Skip to content

Dear Kay,

Last week I arrived at the thrilling moment when I started to make the Valdres Pullover.

You know, the sweater from Arne & Carlos that is the superstar of Field Guide No. 23: Glow.

Ever since my first glimpse of this Norwegian wonder garment, I’ve had it in my head that I would cook up some colorway that would be as exuberant as the original, yet different.

Where to begin?

I fooled around with the 14 colors of Rowan Norwegian Wool to see what would make a pleasing combo. I made little piles of yarn for an entire afternooon. I squinted. I took black-and-white photos to check the color values. I went deep, Kay.

At which point I sat down with our sample, and I noticed something.

The band of blue and pink has a different background color from the top part in black and cream. It’s white.


I hadn’t thought about that—how brilliant this quiet color change is, how subtle. How totally unlikely it is that I would come up with an idea half as clever as that.

It was then that I concluded that I would make Arne & Carlos’s Valdres Pullover exactly as the dynamic duo designed it.

I am having a great time. This is really working for me—especially the fact that Arne & Carlos start us off with the sleeves, so I can dispense with them while I’m fresh and feisty.

You’re witnessing the last moment before I plunge into the colorwork, that bracing, frosty swimming pool. I can’t wait.

The colors for this are Norwegian Wool in Peat, Vanilla Custard, Gold Nugget, Ribbon Red, Frost Pink, Daphne, and Wind Chime. The yarn requirements can be found on the Valdres Pullover page on Ravelry. We’ve got all these colors in the MDK Shop if you’re in the mood.

Sometimes knitting is a fantastical creative journey, and sometimes it’s the chance to get into the head of a designer and enjoy that time inside their brain.

Sometimes I really, really need somebody to tell me exactly what to do.

Sometimes I just . . . can’t . . . make another decision.

Do you know what I mean? I’m curious about your preference regarding this sort of thing. Are you a pattern follower or a pattern adapter? Enjoy the ride or build the wagon?



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  • I’m 100% in love with this sweater … I need to cast on too. I have an idea for one color switch but you’re right; you can’t mess with perfection!

  • Wonderful snugly jumper.
    Mostly I’m a attern follower – until I realise I’ve missed a bit / done something different – and then I tell myself that this ‘personalisation’ is what makes handknitting so special!

    • Just like when you miss out the ‘p’ in pattern!

      • Sometimes I love to experiment and turn a design on its ear. But this sweater took my breath away when I first saw it. To alter anything would be crazy!

  • Look, generally I’m an adapter with colours but now and again a pattern gets it so right that there’s no need! Like Volt – would I usually wear yellow? No. Is it perfect with the greys? Yes.

  • I hope you enjoy knitting this sweater as much as I did! There is definitely a groove aspect to it. I’m so grateful to MDK and Arne and Carlos for this Norwegian beauty!

  • Adapt, always! For one thing a can’t understand the directions, another thing, I don’t want to

  • In the case of this sweater – if ever I could learn fair Isle – i would want it as it is. So fun! Then experiment with other colors for a second version. Something so different – like entirely in pastels – that it would look like an entirely different pattern. That would be fun, too! Chloe

  • Dear Ann – not to take anything away from Arne and Carlos’ color choices, but when I started reading this post the FIRST THING that came into my head was “oh gosh, I can’t wait to see what Ann comes up with for colors!” I’ve watched your color choices for many years now, and have so often been dazzled by the colors and combinations you come up with. That said, I totally get the “someone tell me what to do, please” state of mind, which has definite benefits in the head-space department. And I’m sure you will enjoy making this sweater, and it will be lovely! But it will not surprise me one little bit if you decide to make a second Valdres, in colors I cannot begin to imagine 🙂

    • I thought the same thing – would Ann use the more muted frost colors? Something with blues and grays? There were so many great color combos in the Setasdal Hat KAL, surely Ann will find another great mix of colors for the sweater! And thanks for pointing out the change from the Vanilla Custard background to the white – I hadn’t noticed that! What a clever, subtle change.

  • I am so stuck on a doll dress pattern of Arne and Carlos, trying to put in the sleeves at the same time with the top of the dress that I’m afraid of starting something else. Plus I am inexperienced with changing colors, so maybe I”ll just dive in with this beautiful sweater and see how far i get, who knows??

  • I was trying to resist this one…but may have to give in! Regarding modifications, I’ve learned the hard way to respect the designer’s intention and process. Case in point, my version of Caitlin Hunter’s “Feel the Bern,” currently in hibernation. I fell in instant love with the pattern and even had most of the yarn in my stash! But I decided to add 5 inches to the body of this cropped sweater, and instead of short capped sleeves, I went full length. Guess what? What was meant to be cute and sassy riff on a grandpa-like sweater (or mittens, in this case) now actually looks like a grandpa’s sweater. I have nothing against grandpa sweaters, of course, but it wasn’t the look I was going for at all. Now I know if I’m tempted to customize a pattern beyond color choice and fit (eg, armhole or yoke depth), it’s time to move on.

  • For a colorwork pattern that is intricate, I often knit it as designed. After going through that process I find that I can more easily adapt the pattern the next time through.

    • Nancy, I do exactly the same! Thank you for stating it so clearly!

  • Yes and yes! Doing what I’m told may result in a UFO or two but is a great place to successfully launch into a new method. Once I got over frogging out the test project the guilt went away.

  • Sometimes a design is spot on, like this one, and I wouldn’t change a thing, and do exactly as told. I then enjoy the ride. Other times, I design and create my own sweaters. It just depends on the day, week, or month.

  • I do both. Some times, especially with colorwork, there is so much to learn from knitting the designer’s color choices. I remember knitting an Alice Starmore, years ago. There was one color, a “weird yellow” I would have called it, that I really didn’t like. It was tempting to swap it out. But as I knit, I realized THAT was the color that made the beautiful blues I love POP.

    I also have to examine what it was that drew me to a particular pattern. Sometimes, it makes sense to make different choices in fit, design, or color, to suit myself. Sometimes, I’m disappointed when I do, realizing I’ve changed something that drew me to the design in the first place. THIS, I’m still learning. But I’m improving 😉

  • I’m always choosing a new project that has skills and techniques that are new to me. So I must follow the pattern to learn it all. Although I likely would repeat it differently if I would make another I tend to be drawn to so new for the next project. And there I go. There are times though I need to rewrite the pattern for clarity to make it easier to follow.

  • I find choosing colors to be the hardest part of a project! It would be so much easier to just go with the flow; these colors are a big part of the appeal of the sweater. (And I didn’t notice that white until you pointed it out.)

  • I’ll fool around with length, width, hemlines, necklines and even simple color choices, but when it comes to
    more than two colors I bow to the experts. Sometimes people will tell me how clever I am, but the answer is that I’m clever at picking good designs and following the pattern!!

  • I am totally a pattern follower. I am so appreciative of the time and imagination it took the designer to create their design, and I welcome not having to make a decision beyond perhaps the colors and choosing my size. It’s like being take on a ride!

  • I enjoy both! But I agree 100% – with certain color geniuses, I’m just not coming up with anything better and I love their combo so much I just need to go with it. I save the fun color-choosing opportunities for when I love a design but I’ve got something in my stash I instantly know would be perfect (even when that perfection is only in my mind’s eye).

  • I’ve tried to picture the sweater with two changes: switching the solid black section to the top and the vanilla to the bottom, and (or) moving the black & vanilla pattern to the bottom of the colorwork section and moving the other color bands to the top – first the blue and white, then finishing with the red/yellow/pink band. But without trying to draw it out, I’m not sure if it would look as well balanced as the original design. But changing the colors? I might substitute the velvet red for the bright red, but I wouldn’t do anything more drastic than that. And really, I don’t think the darker red would make the other colors pop so brilliantly. I would probably make the same decision as you, Ann, in the end, and stick with the pattern just as it is.

    • It depends on the designer. Aside from Arne and Carlos, I wouldn’t mess with the colour choices of Alice Starmore or Kaffe Fassett, particularly Fassett. He does things I would never dream of, and does many things I would never wear, but when he hits on something I like, I like it in its entirety. His “Foolish Virgins” in the autumn colours for instance. Or his chevron vest or “Tumbling Blocks”. And Arne and Carlos’ sweater is perfect the way it is, so who am I to think I can do better than they? Second guessing is likely to result in something you don’t want to wear. And a lot of hours, and dollars, down the drain.

  • I am mostly a pattern follower, at least the first time.

  • I too am eager to cast on this sweater! I’ve been patiently working the Rosy Mittens, just to remember stranded colorwork and to warm up my needles. Since I ordered the A&C design yarn colors for both projects, I have enough yarn balls so I can cast on the sleeves 2 at a time – my prefered method.

  • Perfectly gorgeous!

Come Shop With Us

My Cart0
There are no products in the cart!
Continue shopping