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Technique Number 2: Intarsia


Hi Jen,
In a previous life I was a technical writer, and have learnt that despite your best efforts there is always a group out there that for whatever reason you just missed in what you thought was as obvious as jello. This time I was the jello.
Another thing writing taught me was to be instantly dubious on who the “tester” was. Glad to hear you tried to find the best tester for this… Like I said. I was last month’s jello.
As this month has progressed I’m pretty sure that I’ve figured out where I went wrong, and as a writer I’ve tried to figure out how to communicate how what I did was wrong, yet how to stop future knitters from going down that same path…that’s why I was trying to remember what I did, and what I suspect was correct.
You know what’s so funny? I have spent about every three or four days this entire month not rebuying that yarn, and trying it again the way I think I was supposed to do it. In fact the only reason I haven’t done it is thankfully MDK ran out of the purely blue version…but I truly suspect that since I’m a suckered for punishment they will be ordered when it’s back in stock, and I’ll be trying this again!
Thanks for hearing me out, Karen



I’m back home again and I’ve had a look at the maths… I’m afraid that you’ve fallen into the same trap that Jim did when he worked through and checked all the row numbers for me. (It’s a really easy mistake to make.) Rows 21-56 are inclusive. So to work out how many rows that is, you do 56 minus 20 (not 56 minus 21). So rows 21-56 is actually 36 rows worth of knitting.
So if you repeat rows 17-20 that is 4 rows of instruction, and you work them 9 times.
9 x 4 = 36, so no error.

I believe that all of the examples you gave are correct in the pattern as written, for the same reasons.

If you do succumb to some more pretty yarn, please do give me a shout and we can check that you’re all set and on the right track. If I can help in any way, then I’m absolutely here to do that. :slight_smile:
With all good wishes,


Hi Brigid!

I’m a University professor as well - what is your subject area? I had to put mine down during the rush to finals, and as I had a child of my own graduating this year as well (and a freshman to move out of the dorm while moving her graduating sis into an apartment for grad school), I basically had less than 24 hours to give my last final, enter all grades, pick up my regalia from the dry cleaners and march, and literally jump in the U-Haul DH was driving away from the Sun Dome on the way to Knoxville! I then picked the Brambling back up just in time to re-introduce myself and get the Knit Companion back into my head and finish the thing (barely!) in time to wear to my daughter’s graduation!

Should you be interested, or want any tips in setting up your Knit Companion for this or any other pattern in this series, please let me know! Now that I’ve figured out the first one, I’d be happy to share how I did it. From there, feel free to depart there from and adapt it to your own way of knitting!

One caveat: if you come up with something really good and easy that would make my life very cushy, please share it with me?!?!




Hi Deb,

I just got back from a trip to Chicago (I’m in California) for work. I teach music, singing specifically, and one of my students did a competition in Chicago so I decided to attend.

I stuck my project in a bag in the closet and have to make myself not forget about it. I didn’t get very far with the Alex mouse either; after learning what the technique was I sort of lost interest, since I don’t care much about making toys. But part of it is that I have other projects I want to spend my time on right now: I have a sweater I’m finishing, and I have some Christmas gifts I’m starting. So I’ll get back to Alex.

Thank you for your offer of help with KnitCompanion! I love that app–I am visual too and find following a chart much easier. I have used the app by just inputting the PDFs, but have never done it with a different set up. It will be good for me to learn how. I suspect the intarsia project will zip right along once I have that to use. I am going to wade through the instructions and see if I can figure it out. I’ll get back to you once I do and we can compare notes!

You didn’t mention what your subject area is. I have 2 other knitting friends in my town who are also voice teachers…must be something about the arts!

Thanks for your reply and offer of help. I’ll be in touch!



Well. Since starting this way back in whenever I started it, I have closed the books on another academic year, and found out some devastating news about my dad (who wants this bad news in a knitting post? suffice it to say he is a fearless man who has lived well, and now faces terminal illness with the usual steadfastness, bravery, and humility). I had to set this lovely project down because let’s be real: knitting with cobwebs while struggling to stay afloat amid grading (ALL THE GRADING), steering graduating seniors through the emotional melee of what-to-do-next-itis, and confronting my own grief and need for bravery for my papa - it’s impossible.

But, I’ve returned from a long visit with my dad, who is weathering very nicely thank you very much. Better than the rest of us, I think. And, the seniors are all graduated, and adorned with their handmade knits, and this morning, while trying to clean up (sort, really) my yarn situation, I picked up the bag with the brambling shawl in it and thought, YEP. THIS IS THE DAY.

And srsly, y’all. This is awesome. For some reason, I am still on track for stitch count (how? i have no idea. i don’t think it has anything to do with me.) and the only thing that got me confused so far was which yarn should be increasing, but thanks to all y’all, I got that sorted straight away.

I am so much enjoying both the cobwebbiness and the color moves of this project. I was going to give it to someone, but now, NO. I’m keeping this bad boy. It’s going to be my “I AM FEARLESS LIKE MY FATHER” shawl.

Love to any who needs it. And a picture:


Love to you, Daisy. I am knocked out by your love for your dad. You are so lucky to have each other during these days when life is so very heightened. I’ll be thinking about you.

Sometimes knitting can be exactly as distracting as it needs to be. I remember needlepointing a cushion when my mother was sick, ages ago, and it was the thing I’d return to every day for the order it provided during a very wobbly time.

xoxoxoxox Ann


Dear Daisy,
Wow- you have had a lot going on, and some of it so very tricky. I wish you and your fearless papa the very best. :heart:



My heart is so full for you as I type this! I’m a professor, so I totally get the end of the school year rush, and all that goes with it, and how hectic and wonderful at the same time to see the seniors freaking out and then suddenly whoops there they are at graduation and you can see a glimpse of the future in their eyes! It’s the most fantastic and bittersweet feeling ever, isn’t it? The past, present and things to come right in front of our eyes, and we had something to do with it - awesomely humbling!

I’m so sorry about your father. My own father, a stubborn Scots hillbilly, who left his own high school graduation to fight Hitler in WWII, and liked Europe enough to stay in the USAF through the Carter administration, recently found the one battle he couldn’t win (to his great surprise, was not the ones with his teenage daughter!), but with Alzheimer’s disease. He’s nearly 96, and remembers Vietnam, Korea and WWII like they were yesterday, but can’t remember what he had for lunch. Or that his sister died last year.

He still knows that I knit, however, and thoroughly enjoys being my model, no matter what I happen to finish! Of course, there’s no telling where the FO might wind up when he models it, but that’s another story…

From another daddy’s girl, who is in the long goodbye, let me tell you that every minute, no matter how trivial or what you are doing, is precious, even if you are just sitting silently and thinking together. My “thing” is that I have rigged my iPhone through the Apple TV device to “mirror” onto the TV screen in both my knitting room and his den (his VA nurse does it for him) and we sit and hang out while I knit and he sits in his recliner and does whatever. He’s still not convinced that I don’t have a TV show, or that I’m not on Dr. Who, but it works well for us!

Hugs to both of you, and I hope your Brambling gets you through!


Months behind, but better late than never! Thank you, Jen! I love this technique. You took the mystery out of it for me.


Looks great!! I love the colors.


Thanks. Brunette colors.


What wonderful colours! :heart_eyes::+1:


Hello again,
I picked this up again and decided to try to tackle it in KnitCompanion. So I loaded it in again with the idea of doing it the long way, not as a quick project. But after I messed with it a while I ended up doing something I could have done with the quick load: every time there were repeats of sections that I couldn’t see from where my line marker was (like at the top of the page) I put a sticky note by the “repeat rows 45-60” with the instructions for those rows on it. Then I could just open the note without losing my place. So far it has been working well. Another thing that is helpful is to put in the stitch count (it is in there some places). Somehow I am having trouble keeping the stitch count correct, so that has been helpful.

I am interested in knowing how you handled it. I hope your summer is going well! I agreed to teach a new class this fall so much of my knitting time is going to be taken up writing a new syllabus and learning how to teach online (which I haven’t done.) Yay me.



thank you Ann. Truth: I’ve been coming back to your kindness, the others’ just to feel it over and over. :slight_smile: This Lounge thing y’all have made is really something special.



@nellknits: :heart: for you.


Yes! Thanks to the suggestions in this thread, I explored Knit Companion which I have had for years on my ipad but never really took advantage of. The tutorials that come with the app were really helpful, so I used the sticky notes the way you did. Good for you for trying this project again.


I’m glad you’re finding that helpful! I have loved this app, especially for charts.


Hi Brigid!

Actually, you are doing exactly what I did! Those sticky notes are lifesavers! And, to me, so much quicker than highlighting and stitching charts together, at least for this type of project. I reserve the right to change my mind, though!

Sorry it took so long to get back to you! I’m actually teaching my older daughter how to create her first syllabus and teaching plan. She’s teaching a special ed classroom in a local high school, and taking graduate classes at night as part of an accelerated Master’s program, which is manifestly not my field, but evidently since she’s seen me prepare syllabi all her life, and lecture/write on boards, we are now “in the same field, Mommy!” You gotta love it! I’m in Humanities, with a concentration in Medieval through Baroque, but somehow, I’ve wound up teaching Latin American Humanities for the last decade or so. It grew on me, lol! I live in Tampa, so it came naturally.


This project was a little to big for me. I wasn’t enthralled with the pattern, and it seemed like a lot of time and yarn to invest in something I wasn’t thrilled with. However I’m glad I have the pattern because I’ll be able to use the tutorial if I ever have a need to do intarsia. I’m trying to knit from stash and didn’t have much that would work.


I know what you mean, Mary Lynne. I felt pretty proud of myself to have
finished this shawl, but sometimes a project can just be more than a person
wants to bite off. I do think this pattern makes a fascinating case study
in the writing of a pattern–how do you end up with a long, intarsia
triangle? Bristol Ivy shows us how.