Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Great American Afghan KAL Knitting afghans never had much appeal to me. They just seemed so big and there was all this endless knitting. I once made an afghan; it was knitted in strips, but I was so bored with it that my grandmother put it together for me. I made it a loooong time ago -- about 35 years and from the feel of it, it is probably not made of anything I would use today. In fact, I look at it and I can't believe that it's something I actually knit.

I've made a few baby blankets -- but they were small. Sew together 49 blocks? Piece of cake (yeah, right!)

Which leads me to the question, why do the Great American Afghan (here on after referred to as GAA)? Well, I'd seen the original and wasn't overly impressed. But the new book came out in colors that I really like and all of the sudden it looked very appealing. I started thumbing through the book and found that all the blocks were designed by some of the best known knitting designers we know -- Nancy Bush, Meg Swansen, Sally Melville, Melissa Leapman, Lily Chin to name a few. I looked very closely at all the designs and discovered how each block was unique and had so many different techniques. I was hooked. I started with Block 15 ( I never go in order) because it really intrigued me. I thought it was going to be so difficult, but it turned out to be one of the easy ones.

Block 15 - designed by Marge Hayes, Aberdeen South Dakota

I couldn't wait to tackle Kathy Zimmerman's Block 8. I often lusted after her cabled sweater designs in the many magazines I've seen her designs in, but I never have time to complete a complicated cable pattern, so this should satisfy my needs. And it did! Now, the GAA book lists it as one of the 5 easiest squares. I'd say that's stretching things a bit, but after the first few rows, it did knit quickly.

Block 8 by Kathy Zimmer, Ligonier PA

Kelly was in the shop this week, furiously knitting the vest she promised her Mom for Christmas. As I was looking at her finished back and right front I thought the design looked familiar. Well, I had joined the GAA group on Ravelry and someone mentioned that the square Sally Melville designed had been turned into a vest by Sally and was published in an issue of Knitters Magazine. I don't know why that stuck in my head, but when I saw Kelly's vest, Block 21 jumped out at me. Sure enough it was the same. So, Kelly has promised that she will knit Block 21 for us. I can hardly wait and if I know Kelly it will be done in no time.

Part of Kelly's Mom's vest -- just like Block 21 by Sally Melville

Here's one more block - Block 23 by Meg Swansen. I thought this was an unual looking block. It was fun and easy to do -- here Meg combines intarsia and i-cord. I don't know who else could have come up with that combo.

Block 23 by Meg Swansen, Pittsville, WI (still wet from blocking)
I'll post more pictures next week. Right now I've finished 5 blocks and have 2 more on the needles. I'll talk more about some of the pitfalls I've found (anyone ever do a Knit bullion Stitch?) and hope that you can all join me in the KAL. You can sign up by calling or coming into the store and we will put a signup on the on-line store as well. If you don't live in the area, please join us on-line with your progress and comments -- join the Ravelry GAA group as well.

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