Rowan Mystery Afghan KAL – Finally finished!

So I’m back with a bang! Can you believe it’s been almost 2 years since Rowan first launched their Martin Storey Mystery Afghan KAL? If it’s been so long that you’ve forgotten, you can see my other blog posts here. And I have finally finished the huge amount of sewing required just in time (OK, a little bit late) to gift the blanket to my brother and new sister-in-law on their wedding. I think it looks absolutely amazing and I’m so pleased that they like it too.

Here are some photos of the finished Afghan spread out in our guest room. It’s a dark winter’s day here today so the lighting wasn’t great, but I think the colours still came out reasonably well.

PWW Afghan Complete

PWW Afghan TopPWW Afghan Bottom Left

PWW Afghan Bottom RightPWW Afghan Middle

What an epic project. I stopped and started so many times that it’s taken me 1 year and 8 months to finish. Yikes! But what a fantastic sense of satisfaction now it’s done. I hope this will inspire you to pick up one of your long term languishing projects over the Christmas period.

Rowan Mystery Afghan KAL – On The Home Straight

Despite all the current excitement being about the Kaffe Fassett KAL, I still have the Martin Storey Afghan KAL plodding along in my knitting queue. A whole bunch of life drama and regular commitments meant that it was completely impossible for me to keep up with the demanding schedule of 6 squares per week and so I very quickly fell behind. I’m pleased to say that in the last couple of months I’ve made some fantastic progress and a couple of weeks ago I finally finished all my squares. Don’t they look great?

Squares All Knitted

In this photo there are slightly more than half the squares blocked and ready for sewing together. It just goes to show much flatter they are once blocked, because the unblocked pile is much taller even though it has fewer squares in it!

Week 8 Ripple Cable

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Week 8 Ripple Cable

This is the final square clue for the KAL and the only one I haven’t posted about before. I knitted some of the other squares in a funny order due to the time constraints I had, often leaving more complicated clues after just one or two squares to finish an easier clue from further along in the sequence. The Week 8 squares I left until the very end, when everything else was done.

On opening the chart, I was convinced that it was going to be a nightmare to knit as it looked so complicated and fiddly. In actual fact it turned out to be quite a simple and regular repeat that I was able to do from memory after just a few times so I managed to rattle off all six squares for this clue with no trouble at all! This really helped me with getting past the main stage and towards the final hurdle.

I love cables and lace so, despite being a latecomer, I think this has become my favourite square of the whole blanket!

Week 9 Cable Trim

Pattern Download

Week 9 Cable Trim

This meant that it was finally time to cast on the cable edge, which I did excitedly just as soon as the squares were all knitted up.

Since then I’ve knitted about 40% of the edging. It needs to be very long but as it’s narrow it knits up pretty quickly. I want to block a small section soon to check how much longer it gets when blocked so that I can be sure how much I’ll need to go all around the edge of my squares. The pattern suggests about 550cm for the edging but my squares have all come out at 22cm rather than the 20cm recommended in the pattern, so I might need more. Plus the edging is curling really badly due to the cables, so I’d rather get it blocked nice and flat and even before I need to sew it on.

So there we go, the end is definitely in sight!

Cable Edge Started

Rowan Mystery Afghan KAL – Over The Hump

Well, hello again! Unfortunately my weekly KAL updates were thrown out of kilter by being away on holiday for week, then my team leader at work being on holiday for 2 weeks, then various other commitments and minor health issues since have left me without a lot of energy or time for knitting and blogging, which has caused exponential slide in my KAL timetable. To try to keep up with the latest clue, I decided to just make 2 squares per week so that I could at least see what the finished squares looked like and talk about the patterns, but even that turned out to be too much to cope with.

After my trip to the Rowan Mill for the Ambassadors conference (more on that when I have time to write up another blog post!) I realised that I’d lost count of how many squares I’d finished for each week and in which colour, so I was at risk of duplicating squares if I wasn’t careful. To get everything back on track, I got all my squares together in piles for each week and made a spreadsheet (of course!) of how many I’d done in each colour for each week. I was very sad to find that I was only half way, when I’d felt that I must have been further along than that!

I’ve managed a few more squares since then, I now have a total of 28 completed and 20 still to finish so I’m definitely over the hump. I’m way behind Rowan’s schedule, but then I’m not sure how anyone with a life to lead has managed to keep up. Very well done if you have!

Lets have a quick round-up of the patterns that I’ve got to since my last post…

Week 4 – Lace Kisses

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Week 4 - Lace Kisses

I had heard from some other knitters that this square could come out a little short, so on the first one I added 2 extra rows of Stocking stitch both above and below the lace panel, but the square was still a bit short. On the second one I added 4 rows at the top and bottom (instead of only 2) and was much happier with the result – definitely closer to square. You’ll notice that the green one below is the one with only 2 rows added at each end, the purple has 4 at each end.

So far I’ve only managed 2 squares of this pattern – I found the repeat a little tricky to master from memory so they require a bit more time and attention than some of the other squares. I’ll have to get back to them soon, though!

Week 4 Lace Kisses

Week 5 – Dots & Dashes

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Week 5 - Dots & Dashes

This was another square that I’d heard could come up short, so I added 2 rows of Stocking stitch between the garter stitch rows and the first row of dashes at the bottom, then again at the top between the last row of dashes and the garter stitch edging. This gave me nice equal squares.

I initially came unstuck because I’d somehow missed the “Row 2 and every following alternate row” so my repeats were only half height and the bobbles were on the wrong side! It didn’t help that I was knitting when very tired… I asked around because I couldn’t see why the pattern didn’t work, and was put right by some other KAL knitters. This is definitely why I prefer working from charts, that sort of mistake is far less likely to happen! After that, week 5 became a favourite in the easy-to-remember stakes. It’s a nice, short repeat that meant I could complete a whole square without any reference to the pattern after just one or two repeats.

The only thing I’m not sure about is my bobbles, they don’t seem to protrude as much as the ones in Rowan’s photo. I haven’t blocked any squares from this pattern yet, so hopefully that will help. Two of these are done, four still to go.

Week 5 Dots & Dashes

Week 6 – Little Doughnuts

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Week 6 - Little Doughnuts

Week 6 is one of my favourite squares for appearance. I love the contrast of the slightly shorter garter stitch squares with the taller stocking stitch squares containing the doughnuts. For once I got pretty much a perfect square with no adjustments needed to the height, so that made things easier. This is another very easy repeat to remember and I managed to burn through all six of these squares pretty quickly, including knitting two almost entirely whilst at the Rowan Ambassador conference!

Week 6 Little Doughnuts

Week 7 French Plait

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Week 7 - French Plait

I’ve only just started a square from week 7, but so far I’m enjoying it very much. Another short, symmetrical repeat that is easy to memorise from the excellent chart provided. I love a good cable, although I don’t knit them often, so I’ve really enjoyed the result of this pattern. The garter stitch panel looks really lovely behind the cable plaits as well.

Personally I’m not a fan of messing about with cable needles if I don’t have to, so to knit these squares and the doughnuts from week 6 I’ve been using this method of cabling without a cable needle. The first part of the video shows how to do cables with a cable needle, so if you don’t need that information then use this link which skips you ahead to 3:41 in the video where she shows the needle-less method I’ve been using. It seems a little scary and fiddly initially, but once you’ve mastered it you’ll be wondering why you ever needed a cable needle at all!

Week 7 French Plait

 

This is what my collection of squares looked like at the half-way point (some blocked, some not). How are you getting on with yours?

Half The Blanket Squares

Rowan Mystery Afghan KAL – Week 3 Update

Week 3 of the KAL is here! As yesterday was a bank holiday in the UK, the latest clue was released today and you can download it here. Week 3 - Heirloom Lace

Week 3’s Heirloom Lace is my favourite square so far. I love the appearance of a simple and symmetrical lace pattern (I think it’s the logical and mathematical side of me!) and also the lace repeat is nice and easy to follow without the pattern, once you’ve got the hang of it. Add the 7 rows of garter stitch in between each lace panel and you’ve got a square that knits up really quickly and easily.

With early access to the pattern and a long weekend for knitting, I’ve already managed to finish four squares (not blocked though) and got most of the way through the fifth as well! Although I have to admit that I’ve still only done 2 squares from week 2, I’ll have to catch those up in the rest of this week…

Week 3 Heirloom Lace Squares

In contrast to last week, the latest pattern is in written format only with no chart. Whilst I was getting used to the lace repeat and particularly when I was knitting whilst watching TV, I found a chart really helpful to keep my place properly. To that end, I made a PDF that I could load on my phone when I needed it. If you prefer charts, please feel free to download a copy to accompany the clue:
Week 3 – Heirloom Lace Chart

Let me know how your KAL is coming along, I’d love to see photos of your progress!

Rowan Mystery Afghan KAL – Week 2 Update

It’s week 2 of the knit-along already! The second clue can be downloaded here, remember that you need a free Rowan member account to get the download.
Week 2 - Nordic Star Pattern

Week 2’s Nordic Star pattern has only a chart, not written instructions as seen in last week’s pattern. If you’ve not worked with charts before, Dayana has posted some great advice in the week 2 discussion thread on Ravelry. Do check it out!

So, here’s what the Garter Stitch Waves square for week 1 looks like in my shades:
Week 1 - Garter Waves shades

I found that my squares came out more rectangular than actually square and a little larger than the the pattern suggested they would (20 x 20 cm). I was going to struggle to block them to anything less than 22 cm wide and I really wanted them to end up properly square, so I blocked them really hard lengthwise to get a 22 x 22 cm result.

Yesterday evening was spent blocking all 6 squares, so I’m officially all finished for week 1.
Week 1 completed squares

As I was lucky enough to get an early sneak-peek at the week 2 pattern, I have already completed two squares for this week and also blocked them last night. I found that these squares came out smaller than the week 1 squares and also had an even greater disparity between their width and height. Again I was easily able to block them to 22 cm wide but had to stretch them even more to block them to 22 cm tall, but I managed it with some significant effort. I had seriously sore fingertips after all that opening and closing of safety pins!

Here are two squares for this week so far, one in each of my shades:

Week 2 - Nordic Star shades

Update: An early draft of the week 2 pattern had fewer rows above and below the main star pattern. I mistakenly used the old pattern instead of the updated version, which is why my squares were so significantly shorter than they were wide! I will be using the correct version of the pattern for the other four squares I knit for this week.

How have your week 1 squares gone so far? Are you ready and raring to go for week 2?

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