I’m almost done with a blanket. It’s not a blanket that I’ve written about before, but for the last month, it is most definitely a project that has had me in its thrall.
It’s a Picket Fence Afghan, the design by Julia Farwell-Clay that is a highlight of Field Guide No. 7: Ease.
I’m telling you about it now because we are on the brink of starting a summer knitalong (Socks and Blocks!) where the Picket Fence Afghan is one of the patterns we’re all going to knit.
These squares appear to be simple garter stitch. Spoiler alert: they are not garter stitch, really. There’s a slipping of stitches, a turnaround, and a fair dose of purling in order to get the effect. The magic switcheroo. It’s so cool.
My news to you: this is a fantastic pattern. I don’t even get how Julia came up with this maneuver, but then, Julia is often up to bonkers knitting, with spectacular results.
Use the Good Stuff Now
What has been fun for me is the yarn. It’s a trip down memory lane, these skeins. They’re all yarns I’ve collected in the past few years from fiber festivals, knitting conventions, and yarn shops.
They’re collectible spoons, I tell you—souvenirs of visits to people and places that have been really special.
The common denominator: they’re undyed. The color of the yarn is the color of the fleece of the sheep or alpaca it came from. At the moment, it just feels right to make a blanket with these minimally processed yarns. If I can’t hang out with the sheep at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds, I can at least pretend. So woolly. I find a bit of vegetable matter and all of a sudden I’m all: Rhinebeck, o Rhinebeck!
Each square has its own combination of sheep breeds. Some are from Solitude Wool, an amazing enterprise where a group of five women create breed-specific yarns, all with the intent of teaching us about the heritage breeds of sheep. I’ve got Clun Forest and Tunis and Border Leicester in there.
- Rachel Atkinson’s Daughter of a Shepherd: Hebridean and Zwartbles!
- Amanda and Alberto Barcenas’s Prado de Lana: Romlinc!
- Tolt Yarn’s Snoqualmie Valley: Bluefaced Leicester/Clun Forest!
- Bent Limb Farm: Alpaca!
- Brooke Sinnes’s Sincere Sheep: Cormo!
- Alice O’Reilly’s rare CVM and Santa Cruz wool!
- Jill Draper’s Mohonk: Lambswool! (It’s the lone dyed yarn in here, though it’s such a sheepy dark brown that it looks like Jill had a sheep nearby for a color swatch.)
I’ll be done with this blanket in time to cast on another Picket Fence Blanket, this time using Rowan Handknit Cotton. If you want to go for a blanket with a neutral colorway, I’d recommend:
From left: Black, Ecru, Feather, Bleached
Or any color besides black along with these neutrals. I have a deep love of Sea Foam. I could look at this color all day.
It’s fun to scheme and plan your colors—this Picket Fence Blanket makes any color combination look modern.
I’m beginning to think that these blanket squares are my dishcloths. It feels weird when I don’t have one going. Hope there are some fellow blanketeers out there to join me in the Socks and Blocks knitalong. (Yes, we’ll be making socks too!)