Need a holiday handknit? Time for a Schmatta!

This Just In: The American Blanket

oliversquares2.jpg
Dear Ann,
I was chatting with Michaela about her cool raffle project to benefit Oliver’s Fund. It occurred to me that it would be nice (and green) to save the Stateside knitters the hassle of waiting in line at the Post Office and filling out custom forms just to mail teeny squares to the UK, when here I am, in the good old US of A, easily (and cheaply) mailable and wishing I had a LOT more squares to arrange and rearrange in charming 9-patch patterns. SO. Here’s the details.
What it’s for: A blanket for Michaela to raffle off for Oliver’s Fund. (You buy raffle tickets by contributing to Oliver’s Fund (the button is on the right sidebar). Each ticket is 1 British pound, which is roughly 2 US greenback dollars. Michaela is handling the raffle details and awarding the prizes.)
What you can do: Mail me 4 inch squares knitted in sockweight, fingering, or 4-ply yarn. Each square will earn you a raffle ticket. (This is not the only blanket; there will be at least one and possibly two blankets from the UK.)
How to do it:
1. Make squares. (I get a 4-inch square very reliably by casting on 3 stitches, increasing in the first stitch of every row until the “legs” of the triangle are 4 inches long (at my gauge, this is when I reach 41 stitches), and then decreasing in the first stitch of every row until I’m back to 3 stitches again, and bind off.)
2. Email me at bigbonegalAThotmailDOTcom for the mailing address, and pop them in the mail. Single squares are welcome! (There will be a single squares mixer every Saturday night.)
DEADLINE: Squares must be received by FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 30th. I know this is a short deadline, but you can knit a 4-inch square in one episode of Gray’s Anatomy. This project will be more fun if we just git ‘r done in a matter of weeks. (Kaffe Fassett would say that with a little focus, we could get it done by lunchtime.)
One last detail because I know you’ll ask: You do not have to weave in the first and last end, because I will use those for the seams. (Therefore, please leave me a nice 8-inch tail on either end.) I would appreciate it if you would weave in any ends in the middle of the square.
I promise:
1. To sew up the blanket very quickly, even if I have to beg all my pals to come over and help me.
2. To admire each square.
3. To give my full artistic attention, such as it is, to the placement of each square.
4. To take an overwhelming number of photos of the finished blanket.
5. To mail the finished blanket promptly to whomever Michaela tells me is the winner.
EDITED TO ADD ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS:
–Fiber: Wool or wool blends are preferred.
–Color: Go nuts. The more colors we have, from murky to dazzly, the more fun it will be to lay them out. The self-stripers and self-patterners are fine, too.
–Gauge: I’m getting 6.5 stitches to the inch. Your mileage may vary, but we’re looking for a gauge that is undeniably sockish. Knitting to the measurement is more important than your exact gauge.
–Stitch pattern: I gave the bias-square, garter stitch recipe because it’s an easy way to hit the 4″ mark with great accuracy, but all stitch patterns are welcome.
–Needles: I’m using one Size 1 and one Size 2. I know. Leave me alone.
–Washing/blocking: Unless you’ve got a curly and/or dirty square, no need to wash or block.
–THANK YOU! Thank you to all who have sent emails asking for the address. I can’t wait to start hoarding squares.
I know I said my next post would have a contest (totally unrelated to the blanket project), but now, really, my NEXT post will have a contest.
KNITTERS: ACTIVATE!
FORM OF: 4-INCH GARTER STITCH BIAS SQUARES!
Love,
Kay

49 Comments

49 Comments

  1. Are you looking for machine washable squares? Natural fibers only or are nice acrylics okay?

  2. I am going to say “natural fiber” or “natural fiber blend”. (Sock yarns often have a touch of acrylic or nylon, and that’s just fine.)
    It doesn’t matter whether it’s machine washable or not.
    Kay

  3. Seeing as how I have sock yarn in many shades, some dire, do you have any preference as to color? Any colors that you would honestly prefer over others? I realize that this is spoze to be a smorgasbord, but really! I’m open to suggestion!

  4. I promise to do my bit, on one condition: I get invited to the sewing-up party in NYC. I’m not saying I’ll help sew, but I wanna be there. :D
    I’ve got me some purple Trekking on the table just waiting for me to do something with it. I was going to send it to England, but this is even better. Are you using size 3 needles for your squares? Smaller?

  5. YAY! I have a ton of leftover sock yarn that needs to be put to a good use . . . and anything for Emma and Oliver!!

  6. Are you using a size 6 needle with that Koigu?

  7. OMG! I just – literally JUST – posted about Oliver’s Fund before I came over here to read this. And I’m thrilled that I can send my squares to you. I was getting worried that I wouldn’t get mine done in time to mail them and have them in the UK by November 30. As usual, you rock, Kay.

  8. If sock yarns are OK, do you have any preference to color? Is this an anything goes?
    (I have a few horribly bright remainders.)

  9. Needle size please? I’m a US 1 sock knitting kind of gal, or does it really matter if you are shooting for a width? I have a bunch’o leftover sock yarn! And time after I finish my mom’s socks for her b-day next week to do a couple of squares. Cool!

  10. OH YES!
    Count me in, and I want the details, too – needle size, color preference!
    (((hugs)))

  11. Holy Sesame Street deja vu, Batman! One of those squares is not like the others!

  12. Kay, this may be painfully obvious to everyone but me, but can you state what kind of increases and decreases you’re doing?
    Thanks!!

  13. Kay, a raffle IS a contest. She or he who most resembles Uri Geller and can bend the ticket pick to their numbers wins.
    You know I’m in. I don’t know how many little sqaures I’ll make, but I totally want to play layout and sew-up. And what ever happened to the sprial rug of lamb’s pride? If you get enough people at the sewing-up, do we get to play spiral rug, too? The Husband loves cribbage, I love the sew-up. It’s like Kaffe playing mosiac, a little.

  14. Is there anything we can do to make the squares easier to sew up? Slip the first stitch or something like that? Or do the increase/decrease stitches create a good enough edge?? Have I used enough question marks here???

  15. Okay, am I the only one seeing that the upper center square actually appears to be what I think is a log cabin square? Not that there is anything wrong with that…
    Or is it just the fact that my eyesight is going is being driven home in an entirely different way.
    And what a lovely way to get use up left over sock yarn of which I actually have some.

  16. I’ve never knit a bias square before, but I’d like to give this a try! I have simialr questions as others have noted… Any preferred colors? What needles size have you been using? Thanks!

  17. Yeah, count me in for a couple-some squares, too, and count me in on the questions as well — needle size, slip the edge stitch or increase directly into it, preferred colors, etc., etc.
    I love quick and mindless knitting for a cause…

  18. Forgot to you are the greatest! for doing this.

  19. I just cast on. What a fun diversion.

  20. Thank God! Your offer is perfect timing. I bought raffle tickets already and have been thinking of doing some squares too (I just might have a few scraps of sock yarn around here someplace) but what was keeping me from doing it was the shipping to England. I KNOW. Lame. Would they arrive in time? Would they get lost? Lame. Now you have jump started me. Thank you!
    p.s. The wonder-twin thing at the end is very inspiring too.

  21. I am so tired of working on my boy’s sweater. I think a night or two of knitting squares is in order. (Oldest child will love my getting some un-knit yarn out of the house…she is a muggle!)
    I am glad to see I am not the only one spying a log cabin square.

  22. I love this idea! And thanks for the quick ‘n’ dirty square tutorial. Sadly, even though I can make sweaters, hats, socks, mittens and all manner of other knitted items, squares elude me, and the idea of casting on over and over in pursuit of the elusive four inches stymied me.

  23. I’m In! I’m so excited to be doing a project with the Mason Dixon Girls!

  24. Are we supposed to go purchase our raffle ticket before we send in our squares? Confusion – but that’s not new for me LOL!

  25. Although it still involves a customs form, I much prefer mailing to the US than to the UK. I think I can part with some of my blanket stash to make a square or two or three for your blanket. :) (It just means I need to knit/crochet more socks to have more leftovers for my blanket.)

  26. Kay, I’d already bought some tickets, and I’d already started knitting my first square; thanks for making everything so much easier!! One more question (because you haven’t had enough already) — do you want us to wash the squares before sending them along?

  27. how is it that, on your web site, the varegated yarns (which i usually generally dislike) look so inspiring? does the nobility of the cause lend the yarn a little je-ne-sais-quoi? beyootiful squares, kay.

  28. I came back to read the comments, and I’m laughing my butt off up here. You must be tearing your HAIR out with all the questions. Yay, I can’t wait to see the new, balder, Kay.

  29. Well, I couldn’t wait for tomorrow night’s Grey’s Anatomy, so I started my first square during the Dr. Phil show tonight. Using Koigu leftovers, US size 3 needles, I’m getting the same gauge as Kay. The first square is looking very pretty–lovely, mindless knitting. I just may have to make myself an all-Koigu-squares blanket after the holidays!

  30. America – you are wonderful! Thank-you so much for joining in with this project, it will be amazing to have one British (and the rest-of-the-world) and one American quilt. I can hardly wait to see how the trans-Atlantic one turns out!
    Thank-you everyone who’s knitting some squares!
    xx

  31. Do you want only garter stitch- diagional stitched squares? Or may we get all fancy like and knit some different types of purty stitches? (Of course, this is hoping that my hand tendon injury will be well enough to knit something up in the next 8 days- in time to mail it to you)
    AND a few more questions:
    Why does the train always arrive when I finally get the green turn arrow? Where did I put my passport? Why do I like to stay up late instead of going to sleep early so I’m not tired and cranky the next day?
    Why do people spit in the street? Why does my new micro-wave not work as well as my old one did?
    :D :D :D :D :D *SORRY, couldn’t resist.. all the questions got me started.

  32. I’m getting 41 stitches on a size 3 too, using Koigu. It’s a MIRACLE, honey–we NEVER get the same gauge!

  33. Not knowing for sure how long a package takes to get to Michaela, I had to stop knitting squares and put the dz I had in the mail yesterday. Hooray, now I have time to make some more and get them to you, sans customs forms. You Rock!

  34. I got two squares done yesterday in a blink of an eye (I was also printing 350 holiday party invitations AND response cards – push “print” knit some, push “print” again). Although I only got 4 rows done on my mom’s sock. I’ll make that up today, and maybe do another square, too. I have tons of sock yarn skein ends. I can so do this!

  35. Where do we mail them to?
    I’m excited for you. If I were closer than Toronto, Ontario – I’d offer to help you sew them up!!!
    I hope you’re swamped!!!!

  36. Single square mixer – ha ha!

  37. I’m so excited to learn how to make these bias squares! Something new- yay! I’m increasing by knitting into the front and back of the first stitch, and decreasing by knitting the last two stitches together. If this sounds totally wrong- would someone please let me know? Thanks so much for the opportunity!
    L.

  38. 1 square done, 1 in progress. Such fun, and I’m getting perfect gauge on US 2’s. We knitters are a variable lot.

  39. I do hope my e-mail reaches you
    have been knitting.thank you

  40. Can we knit squares just for the fun of it? As an afghan-aholic, I don’t need to risk acquiring another blanket.

  41. Oops. I already knit six (and a half) squares with some Noro Kureyon when I read Kay’s instructions and it sank in that just because I bought it to make socks with doesn’t mean it’s sock yarn. Duh.
    They’re very pretty bias garter squares, but heftier than real sock yarn squares — I’m getting 27 st. at the diagonal on 4 mm. needles, way different than 41 st.
    Do you want them anyway? I have enough yarn for maybe ten more. A pillow, maybe?
    Since I’m having way too much fun knitting little squares, if the Noro is too heavy I’ll just turn what I’ve got into coasters and dig out some real sock yarn.
    Susan

  42. I’m in like Flynn – I have some sock yarn that had so many knots in the skein I didn’t want to bother with trying to make socks out of it. This is the perfect project.

  43. I started a square on size 2 needles but my gauge must be tighter because I’m past 41 sts and have 3.5″. I guess it would be easier to assemble if all squares were 41 sts? Rip and start again?

  44. Hi! I have a few squares done, I’d like to send, but where’s the address? I must be having a duh moment. Thanks!

  45. Hi! I have a few squares done, I’d like to send, but where’s the address? I must be having a duh moment. Thanks!

  46. I have three squares ready for mailing, where do I send them?
    Thanks!

  47. Two squares done last night and I am working on more squares tonight and tomorrow. Will send them as soon as you send me the address. Thanks!

  48. Hi I need to get a address to mail squares to here in America.

  49. Hi I need to get a address to mail squares to here in America.