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  • Summer Memories in the Making: The Leaf Squares Afghan

    Summer vacation is a grand opportunity for knitting.  You’ve got time to express your creativity, time to knit to your heart’s content!  Summer is also when you’re outdoors, at the beach or pool, in your garden or a public park.  You’d love to sit under a shade tree and knit, but the thought of making something large that drapes across your lap…well, no thanks.


    The Leaf Squares Afghan will change your mind about summer knitting.  Constructed incrementally, piece by piece, it’s an entirely portable project.  You work with only a single skein at a time, so you’re not hauling around loads of yarn in the heat. Each section is only 25 rows from start to finish, ultimately measuring about 8.5 inches square.  This means that each section is small enough to pop inside a beach bag, a handbag, or even a large pocket.  You can have it with you on day trips, when traveling, or even while you’re waiting in the car to pick up kids from camp.

    Landscapes®, the yarn for this pattern, is light and lofty; knitting it is a tactile pleasure. This loftiness also guarantees that when the sections are sewn into a larger blanket you’ll have warmth without much weight.

    Landscapes has great stitch definition, silky luster, subtle and rich coloration.  Once you’ve completed the squares and joined them, you’ll see how the several colors of yarn, plus the multiplication of the leaf pattern, plus the texture and drape of the fabric, create a whole that’s much more than the sum of its parts.  It’s a magical result.


    Equally magical, though, is the knitting of each section.  Think of each square as a knitting companion.  Take one with you as you move through your summer; before long, you’ve finished it and started another.  Each square accomplishes so much, so quickly, that you never lose interest.  In fewer than 25 rows, an embossed leaf pattern emerges within all of the four triangles composing each square.  And each square is so cleverly constructed that you’ll learn lots about knitting technique (or refresh what you already know).

    The Leaf Squares Afghan reminds me, amusingly, of Aesop’s fable of the grasshopper and the ant.  In summer the grasshopper played, while the ant worked steadily to gather food for the winter.  When summer ended, the ant had enough food stored for the winter months, while the grasshopper, who hadn’t anticipated the future, knew he would go hungry.

    In knitting the Leaf Squares Afghan I see myself as Aesop’s industrious ant preparing for winter, but with this difference—my work is also my relaxation and my play.  As I embark on summer travel, or as I sit on my screen porch at twilight, I’m having a great time knitting each and every square.  By summer’s end I’ll have finished all 36 pieces, and I’ll sew them together in the fall.  Then, in the winter, when I pull the Leaf Squares Afghan around me for some extra warmth, I’ll be reminded of the places I went and the things I did during those lovely summer days.


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  • Your Knit Style: Eclipse Poncho made with Hometown USA®

    This is the easiest poncho you'll ever knit! This glamorous accessory is made from just one rectangle. That's right! You only have to knit one long rectangle and make one easy seam to create the Eclipse Poncho. It'll work up so fast, you'll want to make two!

    And it's made with Hometown USA®, a soft, super-bulky yarn that's made in the USA!


    See the shrug in this video:

    Having trouble viewing this video? Click here:

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  • Rio Rancho Cardigan Knit-Along Week 5: Seam it, Wear It!


    It’s time to put together the Rio Rancho Cardigan!  I suggest laying out the finished pieces and making sure the pieces are the right size and length etc.  I found I did not need to block my pieces, as the nature of this yarn, along with the seed stitch, give the fabric a lot of flexibility.  My pieces also knit up uniformly.  If you find a certain section is a bit shorter or longer, it may be worth it to block before constructing.

    When I finished my 5 pieces it took me a few tries to understand the construction, but once I did, it came together with ease.

    I suggest pinning the pieces together. I like doing this before sewing just to make sure EVERYTHING is working.  Too many times I have started seaming, only to realize a big mistake that sometimes requires re-knitting something or pulling out all the ends I had woven in, etc.  Try it on, make sure everything is going to line up and look the way you pictured it!

    Start with the shoulder seams.  These are the gradually sloped top portions of the two fronts and the back.  I started on the left shoulder.  Once I got to just before the center back, I left the tail of my seaming yarn and concentrated on the neckpiece.  I seamed it up quickly and then went back to my tail of yarn and continued along the back with the neckpiece and right on to the right shoulder seam.  I liked how this was one continuous seam.  It worked out great. You can sew the neckpiece up as a first step, I just happened to do it in this order.

    Next the sleeves!  Fold the sleeve in half, wrong sides together. Line up the center with the shoulder ends. It’s easy to see because it is the seam you JUST sewed together!  Pin it there. I found the ribbed sleeves accordioned much more than the seed stitch sleeve holes.  As a result, I had to make sure I was spreading out the sleeve quite a bit as I was sewing it to the sleeve hole.  If you lack coordination in this area, I suggest properly pinning the entire sleeve INTO place. It may not reach all the way to that 90 degree angle created by the tails of the cardigan, but stretch it as much as you can.

    Once you finish sewing the sleeves to the sleeve openings, just sew the bottom edge of the sleeve together! Weave in ends and you are done!

    It’s THAT simple.

    I used mattress stitch on all of my seams.  It creates the perfect ridge INSIDE the garment.  It makes it much less confusing to have to pin right sides together and inside out.  Using the mattress stitch helps because you can sew the garment in place, right-sides out, and know it is in the exact right spot.

    Due to the nature of our seed stitch and ribbed stitches, it is NOT going to be as clean and simple as a traditional stockinette or garter stitch mattress seam-up.  The tricky part is our seed stitch is not being lined up vertically, but rather in a wonky horizontal way….but it’s okay.  Look for bars within the work (like you would in a more traditional mattress stitch setting) and work with what you can find. If you are not successful with that, just make sure you are entering where you last came out as you switch between sides.  If you are new to mattress stitch—there are many tutorials on YouTube.  Click here for a tutorial on mattress stitch in a traditional seed stitch setting.

    I hope you love your Rio Rancho Cardigan. I am slipping mine on every chance I get. It is the perfect spring into summer garment as it breathes and also provides that extra layer of warmth to take away the chill. I am wearing it on this cold, rainy morning as I type up our last post!  I can’t believe it’s over!  But let’s remember each other as we wear our Rio Rancho Cardigan on those mild spring and summer mornings and evenings, deal?

    Never stop knitting!

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