Sunday, 29 November 2015

Knit Afghan 1

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The  Ugly  Duckling

This has quite a story behind it … a case of the unloved,  unwanted  Ugly   Duckling.......

Before the turn of the millennium,
At store … bought blue wool coz I wanted to use my #0 needles.
At home, … didn’t like it – too thick ! Unloved.
Left it with MIL to give it away (for free) to anybody who wanted it – nobody wanted the unknit yarn even for free ! On returning after 2 years, it came back to me. Unwanted.

Square to Diamond  Sampler  Afghan 

.... and it's evolution &  transformation into a graceful swan !

I decided to knit a rug or mat to give away. Because of the thickness of the wool (& no circular needles at the time), I went for small squares with just enough stitches to fit on the needle, to be joined later.
All motifs begin with a normal knit row.
BLUE Square : 7¼” sides ; total 20 ; approx 550 gms wool ;
Pattern #24 from “The New Knitting Stitch Library” by Lesley Stanfield 
UK#6 needles ; Cast on 35+2 stitches
Enjoyed the process & idea, so made squares in red & white leftover yarn, each with a different pattern.
WHITE Square : 7” sides ; total 10 ; ~200 gms
Pattern #291 from “The New Knitting Stitch Library” by Lesley Stanfield
UK#6 needles ; Cast on 33+2 stitches
RED Square : 7” sides ; total 9 ; ~200 gms
Pattern #200 from “The New Knitting Stitch Library” by Lesley Stanfield
UK#6 needles ; Cast on 30+2+2 stitches
As the numbers increased, I sketched out a possible arrangement to form a design, but preferred a diamond arrangement.
Boring Squares !!!! This is how it would've looked if I'd arranged as squares ...

TIP : Easy way to change squares into diamonds! It is easier to knit squares rather than start & end at a point in case of diamonds. But simply lay the square as a diamond &  join/sew as diamonds !


Another dilemma emerged : what to do about the huge triangular spaces along the sides?!
Chose yet another pattern & adapted it for triangles. Not quite happy with the result. If I were to do it today, I would be better able to handle it with this or some other pattern. 
BROWN & BEIGE Triangles : 10” base, 7” sides ; 8 each (total 16) ; ~100 gms
Pattern #137 from “The New Knitting Stitch Library” by Lesley Stanfield
UK#6 needles ; Cast on 51 stitches
Since the background in all purl, the central pattern gets raised - nice texture. But it was not visible in black wool; hence chose these leftover colours.
All squares & triangles ready. But how to join ?!

I was looking for a lacy, open effect, and crochet interlinked chains seemed to be the way to go.
Notice how insipid it looks without the black outline in the white & red Boring Squares pic above !
Done in black wool, all around the squares. I crocheted around one entire square. Then started on the adjoining square, joining to previous motif chain as I went. 
BLACK Crochet Chains : I think it is a ch6 (3, slip st, 3).
There were still gaps at the meeting points of 4 squares. Took me a while for the idea to emerge … created the blue & red baby wool stars joining as I crocheted. These stars really brightened up & ‘completed’ the project.

RED & BLUE Crochet Stars : Wendy’s Baby wool 
20 red, 18 blue stars.
Each arm is (ch3,  sl st to black chain, ch3, sl st to center) x8, around a central ring of ch6-8. 
One can use the magic ring/circle, too.

Finished off with a crocheted black chain scallop edging along the borders. I had an idea to sew some satin fabric as a border around the afghan – like a quilt. But that wasn’t necessary – the all-wool piece looked fine.
This is not a regular rectangle. I did knit 4 corner triangles, but preferred the diagonal corners. Hence, this is strictly an octagonal afghan.
FINAL measurement : 49”x71” ; weighs over 1 kg

Okay, all this may seem very simple … but it was a watershed project for me. I had never ever seen anything like this before – no knit/crochet woolen blankets/afghans/quilts. To me, each step required a lot of thinking, evolving, & figuring out. The triangles were done the next year. And the little stars were added the year after that!

What may be a natural in some cultures, was a brainwave for me. It was my very own idea from scratch. Hence, I may be excused for ultimately not giving away the finished piece ;-P 
Yup, I kept My ugly duckling !!! Evolution &  transformation was complete ! And it is so soft & warm (especially the blue wool !!!) & works well as a lap-rug too, while I work at the desktop in winters.
All pics were taken after more than 10 years of use & wash . It is finally on it’s way to being discarded :-(

happy  knitting :-)


  1. The close ups really showed the work and it was a very nice job. I think it was defiantly contemporary work of art and just needed the right room :) glad you to a picture before discarding this and sounds like you taught your self some things with design, so it served its purpose.

    1. I can't seem to give it up, Carollyn ;-P For me, it was like my very own invention! Yes, it Has served its purpose in Many ways than one .

  2. I love seeing how projects evolve. When you see a finished item, you assume that that's how it was imagined, but it's not necessarily so. Great final product!

    1. Thanks, Jane :-) This one was truly a step-by-step creation arising out of necessity.

  3. Great "Ugly Duckling" story! The finished blanket is beautiful, and the story of how it evolved from unloved, unwanted, 'ugly' yarn over the years really is inspiring. Just like in the fairy tale, your ugly duckling turned into a lovely swan. :-)

    1. So glad you liked the story, Stephanie :-) I think my later afghans/blankets turned out much better due to this primordial soup .... will share .