Do Try This At Home
May 20, 2004
This afternoon I took a well-deserved break from my Lacy Zigzag shawl, which was itself a well-deserved break from what I was really supposed to be doing, to let my Inner Artiste out to play with the squares.
There is a ton of squares in my apartment. Recently, a Floridian reader who I will call ‘Cindy’ (because that is her name) emailed me with a most generous and tantalizing offer. Cindy volunteered to sew up afghans for us. Cindy’s kind offer, combined with my growing fright at the prospect of sewing up all these squares, motivated me to lay out our very first afghan for Afghans.
In the fog of squares, I needed a game plan. So I sat down and sorted them by fiber, and then by approximate gauge, with the thought that it would be easiest to sew worsted to worsted and bulky to bulky. But that only got me so far. With so many choices, how to decide which squares belong with which? I quickly came to the conclusion that, next time, I’m not going in there alone: I want a buddy.
But Cindy is waiting, and I need to de-square my bedroom. So I hit upon a simplistic solution: The First Afghan would be an All-Carolyn Afghan. This made a lot of sense because: Many of Carolyn’s squares are in the same weight of yarn, and some are even in the same yarn (she has a righteous stash of wool tapestry yarn from her sister Lucia). Moreover, Carolyn’s squares are remarkably uniform. Their straight edges would make a hormonally-challenged pin-blocker like you break right down and cry like a baby. And finally, there is consistency in Carolyn’s palette. She likes deeps, brights and neutrals. Surely I could work with that. So here is the first draft:
(Careful observers, and especially Carolyn, will note that there are a few non-Carolyns in the mix. But be assured that I took the utmost care to fill in with squares that had that essential Carolynosity, a Carolynian gestalt if you will.)
The first draft, in which I alternated neutral squares with deep/bright squares, felt too hodge-podgy. So I went back to the drawing bed (notice how well Carolyn’s neutral squares go with my bedspread) and reconfigured them in alternating bands, swapping a few squares in and out. Here’s the final version:
It’s 48 inches long and 41 inches wide, which puts it in the large baby blanket division. Thanks to Carolyn’s sharing with me of her windfall from Lucia, I can send Cindy some matching tapestry yarn for sewing up, which should further unify the artistic statement of this afghan. I.e., look pretty.
So, one afghan is underway. Laying out the others will be more challenging, because we won’t have the All-Carolyn rule to guide us. I’m gonna need some help, is what I’m saying.
By the way, here are Carolyn’s most recent contributions, which were inspired by her jacaranda tree. Lordy, the trees you people have out there in the country!
A huge yoo-hoo and virtual hugs to Cindy and Carolyn!
P.S. A note about the zigzag shawl: I did 3 whole repeats before losing a stitch somewhere. (Ruh-roh. Time to activate the 24-hour International Lace Emergency Hotline.) In other late-breaking developments, I made a tiny change in the pattern: where it says slip 1 knit 1 psso, I am doing slip-slip-knit. My psso’s are too loopy. The ssk is tidier, at least in this inelastic linen yarn.