True Confessions, Intarsia Edition

By Ann Shayne
November 17, 2020

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53 Comments
  • I was thrilled to listen to your conversation with Kaffe Fassett on Sunday. He has been an inspiration since his first book, Glorious Color. I learned intarsia knitting from his books and will order the current Field Guide to knit one of the projects in it from stash.

    • Thanks for being there, Loren! : )

  • I wonder what ” I have been felting the ends in some of my Kites triangles, when I’m adding another length.” means and how you do it. Is this “Spit splicing” or something else? Fun morning reading as always.

    • Yes, spit splicing!

  • I can’t wait to get started – I just sent Santa a note letting him know the yarn I wanted.

    • Santa is all about the intarsia.

  • I loved the Zoom session with Kaffe. Yesterday I was weeding my fiber book collection and came across an older book I had on Vintage knit fashion that I have had for years. And there in the middle was a photo of Kaffe’s glorious Romeo and Juliet coat. He is a gift to all of us as is the latest Field Guide.

    • That Romeo and Juliet coat is so sleevetastic.

  • I’m in. All in.

    • Yay! It’s going to be fun.

  • So sorry I could not attend the Zoom session but was comforted by my memory of attending one of his seminars decades ago (so lucky!). As Kaffe has often said, when in doubt about a project just add another color. I keep thinking he should entitle one of his pattern books “Safety in Numbers.” Love his tip to keep those yarn lengths short! Looking forward to sitting down with Jen’s intarsia video. Maybe all of the above will WILL me into trying intarsia. But most likely it will be stripes. He has an interesting marled-looking um…shoulder decoration using stripes on the Introduction page of his Master Class Field Guide. Hope it’s not crocheted!

    • Dive in, Chloe! The water’s perfect.

  • I framed my Kaffe pillow cover. It looks spectacular on the wall❤️

    • What a great idea!

  • Looking at your swatch, I think all of the colors together are beautiful, just like in a garden, there are no “wrong” colors!

    • I can’t stop knitting on this thing. I agree totally re there being no “wrong” colors.

  • Thank you so much for making the conversation with Kaffe Fassett available to so many of us. It was fascinating and great inspiration. I can’t wait to try the new patterns, but I haven’t made a big dent in the first book yet. I especially liked his response to cables – not for me (I could realy relate). I’ll be dropping a few Xmas gift hints soon.

    • Yes, I thought that was interesting–he sees simple knitting as the easiest way to play with a lot of color.

  • I went to order the yarn for the Cityscape scarf to try my hand at intarsia! I was inspired! But the yarn bundle is out of stock!! Any idea when this might be available again?

    • Hi Julie! We’re working on it—we’ll let you know when we have more. A few days I think.

  • I, too, have been intimidated by intarsia. My daughter has been requesting a Princess Di black sheep sweater for a while and I’ve avoided it because it’s intarsia. (She wears it in the new season of The Crown) I’m excited to finally be able to give it a go after making myself something from #16.

    • The Crown! Totally absorbed in it right now.

  • Many, MANY moons ago I collected him in my car for a talk to our spinning group, Hatfield, England. (My only claim to fame!). He charmed us all.

    • Ha! That’s a great day for sure.

  • Ann, you have PERSUADED me!! Thank you

    • From the master of persuasion, thank YOU!

  • I missed the Zoom presentation. Is it going to be available for those of us who missed it to view?

    • Hi Jean,

      I think it might be available to people who signed up to see the conversation via Vogue Knitting Live’s Marketplace. We don’t have a copy of it ourselves.

  • I am going to have to save a lot of same-weighted scraps, or but yarn slowly ….

    It’s beautiful.

    • I think it’s an interesting idea to work with maybe a few colors, not 15. The colorblocking happens in a different way, but those triangles are so versatile a motif that I think a cool effect can come with a smaller palette.

  • It would seem there are two things you could do with your intarsia swatch: 1.) Hang onto it, and keep adding to it as you accumulate more oddments of Felted Tweed. In 40 or 50 WEEKS, you might have a blanket! 2.) Bind off and block the swatch. Display it on a flat surface. Kermit will enjoy his new blanket!

    • Kermit verifies pretty much every single knitted item, especially anything still damp and on the blocking board. Does he think it is a friend? Who hunkers down on a wet sweater? So weird.

      • My cat also lays on my wet wool projects while I block them. So much for soaking to remove the cat hairs. Totally weird!

      • I blocked a’dampish’ hat on a friend’s head. He eventually took it off because he said his head was too hot. I think it’s like the old radiators. Apply a heat source to liquid filled tubes.

  • You could make another swatch and turn them into fingerless mitts for me!

    • Gloria, you must have some awesomely gigantic hands.

  • I can’t let the ‘meter’ pass unmentioned, even though it’s a quote. . . 🙂
    The Sunday Zoom interview was a treat, so glad we could eavesdrop on your interesting conversations and beautiful show and tell!

    • Good eye, Dawn . . . ; ) One meter at a time . . .

  • I did the Ann/Kay thing — I didn’t know a thing about intarsia so I jumped in with one of those Dee Hardwick quilt hexagons. I think I heard y’all talk about ignorance is bliss on the Knit Stars session. The experience was humbling. Not a complete disaster, but certainly not a success. I did watch Jen’s instructional video and I’m gonna give it another go as soon as I finish the Kiki Mariko rug, which is a total joy. MDK does have the best stuff EVER.

    • Oh, so glad you’re giving it another try. And also: Kiki Mariko is definitely a perfect palate cleanser–hard to go wrong on that thing.

  • Is there something like Rowan Felted Tweed mini skeins? Those would be fabulous – more colors, more colors!

  • In the spirit of “go big or go home,” I ordered the Kites Throw Kit despite having never knit a single stitch of intarsia. I’ve stashed it for now so that I have it as incentive to knock off a couple of WIPs, but once those are done, GAME ON. This will be my “I survived 2020” reward!

    • Jessica, I admire your style! And yes, “I Survived 2020” is going to feel SO GOOD.

  • Your “list of things I was never going to do” is exactly the same as mine. But if you say intarsia is not that bad, and actually enjoyable…

    • I mean, it’s definitely not an eel. It’s better than an eel. I AM LOVING INTARSIA LIKE A BABY.

  • Watched Gens tutorial. . .couldn’t be easier when she makes it so clear!! Thank you, thank you!!!

  • Thank you for this post. I have never done much color work, but I have done many quilts. Where I live, there is a large Amish community, and I have always loved the solid colors that pop against the black pieces. So I have designed a knitting project using Amish solid colors and black to make a nine patch knitted throw. I am now inspired to try intarsia for this project, but thought I should start something smaller first. I am going to knit the Watercolor Cowl. I have a question about the pattern. If I am understanding it correctly, along the right edge, you knit one stitch with (in my case) clay, then continue with the pattern in Seafarer. Why this column of one stitch contrasting color up the right edge? Or have I misunderstood the instruction? Thank you for any insight you may have – I love MDK, and the latest Field Guide is just amazing. Thanks for the work you do!

    • Hi Shirlee!

      The edge stitch can be in the same color as whatever color the chart tells you to use for each row. It doesn’t need to be a contrasting color–in fact, the edge stitches will be hidden once you work the attached i-cord edging after the knitting is done.

  • Intarsia has been a long standing aversion of mine, for all the reasons you list, and now you’ve got me rethinking this. Every knitting thing I’ve pushed myself to learn has been because of some finished object I see and must have. Your beautiful kites are making me want-y… truly no wrong color choice and Rowan felted tweed is the perfect yarn (as always).

  • Maybe….

  • In 1987 a friend asked me to knit her an intarsia sweater. It was a pullover and on the front was a silhouette of a woman’s face wearing a broad brimmed hat (very 80’s). 12 different colors in each row (or more). Knit flat. In mohair. And bless her heart, she called me every day to see how it was going.

    • Haha, I was with you all the way to ‘mohair’!! She must have been a very good friend.

  • I love this post and I love intarsia. I am so happy that you’ve found the love too, Ann!