Week 1 – Knitting Block 1 of the Afghan – Argyle pattern (Part 1)

By now, I hope you have assembled the yarn and needles you want to use for knitting this Afghan. Even if they are in the mail, this is just Week 1 of the KAL – you have a lot more time to gather all the things you need. I also hope that by now, you have figured out your gauge by knitting a swatch – the original pattern uses worsted weight yarn and requires a gauge of 16 stitches and 22 rows in a 10 by 10 cm square of stockinette stitch knitted using 5 mm needles. If you’re feeling lazy and don’t feel like gauge swatching, then use worsted weight yarn with 5 mm needles and you’ll be fine. If you’re feeling lazier, then choose yarn of any weight – the only difference it will make is to the size and thickness of your Afghan. While nothing can be done about the thickness, the size of the Afghan can be fixed by increasing or decreasing the number of blocks you use.

Okay, enough jibber-jabber, it’s time I reveal the pattern for the first block of the Afghan – we’ll start with one that is both easy and interesting. This one includes a simple pattern with two colours. Let’s knit.

With Colour D (i.e. the second-darkest colour of your range), cast on 37 stitches on your needle. You can use any cast-on you like – I’m using my favourite, which is the long-tail cast. For a refresher on types of cast-ons, check out my post.

Once you’re done with the cast-on, knit the next 10 rows in Stockinette Stitch using Colour D, which means 5 alternate knit and purl rows. My advice to keep the edges neat is to knit the first stitch on every row, whether it is a purl row or a knit row. So your pattern for the first 10 rows (i.e. R1 to R10) will be

R1 – Knit all
R2 – K1, Purl the remaining 36 stitches
R3 – Knit all
R4 – K1, Purl the remaining 36 stitches
R5 – Knit all
R6 – K1, Purl the remaining 36 stitches
R7 – Knit all
R8 – K1, Purl the remaining 36 stitches
R9 – Knit all
R10 – K1, Purl the remaining 36 stitches

Once you’re done with 10 rows of the Stockinette Stitch, it’s time to introduce a new colour – Colour A (i.e. the lightest colour in your range) which will be our Contrast Colour (CC1). If you’re looking to learn how to introduce a new colour in your knitting, then check out my post.

We will follow a chart for the next 15 rows which has to be knit in Stockinette stitch. Doing colour work in Stockinette stitch is easy, and all it means is that on the wrong side (or purl) rows you will purl your stitches in more than one colour. To keep the edges firm, we will once again knit the first stitch on every row, whether it is a purl row or a knit row. On rows which include both colours, we will work (knit or purl depending on the row) the last stitch with both colours, but when we turn the work, the first stitch of the next row will be knit only with the Main Colour (MC). The Chart you have to follow for the next 15 rows (i.e. for R11 to R25) is –

Block 1

As I have mentioned before, we call this type of knitting Fair Isle or stranded knitting. There are a couple of things to remember when doing this type of knitting –

A. There is always a Main Colour (MC) and a Contrast Colour (CC) in each row. When knitting with both colours, you can have one colour go above or below the other colour. It is preferable that you maintain the same colour on top and the same colour on the bottom throughout the fabric. I prefer to keep MC over CC, which means I always bring my MC yarn over the CC and the CC yarn under the MC yarn.

B. In stranded knitting, you end up creating strands/floats at the back of your work when you carry one colour behind the other colour. Make sure your strands don’t get too long or your fabric will pucker. The simplest way to avoid puckering is to trap your floats. Let me tell you how to do that with a simple example – suppose your pattern calls for K4 (MC), K7 (CC), K4 (MC) – if you knit this without paying attention, you will knit 4 stitches with MC, then knit next 7 stitches with CC, then carry MC behind your 7 CC stitches and knit the next 4 MC stitches. This will create a long float behind your 7 CC stitches.

To avoid a long float, try this method – knit 4 stitches of MC, then knit 4 stitches of CC, then bring your MC yarn and lay it over your CC yarn (twisting the two yarns or trapping the float), then pick your CC yarn and knit the remaining 3 stitches. After that, knit the last 4 MC stitches like normal. By following this method, you have trapped your MC yarn within your CC yarn and avoided a long float. We call this trapping a float and I recommend trapping where there are 6 or more consecutive stitches of any one colour.

Once you’re done with the 15 rows of the chart, cut off Colour A, leaving a 4-inch tail to weave in later.

Then knit the next 7 rows using only Colour D in plain stockinette stitch (i.e. alternating knit and purl rows) starting with a purl row. Your pattern for the next 7 rows (i.e. R26 to R32) will be

R26 – K1, Purl the remaining 36 stitches
R27 – Knit all
R28 – K1, Purl the remaining 36 stitches
R29 – Knit all
R30 – K1, Purl the remaining 36 stitches
R31- Knit all
R32 – K1, Purl the remaining 36 stitches

I think this is all the knitting we should do today. This is not the entire block – only half of it. I feel you should first try your hand at this much and make yourself comfortable carrying two colours and trapping floats. Once that’s done, the second half will be a cakewalk. This is how much I’ve knitted so far

In my next post (i.e. Part 2 of knitting Block 1), I’ll tell you how to complete the block and bind it off. I’ll show you how to fix any mistakes you make while knitting this block. If you have questions on the instructions given above, I’ll answer them as well, so that everyone can benefit from the answers. Please, please don’t hesitate to ask your questions – if they basics get sorted, the rest becomes easy.

I hope you enjoy knitting this block. I’m sure as the design emerges, you’ll feel very proud of yourself. Happy knitting!

~P

Download the chart from below –

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