Polar Vortex Afghan
Well this week certainly encompasses the true nature and meaning of the Greek for “passing away the winter” – paracheimazo. (Hence, the name for my blog – cheimazoknits – as I love winter and one of the better things to do while stuck indoors is creating knit items meant for staying warm.)
While the midwest is in the grips of a polar vortex plunging temperatures to record below-zero readings, I’m finally finishing this afghan I started a couple years ago.
This pattern comes from the Boye book titled “I Taught Myself Knitting” and is the “1. Homespun Ripple Afghan” which is pictured on the front cover. I bought this book at least 10 years ago, or more, so it’s definitely outdated but the pattern is classic.
Having started this blanket, I was a beginner and not using continental knitting, so the first two skeins were painstakingly slow. Mostly due to my inexperience but also due to the “old shale pattern” which contains an increase/decrease row which tends to slow things down.
Initially, I was not very impressed with the Lion Brand Homespun as it seemed to easily separate and would often split. Undoing stitches was difficult due to the increase/decrease rows and the yarn itself lends the rows to camouflage themselves, making it difficult to tell which row I should be working (but is nice, however, for masking mistakes 🙂 )
Now, a year or more later, I’m finding the yarn not as difficult to work with as my knitting style has improved greatly. Because there are 114 sts on the needles, one row alone takes a bit of time, but is a great reason to learn continental knitting if you haven’t done so yet.
Right now I’m still working on the 4th skein and will use a total of 5. The old shale pattern looks something like this (creates the rippled effect):
- Row 1: purl
- Row 2: k2tog (3x); m1,k1 (3x); k2tog (3x) – this is done in a combination of 18 sts
- Row 3: knit
- Row 4: knit
To work the entire afghan:
- CO 114 sts
- Knit 6 rows
- Then start the above pattern, repeating those 4 rows until length desired.
NOTE: for each of the 4 rows, create a border using k3 at the start and end of EVERY row (it’s a good idea to place knit markers here, plus at every 18 sts after the first). To clarify: place stitch markers after the first 3 sts, then after every 18 sts, then before the last 3 sts – this should take you to the 114 total.
- Knit 6 rows to end
Additionally, to help you remember which row you are working on, put a stitch marker in the bottom corner of the blanket for the side which begins the first of the 4 rows (the purl row). I didn’t do this until later but it’s quite helpful now.