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Autumn Anniversary Afghan October 19, 2008

Posted by merp in FOs, Knitting.

Pattern: Totally Autumn, by Anne Hanson, from Knitty, Fall 2007

Yarn: Knit Picks Swish Bulky (100% superwash merino wool), in brindle heather, 9 skeins

Needles: #10 circular

Finished size: I think it was about 55″ by 45″ – I did measure, but forgot to write it down

Time to knit: About 5 focused weeks (cast on during the Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony), plus an excessive length of time following to cope with blocking issues.

My Satisfaction: Fairly high. Fun to knit. Soft, too.

I strategically failed to mention in my last post on this project that this is actually a long-overdue wedding gift. J & J were married September 30 of last year, but the goddesses of etiquette tell me that it is perfectly acceptable to send a wedding gift any time within one year of the wedding. (I had originally started a different project, but the lace pattern wasn’t clicking with me and, realistically, who uses a handknit tablecloth? So I opted at the last minute for the trusty afghan.) I had to race to the finish, but I did finish knitting this before their one-year anniversary, for what it’s worth; they didn’t receive it until last week.

The delay was cat-related. Our house, our clothes, our furniture, the air we breathe is permeated by cat hair. And cat dandruff, and dog hair and dandruff, and honestly, I don’t even know what all. Sadly, Mrs. J is very allergic to cats. It was much more difficult than you might think to find a cat-free environment to block out a medium-sized afghan; eventually, I asked a real expert, and Brigitte recommended a particular dry cleaners in town that could be trusted with an unorthodox task. In the end, as you see, they did a fine job (thoroughly cat-free), but not before some miscommunications and mysterious delays kept the afghan at the cleaners for over two weeks!

I love this lace pattern. It was not hard, but as it did have 36 rows without a repeat, I color-coded the chart for easy reading (actually, there are only 18 unique rows, which repeat offset from one another to create the interlocking leaves, but it took me a while to figure that out).

I cast on 9 leaves across, and ran out of yarn after 6 repeats, making the afghan unconventionally wider than it is long, but, um, maybe that just makes it better for spreading across two laps?

Like so many afghan patterns, this one called for a handwash-only yarn. To which I can only say, “Huh?” Who handwashes their afghans? I don’t know about you, but I wash mine a minimum of once every couple months, usually much more often, and I’m sure as heck not doing it bent over my bathtub – and I’m pretty sure the recipients of this gift wouldn’t want to either!

So, in truth, all bourgeois pretensions tossed aside, I think Red Heart acrylic is probably the ideal afghan yarn. I have a couple made for me as gifts years and years ago, and they are warm and comfy, but wear like iron – you can do anything to them, short of set them on fire.

This, however, is a special gift, and I needed to go nicer than acrylic, so I tried the superwash merino route. Swish Bulky is machine washable, in that it doesn’t felt, but it frizzes and fuzzes and I think it may not hold up that well over time, so I recommended to J&J not to wash it too often. Overall, it’s a soft and cuddly rather than crisp and formal looking yarn. Soft and cuddly is good for a marriage afghan.

And here’s my next gift project (expect the reveal around Thanksgiving):

Nope, it’s not a hat.



1. Michael - October 20, 2008

Yep, I’m pretty sure I made your afghan from Red Heart yarn. I think that’s all I could find in Socorro that was affordable.

These days I like Plymouth Encore.

2. merp - November 8, 2008

Yep, I figured it was Red Heart – no shame in the affordability! Like i said, it makes a great afghan!

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