by Susan Melka March 06, 2017 3 min read

November was dark and cold. The sun was absent for weeks at a time, or so it seemed. So, when a huge shipment of Malabrigo yarns arrived at the store, the call of color and light overwhelmed me. One afternoon, the whole shelf full of Rasta bulky yarn somehow ended up on the work table, laid out in a grand array of rich, luminescent hues. What to make—a hat? A cowl? A poncho? A shawl? Somehow, none of these ideas was lighting me up.

And how could I possibly choose just one color, or two? As is frequently the case, the prospects seemed overwhelming and unsatisfactory—not quite right. Maybe if I let the whole thing steep for a bit, like a cup of tea, the yarn would tell me what to do.

I went back to stocking shelves. Then, unexpectedly, the miracle happened! The yarn jumped up and sang to me! It wanted to be an afghan. Not just a single luscious color afghan, but one that would run through the rainbow. It wanted all of the colors, not just one or two. Before long, 8 skeins were stretched side by side on the tabletop, a shimmering field of softest merino that progressed from apple green on one end to the richest purple on the other, with an incredibly rich range of colors through the center.

Malabrigo Rasta Yarn for an afghan pattern

If you’re a Malabrigo person, you know what I’m talking about. A skein of Arco Iris carries sparkling little glints of color that is more deliciously evident in Archangel. The next skein of Archangel walks beautifully next to Anniversario, which then transitions effortlessly into Sabiduria. The project was springing to life!

Well, almost. There was yarn. There was enthusiasm. There was a credit card charge. But there was no pattern. I wound the skeins into balls (Commitment with a capital C), and took them home where I lined them up on my sewing table, from which they would greet me each and every day with a bright and cheery “We’re here!” They were ready. The search for a pattern commenced…

Over the next few weeks, I played with several ideas. Super big lace was a really appealing one, so the stitch guides came out. Barbara G. Walker and I had a nice cup of tea while I perused her collections. Although ideas for projects sprang gleefully from the pages, they just didn’t speak to the Rasta. I started something else, then another something. I might have even finished a thing or two, but the Rasta languished. My husband thinks I have a short attention span. That’s not true. I am what I would call an opportunistic knitter. Every project has its own time and space, and it’s best for me not to get too attached to any specific schedule or outcome. That’s up to the thing that is becoming. There’s almost always room for deviation from my “plan.” And so it was with the eight skeins of Malabrigo Rasta. There would be no afghan before its time.


Intermezzo knit afghanAnd then I found it. While browsing through patterns on Ravelry, I ran across the Intermezzo Cowl by Skeinwalker Knits. It incorporates a lovely 8 stitch, 8 row repeat lace pattern that’s not too fussy while being lovely to look at. I’ll bet you know what happened next. I swatched and fell in love!

The Rasta Rainbow Afghan was born with 80 stitches on a size 17 needle and was knit so rapidly I’m not sure I even breathed while working on it. The colors played one right into the next. Using two, or three at a time, they echoed and reflected one another’s glory. 

And by the time fifteen repeats of the pattern were completed, and two rows of border, I had (seriously) just enough yarn to bind off. I actually had to trim three exuberant tails from earlier color changes to make it to the end. But, oh, what a ride! I loved every moment of it! For now, this seriously beautiful, seriously indulgent, and seriously warm afghan lives with me.

Intermezzo Knitted Afghan knit with Malabrigo Rasta

And I think it’s actually bringing out the sun.

Susan Melka
Susan Melka



Also in Alpaca Direct Blog

How to Avoid Rolled Edges With Your Knitting Projects
How to Avoid Rolled Edges With Your Knitting Projects

by Meg Bateman September 17, 2020 2 min read 0 Comments

It's a problem as old as knitting itself – curling and rolled edges on stockinette or lace!Kelley decided to experiment and see what finishing edges she could use to prevent the curling without altering the look of her knitting project. These tricks for preventing rolled edges in knits will work for almost any knit project!
Read More
Tips for Color Work Knitting the Sugarplum Hat & DIY Pom Poms
Tips for Color Work Knitting the Sugarplum Hat & DIY Pom Poms

by Meg Bateman September 03, 2020 2 min read 0 Comments

Kelley is continuing to whip up hats for holiday gift giving! This week she shared the Sugarplum Hat by Knitterella, a colorwork hat that's great for using up odds and ends of worsted weight yarn. To finish off her hat, Kelley made her own pom pom with Knitter's Pride Pom Pom Makers and has some tips for using those! 
Read More
How to Knit a Sweater That Fits Perfectly
How to Knit a Sweater That Fits Perfectly

by Meg Bateman August 28, 2020 2 min read 0 Comments

There's nothing worse than investing in a sweater quantity of yarn and countless hours of knitting only to end up with a sweater you don't like. What if we told you that the key to finding the right knit sweater pattern is already in your closet? With these tips, you'll learn how to knit a perfectly fitting sweater. 
Read More