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On Going Rogue -- The Rowan Kaffe Fassett Mystery KAL, My Way

Just on the tails of the last mystery KAL from Rowan came the announcement that another one was starting imminently.  Ack, already?!  And the crazy thing was that it was another afghan!  Holy moly, that's a lot of epic knitting.  Despite my aching hands, I was game -- but I still wanted to play my OWN way.

My version of the Martin Storey KAL afghan was somewhat rogue, in that I used only one color instead of 17 and made a different border.  It was a lot of work, but the result was very worth it.  The pattern is still available for free on the Rowan website.

Read my Martin Storey KAL blog post here

Both KAL afghans use Rowan's Pure Wool Worsted.  An update on the Martin Storey afghan -- my husband uses it as a top blanket every night and it looks pristine.  In fact, it still looks blocked, too!  I haven't washed it yet, I suppose that will be the big test.  I'll let you know.

The new KAL is designed by Kaffe Fassett (download the free patterns here), and is very very popular.  We have ~1500 people signed up on Ravelry, which I estimate is around half the participation.  Check out the interactive KAL map, too.  I'm a map fiend -- give me a map and I'll pore over it respectably.

Now, when you hear Kaffe, you may instantly think "intarsia", or "colorwork" and many presumed this mystery KAL would be an intarsia-tastic.  Sorry.  I hope that will come someday, something epic like the Jubilee Throw...

You'll never believe it, but this pattern is free, too.

...but if you actually want to knit 63 squares and a border by Christmas, pretty much the only way to do it is with stripes.  Kaffe is just as stripe-obsessed as intarsia-obsessed, did you know?  In fact, 4 of the 5 most popular Kaffe patterns on Ravelry are striped.  Here is my personal fave (and of course, it's my rogue color version of the original):

Read my Earth Stripe Wrap blog post here.

But Kaffe is also a big quilter.  Maybe even more so, as can be evidenced by him quilting peacefully during a Rowan video describing the KAL.  That was rather eerie, but that man clearly is devoted to his craft!  Kaffe has actually designed quilts and blankets that are quite similar to what we seem to be making:

knittingkonrad's X-Factor blanket, read his blog here

Quilts designed by Kaffe Fassett

So, how am I going rogue this time?  Well, almost all the way.  The pattern is designed so that each square is the same stripe pattern with different colorways.  First, I didn't feel like following the colorways, because I wanted my own style.  So I looked at the square and used Adobe Illustrator to make up a placement diagram.

Look how just changing the width of 2 stripes changes the look, so many possibilities:

I decided to keep the original stripe sequence, and that is probably the only thing similar to the pattern.  I might even make a different number of squares, because the afghan isn't quite symmetric like I would prefer (see that left edge versus the right in my placement diagram?).

The colorway goal is:

  • Permanent background color and border: Heather (dark gray)
  • Wide stripes: Light Denim
  • 3-stripe square: Moonstone (light gray)
  • 5-stripe square: The color grab bag

Mustard is my very favorite color, so I started with it.

Then I went through all my available shades and made one square.  I'm not sure if I like all of them, but since the colors are added at the end of the square, it's no big deal to change them.

Just missing the shade Apple here.  See all my shades on Ravelry.

I am making 4 of each color and sewing modules together using mattress stitch.  This turns out to be very simple, unlike in the Martin Storey KAL, because every stitch matches and is easily 'read' by the stripe changes.  Quite fun, actually!

BUT BEWARE of the points where squares meet.  I am using one long piece to stitch 2 sides of each module.  I found it was hard to do this without leaving a hole at the center point.

I highly recommend you DO NOT weave in the corner ends so that you can tidy up this hole if necessary.  Of course, I personally never darn in ends until I have a seam.  If you darn ends before mattress stitch, it will be harder to see where you are supposed to sew, and of course, ends always hide better in seams.



It's pretty astounding how many posts there have been on our KAL Ravelry thread about the different ways you can make a single square... knitted 63 times.  Here's the stuff I'm doing, using the M1 version of the square:

1. Long tail cast-on in purl so that the first row is the true RS.  Do a Google search for "long tail cast-on in purl" for more info.

2.  For the second inc f&b, add a yarn-over between the increases so it's easier to do the M1 on Row 3.

3. Always yarn-over in the row before any M1 -- this will loosen the edge so that it looks more like the decrease side.  You have some choices on how to do this.  Easiest: Drop the yarnover and pick it up to do the right orientation of M1.  Moderate: Yarn-over the same way, then flip the direction to do the right orientation of M1.  Experienced: Yarn-over in two different directions, knitting into the front or back of the stitch as appropriate for the right orientation of M1.  Moderate to Experienced: backwards loop cast-on the yarn-over in two different directions as per my blog post here.

4. End the square with k3tog, K1 then simply slip the right st over the left st to fasten off.  This gives a good pointy finish that allows sewing on either side without messing with the direction of the point.

5. Block those tacos out after a good soak.  I usually pin dry and block, but I found I really wanted the ultimate control over the shape of these guys.


WAIT, what am I doing?  I don't have time to blog -- I have to knit another square!!  One a day is my mantra -- I have 26 done, past the 1/3 mark, yippee.

By the way, life is hectic because of our move to Maine in December.  We made an offer on a house today (oh my!) and ordered a new car (a Subaru Outback, the state animal of Maine), but whether we will live in said house or be able to drive the car off the lot with all the Catch-22 logistics of moving to another country, I CANNOT FATHOM.  Oh yeah, and I *still* don't have a job... hoping very much to know that in a couple of weeks.  Keep your fingers crossed for me.  :)

See my Everyone Loves Kaffe on Ravelry

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  1. Dayana, Love your beautiful blog! I'm interested in your roguish thoughts on Kaffe's Jubilee Throw. Colors? Patterns?


  2. This is going to be a STUNNING afghan/throw! Who knew "plain" knit squares could make so many patterns when pieced differently? :)

  3. Ah! The afghan is looking spectacular, as I knew it would. Tile patterns are so much fun to play with!

    Wishing you bonne chance for move, car, and job,

  4. Your version is extremely cool, Dayana! I love it! Hear hear for going rogue!!!

  5. It's going to be beautiful Dayana!

  6. I love the way you make these patterns your own! I will watch the outcome with interest.


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