Monday, July 15, 2013

Stash Buster Sampler Afghan

With three grandchildren on the way, I need to have a few baby blankets in store, so I made this one out of left-over and hand-me-down baby weight yarn. Here's what I did:

Step 1: Gather all yarn of similar weight. It doesn't have to be exact. You will be guessing at the amounts, but you should have a total of 16 - 18 ounces of yarn. Using a kitchen scale if needed, divide every yarn color and type into two equal piles. Put one pile in a bag and set aside.

Step 2: Choose a color from the pile not set aside. Using size 6 needles, CO 200 stitches. Work in double seed stitch pattern for approximately 12 rows. (If you have less yarn, CO fewer stitches for a smaller afghan.)

Step 3: Switch to a new color. Work 6 stitches double seed stitch. Knit across to last 6 stitches if your change is on the right side of work. Purl across if your change is on the back side. Work the last 6 stitches in double seed stitch. On the next row, work 6 stitches double seed stitch. Then choose a new pattern and knit across to last 6 stitches. Work 6 st double seed stitch. Continue with the new pattern for as long as you like, keeping your double seed stitch edging. Try not to use all your color up in one stripe.

Step 4: Repeat step 3 as many times as needed, changing the pattern stitch every time you change colors, and changing colors as often as you like, depending on how many you have.

Step 5: When you have used up your first pile of yarn, or your afghan is about half as long as you want it to be, get out the pile of yarn that was set aside. Match your color sequence going backwards. Don't match the patterns unless you want to. I didn't -- except the last color which is done in double seed stitch like the first.

Step 6: Bind Off.

Step 7: (The least fun one) Sew in all the yarn ends.

Double Seed Stitch: 

Row 1: K2, P2 across.
Row 2: K the knits and P the purls.
Row 3: P2, K2 across.
Row 4: K the knits and P the purls.

NOTE: Avoid rib and cable patterns as they will have a smocking effect.

You won't have the exact number of stitches for most of your patterns. When that happens, decide whether you want to stop in the middle of a pattern when you get to the end of the row or you want to have a few extra knit stitches on one or both ends. You may do it one way with some patterns and the other way with others.

I used the following books for patterns to sample:
Donna Kooler's Encyclopedia of Knitting
Sampler Afghans, Leisure Arts Pamphlet #932

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A Gourd

A gourd sprang up to shelter me,
      And shade me in my grief.
I thought it would forever be,
      A source of sweet relief.

But after only one glad day,
      Which might my dreams confirm,
I learned it wouldn’t be that way,
      For God prepared a worm.

The worm attacked my precious shade,
      And smote it that it died.
The sun now beats upon my head,
      And I am sorely tried.

Like Jonah I am very faint,
      And wish myself to die,
But unlike him, make no complaint,
      Though unto God I cry.

I don’t deserve to have my way,
      Nor in the shade to sit.
The God who gave may take away,
       And I can but submit.

I can’t be angry, yet I plead;
      I dare to ask my Lord,
Unworthy though I am indeed,
       Please give me back the gourd!

                 PART II

I asked You for the gourd again,
      It was my only thought.
I felt its loss and cried in pain
      For shade that it had brought.

But when You took the gourd away,
      You never gave it back.
Despite my pleas, You said me nay —
      And let me feel my lack.

I don’t know why my hopes were raised,
      Then dropped and dashed apart;
Why I was left confused, half-crazed,
      And with a yearning heart.

But You have higher things in view,
      And know what’s best for me.
Without the gourd I can make do —
      But give me now a tree!

          PART III

Oh, Lord, if You would shelter me
      With some sweet second cause —
A short-lived gourd or towering tree
      Beneath which I may pause;

If you provide a resting place
      Where I may take a break,
Escape a while and slow my pace,
      And calm the breaths I take;

If I enjoy a short reprieve
      And revel in the shade,
Will all my strength for battle leave
      And idleness invade?

Will I expect to always rest
      And never leave the site?
Once of a little ease possessed,
      Will I refuse to fight?

Lord, help me proper use to make
      Of comforts that You send.
The benefits thereof to take,
      But not on them depend;

And not allow the gifts to block
      The Giver from my view,
But worthy of the Lord to walk
      In fellowship with You.