Connecting the Pieces

For those of you who have spent the last 23 hours or so churning out single mitered squares and are waiting with bated breath for installment number two of the blankie tutorial, here we go. While you weren’t looking, I knit up a second singleton square the same way as the first. I laid them side by side, right sides up. The right side is the one where you can see your decreases, the ridge in the middle will be a ridge rather than a valley on this side.

Notice all those yarn ends? We’ll be dealing with them later. As someone pointed out, we are going to have a lot of fiddly yarn ends, but never fear I have coping mechanisms to help you deal with them.

Starting with the square on the right, you are going to pick up and knit 15 stitches from the top point down the left side to the middle corner. You should be able to do this by picking up one stitch in each of the chain links down the side of the block. If you’re short a stitch, just find one either in the very top or the very bottom of the edge.

With the same needle, you need to pick up and knit 15 more stitches on the lefthand block from the middle corner to the top. When you have done this, it should look something like this:

Turn the work, and knit across the back side till you get to the middle between the two pieces. Pick up the running yarn, and make an increase stitch right between them. Sorry this picture isn’t all that great. I took it myself while Julie was eating lunch and my thumb holding the work got in the way.

Finish knitting the row plain. Turn your work again, and suddenly you should recognize where you are. You’re ready to do your first decrease row for the block, just like you did in the first single block. Go ahead and knit that square up, and you should have a little group of three squares that look something like the group on the right in this picture:

So then you either make another single block, or pull one out of the pile you already did today while I was busy playing in the sand box, dragging Julie to the allergist, and changing no fewer than three poopy diapers among other things. Join that one to the group you just made, and you’re on your way. Here’s a picture of that end of my blankie once the group of three was joined in:

Once you’ve got your row going, you’ll have a bunch of peaks and valleys, ready for you to pick up more stitches on the top and add in another row of blocks. Pick up the 15 stitches on the right, then pick up a single stitch from the block in the middle, then 15 more from the block on the left. Knit back across the back, turn again and you’re ready to start your decreases.

If you want to do something a little different, you could try building up higher peaks and valleys and pick up four blocks’ worth of stitches at once to make a giant mitered square. I’m planning to insert these at random in my blanket. Notice, I’ve got a fairly large ball of yarn attached to this one, but if you were to run out mid-ball, you could just spit-splice in another yarn for a cool effect. We’ll see how my giant square looks tomorrow, I hope.

As you get past your second row or so, you’ll need to do something about the edges of your blanket to keep them from getting narrower and narrower, turning it into a triangle shape if you don’t add in a filler block on the edge. To do this, pick up stitches on the leftmost square in the second row (in my example, it’s the heathered purple one), pick up your one stitch in the square below (the one with the orange and black stripes), and then cast on 15 more stitches to make the other half of the square.

I added an extra one on the left side so I could make the thing a little taller while I figured out how wide I wanted it to be. I think I’ve gotten it just about wide enough now, so I’ll be adding in more blocks at the edge on the right and stacking it taller in the next few days. Here’s what I have so far. All the white strings hanging down are scrap yarn that will be taken out as I knit on the I-cord bind-off. I think I’m going to start that part next week some time just to clear up some of those nasty ends, and also to make sure that it works out okay so I can formulate a plan B if I have to before I go too much further. I’m actually going to buy a couple skeins of a solid navy blue for the border, I think.

As it came time for the mail carrier to show up today, I wondered whether he would bring any yarn with him – I thought if someone had been in a real rush to the post office and they weren’t too far away, it was possible. Not yet, and I breathed a sigh of relief. I still have a bit of time left to prepare for the onslaught. We here at the Kang household suffer from no lack of stash to begin with, and I thought maybe you would like to see where your yarn is going to end up, at least while I sort it out. My office room doubles as our guest bedroom, and I took a few pictures from the corner while sitting on the bed, then stitched them all together in Photoshop. The room looks a lot bigger than it actually is, I guess because of the perspective in the photos.

The swift and ballwinder are waiting patiently on the table. At least one person said she is sending me a ball that her cat tangled up, and I’m prepared to split other skeins up to go in various kits should I actually receive the amount of yarn that people have threatened to ship here.

There are a couple of tubs of baby clothes waiting to be disposed – either on e-bay or to the local charity thrift shop – but I’m waiting till they’re close to in season again to take care of that.

The closet is mostly filled with bins of yarn, knitted objects and knitting tools, although there is a sewing machine in there along with some empty project baskets, some – dare I admit it – scrapbooking materials, and other various junk too.

My desk is a cluttered jumble, but I’m enjoying a Summit Winter Ale that has been in our fridge since the party we threw in December. This whole burial-in-yarn thing is driving me to delicious drink. I also have a knitting project on my desk for while I’m reading something or waiting for a page to load. It’s not the blankie. It’s a leg for the pants I’m knitting Julie, which is mostly plain stockinette and requires absolutely no thought or eye contact.

There are a couple of bookshelves covered with techno-crap and other things that needed to be out of Julie’s reach. On the tall bookshelf is more stash, too pretty to be stuck in te hcloset – a few skeins of sock yarn waiting to be started – this yarn is not part of the blanket project because I don’t know exactly how much, if any, will be left over after the socks are knit. That depends partly on who they’re for. I even have a few skeins of Koigu hanging on the wall, which you can just barely see at the far right. I keep telling myself I better hurry up and knit them before they get sun-damaged.

Okay, now you know what it looked like before the packages and piles from this wonderful project take over my room. I really need to try to contain it in here so that Little Miss Julie doesn’t destroy it all. What you didn’t see, because they’re not in my office, are the bookshelves of knitting books and the several baskets of work in progress. Those are for another day. I have to go catch up on the sleep I didn’t get last night.

9 Responses to “Connecting the Pieces”

  1. The Purloined Letter says:

    This is going to be so cute!

  2. Allison says:

    This is the BEST set of directions for making mitred squares (and I’ve looked at a lot of them!) If I didn’t have two projects on needles and another six in the queue, I’d be making a mitred squares blanket along with you…

    Thank you, Shelly! I’ll be storing this page for the day when I do have time to tackle mitred squares.

  3. kelpkim says:

    hi there! well, i sent the sock yarn leftovers off yesterday and hopefully you’ll get it on Monday! let me know when you get it so i know it got to you safely. happy knitting! :o )

  4. Dee says:

    Thank you, Shelly, for posting this pattern. It’s very cool. But I’m wondering if it can be done with all live stitches – that is, no picking up stitches, etc. I have Iris Schreier’s book “Modular Knits” and I’ll have to take a cruise through it. I have in mind a long cast on in one color for a border, maybe black, and knit a couple of rows, then start the diamonds, leaving the edge stitches live. Am I making sense???

  5. Maureen says:

    Love the new idea for the sock leftovers blanket! Great idea! You have a beautiful family!

  6. Anonymous says:

    How many stiches do you pick up for the random largish squares??

  7. Åsa says:

    Hello Shelly
    I found your pattern yesterday, and started to knit a few last night. It is lovely and soo funny. We are the distributors in Sweden for Opal sockyarn so I have a huge collection of leftovers.
    Now I wonder if it is ok with you that I translate you pattern and give it for our retailers and klients in Sweden? Please contact me on : info@opalgarn.se
    Thank you very mutch for my new passion !
    Best regards Åsa

  8. Janice Lydic says:

    Hi Shelly
    I am so happy to meet you! I have been making the sock yarn afghan for a couple of months. My question is on the four square block, is it 61 stitches or 62? I could experiment and come up with the answer, however I would like to know how you do it. I also want to know how you add blocks to the right.
    If you ever come to Toledo, OH I would give you a massage.
    Janice Lydic
    From The Heart Massage Therapy
    p.s. I love making socks so I have lots of sock yarn!

  9. Chava says:

    Your directions are so clear.I can also see using them for joining any squares–including crocheted squares f you can figure the knitting gauges to g with. Is this the same as entrelac? If so it’s much clearer than any I’ve seen.

    Anywy I’m going to start sme squares.

    Thank you

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