Monday, November 16, 2009

The Sampler Afghan - Three Years in the Making

History of the Afghan:
  • Thanksgiving 2006. Purchase the book 60 Easy-To-Knit Pattern Stitches Combine to Create Sampler Afghans, Leaflet 932.
  • Fall 2006. Purchased multiple (30-40, I cannot even remember at this point... WAY more than I needed) balls of Lion Brand Wool-Ease Worsted Weight Yarn (Color: Fisherman).
  • Cast on Christmas 2006. I was afraid of cables, and wanted a project to teach myself more complex stitch patterns. I started out making one square a day. I learned that cables were easy... but a complex multi-cable and bobble square was so time consuming (>5 min a row) and requred a lot of attentiont hte pattern that I stalled.
  • January 2009. I break out the afghan, realize I am so close to 20 squares... and abandon the 30 square idea.
  • April. Square 18 completed.
  • June. 19 squraes done... one left
  • July. Replaced a square that I determined had a too large gauge. one more to go (again).
  • August. Moving. Should not work on afghan, I should work on packing/unpacking.
  • September-November. Start the knit-a-thon. Didn't want to make squares for myself when I could be helping the homeless.
  • November 2009. Finished the 20th square. Constructed the afghan!

As every knitter knows, when you make a flat piece that has stockinette borders, the work will curl up. If you are working with 100% wool, this is easy to block with steam or water. It does not work as well in a wool blend, and this wool-ease is only 20% wool. Therefore, when arranging the squares, I wanted to ensure that curled edges ended up in the interior or the afghan.

When assembling the afghan, I started seeming the outer edges, and only tacking the corners of the inner pieces. I wanted there to be some structure when I tried to deal with the curled edges.

To ensure that edges were flush during seaming, and that there would be minimal puckering in the final blanket, I used safety pins to facilitate the seaming on the curled edges.

Pinned squares (right) and finished stitched squares (left)

Thankfully these curled pieces stitched up without any trouble:

The squares are all stitched together, now to just weave in those loose ends.
All of those 40+ loose ends...

When doing the charity afghan, I wove in my ends as I made the squares, and then used a long piece of yarn to stitch them together. I still ended up with a lot of loose ends to weave in at the end. Since I was initially going to crochet a boarder around each square (fail), I had purposefully left long tails on each square. I did not weave in any ends in any of the 20 squares. I ended up using these ends to stitch the blanket together, doing all of my weaving in at the end. I did not need to use any additional yarn to stitch the blanket together.

The removed loose ends.

My new afghan is so cozy! I am itching to start another one (stupidly). This is the second time an afghan has taken me about 3 years to complete. I just get bored in the middle of the construction. I am so happy with the final product that I am willing to risk boredom again!

Now I need to use up all of this leftover fisherman's wool...