Friday, November 27, 2009

#9 Diagonal Square is Complete!

This block seems much smaller than the others but it's very stretchy. This one was a lot of fun and not too terribly difficult once I figured out the new techniques, but I am glad to be done with it and on to something else!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

#9 Diagonal Block in Progress

This block is sure different. It's knit like so many dishcloths from one corner to the opposite corner and on the diagonal. It starts with just one stitch and then grows to 69 stitches; I just started to decrease so now I am working my way backwards to just one stitch. This block has killer bobbles. I think each bobble is about 25 stitches! This block also incorporates a new technique for me - purl one in the row below. I was glad I was able to figure it out on my own. The purl one in the row below makes a really deep set looking ribbing. The brown bow in the corner marks the right side of the project, but now that the bobbles are so prominent, there's no doubt about which side is the right side and which side is the wrong side. This block is very fun. I worry about how difficult it will be to stitch this block to the other blocks since this block doesn't have a garter stitch border like most of the others.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! I took a photo of pumpkin pie today because this year, we used Great Grandma Fluck's Fostoria glass dishes for Thanksgiving dinner and dessert. The boys were disappointed because the dinner plates are much smaller that the dinner plates we use each and every day. Looks like I went a little crazy with the Cool Whip on my pie... it was the fat free kind! I think everything tasted a bit better today since we were using special plates...

#7 More Acorns and an Oak Leaf is Complete!

This block was a lot of work and I really had to watch the instructions very, very carefully, but the finished product is great if I can say so myself. You really have to watch the instructions on this block because there are so many different cable stitches. On the chart, the symbols for the cable stitches look pretty much the same to me, so I found myself referring to both the chart and the written out instructions. This is a very good block for Thanksgiving... Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Under the Sea in Progress

I am too lazy to grab my instruction book to look to see what number block this is, but this is the block with the crab, the snail, and the three fishies. In the book, this block and the appliquies are all made in one color but the folks in my class seem to agree that making the appliques in different colors is much more fun! The background for this block is not as simple or straight forward as I had imagined. I think eventually I will have the cable portion memorized... maybe. The part which threw me for a loop was the simple seed stitch portion on the left. There are three instances where you are to complete short rows to the wavy cable portion, wrap a stitch, turn the block and then knit back... away from the waves!? Huh! Thankfully we practiced wrapping some stitches in class the other day, but I did not notice this portion of the instructions when I decided to work on this EASY block after tackling the Oak Leaves and Acorns block... silly me! What was I thinking? I have completed the fish but they need some more shaping. I have also completed the crab body and the crab claws (the crab will be a sort of burgundy color). I have a lot of I-cords to do for the crab legs and for the snail, which is a coiled I-cord. The blocks with the appliques really are a lot of work, but this is shaping up to be a very colorful block.

Snowed... again!

Good KNITTING weather!

#16 Oak Leaves and Acorns is complete!

I really love this block! And I am happy that I finally seem to have taken a photo which shows the block's great texture. The block is completed from the bottom up from row 1 to about 45 and then rows 1 through 24 are repeated. In some of the rows, you add an amazing number of stitches only to decrease them away in subsequent rows; this gives the block such a nice three dimensional quality. With this block, I did not use the chart one bit. Instead, I used the row by row written out instructions and they are GREAT! Post-It Notes are also great tools to help keep a person on track... otherwise I think I would have gone blind.
I don't think a person could ever memorize a pattern this detailed, but it was still very, very fun to do! Up next... sand and waves, a crab, a snail, and three fish!

Friday, November 13, 2009

#16 Oak Leaves and Acorns in progress

Wow, wow, wow! Whoever designed this block must be a real genius. It's so fun to see this block take shape. You can see the acorns and oak leaves emerging. I am only on row 26...
this block is time consuming but so worth the effort. I learned today that some patterns are a cinch to follow using the charts provided; other patterns are easier to follow using the the written out instructions. This pattern is easier following the latter. There are other blocks in the Great American Afghan which include acorns and oak leaves I think. When I am done with this challenging block, I am looking forward to starting the block which includes the crab, snail, and three fish. That will be a lot of fun!

#14 Scandinavian square is complete!

Okay, this will look familiar! This is the block I almost completed but had to redo since I left oout a few rows of stockinette at the very bottom at the very beginning! Dang it! I call this block "X's and Hearts," but the block's designer suggests the design is Scandinavian in origin. This block was very easy and was great for learning how to read charts.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A cool knitting gadget

The other day I had to get the oil changed in my car. I was eyeing a Yarn Outlet store in Colorado Springs near the car dealership where I get the oil changed. I ventured over to the Yarn Outlet and was absolutely overwhelmed by the selection of yarns. The store manager explained the yarns were all discontinued yarns, with the exception being a small selection of Cascade 220 Superwash. The Superwash yarn is available at this store so folks can purchase it to make helmet liners for soldiers. She gave me a copy of the pattern and encouraged me to make helmet liners and bring them to the shop upon completion. She told me about one knitter in particular who had made about 300 helmet liners! The skeins of Cascade Superwash available in the shop were all muted tones... black, brown, olive green, etc... because they are most appropriate for the project and for the safety of the soldiers. I could not bring myself to purchase any yarn at this store since I did not want to "cheat" on Anne at Anne's Knits and Such in my home town... I am a loyal customer! I could not, however, leave the Yarn Outlet empty handed! I have seen this Knit Kit in magazines and on the internet. It's a cute little plastic shell which keeps a bunch of knitting notions all in one place: a tape measure, a crochet hook, a pair of scissors (TSA approved!), a stitch counter, a yarn cutter, a few rubber stitch markers, and those little things I am supposed to put on the tips of my needles so the stitches don't fall off. This Knit Kit was a bit of a splurge for me, but I was tickled to buy it! Looks like a person could find out where to find one of these by checking out the following site

#25 Estonian block is complete

The designer of square #25 indicated she made use of a technique found in an Estonian knitting when she designed this block. As a result, I am going to call this square the Estonian block. I worried I would not be able to figure out the "button stitch" used in this block, but once I was able to figure that out... this block was a snap! It was very fun to do. I love how when I learn a new technique, such as this new "button stitch," my mind starts to wander to how I could use this newly learned technique in a different application. I think if you wanted to write a name or date of birth into a baby blanket, this button stitch would be useful. The possibilities are limitless! By the way, the flash on my camera makes this block look much lighter in color than it really is.

#3 Oodles of Cables is complete!

This block has oodles of cables and it is complete! I am learning it is a bit more challenging to knit with darker colored yarns and it seems to be more difficult to take a nice photo of the blocks done in darker colors as well. I love this purple yarn. And I love how nice it is to knit with the Cascade 220 Superwash yarns. I am very glad I selected this yarn for this project!

Monday, November 9, 2009

#3 in Progress

Here is my progress on Square #3. I love this pretty purple yarn. Please excuse my hand and stocking covered left foot in the photo! It was kind of like playing TWISTER for me to take this photo! I think it's the cables in this block which make it want to scrunch toward the center; I am sure some blocking will solve the problem when the block is complete. My biggest fear with this block was that I would make a big mistake and have to rip back a few rows and then not be able to find my place due to the multiple yarn overs. Last night, I neglected to complete the two small cables before and after a bobble and I did not realized the mistake until about 2 1/2 rows later. I contemplated leaving the mistake but then I realized I would probably later regret it. I also wondered if I could fix the missing cable stitches like fixing dropped stitches. I thought about calling my course instructor for advice (she gave us her phone number for Knitting Emergencies but it was Sunday night and I did not want to bother her at home!). I bit the bullet and unknit the few rows and, am happy to report, I did not drop any stitches and I did not ruin the block. I fixed the missed cables and am back on track. I probably have one more pattern repeat to do and then will finish with a few rows of garter stitch as the pattern indicates. This pattern is listed as one of the easiest in the Great American Afghan. I struggled with the bobble at first but now it's a cinch. In this block, I have learned to be more comfortable with chart reading. Aside from that, it is a rather EASY block. I can't believe I pretty much have the pattern memorized which I never anticipated.

Friday, November 6, 2009


I was so excited about my progress on block #14. (By the way, I think I'll call this block "X's and Hearts"). I was just about to knit the final five rows of garter stitch to complete this block when it occurred to me I had missed a four rows of stockinette stitch at the very beginning of the block! Now I am not a perfectionist or anything, but leaving out this many rows and then deleting the same number of rows at the end of the block to make both top and bottom match simply won't do. The block would end up a rectangle instead of a square and would not match the other 23 blocks in the afghan. So I quickly snapped a photo of this block to show how GREAT it turned out before I rip it out and start all over. Thankfully this block was super easy and actually a blast to make. It's just frustrating to realize I spent some time at knitting group Thursday afternoon, the better part of Thursday evening at home, then more time Friday morning at home, then all my time at the cafe' Friday morning, and then more time at home after grocery shopping Friday afternoon ALL on this block, only to rip it out! To realize a mistake five rows before binding off... UGH! Oh well!

#13 Three Trees is complete!

My square with the three trees is complete. I am now supposed to be working on Squares #3 and #6; however, I got disctracted by #14. I had intended to start #3 or #6 at knitting group on Thursday, but decided it was a bad idea to attempt that while socializing since they both contain oodles of cables. #14 is incredibly fun... it's actually quite addictive... I am having a difficult time putting it down. I'm sure I'll be able to post a photo very soon to show the progress. Heck, I might even have it done by the end of the day! Also, I was able to purchase (hopefully) all of the yarn I'll need for my GAA at the knit shop yesterday. I got all my yarn yesterday with a 25 percent discount... yipee! By the way, the trees are not yet stitched down to the background in the photo above... just in case you were wondering.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Three Trees done

My three trees are done. Now I am madly working on the VERY plain background square for these trees. I am using a medium chocolate brown color for the background. I think applique is a very cool technique (this is my first project using applique), although I am not looking forward to stitching the trees on to the background! I find that with knitting, I am pretty pleased with my projects and how they've turned out, but as soon as I start to SEW, I end up ruining my nice knitting with terrible sewing. Practice, practice I suppose. These trees are sort of blocked to lay flat. When you make these trees, they curl up something awful. For this block, I learned about cable cast on... which I know will come in handy again in some future project. The Great American Afghan is great for learning new techniques. By the way, I think these trees would be cute sewn on to the back of a cardigan or maybe the front of a pullover. I can see how applique can be really versatile and a great addition to knitted projects.