My Year of Garter Stitch

I guess working on my Next in Line afghan from January to July just didn't give me quite enough time with garter stitch this year: recently, I cast on two more garter stitch projects. One is a shawl design (only partly garter stitch — lots of lace, too) that will debut in October, just before Rhinebeck.

The other is a square for an MDK Team Blanket.

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Over at Mason-Dixon Knitting, Ann and Kay have started the Team Blanket project, encouraging knitters either to coordinate a blanket for someone in need or to volunteer to knit a single square. It started last month when Ann decided to knit a blanket for Tia Coleman, who lost nine family members in a boating disaster. "Knitting a blanket," she wrote, "is not going to fix anything, but knitting is a measure of time spent thinking about someone."

Teams quickly formed. Since I had a little extra knitting time to spare, plus stash yarns at the ready, I signed up for Team Blanket No. 1. We are making squares for a woman who lost her fiance in a farming accident just two weeks before their wedding. Her story moved me to tears. I thought about her a lot as I knit my square, wishing her the strength to get through this sad time and find a way to go on, somehow.

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Our team has used the Mitered Crosses Blanket pattern, by Kay Gardiner (all proceeds go to Mercy Corps, an international relief organization) — a simple yet striking design that brings together miters (paired decreases that magically create a square) with log cabin blanket construction.

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The pattern is easy to follow and the knitting went quickly. In a way, it's like colorwork, in that you feel motivated to keep knitting to see how it's going to look when you finish each section.

As with any project, knitting a swatch is a good idea. I started off with the recommended needle size, but after finishing one miter I could see it was coming out too large. Dropping down a needle size and swapping out a too-heavy yarn fixed the problem. I ended up using Green Mountain Spinnery Mountain Mohair (in ice blue) for the center cross and Thelma & Louise from Wing and a Prayer Farm (left over from my Enallagma Shawl) for the borders. My finished blanket square measured exactly the size needed after blocking. I guess the knitting deities were smiling on me!

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If you've got a cat — or a friend with one — you can put your swatch to good use by turning it into a catnip toy. I folded mine in half, sewed up three sides, filled it with catnip, then sewed the final edge.

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I enjoyed knitting this clever mitered square so much! It doesn't require a lot of yarn or a lot of time — just a desire to join other knitters in creating comfort for someone who is suffering. Here are links, if you'd like to get involved:

Mason-Dixon Team Blanket blog post
Mason-Dixon Forums (join a team here)
Mitered Crosses Blanket FOR MERCY CORPS

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