Re-knitting a wedding gift


My sister married her wonderful husband (and my favorite brother-in-law EVAR) about two-and-a-half years ago. It was a really great wedding in Seattle, with nary a hitch on the day. Most lovely! And even better than just having a great wedding, the more time I spend with this wonderful brother-in-law of mine (whom I had only met a small handful of times prior to the wedding,) the more I just absolutely love him. He’s a great guy with a perfectly quirky sense of humor and he really loves and takes great care of my sister. What more could I ask for in a brother-in-law?!?

For their wedding, I knit them an afghan. This afghan was HUGE. Like king-sized huge. This isn’t really as big of a deal as it sounds, because it was knit out of Brown Sheep Burly Spun, aka “the fastest yarn in the west.” I’d tell you the meters/grams info, but I’m sure you won’t care. So instead I’ll show you the needle that I used to knit the original blanket with a sock needle (my go-to knitting size – I love a good fine-gague project and prefer to work with smaller yarns and needles, but more on that later) for comparison.

US3 vs US19. Who wins?

See? US 19 needles are HUGE. The only problem with these is that it feels like I’m knitting with toilet paper tubes (or broomsticks?) and they make my hands, wrists, and fingers hurt. I have a callus from these needles. That shouldn’t happen! But combined with some Burly Spun, a project sure does get itself all knit up quite quickly.

So I sent it on to them after the wedding and all was grand and wonderful until an unfortunate accident with their dog, Shadow. The afghan underwent a small … er… brutalization by the dog and my sister called me up with the sad news. She’s not a knitter, didn’t know how best to fix it, so she sent it back to me. My unfortunate reaction was a slightly broken heart and so I shoved the afghan (still in its shipping box) into the very depths of the closet and didn’t take it out again until earlier this year. I frogged it (the hole was quite large and it wouldn’t work to try and just fix it) and put the yarn together with the needles in a bag in the back of the knitting cupboard, where it sat for months.

Dear sister and brother-in-law will be trekking back to the midwest for this Christmas, the first one since they were married. I’m pretty excited to have them around for the holiday! AND, it was added incentive to get the final afghan back together to send back to the Pacific Northwest for their damp winter snuggling needs!

<img class=”aligncenter” src=”” alt=”The revised afghan” width=”500″ height=”333″ />

This is quite a bit smaller than the original size – it’s a generous lap-quilt size, and I think that makes it much easier to use as a throw.

afghan for Jeffica three up

And I LOVE these colors, especially together! The slightly off-centered stripe gives it a little character and some nice contrast. It’s a simple pattern, just a k2tog y/o with a garter stitch border. I can’t remember what the inspiration for this pattern was, otherwise I’d link to it for you and all the world to see. But anyhow, it’s done, and I think I like this version better than the first version.

Most of all, I like the simple lace pattern with the super-bulky yarn. The afghan is warm enough that it would be uncomfortable to knit during the summer months, but it doesn’t feel stifling or bulky or stiff – the lace work really makes the whole thing feel light and fluffy. And the scientist in me likes to ponder how much MORE air is trapped and buffered by the holes formed by the lace, thus keeping its user warmer than if it were a solid work of stockinette stitch.

So what’s the difference yarn-wise between the first version of this afghan and this afghan? Was the hole really so huge that I had to cobble together all the yarn from an originally queen-sized afghan to make a lap-quilt?

The answer is that I didn’t use all the yarn that I harvested from the first afghan. Sweet sister gave the repair a good effort and managed to prevent any major loss of yarn, so I was able to re-harvest almost 6 skeins-worth of an original 6.5 – 7 skeins of burly spun that I used for the first afghan. This revision used about 3-3.5 skeins, leaving a bit left over. I might look into making some pillow shams with the rest, but for now, it’ll sit with the rest of the stash yarn until inspiration strikes. and i’ll probably drop down to US13 needles on whatever else I make from burly spun for now on. those are significantly easier to use and MUCH less painful…

The construction details

  • Yarn: Burly spun, originally purchased at the now out-of-business Kristin’s Knits, in Rochester MN, back in 2009-ish.
  • Needles: Addi-turbo circular US19s, received as a birthday gift from dear sister (the same recipient of this afghan!). These are weird and huge needles, people. They are circulars, but instead of a skinny cable, they have a large (about 1 cm diameter? maybe a few mm smaller, but not much) tube that connects the needles. The most annoying part of this was that the yarn did not slide along the tube. That was irritating, as I was constantly having to yank my knitting along the cable as I was working. The other problem was that the cable came unglued from one needle. There is a small metal piece (pill-shaped) that acted as a clamp of sorts inside of the tube at the needle join. Somehow, this piece became unglued and fell into the needle itself, where it began rattling, and then the tube came undone. I tried to re-glue this using E-6000 glue (which is supposed to affix to ANYTHING) but to no avail. I was able to finish about the last 3/4 of this afghan without too much anxiety by just simply shoving the tube into the needle as far as possible and being vigilant about keeping it there. Not a huge deal, but annoying, none-the-less.
  • Pattern: I know I had an inspiration for this afghan, but I can’t remember what it was. The pattern was really simple, and is as follows: cast on a multiple of 2 stitches plus 10 stitches. knit 5 rows. pattern row 1: knit 5 stitches, (y/o, k2tog) to last 5 stitches, knit to end. pattern row 2: knit 5 stitches, (y/0, p2tog) to last 5 stitches, knit to end. repeat pattern rows to desired length. knit 5 rows. bind off loosely and weave in ends. DONE!

I’m so happy to be done with this now, and it feels great to know that i’ll finally be returning it to its rightful home! And even better because their sweet pup has grown up more now and is better adjusted to their lives together and won’t be repeating her chewing performance with the last version of this blanket… 😉


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