almost st. patty's day blanket

I've been working on this green blanket for Afghans for Afghans, and I was kind of hoping to do an FO post on St. Patrick's Day, since it's all different greens, but I got caught up in other things instead. That's all right; there's not a single drop of Irish blood in my body (it's all German, Swiss and more German) I'm sure there aren't many people in Afghanistan who celebrate St. Patty's Day anyway.

You know that I am a big fan of this charity. Sending a single hand knit blanket to Afghanistan may feel like a drop in the proverbial bucket of making a difference to a country that has seen so much suffering for so many people for so long. But this blanket will keep some child warm, and that's important. What's more, this one, like the last one I sent, is a true community effort. More than half a dozen people knit squares for this one, including some very generous ladies from my church and a couple friends from my knitting group. That's a lot of people putting their love and warmth and good intentions into the stitches of this blanket.

The last time I organized a community blanket, we had 3 rules: 1) use worsted weight wool, 2) make an 8x8 square, and 3) use blues and greens. There were squares that were exactly the right size, squares that were only vaguely resembling the right size, a huge variety of stitches and color patterns, and while the result was actually pretty nice, getting everything to fit together was kind of a headache. Plus, my knitters griped a little about how difficult it actually is to produce a square exactly 8 inches wide and 8 inches long without first doing a gauge swatch. And of course, a gauge swatch for an 8" square can really feel like a waste of time.

This time around, the knitters contributing squares didn't have yarn on hand to use up (not stashers I suppose, poor things) and they wanted specific instructions for the squares. None of this "Oh, do what you want and we'll make it work" for these ladies. So I burdened myself with the task of shopping for blanket yarn and devised a gauge-proof square design. It really is fool-proof:

1. You need two colors of worsted weight wool and size 7 needles.
2. With the first color, cast on 30 stitches.
3. Work in garter stitch until you have a square. It should be about 6"x6", but if it's a tad big or falls short, no big deal.
4. With the second color, work a garter stitch border all the way around, log cabin style, in whatever width is appropriate to make the square 8"x8".

And that's it. It worked out quite well.

The only problem was that a few squares came back the correct size but knit at a looser gauge. When I soaked the blanket in woolwash, those looser squares stretched out. The seams held them somewhat in shape, but I thought I might have to crochet a border all the way around to stabilize it. Happily, when I checked the blanket this morning, it had dried out and those stretchy squares are more or less back to their original size. Isn't wool amazing that way? I think the blanket could still benefit from a border, but I'm kind of ready to just send it on and be done with it. Besides, I don't really remember how to crochet (though my good friend across the street could show me in about 2 minutes) and I've already woven in about 101 green ends.

Choosing the colors was one of the more fun aspects of this project. I had a lone skein of sage green wool leftover from another A4A project (the tomten), so I took it to the wall of Cascade 220 at Lakeside Fibers (they carry every single color except the tweeds) and picked out a bunch of complementary greens to go with it. I paired up greens to distribute to the contributing knitters and handed them out with instructions. I chose all greens because green is the beloved color of Islam, but perhaps next time I'll go with reds and purples, or blues and oranges.

I think I'm ready for a smaller project now, though. Something without so many seams. Like socks!


Caffeine Girl said…
What a wonderful gift. It came out beautifully and will make someone feel very warm.
Steph said…
So beautiful! You really have this group blanket thing down pat.
Anonymous said…
Lovely, lovely, lovely. I like the outdoor photos too~
Ann said…
Exquisite! Can you please email me when you have a chance? I am not sure how to get in touch with you.
Thanks, Ann at afghans for Afghans

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