Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Mum's Birthday Afghan!

photo by Alan

My brother had the wonderful idea of making Mum a birthday afghan where each of her children (including our spouses) knit a panel. The amazing part? My brother learned to knit in order to do this!
My sister in law, sister and I each knit one of the main panels, and my husband and brother knit edge panels for this beautiful five piece afghan.
My sister-in-law found the pattern, chose the yarn, and ordered everything and got us organized! She also taught Alan to knit and helped him and my sister with any mistakes since they live close to each other.
Some things I learned knitting this afghan, that are probably obvious to more advanced knitters:
When cabling, the pearl stitches are ALWAYS going to be held to the back.
If you pay attention, you really can learn what each cable instruction/pattern is doing, and then you can pay slightly less attention to the pattern.
Reading on your kindle isn’t the best idea while you’re trying to establish a cable pattern.
PIN the panels together before you seam the two smaller edge panels on, because even though you can add length if it’s still on the needles, if you seam it without the appropriate tension, it’ll look all wavy and weird and you’ll have to rip the seams back and pin it. (See photo.)

I would err on the side of having the edge panels taper IN rather than OUT as you’re trying to seam them on so that it’s a straight line, because it looks really funny if they flare out and it’s kind of hard to get them exactly straight (see photo, I ripped it back twice)

I used mattress stitch to seam them together, which was a little strange because it was hard at first to figure out where to go in and out since you’re not connecting two like pieces together. But this is clearly the way to seam them together.
If you’re knitting this with other knitters, YES do a gauge swatch, but unless it’s crazy off, I would recommend using the same size needles. My husband and I knit a little tighter than my siblings, so we went up a needle size, and I think it made the drape of my center panel look sloppy in comparison despite the fact that the width and lengths were to measurement. I think I could have compensated for any slight discrepancies by seaming, and then the drape for the whole afghan would have been the same.
Overall, we’re really thrilled that we did this all together and gave it to Mom for her birthday! She’s the most prolific, inspirational, talented and giving knitter I know and it was such a joy for us to pull together and make something for her.

Only 15.5 pattern repeats of 24 rows left to go!
Please don't let your children play with scissors and pins, it's not safe.  Don't try this at home.

She did not do a pattern repeat while she was in there.  Darn cat.

I'm not sure what I would have done without all of Nemo's help.

5:00 p.m., on Mom's birthday, the day before her birthday lunch!  WE DID IT!!! 
photo by Alan

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