How many frogs will this take?

The first afghan is done, and I think it is going to be for my niece after all. Turns out my youngest nephew already has a knitted afghan, and while the oldest nephew needs one, the colors in the Red Heart Monet are just a wee bit too girly for a little guy.

It is hard to work up any disappointment over this, however, because what this means is that there is one less afghan in my future – phew. Of course this also means that when my big afghan yarn order arrives from Herschnerrs, I’m going to have to send two thirds of it back and exchange for other colors and possibly even a refund. But in the meantime I’ve got the yarn for the younger brother in law waiting, the yarn for the older brother in law is on its way to me, and I’m in the starting struggle with the afghan for Richard, because I told him that I would make him an afghan, and because it is going to be for my very wonderful husband, I want to make something really nice. Plus he loves celtic stuff and what screams celtic stuff on knitted objects more than cables?

So here begins the saga of the afghan. You may all laugh (or groan, depending on your previous experience in such matters) along with me.

The plan for this afghan all along has been to use the Twining Trees motif at each end of the afghan; one right side up and one upside down (so if you folded the afghan in half lengthwise, in other words, it’d be identical on each side). To this end I sat down and painstakingly converted the teeny tiny chart to individual typed rows of instructions. I can read simple charts, but something that busy would have driven me nuts trying to follow while knitting. This way I can cleary see for each row exactly how many of each stitch and cable technique I have to do, without having to decipher teensy little graphics.

However, this by itself would be a little dull, so next I searched for a cable pattern for the edges – something large enough to make a clear border that wouldn’t get too fussy or tedious. I finally decided on the ring cable pattern from this afghan pattern, which will form my left and right edge.

First Try (Thursday): I started knitting with the ring cable pattern on the sides, and some basic moss stitch in the middle to form a base for the twning trees, but about 20 rows in I realized that the moss stitch forms a significantly tighter and shorter fabric than the cabled sections, which was making my whole afghan all lopsided and weird. Sigh. No way to fix this; ripped out the whole thing.

Second Try (Friday): I next decided to try just straight stockinette, and start the twining trees from the bottom instead of starting them further in. However, there’s enough space between the bases of the trees and the edges of the ring cable pattern that it was curling. I tried to tell msyelf that it was fine, but after about 20 rows, I just couldn’t stand it anymore, and frogged the whole thing aain.

Third Try (Saturday): Obviously there needed to be something in the 30 or so stitches between where the trees start and the ring cable pattern ends. I decided to try a basic non-cabled diamond pattern, which, while it wasn’t as visible as I was hoping, was working, well, *okay* enough that I could convince myself it would be fine. But there was still curling around the base of the trees, and the not very visible diamond pattern was starting to annoy me, no matter how much I tried to pretend that it didn’t. So….

Fourth Try: This morning I lay in bed, my brain racing around with possibilities. I still really want to give the twining trees a base, so that there is no curling around the bottom where they start, and as much as I was trying to avoid yet more cabling on this darn thing, if I want the diamond pattern to show, there is just no way around it but to cable those. Or I could just give up on the diamond pattern entirely and add yet another cable motif to the mix. Maybe something like this, perhaps. Since it’s the perfect number of stitches. Hmmm.

Of course, this only takes me through the first few feet of the afghan. I am well aware of the fact that the twining trees pattern is only about 60 total rows, and even counting two of them, there’s going to be a big huge empty expanse of boring stockinette in the center that is likely going to be crying out for a single cable motif just to keep it from being too dull. And this also does not take into account that I have yet to sit down and chart out the twining trees motif upside down, since I’m going to be doing the second one from the top down once I near the end of this thing. But I am telling myself that at least by the time I reach these crucial points, I will no longer have to rip the whole darn thing out. I may end up ripping and redoing whole sections, but not the whole thing.

I know that once I am finally done with this afghan (and I have a feeling this one is going to take me a while) it’s going to be something I’ll be extremely proud to have made. Technically it’s the first thing I’ve ever ‘designed’ by myself, and I’m not so sure this really counts as an original design anyway since all I’m doing is cobbling together pieces from things other people have already done. But still, the point is that this is going to look fabulous when it’s completed and I really can’t wait to see it when it’s done. I just wish I had a clearer picture of how to actually *get* it there in the first place.

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