Jason and the Patchwork Afghan — Part 3
Here a shape, there a shape
When working on this kind of modular project, every piece is a little different. The shape and size affect the weight; and along with the placement of each piece, one learns how to shift the knitting to work comfortably. I was trying to work on each piece, particularly the join row, in a way that would avoid stretching the PKs. It wasn’t always easy! In retrospect I don’t think a bit of stretching hurt but I still tried to avoid it.
Shapes #1-5 were straightforward. Working on #5 felt a bit ungainly due to size and weight. I used 32” interchangeable circular needles for this piece. Of course, having a growing piece of knitting with more weight to compensate made it feel more awkward as I went. Not having knit a blanket before I hadn’t realized how awkward this would feel, and it meant I didn’t want to use this as travel knitting so I only worked on it at home. I definitely prefer having smaller or lighter-weight pieces to knit.
Experiments with Join
For shape #6, I experimented a lot with the Join Knit (JK), which I’ve never liked the look of. But I couldn’t come up with a cleaner (and still flat) method. Turning the work was awkward, and it was hard for me to avoid stretching the joined edge as I went. Here is how I finished shape #6:
- knit until 3 st remain
- slip 1, k1, JK. Turn work.
- Return: k, p2tog. 2 st remain.
- slip 1, JK. Turn work.
- p2tog. Fasten off.
Your mileage (or yardage!) may vary.
The rest of the piece went without needing much . I did a lot of experimentation with the Join Purl (JP) operation, because I didn’t like the bulk it added on the right side and it left a small gap to the left of the joined stitches no matter how tightly I did the JP and the first return purl. After enough experimentation to have probably knit another half of the afghan, I gave up and stayed with the JP as written. I did find that if I occasionally tugged the knitting of the piece I was JPing to — vertically along the joined edge as well as tugging horizontally — both the ridge and the gap were minimized enough to be aesthetically pleasing to me. At the end of the project, I don’t even notice.
I didn’t do any special blocking due to the size of the afghan. I machine washed it, since it’s superwash wool. I also opted to use the drier even though the ball band doesn’t recommend it. I’d machine dried this yarn previously without trouble, and found someone online who’d knit a rather sophisticated blanket in this same yarn and dried it safely.
I think my afghan looks great after washing and drying, and it’s quite comfortable to use when I’m sitting on my couch. Plus my cats seem to enjoy it!