Picket Fence Afghan: Smiles and Frowns

By Ann Shayne
June 16, 2020

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28 Comments
  • Headed to Patty’s site immediately! How great this is! Love your blanket!

  • Ann, perfect for this time in history. “A big nch of yarns trying to get along.’. Thank you e the kind words!

  • Dear Ann, I am in awe of your patience and commitment! For me it would not be a labor of love, but rather a sentence to Purgatory. However, thanks to Patty I have been getting my head around her smiles and frowns thing, so that’s something. Now I know how to ladder up on the purl side without having to turn my work to the knit side. Next step is to memorize which is the knit, the smile or the frown, and vice versa. For me it is always baby steps. Thank goodness in knitting there is room for every one. So looking forward to your beautiful blanket!

  • When starting a new yarn I keep getting a hole. I just be twisting wrong. Could you give me some advice on how to avoid this, or possibly a video?

    • Yes! I found I had to give the new color a crazy big tug to snug it up. After I twist the yarns, I work the first stitch using the new color, Then insert the needle to get ready to work the second stitch, then pull the yarn tightly before working that second stitch. That helped me a lot.

      • When I’m knitting socks on DPNs, I’ve learned to give the SECOND stitch a big tug, rather than the first. Would that work here as well?

        • Definitely worth a try–it’s a slightly different situation, but worth a try for sure.

  • Patti is A genius, how she keeps all things knit in her brain!!!

    • Sorry , it’s Patty

  • I love this blanket. It is knitted with memories and beautiful yarn. Congratulations Ann!
    I also love that seam. A must try that

  • When you use 3 needle bind off to join squares, does this mean you 1. don’t bind off a square when you finish it and 2. use provisional cast on technique?

    • You don’t have to have live stitches to do a 3 needle bind off. You can pick up stitches along the edges to be joined and then proceed with the bind off as usual, treating the picked up stitches as live stitches. That’s the magic of the 3 needle BO.

      • Thank you, Tish–you got here before I had a chance to reply! Rachel, it’s true–3 needle bind off can be used with finished squares. It can be with matching or contrasting yarn, each of which gives a distinctive effect. And you can put the bound-off seam on the front or back of the blanket, again with each option giving a distinctive effect.

  • Wow Ann, ya done good!! I use smiles and frowns when weaving in ends on garter. Blends like magic;)

  • Beautiful! And definitely not for me! Unfortunately.

  • This looks so beautiful, Ann! I suspect it’s even lovelier in person where you can closely see and feel the differences in the wools.

    I’m bookmarking this even though I’m only 3 squares into my Picket Fence. I’ve never done either the three-needle bind-off or seaming, so either way this blanket is a chance to learn a new skill.

  • I tried mattress stitch for garter a few years ago when a bunch of us were doing the Mother Bear project—found an illustration in one of Sally Melville’s books and was tickled to see how the join looks seamless.

  • Thanks for all these tips Ann. This is the best part of a KAL – learning from others. Finished my Twining Wrap and just got the yarn to start this blanket. Will definitely bookmark this post!

    • Twins! I’m going to finish up my Twining Wrap now that I’m finishing this blanket!

  • One blanket, nine different yarns.
    I noticed in the Ease booklet instructions that this blanket was made for the recycled denim yarn that shrinks. I don’t want to use that yarn and wish to do more like you have done here. Have you modified the pattern for the yarns you are using? Could you share any modifications.

  • That’s it. Time, patience, working with it making it work. We should all pay attention to this way of getting everything to play nice!

  • Has Kermit given it his Seal of Approval yet?

  • “I am working on my tension as I frown and smile my way to glory on this blanket.”

    I love this sentence. ❤️

  • oh gosh, Ann. This makes me so happy! (I love a good seam)

  • When I do a 3 needle bind off I alternate k1, p1 as I knit. This centers the bind off rather than it facing one side or the other.

  • Love the smile and frown method – never heard of it before! I love this whole pattern, but the garter mattress stitch is much easier than picking up and three needle bind off. Thank you!

  • Do you wash/block the squares before you sew them up? If you do, how does it effect a border on the blanket? Thank you

  • Hi Ann,
    I’m late to this thread, but I’m smiling and frowning my seams now and I”m wondering if you seamed strips and then put them all together? Or went square by square? I have to decide imminently and wondering what worked for you. Thanks!