Book Review: Gorgeous Knitted Afghans

Recently I got the book, Gorgeous Knitted Afghans: 33 Great Designs for Creative Knitters. And I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised. This book, written by Fatema, Khadija, and Hajera Habibur-Rahman, is not your ordinary afghan collection. There’s a lot to choose from in here, from simple stitch patterns knit with lovely, unexpected yarns, to complex patterns that offer a bit of a challenge and yield lovely results.
There aren’t many projects in here that I wouldn’t knit, given the luxury of limitless knitting time. I am especially enamored of the mitered afghan on the cover, which is called “Fascinating Rhythm”. (I checked; it’s not listed in Ravelry yet. Perhaps I should start one of these so I can get the pattern listing going, eh?) But, even if you don’t care for that gorgeous afghan, there’s something for just about every taste in this book. Whether you like simple, mindless knitting, or want to try something new, there’s probably a project in here for just about everyone. Whether it’s colorwork, motifs, lace, cables, or simple stitches in gorgeous colors, I’m sure just about any knitter of any skill level could find an entertaining project in this book.

I grew up in a home where scrap afghans crocheted in ripple patterns or the traditional granny square afghan could be found. These creations were never anything more than functional, as the typical 1970s earthy color schemes with an occasional fire engine red could just about make your eyes bleed to look at them, in their dizzying mishmash of color insensitivity. The afghans in this book more than make up for the sins of our grandmothers, though, because they are all simply stunning.

The book includes an introductory section that goes over some of the special techniques covered in the book, including the embroidery stitches that are required to complete some of the projects. And, the instructions in the book seem clear. However, a quick internet search leads me to believe that there may be some errors in this book, for which I can’t yet find the errata information. When I do, if it exists, I will post it here. However,
I am not deterred from trying the patterns in this book.

My only regret is that I don’t have 50 sofas in my house to drape them all upon. A home can only have so many afghans. How am I ever going to choose? But, I am certain that more than one of these will be in my future.

Update on my Christmas Elf Hat: Yes, I’m still knitting away at this project. Just like the last time I did this pattern, it’s looking like I’ll be done by the end of this month or maybe early February. I should know not to start my Christmas knitting in November because no matter how hard I try, it will never be done in time. But, I hope to be posting a finished photo soon! Wish me luck. Maybe a good stint of knitting this weekend will be all that’s needed; I’ve been decreasing away and the rounds are going much more quickly now.

My Mailbox Runneth Over!

Today was a good mailbox day. A really good one.

Today I got this in the mail:

Knit Picks New Traditions Afghan Kit

Knit Picks New Traditions Afghan Kit

It’s the New Traditions Afghan Kit by Knit Picks. I saw this on their website for the first time last week, and I knew immediately that I must have one. The bright colors are certainly a huge attraction. But, what really got me was the quilt design, knit modularly, in what looks like all garter stitch. (I haven’t yet taken the pattern out of the bag for wanting to keep the yarn all together.) Once I get the technique down, can you IMAGINE the creative possibilities, and all of the quilting designs? I am practically glowing from excitement at the thought of it all!

The other thing that came in the mail was this:

Fall 1997 Interweave Knits

Fall 1997 Interweave Knits

This is the Fall 1997 issue of Interweave Knits magazine. It’s a very early issue. Thumbing through the pages I quickly realized that one of two things must be true: either it’s that truly classic, beautiful designs never really go out of style, or perhaps I am hopelessly behind the times and unfashionable. This fabulous issue contains a top-down Aran by Beth Brown-Reinsel, with not only a pattern, but also a detailed article about its construction. And there’s the article about Alice Starmore, and a pattern by Alice Starmore. Cool!

Those of you who have been knitting forever might already have this magazine in the rack on your shelf, and you’re probably chuckling at my glee. Or, maybe you’re quietly nodding, because you totally get it. You understand. Either way, this magazine is a treasure to me. And, out of style or not, I don’t care. I’m going to get up the guts and knit something from this puppy.

Someday.

The Return of the Blankie

brown ripple afghan in progress

I feel ashamed. It is so easy to be swayed by other projects these days. Especially now that it is hot and I’m generally cranky and tired. Most of my knitting time is also limited to knitting by the pool or during my commute in the car. Which, I’ve rationalized, is too hard for working on a large project by my brown ripple afghan. So it’s been easy to leave it alone.

But, the fact is that I have to get this done. Lots of people have contributed to it by knitting in stitches or rows. It even survived a major disaster. Now, the fact is that I just need to get it done. And I will. I’m just not sure when. But soon, ok? I’ll keep plugging away.

Remembering My Friend

Today, the following news story hit the wires:

Money ruling a remarkable woman’s legacy

Dr. Sandra Welner was a pioneer in the field of Women’s Health for Women with Disabilities. And she was my friend. I still miss her every day.

(Almost) Good As New…

Afghan showing fixed bottom edge

Last night I had a Venti Mocha right before dinner. Being suitably caffeinated, I decided to dive in on fixing the blanket. In the end, I felt that grafting was a wee bit beyond me, especially since I wasn’t dealing with a clean edge. Not the way I want to try something new, really. I’m not that brave. So what did I do? I attached the matching yarn to stripe three (the first undisturbed stripe) and bound off from there. Picking up all of the stitches was a bit of a pain, since the yarn below was a very fuzzy alpaca. Some of the stitches were hiding! But I think I got them all. At least I hope I did.

So, the “new” first row of my blanket isn’t the color I wanted it to be, and to me, it doesn’t look right. But the truth is, the recipient has no idea what I intended so in the end it’s probably ok. So I’m just a little sad, but not as much as I was a couple of days ago! Soon I’ll be able to get back to my regularly scheduled knitting and this whole nasty episode will be behind me.

Pool Knitting

Second sock in progress with ball of yarn attached

This being Memorial Day Weekend here in the U.S., I spent a good number of hours knitting by the pool. Chatting with friends, mostly, and getting some knitting done, but I’m enjoying it. I’m on round 14 of 25 rounds of ribbing for this slipper sock, and then I’ll be done with my first ever pair of socks! Yay!

I’ve already got lots of socks lined up for the summer. And some sock monkeys. My kids went through my tub of buttons tonight, picking the eyes for their future monkeys. I guess I’d better get busy!