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Beach Blanket, Bingo

psychobasket.jpg
Dear Ann,
A while back, I was inspired by a free pattern that Thomas mentioned, for something called the Psychedelic Squares Afghan. I said to myself, in the robotic imperative that comes over me now and then: “MUST.KNIT.THIS.NOW.”
But I did not knit it then. I let the idea percolate for a while. But now, the season approaches in which maternal duty requires me to park myself in a sand chair each Saturday and Sunday, coated in SPF 50++++, to oversee children cavorting at the edge of the ocean and occasionally scream at them. The time has come to make the crucial annual decision: What project will be Beach Knitting 2004?
Needless to say, it must be something square. It must be something memorizable. It must be something non-wool. And, this year at least, it must be something in bright colors and small units. (After last summer’s endless slog of Ecru and Tennesee for my Courthouse Steps blanket, even this Denim-mad, blanket-possessed knitter cannot abide anything blue, or anything that will work its way up to hundreds of stitches on circular needles.) So I went to Downtown Yarns and gleefully pulled 16 colors off Rita’s lovely display of Tahki Cotton Classic. The colors I chose are shown in the pic at the top, in my Weird Seashell Basket.
It was not easy to split the colors into lights and darks, as the pattern suggests. But at the same time, I did not like the way the really bright colors looked with each other. Or for that matter, the way the duller, more neutral colors looked with each other. The solution was to divide them into Juicies and Blahs, like so:
psychoballs.jpg
I like the way the Blahs make the Juicies look less garishly bright, and more interestingly intense. I like it so much that I may go back for a few more shades of Blah. Even if I knit these every bloomin’ weekend, the projected completion date is Probably Never. But who cares? I’ll have fun on the beach in 2004, knitting Square Stuff to my heart’s content.
Here are my first four Juicy Blahs:
psychosquares.jpg.
More to come!
Love, Kay

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22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Love it, Kay! We have joined a pool this year, so I may need pool knitting myself, although generally the wee one wants me in the water with her. What’s the square size ~ could we do this for the Afghanalong?

  2. Love all the colours – these are what I would call mitred squares – or domino squares a la Vivien Hoxborough? or Horst Bucholz (something like that anyway). You don’t actually have to knit them separately unlss you want to (and you seem to want to) you can cast on half the number of stitches and then pick up the other half down the side of a square.
    I intend to make a Debbie Abraham throw one of these days (why? we have shiny leather upholstery that everthing slides off of) it would seem to be addictive…..

  3. Ah, my dear, sweet, hopelessly optimistic Maggi. Last time I checked in, the Wee One was only 3, right? Hate to burst your bubble, but no Pool Knitting for you this year; your little charge is far too slippery and ACTIVE! But be sure you slather on plenty of SPF 50+++++! Be strong, and KEEP HOPE ALIVE–maybe next year will be your Pool Knitting year.
    Jill, if I can figure out how that casting-on half the stitches and picking up works (quite the mental effort to visualize this, but it sure sounds like it’s do-able), I would love to save on sewing up. The plan is to sew up 4-square blocks as I go. Initially I thought I should preserve maxium creative options by NOT sewing them together as I go. Then I said, what are you, nuts? Preserving creative options would mean never finishing blanket, and I do, I do want to finish this blanket in all its shiny mercerized loveliness. I am already plotting a Vivian Hoxbro’d garter stitch border for it. Or maybe teensy log cabins. Something flat, anyway. I just love it, I tell you. It killed me to put it aside for the week. I’m jonesing to finish the Acidic Orange and Khaki Green square I started yesterday!!!!
    Oh, and yes, these can be turned into Afghanalong squares, with the aid of a small Log Cabin edge to get them up to 8 inches (they are, I reckon, around 6.5 inches square). I did one like this as a practice psychedelic square, which I’ll post in the Found Objects when I can dig it out of the Afghan Square Trove. xox Kay

  4. Hi Kay – at this website you should be able to find a description of how to do domino. Hope it will help you save on the sewing up ..
    http://www.viv.dk/English/default.htm

  5. How much fun is THAT? More than is legal, probably, but it will keep you good company when the afghan-a-long leaves you. (At this point can you even IMAGINE a life without the squares?)
    I have pool-side knitting (for swim lesson nights) which always attracts the kids waiting for their lessons over to the side of the pool to check my progress. One little girl in particular is an absolute doll, but she has been frowning lately at my continued knitting of wool. So I think you and she are right, time to swap out the poolside wool for poolside cotton. Yee-ha!

  6. I’ve been knitting myself a psychodelic afghan for the past few months (okay, half a year now), picking up a square whenever I need something to fill the knitting time. It’s a great long term project… no stress pattern, quick turnaround time.
    I love your bright colors… especially the pink next to that brilliant green! They look so cheerful and self-assured and, strangely enough, remind me of Target. Good idea with the blahs and the juices. I struggled to follow the contrasting colors description originally, but soon realized I wasn’t looking for contrast in the blanket I was making. I have a lot of deep, woodsy tones… greens and blacks and dark blues and purples… so I rechristianed my afghan the (only) Mildly Psychodelic Afghan, and now I delight in matching colors together that you think would be similar, but still manage to magically pop out in the striping.
    I’m also doing mine in garter stitch (no rolling) and plan to trim everything in black at the end. I am also saving up the sewing for the end. I haven’t even woven any ends in. (*gasp!*) And now there are SO MANY ENDS. I try not to think about how doomed I will be at the end of this project.
    Good luck with yours! I look forward to seeing updates on your progress. Acid orange and khaki green… mmm!

  7. this blog makes me laugh out loud!!
    i’m getting all warm and fuzzy again.
    thanks ida for the link to the viv.dk site – like i needed more knitting projects to daydream about!!
    OK! no more reading MDK! must get work done around the house…
    kaf

  8. Kay, I love your blanket – I just got the Vivian book and love the ideas. Have you used the Tahki cotton before? Can you recommend it for wash and wear? I’m looking for cottons for baby/kid blankets.

  9. Someone has Afgan-itis! Seriously, though, very cool project. The Tahki is a great choice, too. Easy to work with and economical. Don’t know if it’s colorfast, though – you may want to check that.
    Speaking of Afgans, I spent the weekend in Vegas and knit you a square from there, so that you could add Nevada to the list. It’s a bit garrish, but so is Vegas, so I guess it fits! Look for it in the mail. My personal summer project is to add as many states (and countries!) as possible to your map…

  10. Julia—There are still many states within your range, i.e., the Sierra Nevada range. E.g., Arizona. We don’t have Wyoming. We don’t have Idaho. (We do have Montana!) I imagine people of these Great States riding the ranges, yodeling at cattle, saying things like ‘gitalong little dogie’, and missing out on knitting. So thanks thanks thanks, Julia! for stepping into the breach.
    Thanks Ida for the free Vivian H. link–in English even!
    Sandy, Wondering and wondering what there is about my blanket that reminds you of Target–must be that it’s so Swell! I do want to see your Mildly Psychedelic version. Sounds wonderful and I am curious to see the milds juxtaposed with the murkies. Always interesting to mix up colors.
    And re: Tahki Cotton Classic, it is the very stuff that the lady who runs the card store, who sells adorable handknit baby hats, and makes granny square blankets with the leftovers, uses. She swears by it for washin’ n’ wearin’ and stayin’ shiny. I am amazed at the quality for the price. It truly gleams and the array of colors is mesmerizing. Many shades of the same color, which is key for us blanket-addicted souls, who crave variety and subtlety. At the pricey yarn store it’s $5 a skein (100 meters), which works out to $4.50 for those with a 10% discount (Big Apple Knitters Guild Membership–yippee!), and on the internet I’ve seen it as low as $3. But I like to pick it out in person. Rarely a knot in a skein, and if there is one, there’s only one. (Actually, for the Psycho blanket, having to cut the skein is a plus, because it results in odd stripes: the rule is, when you run out of a color, you have to join another light or dark, juicy or blah, color, as appropriate. This creates what I will call ‘Kaffe Moments’ of irregularity, here and there, randomly.) SO UTTERLY COOL I CAN’T STAND IT. Love, Kay

  11. next question: how many skeins are you using and what dimensions does it give you? I never know how many skeins to buy!

  12. I LOVE this. Don’t tempt me, I have far too many projects already in the works. plus my kids are 2 1/2 and 4 1/2 twins and none of them know how to swim so I doubt I’ll be doing much sidelines knitting although I’m looking forward to the day! Your colors look great together btw!!

  13. Kay: Cottage Creations/Carol Anderson has a most excellent pattern for a sweater made of squares like this, with stiched picked up, NOT sewn together. (Same company/lady with the “Log Cabin Revisited” booklet.) I made one of these for J, and it was much nicer looking when done than the little drawings in the pattern. And fun! The only reason I haven’t made on for myself is a little note in the front that says it might not be flattering if you’re wide in the hip area… sigh. Story of my life.
    Cotton Classic washes up beautifully So put on some Velvet Underground and go psychodelic! Oops, my age is showing ;-)

  14. The Target near me is bursting full of many simple things in bright colors… especially greens and pinks. I think that’s why I made the connection – a little strange, but true enough!

  15. Kay,
    I have a total of three Psycho squares ready, but then again I tend to be multi-WIP and I have an M.Sc. thesis as excuse.

  16. kay…. i adore your selection of “juicies and blahs”….taste in color is a most unique phenomenon…. i often wonder how it all develops over time….perhaps it’s just the mood of the moment!

  17. Kay you are truely a mad blanket woman! I can only aspire to your levels of colour co-ordination. If I ever knit a psychedelic blanket it’ll probably be in drab and ultra-drab but I totally love yours!
    Happy beach knitting!!!

  18. Kay–I am 100% maximally grooving on this project. I think I hear some Jefferson Airplane in the background even as I write.
    It’s very scalable. At any point you can end this project: a mat. A big mat. A tote bag. A rug. A baby blanket. A rilly big blanket. A pup tent. A Great Wall of Fire Revival Tent. Go until you drop, girl. It’s going to be great. And I like the random Kaffe moments of midstream color changes. It’s cool that those changes look right, not like mistakes.

  19. Kay – you are clearly living in the wrong country. I thought it was only in Scotland that you needed to take a blanket to the beach ? Seriously. We have photos of my mother sitting knitting on the beach in mid-July wearing a twinset and a coat. She did remove her scarf though, it was summer after all.
    Blanket looks fab !
    Heather

  20. Nice glove photo over on the left! The name of the store is the same as a small town in upstate NY (well, somewhere on the way from Buffalo to NYC). My mom and I both love that name and every time we used to pass it during the 8-hour drive we’d go on and on about how to pronounce it–whether you say it as if there’s an apostrophe or not–and how in the world it came to have that name.

  21. I don’t think I’ve ever commented here before, which is strange as I love this blog! I want to roll around in the juicy balls! That will be a grand beach project :)

  22. I have a few of these squares, in garter stitch, that I made in odd moments — am thinking I will Log Cabinify the edges and send them to y’all for the afghans!