Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Saving the Best for Last?

I’ve been away from Blogland for a long time.  No excuses, no real explanations—I just haven’t felt like writing.  In the meantime, the days have gone by with lightening speed.  There’s always something going on, including, of course, plenty of knitting.

The most exciting thing to happen in these past few months is learning that Cameron and I are going to be grandparents for the first time in November.  I envy Jessica her relatively nausea-free pregnancy so far and it’s been fun—and a little strange—to see her body change as the baby grows.  Of course I’ve been giving some thought to baby knitting but don’t look for updates here or on Ravelry—it’s hard to keep a secret when you have a knitter for a daughter!

Another special occasion this year is my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary on July 1st.  Since March I have been working diligently to finish up the remaining twelve squares of the Great American Aran Afghan so that I can assemble the blocks and knit the border in time for the big day.  This morning, with a great sense of relief, I put the finishing touches on the final square.

Knitting 1633  

This miniature Aran sweater took first place in the GAAA contest and I’d been looking forward to knitting this block since the beginning.  So that I wouldn’t be tempted to knit all the “fun” squares first I’d made myself start from the beginning of the book and methodically work my way through, page by page.  Perhaps I was just tired of working with plain, ivory yarn or maybe I was simply anxious for this phase of the afghan to be over; whatever the case, I did not enjoy this block as much as I’d anticipated.  The stockinette base was boring to knit, while the tight gauge of the sweater hurt my hands.  But once it all came together I was pleased with how it turned out and eagerly moved onto the next step: deciding on the layout.

First things first—was it going to be a 4x6-block configuration or was I going to have to knit an extra square and make it 5x5?  I was worried that 4x6 would be too disproportionate (the book suggests 4x5, with four squares left over for cushions) but once I laid the blocks out on my bed I was satisfied that it would be just fine.  Phew--I really didn’t want to knit another square! 

Next, I divided the blocks into three main categories: vertical patterning, “pictures”, and circular construction.  I found that just over half of the squares featured vertical lines so I alternated them with the others, evenly distributing the pictures and the circular designs among them.  Then I spent well over an hour arranging and rearranging the various blocks, trying to balance highly textured squares with those with less prominent stitchwork.  Finally, I achieved a layout that I was happy with and took careful notes and photos to assist in the assembly process.

Knitting 1639       

Next up: Miles and miles of sewing, followed by miles and miles of afghan border.  Wish me well.


Anonymous said...

You are too young to be a grandparent but I am very happy for you!!! LOL The afghan looks great and I will give my address for it. Lots of work and love went in to it.

Jessica said...

LOL. First you were too young to have me, now you're too young to be a grandparent! Lord I hope you passed those young-at-heart-and-appearence genes onto me!

Can't wait to see the picture of the final afgan. :D