Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Jigsaw Afghan - The Swatch

First I need to insert an appropriate swear word here.  I wrote a long blog post and lost it. (*&^%  Okay I feel better now.

First we will start off with a swatch, but don't worry, it's a small one and when you're happy with it you will have completed the first block of your afghan, lower right-hand corner.

YARN:  You can use any yarn.  I'm using fingering-weight (equal in thickness to sock yarn, baby yarn, Koigu, Knit Picks Palette, Shetland, etc.), SandnesGarn Lanett.  I have a lot of it on hand and it comes in a wide range of colors, but you can use whatever you like.  My final swatch was done on 2.75mm/US #2 needles.

You can also use heavier yarns such as sport, DK or worsted.  If so, then you'll need to use larger needles.  To find the appropriate size, refer to your yarn label.  It's a good starting point.

SIZE:  My swatch measured 2.75 inches square.  The afghan is 13 squares in width and 19 squares in length.  To figure out the finished size of the afghan I multiplied:

2.75 inches x 13 = 35.75 inches (width)

2.75 inches x 19 = 52.25 inches (length)

Add the width of the border to these numbers and you have the finished size of the afghan.  This is the formula. Change the highlighted numbers to suit your swatch.

If you want a larger afghan there are several things you can do:

-- Using a slightly larger needle, e.g. 3.25mm, will make each square slightly larger.  Just be sure that you are happy with the feel of the "fabric", that it's not too loose.

-- You can add more stitches as long as you start with an even number, and then follow the pattern as written. 

-- You can use a heavier yarn.  Just remember to use larger needles, ones that are appropriate to the yarn.  The instructions for the swatch are the same no matter what thickness of yarn you decide on.

-- If you are feeling adventurous, why not get out your graph paper and draw more puzzle pieces?  Use regular graph paper, not knitter's graph paper for this.  The puzzle piece blocks are square.


These directions are what I used, but please, feel free to adjust them to whatever works for you.  You'll need yarn, needles, stitch marker and a small safety pin or thread.


st(s) - stitch(es)
k - knit
sl - slip knitwise
psso - pass the slip stitch over the knit stitch
k2tog - knit 2 stitches together

*HINT*:  I found it easiest to use short straight needles when working with so few stitches.  I used 2 double-pointed needles and put a stopper on the end of each.  Voilà, easy to manage 6-inch needles.

Loosely cast on 40 stitches.

Row 1 (right side): Slip first stitch purlwise, k17 (two sts before the center), sl 1, k1, psso, place marker, k2tog, knit to the end of the row.
Row 2 (wrong side):  Slip first stitch purlwise, knit to the end of the row.
Row 3:  Slip first stitch purlwise, knit to 2 sts before marker, sl 1, k1, psso, slip marker, k2tog, knit to the end of the row.

*HINT*:  Put a pin or a thread on the front of the swatch (see picture) so that you can distinguish the right side from the wrong side.

Repeat Rows 2 and 3 until 6 stitches remain, ending with a wrong side row (Row 2).

Next row:  Slip first stitch purlwise, sl 1, k1, psso, slip marker, k2tog, k1. (4 sts on needle)
Next row:  Slip first stitch purlwise, knit to the end.
Next row:  Sl 1, k1, psso, k2tog.  (2 sts on needle)
Next row:  Slip first stitch purlwise, k1. (»Edited to add this row - see explanation below)
Next row:  K2tog. Break yarn. Pass the tail of the yarn through the loop and tighten.

» Edit: This row was added to give you just a bit more room to pick up stitches along the edge when you get to second afghan strip and above. If you’ve already made squares without this added row, no problem. You can continue, going forward, adding them on your next blocks…no need to go back! This little addition is just to make things easier for you.

Do you like the feel of your swatch?  Is it the size that you want?  If so, then you've just completed your first block.  Tomorrow we'll talk about color and placement, and we'll be making more blocks.

For questions and discussions, please visit our Ravelry group.  If you find errors in this post, please email me at:   joanne @ jconklin . com  (remove the spaces)  so I can correct them.

Swatch on!!

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