aswim in knits

Monday, October 29, 2007

making a Maf-ghan

Last Monday, I mentioned that I've been working on a secret project. Now that the cat is out of the bag, I can tell you what I've been up to.

I've been making an afghan for the Mafia. A Maf-ghan, if you will. It's not done yet, but here's the 'ghan as of Friday:
Lucy with the Maf-ghan
(Thanks to our friendly LYS-owner, Lucy, for helping with the photo shoot.)

As many of you know, Ms. Mafia is going through a pretty crappy divorce. I know that it's been hard for her to not blog about it. (Because the Mafia ... not so good with the self-restraint.) So, I thought that it would be a nice idea to make an afghan with squares contributed by some of her fibery buddies, so that she feels the love even when she can't blog and hear back from people.

I stalked her commenters for a couple of weeks sent some emails to her friends and commenters and asked them to knit up some squares. I got about 75 squares back. Wow!! I never expected this much of a response, although I guess I should have.
(Some of the squares and seaming/bordering yarn.)

So, thank you to everyone who mailed me a square. Or shared some "good karma yarn" that I've been using for borders and seaming. Or taught me new ways of seaming an afghan. Or invited me to your knitting group and helped lay out the squares. Or sent me nice emails (nearly 500 of them!), and notes for Ms. Mafia.

Rest assured that each contribution has, or will have, a place in the afghan. The big photo above shows 48 of the squares -- the rest are still being seamed! The final blanket will be 10 rows long - the first 6 rows are shown above. Oh, and I have room for a couple more squares if there is anyone who wants to make a square but wasn't able to earlier or didn't know about the project. Just email me (aswiminknits AT yahoo DOT com). (ETA: Thank you all! We now have plenty of squares!)

I told Ms. Mafia that I learned a lot from making this afghan...
  1. As you may know, I am a wee bit obsessive. Yes, there was a detailed spreadsheet created to track your squares, and each is tagged on the back side with the name and blog of the sender. Yes, there will be a labelled schematic when the afghan is complete. Yes, I am a bit of a perfectionist. Some would also allege that I have some control-freak tendancies (I'm not arguing...) So, for me to ask for squares made with the vague guidelines of "knit an 8"x8" square. Worsted weight wool, wool blends, etc would be best. Anywhere between DK and Aran weight. Any brand, color, stitch pattern, etc." ... well, let's just call it "a personal growth experience" for me :)
  2. Gauge. And measuring tapes. I own many, many measuring devices (see above, "obsessive", "perfectionist", and "control freak"). I'm not so sure about the rest of you. Apparently, knitting an 8" x 8" square is harder than it looks. Only about half of the Maf-ghan squares actually measure 8" square. But that's OK!! Really, it is!!! With some creative seaming techniques, all of the squares fit together (I think there is a metaphor in here somewhere). And, you have given me the opportunity to experience tremendous personal growth because of this. But, people? I'm just curious - how do you actually knit garments that fit??
  3. Most importantly, I have learned how truly, deeply, caring our fiber community is. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I feel blessed to have been able to "meet" so many of you this way and to have the opportunity to bring some happiness to a friend. I could not have done this without all of you.
And if you didn't read the Mafia's own description of the Maf-ghan please do. It's much better than anything I could write.

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  • Sounds like it had the desired effect, and then some! Thanks, Danielle, for putting it all together.

    By Blogger Kathy, at 11:33 AM  

  • It's a wonderful thing you did.

    By Blogger Carole Knits, at 2:15 PM  

  • I am touched and impressed beyond all measure.

    And for the record, self restraint sucks. And it's over-rated. And lame. And boring. I have no opinions about anything. Truly.

    By Blogger FemiKnitMafia, at 2:51 PM  

  • Thanks so much for initiating this project--I was so happy to participate. And I'm sorry if my square was one of the ones that wasn't exactly 8x8. I frogged and restarted sooo many times, and then I ran out of time so I just tried to block it to be the right size.

    By Blogger Sneaksleep, at 3:04 PM  

  • Thanks, Danielle! I'm only sorry not to be able to help with the seaming. (Yeah, I know, you're all about the seaming.)

    Well, it would have been 8" if I'd had time to block it.

    By Blogger Lucia, at 3:13 PM  

  • I loved being a part of this and to give to someone I really like a lot too. I love the thought of being one of the squares to keep Mafia cozy on a cold night.

    And to also have learned the new seaming technique that you showed us ... well that was frosting on the cake. Thanks!

    By Blogger Rhonda the Stitchingnut, at 3:23 PM  

  • my secret to success? I never do a gauge swatch, and I never seam together any finished pieces. HA!

    Guilty as charged.... my square was 8 x 8.5


    thanks for organzing this and your hard work putting together such a lovely gift.

    By Blogger PatchesMom1973, at 3:37 PM  

  • i proud to say as a good do-bee that my squares were 8 inches square. because i'm a good rule follower. if you need another square, i'll make one for you.

    seriously though, this was a good thing that you did. the mafia is lucky to have you for a friend.

    By Blogger maryse, at 3:43 PM  

  • Danielle, you are a rock star to put this thing together, from beginning to end! What a fabulous idea. I see that it's still in progress - I hope my "square" made it there eventually to be included in the massive Maf-ghan!

    By Anonymous roro, at 4:23 PM  

  • It's gorgeous and wonderful!!!! I so wish I had had the chance to send in a sqaure but life has been a little too stressed out at chez radiant this month. Excellent job!!!

    By Blogger Meghann, at 4:33 PM  

  • Thank you again, Danielle, for putting this all together - figuratively /and/ literally, O Great Seaming One! As Roro said - you really are a rock star for this!

    But uh... sorry. My square was, I believe 8x7.75 inches. I figured better to be a little small and block out than be too big (I, erm, learned that the hard way. grin!)

    By Blogger Thorny, at 4:39 PM  

  • I'm honored to have been part of this project -- my humble square among so many. Thanks for organizing! And, seaming! And, rolling with it!

    By Anonymous Pi Grrrl, at 5:13 PM  

  • Knitting a square that's dead-on 8x8 is very hard for me though a tad easier now that I have a gridded blocking board. I nearly always have to rip and reknit 3 or 4 times to get close and I've learned that it's best to go under and block it out a bit. Garments are much easier since they don't have to be exact, just close. I did a similar afghan as a shower gift for a friend and I'll just say that assembling the thing was rather interesting. It looks like you've done a beautiful job so far!

    By Blogger Julie, at 5:52 PM  

  • How very very cool of you!

    By Anonymous Rebekah, at 7:33 PM  

  • I am so glad you finally got to reveal the project to her! It seems to have had the desired effect :)

    By Blogger Bertha, at 7:53 PM  

  • The maf-ghan is looking great! I can't wait to see the completed project. Thanks so much for all your work (and your obsessiveness!).

    By Anonymous brenda, at 8:10 PM  

  • You are great to have done this. What a great idea and a lovely result that seems to be growing and growing and growing!

    Hope my square helped in your growth experience : )

    By Blogger CynicalGal, at 11:39 PM  

  • What a good friend!! Hee hee - I wing it with afghan squares. I know, I know - if I was the one sewing it together, I would take it more seriously, I'm sure!

    By Blogger Chris, at 12:37 AM  

  • I swatched for my square, so can I sit next to you on the Control-Freaky Knitters bench? ;-)

    I can't believe how big and cozy it looks already. The finished maf-ghan should easily double as a bedspread, huh? Which will be awfully nice to have in her new place! :-)

    By Anonymous Beth S., at 11:46 AM  

  • I'm not sure if I should be proud or ashamed to admit that I both swatched for my square and then blocked it to 8x8". Because I (too) am obsessive like that.

    That thing is huge! You're doing a wonderful thing for a friend. Wonderful work.

    By Blogger femiknitter, at 9:45 PM  

  • Too too funny! I blocked mine to 8", hope it stayed that way (no, it didn't have to go to contortionist school to get there).

    Thank you for arranging this and putting in the time. 500 emails? Phew.

    By Blogger Laurie, at 6:52 AM  

  • Thank you Danielle for getting this all together and for including me. It was great to meet you and Mafia at Rhinebeck. Hope we can meet up again as we are neighbors. The afghan is beautiful.

    By Anonymous debbi, at 8:08 AM  

  • Mine was 8x8 when it left my house. If it wasn't still that size when it got to you, blame the USPS.

    Thank you for organizing this, and for giving us a chance to show our friend how much we care.

    By Blogger Ruth, at 8:57 AM  

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