Anatomy of An Afghan

At some point in the dark, long ago past, I decided to make an afghan for each of my children. I can truly say this was a decision arrived at a very long time ago because I distinctly remember working on a square of Alex’s afghan when the whole hanging chad controversy was going on. I was sitting in a hotel room knitting away on a square of his afghan. It is probably a good thing that I decided three children was enough.

I did finish Alex’s afghan. I designed it around the American flag. It is funny to think back that even when Alex was in kindergarden, he loved the flag. Now, of course, he serves his country.

Alex's afghan

Detail from Alex's afghan

The snake is made from i-cord and I knit the whole thing using Lamb’s Pride which is one of my favorite all purpose yarns. The intarsia stars were a bit of a headache and I used three-needle bind-off to attach the garter ridges between squares. I must have finished it about five years ago.

It was not long after that that I found the perfect afghan pattern for Peter. Peter loves his cats and all cats better than his family–I think. He says he loves us, but I wouldn’t want to be in a positon where he had to choose.

The purrfect pattern

Although this was a kit, I had some changes and embellishments to make it more personal for Peter. The yarn that came in the kit was from New Zealand. That also made it more personal since we all loved that country. Of course, I went to New Zealand in search of much yarn. While there were sheep galore, yarn mysteriously eluded me. This was very nice wool and I enjoyed working on it.
I loathe intarsia. There are few people on earth for whom I would undertake an intarsia project much less one this big. Intarsia is the purest expression of love.
I am also not that big on brown and beige. This was a whole lot of brown and beige. But there were also lots of yarn with texture and I enjoyed working with that. The mice along the edge strips were fun.
I worked on the afghan in fits and starts. I always have tons of projects going so there would be breaks. Nonetheless this is a well-traveled afghan. At least in parts it visited many states and a few foreign countries.
Sometimes I thought I would never finish, but about a year and a half ago I started to aim for specific holidays. I missed last Christmas and Peter’s birthday, but there was no way I was missing this year.
The process:

New Zealand yarn

Block by block it grew

It seemed to take forever

Each block was 60 stitches by 78 rows

After knitting each block got a bath

And a blocking into shape

A special block honoring Peter's three cats

Careful joining to keep everything aligned

The blocks were sewn in rows together

Thankfully I had help

It started to take shape

Signed and dated

Attached i-cord to finish the piece

The last two weeks were a frenzy. I had spent a lot of time getting prepared for the Norfolk Craft Fair and I was behind in a tight schedule. I started getting up early to work and was thankful Peter was off at Pace. With one week to go, I had two squares to knit, one short strip of edging, the sewing together and the edging to do. I finished at 4:30 on Christmas Eve.


Waiting for Santa had me on edge. It is always hard to tell with Peter what he will like and if he will show how he feels. I think he was overwhelmed, but very happy. He had no idea what I was making. For years I had sat in the same room with him working away and he had never paid attention. He has been snuggling with the afghan so I know he likes it.
He says it is warm and soft. He hasn’t said much else, but his reaction is enough. I told him every stitch was made with love. Given that there were probably about 100,000 stitches, that is a lot of love.

The finished product

Of course, no good deed goes unpunished. I still have one more child and one more afghan to go. Ellie should expect hers for her 30th birthday.

3 Comments to “Anatomy of An Afghan”

  1. I am so impressed!!! You are a master. You go girl. All I endeavored to do was a cross stitch sampler for the younger Atlanta Frosts – Robbie on down. Got Robbie’s done. Maybe I’ll do one for Deacon instead.

  2. Pshh I bet you’ll be done by the time I’m 25

  3. Wow, you are patient. And talented.

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