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:
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.