Sunday, January 20, 2013

January -- what I've been doing.

It's been pretty busy around this household.  The holidays were great -- even managed to get all the socks finished in time.  Of course, it was only because we didn't see some of the recipients until later in the month.  But then after I finished the Great American Aran Afghan, I --

WAIT!  I didn't brag tell you about having finished the afghan.  What was I thinking?!

Yes, after 4 years and 10 months, I have finally finished the Great American Aran Afghan.  All 25 squares AND the border.  

I cast on the first square back in February of 2008.  This was a "knit along" for myself and store customers.  Barb started, as did several others.  It seems we are all greatly distractable ...and there has been lots of knitting in the interim.

Now that I'm finished, I know some people (Carrie, I'm looking at you!) will wonder which squarea is my favourite.  In the interest of fairness (and also because I'm not a linear thinker), I'm just going to say that they were all favourites at one time or another.  Possibly because I was working on them, or because I had just finished it.  It doesn't seem fair to the designers to rate them.

One square that turned out to be a lot more fun than I thought was this little beauty:
I really wasn't excited by the thought of having a spider crawling around on my afghan.  After all, I'm really not that fond of the little guys.  However, putting wings on the critters in the spider web made all the difference in the world.  Now I wish I'd included more bugs!  This, by the way, is the Judy Sumner square.

I made notes, more or less, about each square as I knit it.  Sometimes I noted things I'd do differently if I made the afghan again.  Sometimes I noted errors in the patterns.  Sometimes I even noted changes that I made in the designs:
This is the Vicki Sever square, which she designed as a memorial to her sister who died from breast cancer.  Her square included a pink ribbon.  There's just so many cancers in my family (we lost my mother to lymphoma and leukemia; my elder sister is a survivor of breast and lung cancer; my elder brother is a survivor of lymphoma; and I am counting down the months until I can say I survived thyroid cancer) that I didn't want to put only one colour on the ribbon.  Besides, what colour is thyroid cancer anyway?  I chose instead to repeat the faith, hope and love motifs.  These are the tenets that I live by, and so it seemed fitting to change the square in this way.

Wait a minute -- you say there are only 24 squares in the book?  How did I do 25?  Well, it seemed only fitting to have a signature square.  I drafted it up, and started knitting;
In hindsight, I wish I had taken the time to make my name and the year stand out better.  I decided in August that I would finish the afghan in 2012, come hell or high water.  When December rolled around, I still had the border and some of the sewing to complete.  I stuck to only knitting the afghan while at the store, and managed completion with two days to spare.  Whew!

The border makes all the difference in the world.  I mean, the afghan is nice all sewn together.  I've seen pictures of the afghan worked with a garter stitch border.   That was a nice afghan, but the cabled border really sets it all off.  The best part is that the cable isn't hard to do, even around the corners. 

I have talked to women in the store who have made this afghan several times, usually given as wedding gifts to their children.  I've entertained the thought of making it again -- after all, there are four children between Doug and I.   I used Patons Canadiana, and I don't regret that.  The afghan is going on my bed and I know it'll get washed on a regular basis.  If I were making it again, I'd be sure to get enough yarn/wool all in the same dye lot for the complete afghan (I ended up selling some of my yarn to customers who needed "one more ball" in that dyelot, so there are some colour mismatches.)  I'd also not hang any of the squares in the window where they would/could become sun-damaged.  Hindsight is 20/20 after all.

But I do have to say that all in all, this is an afghan of which I am mightily proud.