Friday, September 5, 2014

Reversible Diamonds Afghan, Part Deux

This is the Reversible Diamonds afghan, designed by Shari Haux and published in Easy Afghans for Knitters, which I have just finished knitting for the second time.

I first made this afghan for my bedroom back in 2008, and though I like the pattern I made the mistake of choosing the wrong yarn for it. I used an acrylic worsted, TLC Amore in "Vanilla", which is more accurately described as a very pale peach. It was pretty enough, but was so light and thin it had no warmth to it at all, which is not exactly a desirable quality in an afghan intended for use in a Toronto house that was built in 1912 and that is warmed by a 1991 furnace. So even on the day I finished the peach afghan (and I still remember the relief and delight with which I cast off that last stitch with exactly 6" of yarn to spare!), I knew I'd have to eventually make another afghan for my room.

Introducing the new version of the Reversible Diamonds afghan. However, I think I've again chosen the wrong yarn for it. This time I used Phentex Fashion Twenty-Three in "Icicle White", a super bulky blend of acrylic, polyester, mohair and wool. I bought eleven 100g skeins of this yarn from the Zellers in my area circa 2011 for one dollar per skein, plus tax. Then I discovered I had two more identical skeins in my stash that I'd bought a number of years before as seconds. This afghan therefore cost me under $15 to make. This is not why I decided I'd chosen the wrong yarn.

The yarn proved to be something of a drag to knit with, because there was so much resistance from the fluffy texture, and mohair always does mat together. It's no fun to have to fight with your yarn at every stitch. I initially began this afghan in February and it wound up being one of those projects I could not keep myself at and kept putting aside to work on anything else, until mid-August, when I took it up with grim resignation and told myself I could not work on anything else until it was done. However, that "hard to knit with" quality is also not why I feel this was a bad yarn choice for this afghan, because obviously that's a time limited drawback.

This yarn does have quite a bit going for it: it feels nice, it looks good, and it certainly can't be accused of not being warm. So what's the fatal flaw? The big drawback is that this yarn is hand wash only, and this afghan is 3'6" x 6'4". I didn't clue into this until the afghan was half done. Oh well, I suppose I can wash it in the bathtub a few times a year, put it through the spin cycle on the washing machine, and spread it out on towels on the attic floor to dry. And cross my fingers that my cat finds other locations to yak up his hairballs so that the afghan needn't be washed more than a few times a year. Trilby never did put the old afghan (which was machine washable and dryable) to that purpose, so there's hope of that.

Besides refiguring the number of stitches in a row to suit a super bulky yarn rather than the worsted this pattern called for, I accidentally made one other mod. The border is supposed to be done in a seed stitch, but I think I messed that up back in February and decided to just go with the stitchwork I'd inadvertently come up with instead. I call it "moss ribbing".

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