Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Of Art and Afghans

I know I don't talk about my knitting on here very often.  That's dumb.  I love talking about my crafting on here, and I should do it more often. So I thought I'd go ahead and say something about it now because I want to, and because I really like this project.  So ta da!

Sometimes I just knit for myself.  Sometimes I even knit patterns by myself.  Which really means I'm knitting from no pattern at all.  But this is what I'm knitting right now.

It's a blanket.  You have to trust me.  When it's finished, (I hope) it's going to look like this:

That's "Homage to the Square: Ascending" by Josef Albers and I love it.  When we took our family trip to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art last summer, I saw "Homage to the Square: Joy" and thought it would be an amazing blanket. 

Then I felt shamefully pedestrian.  My head is almost always thinking about quilts, crocheted blocks, or knitting projects and it's not always great.  Here I was, soaking up art and enjoying family time and something in my brain was trying to yank me back in the direction of craft blogging. 


Those colors.  The squares.  My love of clean lines and simple color arrangements.  It all stuck in my head.

A couple of months ago, I was going back through my pictures and decided to Google Josef Albers.  The man had so. many. homages. to. so. many. squares.  (Go do it!)  Some were four colors.  Some just had three.  Sometimes the colors contrasted.  Sometimes they were all different shades of one color.  I loved it all.  And I thought of blankets.  And that's fine.  I like blankets with clean lines.  I wanted to make one.

I thought about granny squares.  I thought about crocheting a fairly simple square and then working some rows in the round, and some rounds back and forth.  Finally, I thought of garter stitch.  It's easy to pick up, and I'd tried out some log cabin-style knitting on an afghan square earlier in the summer when my knitting group made a blanket as a wedding gift for one of our own.  I love garter stitch.  I like how log cabin knitting looks. 

This was so exciting!

I searched Pinterest until I found an homage to a square that used colors I had in my stash.  Seriously.  This whole project is so hilariously lowbrow and I couldn't care less.  Garter stitch, acrylic yarn, and Pinterest.  And that's fine!  I'm using the materials I have on hand!  And I love garter stitch!  And really, sometimes I love the Internet.  Sometimes it's full of stupidity and ridiculousness, and sometimes it's full of art.  So much art.  Just art being thrown out there for anyone to do anything they like with it, like make blankets.

So that's what I did.

I don't even remember how many stitches I cast on for the center square.  I'm sure I wrote it down somewhere.  I used a #6 needle because it seemed like a good idea at the time.  I should have gone up a size or two, but whatever.  I knit until my work was about as long as it was wide.  And then I started with the white.  I had studied enough squares to know that the sides needed to be 20% the height of the center square.  The bottom rows would need to be half as many rows as the sides, and the top rows would need to be twice as many rows as the sides.  That's it!  It's the simplest thing and it's so pretty!  The center square is a little over 15" X 15", and the sides are about 4ish inches.  And now I've run out of white yarn.  I may pick up some more over this weekend, but I'm in no rush.   Summer isn't the best time to work on a blanket, and now that I've figured out my percentages a bit of the thrill has worn off. 

But I'm still incredibly pleased with this little project, and I think it's going to be beautiful.  It's got some of my favorite things--garter stitches, clean lines, fun construction, stash-busting, doing whatever I want whenever I want--and I think it's going to be one of my favorite projects.

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