I often stumble over the use of words, especially when I have two in my head that are virtually the same but I’m not sure if they actually have subtle differences in meaning. This happens a lot a the shop right now as so many customers are knitting and crocheting blankets….afghans. Well, according to Wikipedia…
An afghan is the knitted or crocheted wrap that everyone has seen thrown over the back of a rocking chair or folded at the foot of Grandmother’s bed. Afghans are often given as gifts and may become family heirlooms. Many people use an afghan as a throw on a chilly day, as a bedspread, or as decoration for the back of a chair. An afghan also makes a good three-season wrap, adding warmth without a lot of weight.
Well, whatever you call it, it is probably the perfect project to be knitting this month. With temperatures hovering around freezing (or below!) we’re ready to have a nice pile of knitted fabric sitting on our laps as we create. Whether you’re launching into your first attempt or looking for a way to widen your pattern experience, we have something for you.
We have a few favourites in this category here at the Mitten.
First, we love the Building Blocks afghan done in Cascade 220 SW because it makes the perfect crib-size blanket and is perfectly suited to machine washing and drying. You’ll need the Building Blocks book by Michelle Hunter and 5 balls of Cascade 220 SW.
We also have a soft spot for the Garter Stitch Rainbow Blanket, not only because it is one of Joan’s own designs but because it is fun and easy (even for a beginning knitter) and looks great! You can choose your own yarn (any worsted weight will work) or simply purchase one of our kits!
Another favourite is the Tweed Baby Blanket by Jared Flood. Joan knit this one up in a cotton DK and it is lovely. Check her notes to find the pattern and figure out yardage. I think it would be so soft and warm in Telluride!
The next great Rowan Mystery KAL with Martin Storey is set to launch on January 28. Read all about it here!
We receive so many compliments on Joan’s afghan hanging on the wall in our front room. It was the Martin Storey Mystery KAL from Rowan in 2014. If you’d like to try your hand at that one, we have a kit for you at a special price!
Many of us are multi-crafters and even those of us who try to limit ourselves can appreciate the beauty in other media. Personally, I love it when crafts overlap so I love the knitted sampler afghan, which reminds me of quilts. The Martin Storey afghans mentioned above fit this category as does the Building Blocks baby blanket. You can make the Building Blocks afghan into a bigger piece simply by choosing bigger yarn and needles. A great option for this is to go with 6 mm needles and Cascade Yarns Ecological Wool or Eco+ Wool. You’ll only need 3 skeins; they’re really big!
Some free patterns
Interweave Knits has a free e-book with some nice patterns for knitted afghans. You simply need to sign in (it’s free) to get your copy.
Berroco recently released a lovely pattern from designer Norah Gaughan to support sales of their Vintage Worsted. It is a lovely yarn which is machine washable (lay flat to dry). It is soft to the touch and comes in a variety of pretty colours.
And finally…. a challenge!
If you’re looking for something to keep your attention we have just the thing (not for the beginner!)… the Rams and Yowes Lap Blanket from designer Kate Davies is knitted in the round and steeked in Jamieson & Smith’s 2 Ply Shetland. Get the kit and you’ll be suitably engaged for a few hours (or weeks)!
Whatever you choose, remember we are here to help! From choosing the right pattern for your skills and interest to yarn selection and hints along the way, we are here to support you. Happy knitting 2016!