Gaining on the Great American Aran Afghan

Well, I’m getting much closer to finishing my Great American Aran Afghan.  If you remember, I started it several years ago with a group of ladies at my local yarn shop.  We met once a month and worked on one square a month.  There were a few months when we didn’t meet but mainly we plugged steadily along, coached by our yarn shop owner/instructor.  It has truly been a labor of love, one which has stretched me far beyond what I thought I was capable of knitting.  Now that I’ve finished the squares, I find that I am not intimidated by cables any longer.  Whee!

I did all of the squares in the book by the same title (published by Knitter’s Magazine) except for two.  Once I had them completed and blocked, the next step was to find a large, open space where I could start playing with an arrangement until I had one that I liked.  I ended up with 5 rows of 4 squares each.  That left me with 2 leftover squares which will become pillows.

When I had them laid out the way I wanted them, I carefully worked my way from the bottom and left to right and stacked the squares row-by-row, pinning a piece of paper to each pile identifying which row it was.

My next decision was how to join the squares.  I decided to first join my squares in the rows together using a single crochet seam.  I joined the bottom row squares first and worked my way up to the top row, setting each completed strip on top of the previously completed strip just to keep them in order.  

Then I took the top strip in the pile and joined it to the next strip using the same single crochet seam technique, trying to match the squares as I crocheted across.  Oh, I guess this would be a good time to explain that each of the squares is supposed to be 12 inches by 12 inches.  In reality, they vary.  To try to standardize them, I had first done about 3 or 4 rows of single crochets around each square in the same color yarn as the square.  I kept note of how many stitches I picked up while I did the first square and then picked up the same number of stitches on all 4 sides on every square.  Therefore, even though the squares aren’t exactly the same size, when I seamed them together, it was fairly easy to match up the stitches between squares.

Now that I have all the squares/strips joined and the seams steamed, the next and final step will be to do a border around the whole afghan.  The book has you do a knitted cable border.  I don’t plan to do that.  It’s just too fussy for me.  I think the squares are busy enough.  I think I’ll probably do a half-double crochet border around the afghan, doing 4 or so rows using the different colors in the afghan.  Once finished, it will have a place of honor on our living room couch.  I’ll almost hesitate to use it, given all the work that went into it, but I imagine I will when the weather turns cold again.  However, I WILL hide it when the grandkids are about.  Sorry, Sweet Pea and Spud!  Don’t feel bad for them, though.  They each have their own quilts that Nana made for them so they aren’t hurting for something to snuggle under.

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