colorwash Scarf are such a surprise.

Surprise No. 1: Color

I’m making the two-color version of the scarf, using the Pewter and Marsh Lily colorway from our Colorwash Scarf kits.

Marsh Lily swatch. ZING!

I was dazzled by the color of this swatch, and happy to see the way Kirsten’s cluster stitch pattern turns the color shifts into a tweed effect. Of course, I knew this was what would happen, given that we’ve been staring at this scarf since padded shoulders roamed the Earth.

Still. It’s one thing to look at a pattern and another thing to make it yourself.

I started knitting the pattern in my earnest way, spending a tender moment winding the second color, Pewter, which is definitely a yarn I would put on my shortlist of Most Beautiful Yarns. Pale gray. What is there not to love about pale gray?

Pewter. AKA pale gray.

I looked forward to seeing the two-row stripes emerge once I got a few rows done.

Well. It became clear really fast that adding the Pewter to the Marsh Lily was not going to result in any kind of recognizable two-row stripe pattern.

See the stripes here? Yeah, me neither.

Of course, none of this occurred to me before I started this thing—even though I have seen a finished version in this colorway. Not paying attention, clearly. Delirious. Too much maple syrup in my diet. I don’t know what to think.

Ann Weaver’s recent MDK article, “Color: A Cheerful Guide for Knitters, Part 3” explains all about value, which is what’s at work here. Similar values mean low contrast, which means the stripes are not going to be obvious. It’s all blending into a tweedy fabric that is a muted version of the Marsh Lily that I swatched.

The curve of the pattern, combined with an openwork stitch pattern and two yarns that have similar values, means it’s just a big ol’ color party.

Stripes or not, isn’t it pretty?

Surprise No. 2: Curviness

Maybe it’s because I’m not a frequent knitter of the curvy scarves, the crescents, the swooshes, the non-linear neckwear that everybody else in the universe has made a million times.

It’s just such a surprise, the curviness.

It’s not a complicated thing: a crescent shape happens when you decrease at one edge of a scarf, then increase at the other edge. One edge pinches slowly, the other releases, slowly.

It makes for a lovely shape as I knit, and it’s going to be especially fun to block it and to see the stitch pattern open up.

I just can’t get over the curviness. Look at that thing! It’s all, you know, curvy.

Lots of intriguing yarn combinations happening over in the Colorwash Knitalong conversation in The Lounge, and at the Instagram hashtag #MDKcolorwashalong. Grab some crazy yarn and come hang out.




  • My sentiments exactly, and I’m only last-episode-of-S*town in! Plus my colors DO contrast in value when separated. Gonna love this swoosh! XXO

  • I almost posted last night, to ask “is it supposed to be this curvy?” Will I like it? Is it right? In the nick of time, you answered. Thanks!

  • Finally started last night with yarn from my stash. I love the curve!

  • Haven’t started one yet, but I like the curve. The way the pewter just becomes part of the other colourway is quite lovely.

  • I’m knitting it with one colorway and I’ve frogged 5 times. I think I’m knitting whatI think should happen, plus my perfectly accommodating yarn over style feels all wrong for this scarf. Oy.

  • The curviness is intriguing! When I knit this shape, I see it as a slant on both edges rather than a curve. My mind likes straight lines, and then I block it that way….I’m pretty linear!

  • A “bluebird of happiness” fair isle by Arne and Carlos

  • Well, drat! Wasn’t really paying attention and now the pewter combo is gone! Guess I’ll have to be content admiring everybody else’s beautiful shawls.

  • I’m so glad I read this post before I started the KAL. I also thought there would be stripes. When I looked at the photos again, I realized only one was actually striped, and I didn’t want that color way. I am very happy with the pewter and marsh lily, but they are very similar sometimes.

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