The afghan.


It is really hard to get a photo of the whole thing. It is the same size as twin bed top, roughly 45″x75″ (1.12 m x 1.88 m). Here it is, posing on a queen size comforter.

I started this project in March 2016 with no particular purpose. I had gotten the idea of a mitered square scrap afghan where every other square was white (-ish). It seemed like such a fun project that I gathered appropriate yarns and cast on immediately. In some ways this is a really impractical afghan; it’s all wool, not superwash, so it will have to be dry-cleaned. It’s way too big for a lap robe because Younger Son commented that the problem with most afghans is that they are not long enough to use as a blanket on the couch. No such problem with this one!

Given that I wanted it to be big enough for a couch blanket, I figured that if I made each square 5″, a 9×15 grid would be just about right. So, that became the goal. Each square is 21 stitches on a side, plus one stitch at the center.*

The five color groups that I used. The only colors I avoided were light ones — not enough contrast with the whitish squares. Except for the variegated squares, nearly all the squares were Knit Picks Wool of the Andes or Cascade 220. My Ravelry page lists everything (I think).


The variegated squares. Most are leftover Noro Silk Garden, with a few Patons Soy Wool Stripes and one Plymouth Boku.

They were the most fun — and nerve-wracking — squares to knit. The vareigated leftovers I was used were all very small balls. With every square I would wonder, Do I have enough yarn for an entire square? The Noro square at lower right had to be finished with some solid blue, and the first one in the third row had two different yarns, but mostly I won at yarn chicken.

I almost ran out of whitish yarn. Towards the end I was improvising by double-stranding  thinner yarns: a couple different sock yarns and a DK yarn plus a laceweight. I even made one square of white Plymouth Encore. When I was in Park Rapids for my class reunion in September I picked up a skein of white Cascade 220, just in case. It came in handy at the end because I was anal about never putting a new whitish square near another one with the same yarn, and I was running out of choices.


Spot the white Encore.

My postal scale was in use all the way through. After knitting the first two or three squares I weighed the thing and figured how much the average square would weight: 19g (I think; the memory fades so quickly). There were still a couple of losses at yarn chicken, the two detailed above and one white square. But mostly it worked out.

All the time I was knitting this thing the small voice in the back of my head kept wondering what I was going to do with it. Did we really need another afghan? Maybe, maybe not. I could give it to QGD2 when she went to college this fall, but as I mentioned before, it is a dry-clean only item; probably best not entrust it to a poor college student, no matter how responsible she is. I could donate it to our county party’s annual silent auction, but would it bring enough $$ to justify my year-and-a-half’s work? If it went for anything less than several hundred dollars I would feel slighted, and I was pretty sure no one would pay that much.


Noro, you melt my heart.

The problem of what to do with this massive project was solved when I voiced the possiblity of giving it away. Smokey immediately said he would like it. Yay! It stays in the family as his TV-watching companion!


* Smokey asked how many stitches were in this — 100,000? Not quite, I told him. 21 x 21 per square, times 9 times 15 = 59,535 stitches. Approximately.

This entry was posted in afghan, knitting, Unraveled Wednesdays. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to The afghan.

  1. Becky says:

    Wow. Scrap yarn never looked so good!

  2. ninlouise says:

    You are scaring us.

  3. Oooh I love working out how many stitches go into big blankets, there’s something so satisfying about it.
    It’s a beautiful blanket, well done you and yay for keeping it in the family!

  4. Carole says:

    It’s gorgeous! I absolutely love it and I think added the neutral squares between the other squares was KEY to making it work. Congratulations and I’m so glad you are keeping it, I couldn’t imagine anything else after all that work.

  5. gayle says:

    It’s good that it’s going to a good home (yours!) 8)
    I’ve always felt that calculating the number of stitches in a project is best left until after it’s finished. If you’d known at the start that it would take 59,535 stitches, would you have been able to cast on?

  6. Diane says:

    This is my favorite afghan EVER. To me it’s like the love of a patchwork quilt where every piece tells a story.

  7. zeneedle says:

    If there ever was a labor of love it is this one. How wonderful to hear it will stay in the family for you both to enjoy. It must be full of family memories, in any case! Your attention to color paid of beautifully, too. I call this project fantastic!!

  8. highlyreasonable says:

    It’s wonderful! I also like your clever idea of the white-sh squares for every other square as they set off the other squares and don’t compete with them. Impractical or not, I’m glad its 59,535 stitches will be keeping Smokey warm.

  9. Doreen says:

    Your wool blanket is beautiful and totally practical. Wool is entirely washable – it just can’t take agitation or extreme temperatures. If too big to hand wash, I soak my wool items in cool to lukewarm water in the washing machine with a small amount of ‘wool wash’. I don’t let them agitate, just soak, then spin the water out and lay flat to dry. They come out lovely, soft and clean. Beautiful wool items should never be subjected to the harsh chemicals of dry cleaning – in my opinion. Good job on the blanket – I love it! I’m making a scrappy one (not a well-thought out one like yours!) to use up sock yarns.

  10. Nicole says:

    Yikes. That’s lovely, though! And it gives me hope for my scrap yarn mitered square afghan. It also gives me ideas…I don’t like the way mine is turning out, probably because it is random with no theme. I think I’m going to start over and use a white or beige square as every other. I think, though, that I will buy some white/cream/beige yarn to use for the alternate squares instead of relying solely on scraps for those. I can still use up the other scraps. Plus, that means I’ll have enough scraps to make one each for my niece and nephew. Great idea to make and gift it!

  11. AJ says:

    It looks very cool and I like the colouring. All of my afghans end up massive as my family likes them to go over the shoulders and tuck under their heels and they’re all tall!!!

  12. Kym says:

    It is just WONDERFUL, Kathy! I am so happy it’ll be staying at your house with Smokey. I think you need to look at it – in its finished state – every day. XO

  13. Margaret says:

    Well done. I always give the leftovers to someone else. Never thought about saving them for a blanket. Read your blog every monday.

  14. That’s fantastic!!

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