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6 March 2009

Let's begin the knit-along

I always like doing those simple tasks that connect me with my history - washing up, sweeping, raising chickens, gardening and stitching are all things my great, great grandmas would have done. And they would probably have reflected that the same things they were doing had been done by their many times great grandmothers as well. Many of the things we do in our lives now are far removed from the past, but I rest assured that when I plunge my hands into warm soapy water to wash the dishes, when I pick up my broom and when I stitch, I am doing exactly what's been done by women and men throughout our long history. That makes me feel good.

Knitting is also one of those history-friendly tasks, and it was done by women and men, all through the years, in fact knitting was originally men's work. Men are still knitting now but in far fewer numbers than women. I was hoping one of the men who read here would take up the needles for this knit-along. Maybe one will stand up and represent his gender today. :- )

But even if it is us girls clicking our needles all over the world, it will be a lovely way of showing how knitting not only connects us to our past, but also to each other. There are 27 knitters taking part, with a couple of maybes and a couple of crocheters. I'll make a special section for this on my blog and as we go through the coming months, we can add to our projects with photos, showing our progress. There is no deadline - just knit to your own pace, according to what is happening in your life each week. I expect some weeks I'll get a fair bit done, other weeks I might only manage one square.

This throw/rug/afghan/blanket/blankie pattern will be as simple as you want to make it. You choose the stitches you're familiar with or follow what I'm doing. The stitches I choose will be easy - just a combination of plain and purl - but they'll produce textured squares. I found this list of knitting abbreviations that has many videos of the stitch they're describing, attached. If you're a beginner, look at "K" for the plain (knit) stitch and "P" for the purl. Both have videos attached that show the stitch.

I started off doing one garter stitch square, which is just cast on, plain knit stitch, cast/bind off, and one in stocking/stockinette stitch. That is cast on, one row of plain, followed by one row of purl until the desired square size was reached, then cast/bind off. My squares are using 28 stitches. If you're going smaller or larger, go up or down four stitches, because the textured patterns I'm using work in sets of four. Using 28 stitches gives me 7 sets of 4 stitches. I'm using 8 ply yarn on no.7 needles. You will also need a straight ruler.

Let me say right here that I'm not an expert knitter. There are many very good knitters here though so if you get stuck, make a comment and I, or one of our knitting buddies, will help you.

A couple of the ladies commented that joining the squares together is a bit of a task, so I'm going to join strips together as I go, and then join the strips at the end. Does anyone have a suggestion for how to join the squares? I would like to hand stitch with yarn but I'm not sure how practical that is.

This is the textured stitch I'll be doing today:
MOCK DOUBLE RIB - It looks like rib but doesn't stretch like normal rib.

Abbreviations: p = purl, k = knit (plain)

Cast on 28 stitches
1st row: k to the end
2nd row: p1, k2, p2 and repeat until you get to the last 3 stitches - then do k2, p1.
Keep repeating rows 1 and 2 until you have what looks like a square. Then measure your knitting - whatever the width is, you will need to keep knitting until you reach the same measurement in length.
When you've reached that length and you have a square, cast/bind off.

Everyone will have different tension in their knitting, so our knitting will either be tighter or looser. Your 28 stitches might be 6 inches, mine might be 5.5 inches, someone else's might be 4.5 inches. That is all good - the measurement we are aiming for is a 28 stitch square and whatever size your knitting tension gives you is fine, as long as all your squares turn out the same size.

It's always wonderful starting out on a new knitting project but this one has that added bonus of knitting alongside friends, all doing the same project. I really like that! Thank you for joining me - now let's begin and make up some fine looking blankets.


  1. I saw this on youtube. It is a video showing joining two squares by crocheting a slip stitch. It could be used for knitted squares too I think.


  2. I was planning on crocheting a multi-coloured blanket this year anyway, in time for next winter, so it would be lovely to do it with other people too! Mine will be quite plain crochet, but I might decorate it once I've made it and assembled it. We'll see how it goes!

  3. Good morning Rhonda,

    I'm really going to enjoy knitting along with all your ladies. Even though I'm doing something a little different, it will still be a rug (for the floor). Its a nice feeling to know we are all linked in this and that I'm using up wool that has been sitting in my cupboard for ages. Most of it was given to me so it really has only cost me the price of the needles. Have a great weekend.

    Blessings Gail

  4. Hi Rohnda,

    I already have a question and I haven't even started yet.

    In reading the instructions:

    "Cast on 28 stitches
    1st row: k to the end
    2nd row: p1, k2, p2 and repeat until you get to the last 3 stitches - then do k2, p1."

    Is this telling me on the second row p1, k2, p2,p1, k2, p2... so actually there are 3p's once you get going?


  5. Thanks Donna!

    Jennie, I'm sure it will be lovely.

    Gail, I love homemade floor rugs, I'm looking forward to seeing yours.

    Karyn dear, that's right. You'll do five lots of p1, k2, p2 (which will make up 25 stitches), then end with k2, p1.

  6. this sounds like a great idea. my son (he's 14) taught me to knit last summer and i could use tons of practice. he took a class during middle school to meet girls :) he's a very intense person.. all muscles and testosterone but when he sits down to knit, he's such a lamb. he can change the energy of the entire house by knitting

  7. When I was a little girl, my mother crocheted and my father was a knitter. All I remember her making were afghans and the occasional doily, and he made sweaters, scarves, and dresses for the whole family (mostly made up of women). I think more men should definitely knit!

  8. I make blankets that get sent to orphanages in Europe...I use a simple crochet stitch to join them - it is relatively fast, simple and looks good...if you wanted something invisible stitching together might be better.

  9. I would like to join this as well. I have alot of older yarn pieces and I have been thinking about making a floor rug. Different colored squares then sewed together. Is it okay if I join in?

  10. sure Debbie, it's good to have another knitter.

  11. This is going to be so much fun. I am going to enjoy seeing other poster's work, whether it's knitting or crochet. I really am addicted to yarn, I think. I find myself spending more and more of my relaxation time with my crochet hook in hand.

  12. I love knitting and its so therapeutic, i'm doing the swap but knitting will keep me away from the pc at night time. A good thing believe me!!!

    cheers Rhonda..... love your blog!!

  13. Been reading your blog for a while now. I feel like I have found a far more successful, simplified kindred spirit. Thanks for sharing your life! Is it too late to get in on the knitting project? I am a beginner (learned over Christmas break) and probably won't be able to keep up, but it sounds fun to work on the project together. I certainly have not reached the meditative state with my knitting. Mine is knit a little-Oooops-Take out a lot! Hard to have much progress like this. Maybe your simple squares to share are just the motivation I need

  14. Hi Rhonda. I found your blog today and what caught my eye at first was that we share the same name. Once I clicked over to visit you, I see that we share alot more than just a name.

    I would love to join the knit-along, I am just learning and this would be a perfect way to get advice and motivation from knitters far more experienced than me.

    I've really enjoyed wandering around your site, I will be back often.


  15. Hi Rhonda,

    This is a great idea. Just a note for everyone, that from stitch pattern to stitch pattern (even if you're the same knitter doing each square), your 6" (or whatever size square you're making) may require either more or less stitches to turn out that size. Some stitch patterns just naturally "suck in" or "spread out" (one of the considerations used when designing with particular stitch patterns) your 28 sts may not always produce a 6" square. Not that you'd necessarily mind if some of the squares were wider or narrower, but you might, so just mentioning it just in case. :)

    As for joining, a lot depends on the look you like. Some people like to crochet them together, either from the right or wrong side. Others like to whipstitch them together (this makes a very non-bulky seam). Mattress stitch produces a very invisible seam, but can require a bit different methodology for joining different stitch patterns. Backstitch will give you a nice right side, but the wrong side will have bulkier seams. Kind of just depends on your personal taste, your degree of patience, or the skills at hand. :)

    Looking forward to seeing photos of progress!


  16. Hi Rhonda,
    I just started my first knitting project ever today. I have always wanted to learn to knit and you have inspired me to actually give it a try. I can't wait to be skilled enough to do a larger project other than the scarf I am working on now. I have always wanted to make a sweater and socks...maybe someday.:)

  17. Jen, many thanks for your advice. I have knitted up half the rib square and even though they said the rib doesn't pull in, it does. I think I'll have to knit a border band on both sides to make it fit.

    Good on you, Diana. I hope this is the start of a long affair with needles and yarn.

  18. I have been knitting for many years(about 60!), and have made many, many sweaters and afghans in my lifetime. I've always joined my seams using a crochet hook and a simple slip stitch or single crochet stitch, which leaves a beautifully neat ridge at the seam line.

    May I also make this suggestion: No matter what row or what stitch pattern you are using on the squares, if you ALWAYS KNIT (plain stitch) the FIRST AND LAST STITCH OF EVERY ROW, it gives you a nice even edge to sew together. I hope this doesn't make it seem complicated or intimidating - especially for the beginners. It really is quite simple.

    This will be fun! someone mentioned 'kindred spirits'...that's the PERFECT description of this blog and it's followers!
    Blessings to all,

  19. I would love to do this but I have never knitted before. Do you have a source where I could learn online? I do crochet a little bit and have started a blanket for my grandaughter. Does that count??

  20. I love your thought of "look for joy in your day". If we could keep this uppermost in our minds as we start our days, so much for the better.Thanks for being so inspiring!suegail

  21. Needles are in hand as we speak. I am even starting a blog today so I can record my progress.


  22. sure Valerie, crochet the blanket along with us.

    Welcome to the new readers.

    Jen and Lilmom, if you have the time, could you both give us a couple of good simple patterns to follow? Maybe something that fits in the 28 stitch/square slot that many of us are knitting. Thanks!

  23. Rhonda, your blog is fantastic and I read it everyday. This is a great project that connects so many wonderful people even though some of us are continents apart. I am going to make time everyday to put my feet up and knit along with everyone. Thank you for your wisdom and inspiration.

  24. I just love this idea, especially knowing what pattern square you are knitting each week. I shall make a start this weekend. Twan Potgieter
    Hilton, South Africa

  25. Hi Rhonda

    I haven't posted in a while but I do look every couple of days. I have updated my blog too!!

    I would love to join the knit-a-thon hehe to make a blanket from scrap wool. Great practice for me and as someone else said it keeps me off the computer :-)

    Your blog is great!!

  26. Hi there,

    I'm a bit of a 'lurker-reader' rather than a commenter, but I just wanted to let you know I'll be knitting along here in the UK :)

    I'll post some photos on my blog as we go along, I'm sure.

    I think this is a great project, connecting knitters all over the world! Well done Rhonda.


  27. Count me in, too! I will knit a baby blanket for my sister, who's expecting. Now I have an excuse to go to the yarn shop this fun!

  28. I am knitting along with you..don't know if I will keep up but will try. I like the idea of knowing that so many of us will be doing this together. Great idea!

  29. Is it too late to join the knit-along? I would like to participate. This would be a great time to start a blanket for a Christmas present.

    Jeanne B.

  30. Rhonda Jean,

    I'm one of your readers. I rarely post and don't have a current blog. I don't have a digital camera to take pictures.

    But I will let you know that I have been knitting with you all along this winter.

    I enough square knitted to make 1 afghan. Just not sewn together yet.

    I think I have enough granny squares made to made a second afghan. I just want to purchase some black yarn to make a round on each square before sewing together. Hopefully I can purchase some this week.

    I will enjoy seeing everyones work in the weeks and months to come.

    Sharon C. (State of Kentucky, USA)

  31. Hi Rhonda Jean:
    You asked if I would offer a couple of simple knitting stitches using multiples of 4. I'm happy to do that and hope some of your bloggers will be able to use them in this knitting project. You will find them on my blog page:
    Post entitled "Knitting Patterns".
    Have fun!

  32. Hi Rhonda and fellow knitters.

    I've done three so far, using 28 stiches. I did one with the pattern you showed on the first picture, the next one I did as follows.
    1st row. Knit
    2nd row. * p 4 , K 4 * repeat to last 4 st p 4
    3rd row. Knit
    4th row as 2nd row
    5th row. knit
    6th row. purl.

    Reapeat this 6 row pattern until work measures 6 ins then cast off.

    This is very simple yet looks quite interesting.

    Have a good weekend,
    Cheers, Eileen in England.

  33. I've decided to leave my complicated aran afghan on hold for a while longer & commit to joining this instead. Mainly due to cost - I just don't want to spend the $$$ at the moment to buy the amount of aran wool I'd need. I have a fair amount of 8 ply wool oddments around, so I will use them up with this style of rug instead.

    I've decided on 24sts, I want mine a little smaller than yours. My first square in on my needles - a plain stocking stitch in a blue/brown/olive varigated wool.

  34. For joining the squares, if you slip the first stitch on every row (move it to the next needle without actually knitting it), then sewing up the squares (using the knitting yarn) will be much easier because you'll have bigger loops to sew into.

    Another option is to slip the first stitch of every row, and pick up the stitches along one side when you start the next square. It's very simple to do. There's a demonstration here:

    You could make long strips of squares that way, and then sew them together. That would cut down on the fiddly bits at the end!

  35. Hi Rhonda and others,

    What good timing that I got back on top of your blog today! (After being away I'm always intimidated by the feeling of needing to "catch up".) I won't be able to take part in this knit-along because I have too many other things on my plate right now, but I did want to chime in as a male knitter. Currently I'm working on a winter hat for my wife, then I need to make the second sock of a pair for our eighteen-month-old son. After that, I'm toying with starting a bigger project....

    All the best,
    (Guelph, Ontario, Canada)

  36. thank you so much for letting me know you're out there, Andrew. I really like the idea of men knitting and knowing you're working away on those projects made me smile. :- )

  37. I won't be joining in as I have too much unfinished business in the craft department already but I will be watching you all with interest! Have fun, ladies and gent(s)!

  38. oooo

    I'm not sure that I'll get to knitting - I'm still trying to figure it out lol, but it is definitely time to get back to crocheting

  39. I've just discovered this blog via a friend who is also a keen knitter - I love it! I plan to put the word out about the knit-along and about the blog - I run a knitting shop, so I see a lot of people every day who are looking for new projects to use up odds and ends of yarn and who are also interested in a more down to earth lifestyle.

    Good luck with the knit along!! If I ever get my stash down to a reasonable level, I'll join in with some of my leftovers ;-)

    Cheers, Andrea

  40. Hello Rhonda, I would like to join the knit-along. I have knitted nine squares so far in either garter or stocking stitch. I will need to play around with my sizing for the basket weave squares as the ones I have tried in this stitch came out wonky!


  41. Rhonda,
    I would like to join the knit along. I've recently moved to Brisbane from the US and have found you a great inspiration. So far I've just been knitting some dishcloths, but this project looks like something I could handle. My cousin is adopting a child from Africa this year and I would love to knit them a blanket. Thank you so much for the blog! Courtney

  42. Hello Rhonda!

    I have started knitting 5" squares (23 stitches in double knit) in order to use up the leftover wool from the fingerless mitts I have been making for all my friends at our ms centre. I have 17 so far but need about 180, so a long way to go. I would love to join in with you knit along.


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