Thursday, March 16, 2006

Trouble with Squares?!

Lest I start feeling cocky from all the nice comments about my mittens, I've been having trouble with, of all things, plain old squares. My assignment was to make a 8 x 8 square out of something blue. The blue part was no problem, but the 8 inch and square parts proved to be more difficult than I anticipated.

I decided to do a mitered square, and I ended up trying two different methods. Here was my test square... not too bad, but way too small. This is Wool-Ease worsted on size 7 needles. I cast on an even number of stitches, placed a marker in the middle, then decreased one stitch on each side of the marker on alternate rows. You can also cast on an appropriate number of stitches for two sides, plus three stitches. Then you do a double decrease on those three stitches every other round. That method involves a little more counting and attention, though.

Then I thought I'd prefer a square with four miters. So I cast on 8 stitches (4 sides and 4 corners), and worked in the round, increasing 1 stitch on each side of the corner stitches, every other round. I started on one long circular, and then when I had a decent number of stitches, switched to DPNs. (I heard that collective gasp. Yes, I actually used DPNs.)

Well, that worked out pretty well, except that my maths were a little off and it was too big. Also, I had to switch to a circular when the square outgrew my DPNs and it is decidedly rounded on the sides. I decided maybe I should go back to my original style. My next attempt was really pathetic. WTF?! It's not even square! The cast on edges were 8 inches, but the other two were more like 10 inches. Not really sure what happened here. The yarn is Sensations Dolcetto from Jo-Ann (54% wool, 24% nylon, 22% cotton). It's not plied, and it feels as though it should come apart like cotton candy. (It doesn't -- I tried.) I used US 10.5 bamboo ten-inch straights. It is so soft and light. It would make amazing baby items, for a mom who doesn't mind hand washing.

Maybe the third time's a charm? I switched yarns again. This one is made from Jo-Ann's Sensations Tesoro (100% wool). This is a nice yarn, too. It would have nice stitch definition for cables or knit and purl patterns. I used Bryspun US9 10 inch straights. I actually made a little gauge swatch, but when I finished it was only 7.5 inches square. Gah! After taking it out of its bath, I easily could have blocked it to 10 inches. But I smushed the rows back together and pinned it down to measure 8 inches. I am hoping that it will be the right size when it's nice and dry. Keep your fingers crossed. I'm running out of time!


Blogger Tam said...

Sheesh! You could make an afghan with all your squares! :-) I think the one with the rounded corners is the prettiest. Too bad it's too big. My fingers are crossed on your behalf that the last one will turn out the right size.

1:22 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

I had a hard time making mine come out the right size too - major blocking!!! However, your final yarn choice is wonderful . . . . it's what I used too - LOL. And I did cables (my first ever), and you are correct about the wonderful stitch definition!!!

2:22 PM  
Blogger Catherine Kerth said...

see what happens when you become an experinced knitter! the simple projects do the same thing to me :) the last square looks perfect! hope it stretches a bit :)

2:27 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

I actually like the multi-mitered square. And the benefit of that method is that you can just stop when it's just about the right size and block to size and shape (and it should lay flat too!)

sorry to hear that you haven't been feeling well lately. I hope the worst is behind you now...

2:44 PM  
Blogger --Deb said...

Well, you certainly can't say that you're not persistant!!

3:10 PM  
Anonymous Renata said...

I do not believe in squares! I do not believe in geometry! I am invicible!

3:17 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Why do afghans have to have SQUARES? It makes everything so hard. I'm organizing a similar afghan project and getting it all to work out is a pain.

3:20 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

That's a lot of squares! You could always give the smaller ones to the KTC Warm the World.

4:14 PM  
Anonymous JessaLu said...

Mine ended up a little big, too. Boy, you don't give up, do you ;o)

4:55 PM  
Anonymous Erica said...

But look at all the handy dishcloths you have now!

Fourth time's the charm. I'm positive that's the original saying.

10:59 PM  
Blogger candsmom said...

Aah! So sorry for the late comment. I really like the way your mitered square turned out- such a pretty shade of blue, too! Isn't it amazing how perplexing constructing one 8 X 8 square can be? I must've frogged mine at least 3 times, and it still wasn't quite the right size when I finally mailed it off. Nor was it square. ;-) I'm kind of glad to hear that it wasn't just me, LOL! In any case, I'm sure all the squares will come together to make a beautiful afghan, and that's the main thing. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you... take care, Laura! :-)

2:20 PM  
Blogger Glaistig said...

Your squares are cool 'cause they're not square!

Actually, your goal sounds very Greek classical/philosophical, like the quest for the perfect circle :) Ah, yes, the ideal, most sublime form resides within all our creations :)

7:35 PM  
Blogger Matt said...


I am contacting you because I am working with the authors of a book about blogs, and I'd like to request permission to use the photograph you have posted in this book. Please contact me at, and I'd be happy to give you more information about the project. Your assistance is greatly appreciated.



4:45 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...


I am contacting you because I am working with the authors of a book about blogs, and I'd like to request permission to use the photograph you have posted in this book. Please contact me at, and I'd be happy to give you more information about the project. Please indicate the name of your blog in any response. Your assistance is greatly appreciated.



2:19 PM  

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