Dreaming in Green

At least twice this week I've dreamed about green yarn and green squares. Hmmm, I wonder why!

Here's a picture of the two most recent 8" squares for the baby blanket project, getting acquainted with the bok choy plants going into my garden this weekend. (In my garden, it's sort of a "survival of the fittest" deal for vegetables, so we'll see how they fare.)

I just liked this picture. The 4-square garter thingy in the middle here is made with Malabrigo. I had a love affair with this yarn. I think Malabrigo is to knitting what pure, fresh cream straight from the grass-fed, raised-in-an-organic-field-full-of-clover cow must be to a chef. Rich, buttery goodness.

One cupcake of Berocco Ultra Alpaca in a deep sapphire. I've never knit with this yarn before, but it feels nice, too.

I've been doing garter stitch to the point of being cross-eyed.

Here's how to jazz it up a little (this is also good if you're not sure of your gauge and don't want to do a 4" gauge swatch for an 8" blanket square):

1. Cast on as many stitches as you think you'll need for 4". With worsted weight yarn, I always guess 20.

2. Knit in garter stitch until your piece is long enough to measure accurately for width. If it's 4" across, you're in the chips. If it's bigger or smaller, don't worry about.

3. Keep going in garter until your piece is 8" long. Cast off all but the last stitch.

4. Calculate your row gauge. If it's twice as many rows per inch as stitches, the next step will be a piece of cake. If you're off by a little, it's a tiny bit more complicated, but not much.

5. Turn the work and pick up stitches in the ridges. (Yes, this is the same principle as the log cabin design from Mason-Dixon Knitting.) If you're getting twice as many rows per inch as stitches, just knit happily until your piece is 8" long and cast off. If your row gauge is a little more or a little less than twice the stitch gauge, you'll need to adjust the number of stitches on your needle. For example, if your stitch gauge is 5 per inch and your row gauge is 8 per inch, you won't have enough garter ridges from which to pick up stitches to get 40 stitches for the 8" you need to finish the square. No problem; just do a few increases or decrease to get the 8" width and knit until you have an 8" square.

The 4-patch variation requires that you know your gauge and is the same method as log cabin except that when you get to the fourth quarter of the square, you have to pick up a stitch from the side of the first quarter every other row and then decrease right away on the next row so you don't get extra stitches. Comprendez-vous? (I imagine this is how one does a knitted-on border for a lace shawl, but I've never done that before, so it's a guess. I just came up with this little method to avoid seaming.)


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