Friday, September 11, 2009

6-inch squares project

In the continuing, apparently futile, attempt to take control over my stash, I'm starting yet another project. Each month, I'll pick a stitch pattern and knit 4 6-inch squares from that pattern. Sometimes they'll all be the same color; sometimes I'll mix and match to use up little bits of yarn. This first square weighs just 15 g, or 1/2 ounce, so it won't make a big dent in the stash, but visible progress is valuable. I thought some of you might like to knit along with me, so I'm going to post each month's pattern here. No picture yet of September's square (although I'm on my third) because it is raining cats and dogs and correspondingly dim over here. But I will post a photo soon.

I'm using "standard" worsted -- like Cascade 220, Paton's Classic Wool, or Galway -- this time around, at a gauge of 5 stitches per inch. Because each square is just 6 inches wide, and I'm keeping 2 on each side in garter stitch, that leaves only 26 or 27 stitches to work with. So the patterns will be, for the most part, simple textured patterns. By knitting 4 each month, I'll have enough squares by the end of May for a blanket that measures 30 by 42 inches, just right for an A4A campaign.

The squares will be there ready and waiting for the next time CURE Hospital needs baby blankets. Of course, we have no idea what A4A will need next May, or even from one campaign to the next, but baby blankets do seem to be a recurring theme, and are likely to come up again in the rotation in the next year or two.

If you want to use thicker or thinner yarn, you can either adjust the stitch count or just make larger or smaller squares. (If a crocheter wants to start a similar block-of-the month endeavor, go right ahead. I am not good enough at your sport to do that one.)

Here are guidelines and this month's pattern:

Andalusian stitch
a multiple of 2 stitches plus 1 extra

Row 1 (RS): knit
Row 2: *p1, k1* repeat between stars until last stitch, p1
Row 3: knit
Row 4: purl

Cast on 31 stitches.
Work 4 rows (2 ridges) in garter stitch.
Keeping first and last 2 stitches in garter (i.e., always knit these stitches) -- you might want to use markers to remind yourself -- work in pattern until you need just 2 ridges (4 rows) of garter stitch to complete your 6-inch block, Bind off.

Now measure. If your block is perfect --you're done. If it's 6.5 inches or 5.5 inches, RIP IT OUT AND FIX IT!! This one will be the template for all the others, so you want it to be right.

Now, count how many rows you worked (garter ridges along the edge times 2). You will make every other block the same number of rows, making it oh so easy to sew them together.

These blocks are fast and easy, and satisfy the urge to cast on for a new project. I look forward to watching my stack get taller and taller.

6 comments:

PghCathy said...

Elizabeth, I read your post when I got home from work (many hrs ago) & my first thought was I'M IN!! But then thoughts started popping into my head. What about my 1 project at a time rule? What's in the stash that would work? Where am I going to put all these squares for 9 months while I work on this? Will I be able to find all of them when the time comes? Who's going to sew this thing together?

Needless to say, my right brain was arguing with my left brain & while I'm not sure which side won....I'M IN! Now where did I put that Knitpicks catalog? My stash just isn't going to do.

Afghan Ann said...

Please keep in mind that we do know if the afghans for Afghans project will be sending blankets in May. Best to only work as far out as our current guidelines/needs.

We just have too many variables (shipping costs, overseas partners, security, collection center space, my time, etc) to manage -- in what is still a war zone -- and cannot plan that far ahead or promise that we can get your gifts to Afghanistan in the future.

I am going to repeat this post so that others are sure to read it. Sometimes folks don't see comments.

Thanks, Ann, afghansforAfghans.org

PghCathy said...

Here's my thought on this....if I can keep track of 4 squares a month for 9 months, then I most likely can hang onto a finished blanket until the next newborn campaign. Or that doesn't happen, there's always Warm Up America. They need blankets. What about Warm Woolies?

Elizabeth, if you're still up to posting a design a month, I'm still in.

Helen said...

I'd like to knit along with you and use up some of my wool stash too. What a great idea!

Afghan Ann said...

I sure hope our focus on our a4A blog can be knitting and crocheting blankets for the current campaign for CURE. We need to take advantage of the opportunity while we have it.

Thanks, Ann, afghansforAfghans.org

Kathy said...

I'm knitting 8 x 8 squares for a Facebook effort for the current campaign. I've done six so far, about a quarter of one blanket. What if all of you doing 6 x 6 squares assemble a blanket now, for the current campaign? Winter approaches in Kabul...

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