Welcome to the final week of the Cabled Afghan Knit-Along! Each week we shared a new square pattern and helped you learn to make it. This week we will be putting all of the squares together into a finished afghan. Watch videos on Creativebug (sign up for a free account to get access to the videos) and see tutorials here on the blog.
This week we will be working from the final pattern for the Knit Your Cables Afghan (LW4309). You can download the pattern for this afghan here. This pattern has the patterns for each individual square as well as the finishing instructions.
Before you start the finishing, you will need to have 10 of the Bias Garter Stitch Squares (Square A) and one each of the cabled squares (Squares B-K).
To start, we’ll block the squares. Since cables pull in, your cabled squares are probably not an actual square shape. We’ll need to make them more square before we can sew them together.
You’ll need whatever blocking surface you usually use: Edie is using foam covered by fabric, but you may have foam athletic mats, or a neat pile of towels. Your blocking surface will need to be large enough to stretch the squares out until they are actually 10″ square. You will also need rust-proof pins, such as stainless steel T-pins. (Don’t use plain sewing pins, since they may rust.) You’ll need a tape measure, yarn needle, the longer circular needle, and a steam iron with water.
To block, pin one corner of the square to the blocking surface. Using your ruler or tape measure, measure 10″ across and pin the next corner. Pin the edge securely, making sure it is not scalloped. Measure down the side of the square 10″ and pin the next corner, then pin the sides. Continue until all of the sides are measured and the corners and sides are pinned.
You’ll notice that the square gets a little shorter as it is pulled out to be 10″ across. Some squares will require more tugging than others to get to the 10″ square measurement: it depends on the type of cable pattern for that particular square.
If you have yarn tails, don’t worry! Edie went ahead and wove them in, but it is probably easier for you to wait until the squares are sewn together.
Take a spray bottle of water and thoroughly spray your square until it is damp. Pay special attention to the edges. Let your square sit until it is entirely dry, which may take longer in damp climates. You can use a fan to blow air across the top to make it dry faster. Red Heart recommends damp blocking only. If you use steam blocking, you run the risk of “killing” the acrylic fibers as they melt together. Use steam blocking at your own risk.
When you remove your pins the edges will still roll in slightly, but the square is overall much flatter and the cables really stand out. Repeat the blocking steps for all of the squares.
When you’re finished blocking all of your squares, you’ll have a nice pile of them. The squares will be slightly different sizes — they are not all identical like index cards. As long as they are all close to 10″ square you will be fine.
You may want to arrange the squares on a large surface, like a dining room table or a bed, so you can figure out how you want to order them. Edie chose to make a checkerboard pattern with the garter stitch squares and the cable squares. If you want to arrange the squares exactly the same way Edie did, you can follow the diagram in the pattern. She has all of the bias garter stitch squares going the same way and all of the cabled squares arranged vertically. If you want to arrange them in a different order or have the squares in different orientations, that’s totally OK.
Edie will be using the Ensign’s Braid and XO Cables Square for this sample.
When you put a cable square and a garter stitch square next to each other, they might not be exactly the same size. That’s OK!
Fold each square in half to find the halfway point and put a stitch marker to mark the center of one side of the square. Line up the markers for the halfway point on each square and use stitch markers or pins to make the corners match and pin together. The bias garter stitch square will stretch some. Connect the center points and add additional stitch markers or pins to keep the sides neat.
We’ll be stitching the squares together with a mattress stitch, with slight variations depending on which types of stitches are being sew together.
If you left long tails on your squares to use for seaming, thread one of them on your yarn needle. Otherwise cut a piece of yarn and thread your needle. For mattress stitch, you’ll be working from side to side. Work with the right side facing you, since we want the right side to look as good as it possibly can. If you’re working with a cut piece of yarn, leave a yarn tail to weave in later.
Start the seam by going into the corners of the stitches, being careful not to split the yarn. Come up from wrong side to right side between 2 strands of yarn.
Your needle will go in then out, working under strands of yarn all the way up. Go under a bar on the garter stitch square, then under the bar on the cable square. You’ll need to do more stitches on the cable square than the garter stitch square, since the two squares do not have the same number of rows. Your goal is to ease in the extra fabric on the cable square so when you get to the next place where they are pinned the two squares are even.
Edie waits until there are a few stitches before she tightens it to hide the seam.
Don’t hesitate to stop and rip out if you’re not happy with the way the seam looks. Make sure you check the wrong side as well, since the wrong side of the afghan will show and you want it to look OK.
Take your time: finishing is not the most fun part of making a knit project, but it’s an important part to make sure that you will be happy with the finished project in the future.
If you ever run out of yarn when you’re working the seam, just cut a piece and continue. Leave a yarn tail, and you will be able to weave in the ends when you’ve finished making the seam.
When you’re finished with the seam, take a look and make sure that it is neat and flat on both the right side and the wrong side.
As you connect your bias garter stitch squares, you’ll want to make sure the grain of your fabric is the same. This means that the rows are all going in the same direction. If you choose to have the bias garter stitch squares going in different directions, make sure it is a deliberate decision and that it doesn’t make your afghan look too jumbled.
After you sew the first two squares together, connect another square to one of the first two using the same method of connecting the centers and the corners. Again work in mattress stitch from the right side.
To sew a mattress stitch seam next to the Stockinette stitch cables, go under the V of the Stockinette stitch and back into the garter stitch square to make the seam look like a continuation of the knitting.
After every seam, stop and evaluate your progress. It’s easier to fix the seam immediately after you do it, rather than waiting and trying to go back.
After you sew together all of the squares, you’ll need to work the edging. Edie will be working on the sample she just sewed together, but you’ll be working on your entire afghan. The border is picked up on the long side of the afghan with the right side facing.
We’ll need to pick up the stitches evenly along the border. Fold each square in half and place a stitch marker to show the halfway point, then fold from each corner to the halfway mark and mark the quarter-way points. Now you have 4 marked sections for each square.
Each square takes about 43 stitches for the border. Since you’ve marked 4 sections for each square, you know that you’ll need 10 or 11 stitches in each section and you will be able to pick up stitches evenly without having to measure.
Take your yarn and the longer circular needle, go into the edge of the of the first corner stitch, and pick up and knit a stitch. Edie likes to work slightly in from the edge, rather than the very edge stitch. She isn’t just putting loops from the edge onto her needle, but actually knitting to put new knit stitches on the needle. The spacing of the stitches — every 2 rows, every 3 rows, etc. — will vary depending on the square you are working along.
Continue marking squares and picking up stitches along the long side of your afghan. You may want to pick up a border stitch on the seam between two squares.
For the garter stitch squares, sometimes you will be working into the long sections on the edge and sometimes you will be working into a bump.
After you reach the next corner, you should have 215 stitches. Continue working in garter stitch (knit every row) for 5 rows then bind-off to complete the border for this side. Repeat on the other long side.
When you’re finished, you’ll need to make the borders for the short edges. Pick up about 43 stitches for each square across, plus 3 stitches from each of the edges of the border for a total of 172 stitches on the short side border.
You’ll notice that the edge of the garter stitch border is bumpy, but we would like to have it smooth on the short edge border to match the bind-off of the long edge border, so the entire edge of the afghan is smooth.
To accomplish the smooth edging, knit across on the short edge border to the last stitch. At the last stitch, move the yarn to the front and slip the stitch purlwise.
For Row 2, knit the first stitch through the back loop.
Knit the rest of the stitches as normal, then at the last stitch again slip 1 purlwise with yarn in front. Do a total of 5 rows for the short edge then bind off. Repeat for the other short edge.
Weave in all of your ends, and you’re done! Share your progress on our Facebook page.
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Bias Garter Stitch Square
Basic Cables Square
Snake Cables Square
Checkerboard Cables Square
Stockinette Cables Square
Horseshoe Panel with Twists Square
XO Panels and Ensign’s Braid Square
Honeycomb Trellis Square
Honeycomb and Braided Cables Square
Seed Stitch Diamonds Square
Lattice Cables Square