Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Lots of Squares


My heart goes out to all the victims of wildfires this summer, but especially for those in my own state of Washington.  Our fires seem to start from lightning, so are no one's fault.  But, o! the people who have lost their homes, farms and businesses.  Just in case people are getting too sad, a bear cub was rescued the other day from the fire near Wenatchee with burned paws, etc, and flown to Lake Tahoe for care.

I am once again frantically cranking out blanket squares for a deadline.  My daughter, Allifer, and I are making an afghan for a wedding gift for her best friend since Second Grade.  We each agreed to make 15 squares, sew them into rows of 5, then we will sew the 6 rows together and hook a border.  Well, when I was down in So. California last week, I hooked 8 squares.  It was amazing.  But, we all know how good knitting/crochet is for stress relief.  So, I sat with my brother while he worked and hooked squares.  I sat with my brother and watched episodes of Star Trek: Next Generation, and hooked squares.  I spent time with my parents and hooked squares.  I went back to the quiet of my sister's house (she was in Chicago) and hooked squares.  When I wasn't riding her bike, I was hooking squares.  That is how I got 8 squares finished in 5 days.

 This first square is a version of one I made for the black and red afghan for my Godson, A.  It is based on a cable stitch from a hat pattern I got during the 2014 North Puget Sound Yarn Crawl at Serial Knitters, my most local yarn shop.  I made 2 versions of the hat, and really liked the cable.  I added some twist stitches, and of course, made a square rather than a hat.

 I just love the squishiness of this square.  It is made with sort of half puffs that are hooked at an angle with a dc behind.  In order to get the rows to lean in different directions, I worked on the back side for some of the rows.  This used a lot of yarn, 177 yds (162 m).

 I'm not sure you can see this clearly in the photo, but the square above alternates the blocks of dc with 2 rows of a lacy stitch.  I hooked the lace parts in the dark espresso color, and they don't show up very well.  I like how the open and more solid rows set each other off.  I don't often hook squares that are super lacy as I like warm afghans, but it's fun to make at least a few for a patchwork afghan like this one.

I love how the different heights of the rows of this afghan square give it a sort of optical illusion look.  It almost looks like the square bends.

 I made this square using a similar technique to the one used for the 16-Circles Square by Beatriz Medina.  I hooked the center beige flower, then with the taupe, I hooked the bottom half of the 8 taupe flowers.  It looked pretty weird at that point.  Then, I hooked the tops of all the taupe flowers.  It looks pretty cool.  The border uses a sort of flower motif as well, and although I hit the 12 in (30.5 cm) size pretty early, and had to do a simple single crochet final round, I love the border.

 The center beige section of this square was inspired by a stitch combination in one of my Japanese crochet stitch dictionaries.  It looked like cathedral windows.  It looks a bit different in the round, but I still really like it.  It opened up into a square pretty easily, too.

I just love this square.  Back when Redbird1 was a docent at our Bellevue Art Museum, I went to this amazing exhibition of woven baskets from Japan.  I was inspired to try to design a square that incorporated some elements of weaving.  I have tried for over a year to have this work, but it always looked mutant.  The tension wasn't perfect in this square, but I think you can clearly see the woven sections.
This square was just a sort of mishmash of different stitches.  I think if I ever write it up, I will name it "Busy."  For now I'm calling it something like "Icicles."

Since I returned, I have hooked the last of the 15 squares that are my part of the blanket.
I'm almost embarrassed to put this square on the blanket.  Don't get me wrong, I like how it looks.  As you can probably see, now that I have sort of figured out how to make a woven square, I was playing with more ways of weaving.  So the square is very very asymmetrical.   I hope they will think of it as design features (which it all was).

So, I talked to Allifer to see how her 15 squares were coming, and of course, she won't be able to make them all.  I wasn't surprised.  While I had tons of opportunity to hook in So. California, Allifer, who was also down in So. Calif. last week had no time at all.  She was there for Comicon, and was way too busy having an awesome time. I am mostly just working on mittens and hats for the Detroit Achievement Academy, Grade 3, so I have extra time to make more squares.  I am almost finished with one that was inspired by some doily patterns that I have from this wonderful old Leisure Arts book called 99 Little Doilies by Patricia Kristofferson.  No photos of this one yet, but I'll try to post one soon.

Ok, bedtime for me as I am working early every day for the next 2 weeks up in Northgate.  I hope I can bring my bike at least a few of the days and ride home.

shaping the planet with afghan squares.
close up of my first woven square

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