Cristina Shiffman, MDK’s Social Media Eminence, came along for the ride on Rhinebeck weekend, making things more fun, as usual. Her knitting for the weekend was highly confidential: she was working on a Striped Scarf from then-under-wraps, fully embargoed, we-could-show-you-but-we’d-have-to-kill-you, MDK Field Guide No. 13. She could not knit it on the fairgrounds, but it was with her every other minute, making for the finest in appetite-whetting spectator knitting.
Cristina’s pattern was the Coins chart on page 41 of the Field Guide, pictured above in a graphic black and white (correction: Seafarer and Clay) version, and in Kaffe’s dusty and bright colorways on the cowl above and the cushion underneath.
But Cristina was doing an intriguing variation.
Edited to add: here are 9 of the 10 old (and presumably discontinued) Felted Tweed shades Cristina used: 139, 142, 148, 150, 152, 154, 157, 158, 162.
I immediately knew that Cristina’s variation of the Striped Scarf would be my first cast-on from Field Guide No. 13. It just looked like too much fun. And because Cristina’s colors were all from her deep stash of old Felted Tweed shades, I was more than curious to try out her method on the colors we have in the MDK Shop.
I cast on over the weekend, and I’m having a blast.
Here’s the recipe.
Coins: The Cristina Variation
Cristina reckons it will take her 55 stripes to get to the 72-inch length she requires for her scarf. (By the way, she did a provisional cast-0n, so that she can Kitchener the two ends together for a long cowl that will wrap twice around the neck.) 55 stripes, no repeats!
A Solid Gold Tip
How do you keep track of which of your ten colors you’ve used or not used in the 5-stripe segment you’re working on? Avoid mental blur with Cristina’s solid gold tip: put a locking marker on the fifth stripe of every repeat.
This way you can simply look at your knitting to see what colors you’ve used so far in your current set of five stripes. I like to think I would have thought of this, but I’m sure glad Cristina did. These little markers will save me a lot of heartache, and counting.
Important: Cristina’s version is wider than the samples shown in Field Guide No. 13, because she cast on more stitches. Remember: cristina was the unventor of the Double-Wide Parallelogram Scarf. She’s just crazy about amplitude.
Like you, I’m working from my portion of leftover full and partial balls from the samples and photos for the Field Guide. Waste not, want not! Out of my 20 or more colors, I chose these 10:
From left to right in this photo, the background and coin colors for the first five stripes are: Rage/Amethyst, Alabaster/Zinnia, Pine/Frozen, Maritime/Seafarer, and Seasalter/Avocado.
For the next section of 5 stripes, I simply reversed the background and coin colors from the first section of 5 stripes. I like making up rules as I go, especially if they make my choices easier.
I chose my 10 colors with an approximate eye toward having 5 juicy shades and 5 blah shades, even though I knew that as I followed the rules, I’d eventually be pairing juicy with juicy, and blah with blah, for some of the stripes. I think it will give an overall balance of lighter and darker values to the scarf. Or maybe it just gave me a means of narrowing my choices?
You could easily do this with one of the Felted Tweed Bundles of Ten. Or if you’re impatient (the ten-packs are briefly on backorder), you can pick out 10 skeins of Felted Tweed. I have yet to find a pairing that does not spark joy.
Or, if you’re one of the lucky ones who, like Cristina, has a stash of Felted Tweed on hand, by all means use it, and make us all green (or, in Rowan-speak, Avocado, Lotus Leaf or Pine) with envy.
Why Have A Rule?
Maybe everyone understands this already, but it took me years to realize that if I am pairing colors up by eye, with intention, I inevitably will end up with the same predictable combinations. I need the randomness of a rule to force me to put the pale pink next to the citric green, or two close blues right on top of each other.
My conscious brain is not a very gifted colorist. It gets pulled toward favorites, and toward supposedly “tasteful” combinations. We’re not decorating a room in a Marriott Courtyard, people! Rules like Cristina’s are one of the best ways I know of really enjoying working with colors, by seeing how they interact with each other in such surprising and delightful ways.
Or you know, you could use the colors Kaffe selected. They’re listed right there on page 52.
He’s really good at this.