Modifying An Afghan Square

I mentioned awhile back that I had started on my second square for the Great American Aran Afghan.  This particular square is the Judy Sumner square which is the first square in the pattern booklet put out by Knitter’s Magazine.  Judy, the designer, included a big, honking 3-dimensional spider in this square along with some other bugs.  Since I can’t stand bugs in any shape or form, I decided to leave them out of this square entirely.

That left me with a dilemma.   Should I just knit the vine going up the one side and the X’s and O’s on either border and forget the netting in the upper right corner?  Actually, I’m not entirely sure what that “netting” is supposed to be.  I’m thinking it is probably a spider’s web but I’ve heard other knitters say it was a beehive.  Who knows?  Back to the question at hand.  If I did the first choice, that would leave me with a pretty blank right side to the square.

The second option would be to knit all of the above in the first choice and add the “netting” in the upper corner.  OK, that’s workable.  At least it would add some interest.    And the third option might be to also knit the spider’s “legs” but leave off the body and just call it a design element which would basically fill out the square without the 3-dimensional quality of the original square.

Here’s what I ended up doing.  I had actually started knitting the legs of the spider but decided that would look plain silly so I stopped.  Yup, just switched over to reverse stockinette about six rows into Chart C and I have to tell you, it felt good.  I really started to fly through the square once I did that.  I left the “netting” in, too, because I thought it looked neat and wanted to try knitting it.  So once I had the square finished, I looked it over and tried to decide what I was going to substitute for the spider.  I vaguely had in mind to add something else that was 3-dimensional.  Well, as I examined that lower right corner, the small area where I had been knitting Chart “C” actually looked like the leaf portion of buds to me.  Eureka!  I’d put some small 3-dimensional buds there.  So I whipped up two very short I-cords and sewed them to the square, terminating them at the little “bud” leaf nips.   At that point I jumped to another idea.

A night or two before I reached this point, I had dreamed about this square and in the dream, I had knit up some 3-dimensional flowers.   When I woke up, the idea still sounded pretty good to me (which is not always the case with inspiration that comes to me in a dream).  I had started to look through my knitting library to see what patterns I might have for flowers.  Sure enough, I found an easy little pattern for a rose in the book Beautiful Embroidered & Embellished Knits by Jane Davis.  So I knit up a rose and decided that there was a spot near the top of the square that would lend itself nicely to a full-bodied rose.

Next question that I had to resolve was what color to make this rose.  I could make it in the original color of my square – green.  Hmm, that really didn’t appeal to me.  The other colors that are going to be in this afghan are heathered brown and the pale ivory of my Susan Rainey square.  Somehow the idea of a brown rose wasn’t sitting well with me so I decided to go with the white rose.  Decision made, rose knitted and attached.

Now back to my buds.  I searched for some bud patterns but just couldn’t find any that seemed to suit.  I looked at the remnants of my ill-fated attempt at Chart “C” once more.  You know, it could perhaps be made into two toadstools.  I found some amigurumi patterns for mushrooms or toadstools but looking at them, I couldn’t help but think that they might be mistaken for something a little X-rated.  Back to the “bud” concept.

I basically took the same pattern as the rose pattern but this time I only cast on 18 stitches.  Then I knit only 6 rows of stockinette.   I finished off just like the author recommended, leaving the 12″ tail and pulling it through the stitches but as I pulled, I formed the curling row of stockinette into a bud shape and secured the tail in the back.  Then I took the other tail and used that to further form the bud and again secured it in the back.  Now I had a nice little bud to attach to the top of my I-cord, nestled between the little “leaf” area formed by my few rows of Chart “C”.

The final effect was this……a 3-dimensional square with a meandering rose vine on one side, two rosebuds on the bottom, and a “trellis” in the upper right corner.  There’s nary a bug in sight and I feel safe to lean over and “smell” the roses without worrying about something crawling out to sting me or scare the bejeezus out of me.  It’s a modification that works for me.  And if you also are someone who doesn’t care for bugs on your afghan, perhaps this little discussion will inspire you to tackle a modification of your own.

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