Next in Line Afghan: Heat Wave Blocking Party

Cast on January 1, bound off July 4: my Next in Line Afghan is now complete!

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It took me awhile to carefully bind off the 263 stitches of the 19th and final log. I sat directly in front of a big fan the whole time. It was the only way I could possibly stand to knit, because we've been having quite the heat and humidity fest this week.

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As soon as I finished binding off and wove in the ends, I did something really crazy, considering how hot the evening was. I just had to run to the couch and drape it over me, to be absolutely sure of the size. Was it big enough? Cozy enough?

Yes, and yes! Absolutely perfect for chilly winter evenings. 

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The finished measurements (before blocking) were 52 inches x 60 inches. There's no way I was going to attempt wet blocking something so big, so I chose to steam block it lightly — just enough to even out the stitches and allow the wool relax a bit.

Early in the morning (the only minimally comfortable time of day when it's in the 90s and humid), I hung the afghan over the shower rod in my bathroom and steamed the right side, then flipped it over and repeated the process on the wrong side. Then I laid it out on a sheet to dry (it was only slightly damp), carefully smoothing the fabric with my hands, working from the center outward toward the edges.

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I haven't yet measured it again, but I expect that blocking might have increased its size just a little — we'll see. I know many of you are eagerly awaiting the pattern, and I'm excited that we are now so much closer to that moment. But there's still lots to do: calculate yardage requirements for each color, take photos and edit them, write the pattern, have it tech edited, finalize layout, etc.

I will share the yardage requirements when the pattern is released or shortly before, so hang tight. It won't be long now!

LINKS
Next in Line Instagram posts (hashtag: #nextinlineblanket)
My Ravelry project page
Next in Line blog posts 

Log Cabin Update: Next in Line Afghan

Just three more rows, friends — two rows of knitting, plus binding off — and Log No. 16 of my Next in Line afghan will be finished! 

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The afghan now measures about 43 x 56 inches (110 x 142 cm). That's a respectable size for a throw, and I could stop now. But I want more than a throw. I want this to be a big, cozy blanket — the perfect size for snuggling under on a winter evening with your toes well covered and toasty. 

Also, it's a gift, one that I hope the recipients will use for many years to come. So I don't want to skimp. I don't want them wishing for the next 30, 40, 50 years that it was just a little bit bigger. 

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Log No. 16 is just like the very first log I knit, with two sections of grey accented with straw stripes. I chose to work two sections rather than one for Log No. 16 not only because I thought it would look good, but also to add extra length on one side, making the afghan more of a rectangle than a square. After the addition of the remaining three logs, the piece will retain an overall rectangular shape.

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When will the project be finished and the pattern ready? Well, I had hoped it might be this month — but that's clearly not going to happen. I had a couple of design submissions accepted recently, and since both of them have firm deadlines, they take priority. But I do knit on Next in Line most days, even if only a few rows, so it's always moving steadily forward. It's just that, at this point, the rows are so very  L  O  N  G!

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I hope you have a wonderful weekend (and a very happy Memorial Day, if you're in the U.S.). Thanks for reading!

LINKS
Next in Line Instagram posts (hashtag: #nextinlineblanket)
My Ravelry project page
Next in Line blog posts 

Avoiding Second Sock Syndrome

Whenever you need to knit two of something — a sock, a mitten — there's a risk that the project will stall. It can be boring to do all the same stuff over again, which leads to procrastination. Isn't it curious how all kinds of temptations suddenly appear? You notice a whole bunch of new patterns on Ravelry you really must cast on. Or some gorgeous yarn you've always wanted to try goes on sale, so of course you have to get it on your needles ASAP.

Or maybe the second item isn't boring to knit, in fact you know you'll enjoy it, but because the first one took so long (life gets in the way!), you're now in the wrong season. It's hard to feel motivated in June to finish a pair of mittens you began back when it was actually mitten weather.

And how about sweater sleeves? Raise your hand if you've got a sweater three-quarters finished, but you're not sure when you'll ever actually wear it because you just can't bring yourself to slog through the second sleeve.

 Sock knitting at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts

Sock knitting at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts

My solution is to work these kinds of projects in stages, rather than finish one completely and then start the second one. For socks, I work the leg on the first one, then set it aside and cast on for the leg of the second sock. When both socks are done to the heel, I work the heel and gusset on each, then the foot on each, and last of all the toes.

An advantage to this method is that since the heels and gussets are done close to each other in time, I'm more likely to remember any special adjustments or modifications I made and do the same on both socks. Ditto for the toe shaping.

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Here's my current sock project, a "plain vanilla" sock knit over 64-stitches, with 2x2 ribbing followed by stockinette stitch. The first sock is finished as far as the heel, so I've transferred the stitches to dpns and set it aside for now (this frees up my 9-inch ChiaoGoo circular for the second sock).

 Sock knitting on the Norwottuck Rail Trail in Amherst, Massachusetts

Sock knitting on the Norwottuck Rail Trail in Amherst, Massachusetts

For these socks, I'm using Platinum Sock from End of the Row Yarns in the Peacock colorway. I'm really smitten with these saturated colors — they're so evocative of spring and summer and all the color that's bursting into view this time of year. I'm mostly working on this pair while walking — I keep them in my shoulder bag, so whenever the urge or opportunity to walk arises, I can pull out the sock and get in a few rounds while also getting some exercise.

 Sock knitting at the Quabbin Reservoir in Ware, Massachusetts

Sock knitting at the Quabbin Reservoir in Ware, Massachusetts

Have you tried knitting two-at-a-time socks on circulars? That also seems like a really great way to avoid Second Sock Syndrome. I haven't gone there, because I'd need to purchase even more needles, and I feel like I already have enough. I'm also not sure how well the long circulars would work for walking and knitting. 

Do you suffer from Second Sock Syndrome? What are your favorite tricks for finishing projects that require knitting two of anything?