Spring Ahead: Stepping Stone Throw

Dear Ann,

I couldn’t help myself. I was knitting along happily on my Old Friend Pullover, with rows of Temperature Blankets sprinkled here and there like daffodils. But then a box arrived from Nashville, and all oaths and commitments to Finish What You Start were forgotten.

Reader, I cast on my Stepping Stone Throw in the Bold colorway that Allison cooked up.

My entrelac skills have been on hold since the early twenty-teens, so I was a little nervous. Would it work? Could I simply follow the pattern and watch a woven-look fabric take shape in my hands?

Yes, I could.

If you’re an entrelac beginner, or in need of a refresher like I was, here’s a solid-gold tip for you: follow the pattern. Don’t get in your own way. The pattern works, and the pattern is simple. It just looks a little weird at the beginning.

One Moment of Weirdness

The Stepping Stone Throw starts with a row of 6 base triangles, each of which starts with 24 stitches. You cast on 6 x 24, with markers between each set of 24.

You work each section of 24 into a triangle separately, then move on to the next set of 24.

You do NOT cut the yarn between the triangles.

And, most important:

You do not fret when it looks like this:

Twisty? Check. Tangle? Yes. Puts you in mind of La Danse by Henri Matisse? Oui.

All is well! All will be well!

When you’ve made all 6 triangles, and they are sitting there all floppy and weird—exactly as they are supposed to—you then make one more triangle, an end triangle—and it’s time to start knitting rectangles.

The first tier of rectangles is where the weirdness melts away like magic. It’s that moment in a first date when you go, “This one is really cute.”

You switch to color B—yay color change!—pick up 24 stitches along the first triangle edge—there’s that number 24 again—and you start following the broken rib stitch pattern.

Tip what I got from Cristina: Slip the first stitch of every row purlwise with the yarn in back, to make a nice chain on the right edge of the rectangle as shown above. It’s not necessary to do this, but it makes life easier later, in the second tier of rectangles, when you’ll be picking up stitches along this edge. (Guess how many stitches? 24!)

Time travel to the second tier of rectangles, in Merlot. See how neat that picked-up edge is?

As for the tier 1 rectangles themselves, broken rib is one of God’s own stitch patterns, so soothing to work, so pretty to see.

At the end of each RS row of the first tier of rectangles, you work an SSK of the last stitch of the rectangle together with the first stitch of the next triangle, for the neatest seamless join you will ever make.

As you fill in the rectangles between the triangles in this simple and satisfying way, the knitting endorphins start rushing.

You want to do this all day today, and all day tomorrow.

You cast aside your Passover prep to-do list.

You start planning your next Stepping Stone Throw—a riff on the color scheme—in your mind.

You meditate on the number 24, and realize that simply by changing every 24 in the pattern to 36, or 72, or 144— you could scale up the blocks without needing to modify the pattern. You realize that this pattern is like a jazz standard—or a dance—in that once you’ve learned it, you can improvise endlessly.

You notice that although there are 5 green rectangles in the first tier, you never cut the yarn between them, so you will only have 2 ends to weave in.

In other words, you are happy.

love,

Kay

Note: Kay’s Stepping Stone Throw colors are Navy, Wintergreen, Merlot, Whisper, and Leek, available as the Bold colorway of the Stepping Stone Throw bundle, priced at 10 percent savings off the single-skein price.

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