Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Great American Aran Afghan

In July 2004, I started a nearly 2-year-long knitting class. We met once a month for 20 months to make 20, 12 x 12 inch Aran afghan squares from the book The Great American Aran Afghan. Right now, I'm about to finish my final square (I got behind, so I did 16 instead of 20), which means that all I have to do is block a few squares, sew them together, sew a border on them, and voila, I'll have an amazing heirloom-quality merino wool afghan. Below are the 16 squares including the one nearly finished (as is).

The ones that still look "wrinkly," folded, or rectangular instead of square are the ones that haven't been blocked yet, probably still one-third of the total. Blocking is boring, and it means shooing my kitties off my bed for a day, but I'll get these final ones done this week.

When the class started, I was an okay knitter. I was knitting in the intermediate range, and the first squares we did (some of the rust ones) took me the entire month to do, and were a tremendous struggle. Now, almost two years later, and thanks entirely to this class and the fantastic teacher we had, I'm now an advanced if not nearly expert knitter. Same with my classmates. We all turned the corner somewhere around the 9- or 10-month mark.

Because I have to do things differently than the rest of the class, I didn't make an all cream-colored afghan. No, I opted for to make mine in four neutral shades as you'll see below. (If by some miracle I decide in the next few days to go ahead and make 20 instead of 16 squares, my next color will be sand.) This is almost two years worth of work, so be gentle.

These are the gray squares; obviously, the first one is still in progress:

These are the rust squares:

The camel squares:

And finally, the taupe squares. I don't know why this color photographed so inconsistently. They are all the same color, and I'd say that color is closest to this top one:


At Sunday, June 25, 2006 6:36:00 PM, Blogger Diane said...

la - that is absolutely spectacular! I had heard about this class, and am very envious that you did it . . . How wonderful to have created such an heirloom . . .

At Sunday, June 25, 2006 7:12:00 PM, Blogger Jennifer said...

awesome work!!! I am amazed!

At Sunday, June 25, 2006 7:32:00 PM, Blogger ffleur said...

That is some wonderful work there. Very complex squares. Is that a Joshua tree I see in one of them? And I see the fish, is there a story to the squares or a theme?

Good work LA!

At Monday, June 26, 2006 10:11:00 AM, Blogger M-M-M-Mishy said...

Holy cow. One of my tasks on my 101 in 1001 list is to learn how to knit and knit something wearable. After seeing what you've done I realize that I need to get on this task. I'm having trouble casting on.

Gorgeous squares. I can't wait to see them all put together!

At Monday, June 26, 2006 10:36:00 AM, Blogger kookla@work said...

Wowza! Those are great. You are no longer an okay knitter. I am checking out those classes you recommended. I need something to do while I'm watching America's Got Talent.

At Monday, June 26, 2006 1:58:00 PM, Blogger Softball Slut said...

brava brava!! Wondermous

At Monday, June 26, 2006 2:55:00 PM, Blogger Leisa said...

Those are awesome LA. You got talent girl!

At Monday, June 26, 2006 4:51:00 PM, Blogger LA said...

Thanks, everyone, for the kind words.

Ffleur - Aran designs are associated with Irish fishermen. Here is a little history:

The squares in the book I'm knitting this afghan from were the winners of a a contest sponsored by Knitter's Magazine. The 24 winning squares were featured in the magazine, four at a time, beginning in 2000, and then the complete book with the winning was published in 2003. The 24 squares were each designed by a different designer who tells their story or inspiration for their design in the book. Many of them are personal, others are related to fishing, and others still just went for good design with no real story or inspiration behind them.

The designer who created the tree square said her inspiration came from The Tree of Life which is shared by the Irish and Jewish cultures of the friends who inspired her pattern.

At Monday, June 26, 2006 5:56:00 PM, Blogger kookla@work said...

I thought I recognized the tree of life. I thought it was a Menorrah at first. Your work is absolutely beautiful. You should be extra proud of yourself!

At Monday, June 26, 2006 6:44:00 PM, Blogger joy said...

GORGEOUS I love the grey tones with the pom-poms. SO beautiful.

I know it's supposed to be a tree, right?

Love it, so much. thanks for showing us your work.

At Monday, June 26, 2006 9:17:00 PM, Blogger NaughtyVoyeur said...

That is phenomenal. I knitted a scarf.. once :) I heard a story recently which said that knitting is really great for your brain. I didn't catch all of the story.. but something about knitting=smarts :) You must be fucking brilliant then :)

At Friday, June 30, 2006 11:46:00 AM, Blogger Brandon said...

Gate afgan in . org and black . any? ther.

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