The gorgeous afghan is finished! When my friend declined my offer of this afghan as a wedding present, I took no offense at all. First, she has no obligation to accept. Second, I am indeed really happy that I can keep it for myself ... really really happy.
This third afghan project of mine took me 20 months to complete. But as with lots of my other "big" projects, I kind of neglected it for quite some time in the middle. The breaking point was when I got a better idea what needle size to use to get the required gauge. The less frustration meant better motivation.
I finished the last row of the cable border and did the grafting last night. I honestly think that my grafting skill has become pretty decent:I even had the awareness of having to graft the first 4 stitches in the garter stitch way. Don't know how to do it? Here is how.
About the border:
After much consideration and search, I decided to use the cable border in the pattern booklet with just one modification. I used provisional cast on and then grafted the two ends together. It is a sew-on border, which would be a turn-off to many of you. However, if you have the experience of knitting lace shawl border, you should know how to change it into a knit-on one. Or you can have a look at this picture tutorial. If cable knitting is not your thing, you can make a garter stitch border like Susan did ... or any stitch pattern of your choice.
Being a complete copy-cat with little imagination, I arranged the squares in the exact same way as in the booklet. The four pillow squares were added to the top tier:
Since this is such a beautiful afghan, I thought it deserves to be taken outdoors to see the light of day. However, I found some unidentified poo-like objects on the lawn in the apartment complex ... I didn't want to take the risk. So, I just put it on the bushes just outside my patio:
Pattern: The Great American Aran Afghan (XRX Books, 2003)
Amongst the 4 afghan collections published by XRX Books, I believe this is the most loved one as I have no luck searching for people working on the others. For me, it is love at first sight and it is a love that lasts. I also believe that working on this project actually improves my knitting skills. There are certain things that I may not be enthusiastic to do ... first coming to mind is bobbles! But if I want to make the exact same afghan (which is what I want, really), I just have to get them done. And since it is a square at a time, it seems to be a lot bearable.
Yarns: Lion Brand Wool-Ease (20% Wool, 80% Acrylic) Col: Natural Heather
I have lost track of exactly how many balls I used. Only 18 ball bands could be retrieved (yeah, I kept all the ball bands of the yarns I used!), but I believe there are some being tucked aways somewhere inside the apartment. The border alone consumed about 3.5 balls.
I have no complaint concerning Wool-Ease. Actually I am happy that I chose to use this yarn. It is cheap ... and is even cheaper with coupons from Joann's, and the quality is actually acceptable. Will it pill? I don't know ... most probably. But what does it matter? The greatest thumb-up is that I didn't have to keep 20+ balls of yarns for the project at home over years.
Measurements: 72" x 48"
Cast On: December 2005
Cast Off: July 19, 2007
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has visited my blog because of this project. You may or may not have left me comments, but all of you have been really supportive ... for which I am very grateful. Actually, knowing that there are people watching and waiting for me to finish this project provided a great force to drive me to work. So, pardon me for shouting:
THANK YOU ALL VERY MUCH!!!
I already have plan for another afghan project. I am going to make The Great American Afghan for my parents. Wool-Ease would still be my choice of yarns, but I would limit the colours to 2, with either denim or forest green heather as the main colour.