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Dear Kay,

I have departed Planet Earth, destination unknown. Writing to you from some galaxy out there past Pluto.

Friday was a normal enough day. We got in a new shipment of yarn. We had it spread all over MDK World Headquarters, getting it ready to send out to knitters.

It’s pretty stuff. Lichen and Lace Worsted. It’s the second time we’ve ordered this from Megan Ingman. No two skeins are alike, despite the fact that they all have the colorway name Pressed Flowers. As far as I can see, each skein looks plausibly like Pressed Flowers.

So pretty. So hand dyed.

As Friday rolled by, I kept looking at this yarn, thinking about the sleeves of an Easel Sweater. You know: the pattern we cooked up for Field Guide No. 3 that allows mild-mannered knitters like ourselves to partake of the wilder yarns in life. A sleeve or two, a dosage we can all handle.

And that’s when it hit me. I thought:

Sleeves are not enough. I don’t want an Easel Sweater with wacky sleeves. I want an Easel Sweater with wacky everything except the sleeves. I want to knit six skeins of Lichen and Lace Worsted and





You know how unlikely this is. Gray has long been my favorite color for just about everything. A long slag of gray is always a good idea. There are so many grays. People don’t understand the great beauty of gray.

Well, on Friday, gray took a back seat. I grabbed six skeins, not aiming too hard.

When I got home, I immediately liberated them so I could see exactly what the deal was regarding the colors in each skein.

It was a mix, a melange, a variety show, an unfettered exploration of shade, tone, saturation, and value.

Seriously not gray.

There are splotches and speckles.

And one long stretch of a very beautiful, soft purple, an outlier in the six skeins.

The Easel Sweater is made in four pieces: front, back, set-in sleeves. As classic a sweater as you can imagine. In this wholly unpredictable yarn, each piece will be its own little experiment/art project/aria.

I wound yarn like a maniac.

I made a pilgrimage to Meg Strong at Haus of Yarn for fresh size 7s, just for good luck.

I swatched to make sure this worsted weight would match the gauge of the Easel Sweater. BINGO!

I started with the outlier purple swath skein for the back because I knew it would be different from anything else in the sweater. What I didn’t know is how it would look, knitted up.

It looks like clouds, or smoke, or vaporous Grape Fanta. This is totally a Rorschach test.

I knitted through Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Saturday, and Game 4 tonight. Victories! Series is now tied 2-2. Nashville has gone completely insane. It’s really fun to have the city full of joy. I even traded a Tweet with the Pens Knitting Lady, despite the fact that she supports that Pittsburgh team and I am a bandwagoner Preds fan.

Skein 1 is done. I really love knitting this. What happens when I start skein 2? I don’t think I’ve ever knit this fast.

Stay tuned.



Update: We have again run through our stock of Pressed Flowers—we’re getting on our bicycle to Sackville, New Brunswick to bring back some more. Thanks to everyone who has adopted skeins of this lovely yarn. In the interest of science, we’re starting a thread in The Lounge for knitters to share their before and after photos of variegated yarn, “Variegated Yarn: Before and After.”


  • Love it!

  • LOVE!!! Looks like Raquel Allegra…

  • The suspense of what knits ahead is just too much fun. I can not wait to see the magic with each skein. I love this

  • Out of interest how often do you change your needles? Other than when they get shut in the car door or nibbled by a passing canine.

  • Lovely. I’m so glad you started with that purpley skein. I would have gone crazy waiting to see how it looked knitted up.

  • Now THIS is going to be fun!!!

  • Love this! I’m right by my computer eagerly waiting pictures and news of your progress!

  • Art in knitting! Truly. Absolutely one of a kind. One of those spontaneous inspired ideas of which you have no shortage. Way to go.

  • Great idea! Really interesting yarn.

  • I love this idea! I adore hand-dyed yarn. So many dyers recommend alternating skeins, Now I can see what will happen if I don’t. The suspense is intense.

  • Look in’ good!!!
    Have fun and be sure to post photos of the completed sweater.
    Go Red Wings!!!

  • I a man anxious to see what it looks like. It should match almost everything! Why not offer this as a kit!

  • This is a test of my patience, and I’m not a patient person. I can’t wait to see it put together!

  • I will be waiting along with everyone else! This yarn is fabulous , what a fun project!

  • I cannot love this more! Your words, the knitting, that unbelievably GORGEOUS yarn!!!! Can’t wait to see how this turns out!!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE!

  • Wild and beautiful! And this from a gal who has a LOT of gray sweaters. Can’t wait to see the whole thing!

  • Oh, this is wonderful! What do you plan for the sleeves? Gray?

    • Well played, Pam! (And I’m guessing: gray.)

  • GORGEOUS! I can’t wait to see more!

  • I don’t think I’d ever put it down. Keep us posted!

  • So Brilliant!! I cannot wait to see those beautiful skeins all worked together. <3

  • Are you even Ann? What got into ya?

  • Absolutely gorgeous. I have Pressed Flowers in their 1 ply finger weight and I just keep looking at it and admiring the colors! All their colors are amazing! I never thought about getting it in worsted weight, uh oh, this could be trouble!

  • Fantastic! That is going to be gorgeous! I woukd love an Easel KAL….. in fact I just wrote that in an email today! Perhaos I shoukd have written it in the lounge instead of keeping the idea quiet?

    Isn’t it odd to discover one changing one’s single color wardrobe palette? That happened to me years ago, as a New Yorker of course I wore black all the time. Then I lived in DC, SF & DC again, the final time while also working at a job that required a suit. SO boring! Especially at my price point, and with DC stores (talk about boring). I had no choice but to branch out. It was very odd at first. But I began slowly by fiest just wearing crazy pink nail polish on my toes which no ine at work ever saw. Talk about rebelling. I chose to find it funny instead of sad.

  • So pretty! I love those accidental X’s, too.

    Go Predators! (I’m all about bandwagons.)

  • Now, you MUST knit through the next game…but of course you already knew that….didn’t you?

  • Vaporous Grape Fanta! That’s the perfect description!

  • Just waking up to all this vaporous grape Fanta lingo & know now that this day has began with a drum roll. Today I’m knitting with a trekking friend who layed down her knitting sticks & fibre years ago. Since then she gave away her sticks & has asked for them back (from her daughter) for today. .. great energy from the lichen?

  • Pens Knitting Lady is one of my FAVVVSSS! 🙂

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