Frank's Spirit Yarn Afghan
July 11, 2016
November 3, 2016

Frank's Spirit Yarn Afghan

Project info
Garter Squish by Stephen West
Needles & yarn
various worsted
26 skeins = 5720.0 yards (5230.4 meters)

7/11 I made the sweater for my father, Frank, years ago. It was always too big, too heavy, and too hot for him to wear, but he was so gracious he would occasionally suffer through wearing it to humor me. My father passed away in 2009 and I couldn’t bring myself to donate it. When I saw this pattern I got the idea to take the sweater apart and reuse the yarn for this afghan.

I knit the sweater using Cascade 220 held double (I know, crazy). The sweater is a circumference of 64” (really crazy!) and weighs 2 pounds 13.4 ounces. If 220 yards of Cascade 220 weighs 3.5 ounces, I figure I have 2,828 yards of the blue to use for the main color. The pattern calls for 1,620 yards of the main color and casting on 128 stitches to make an afghan 48”x66”. I want to use all of the blue. How many stitches to do I need to cast on?? I need to call my math professor friend for help. :-)

The contrasting colors are yarns I found at thrift stores. Some of the contrasting colors are Cascade 220 and some are unknown yarns, but all are worsted. I over dyed some of the yarns at Jorstadt Creek Dye Studio in Olympia, Washington on July 9th. I’ve included some pictures of the process because it was so much fun. Not sure if I will use the kelly green, purple, black, and cream in the afghan.

7/20 Kelly (1hundredprojects) and I had a fun math conversation! The patterns says to cast on 126 stitches for a finished size of 48” by 66”. Total yardage used is 1,620 for each the MC and CC for a total yardage of 3,240. If my sweater is approximately 2 pounds, 13 ounces, and a 3.5 ounce skein of Cascade 220 is 220 yards, then I my sweater has a whopping 2,800 yards (45 ounces /3.5 ounces = 12.8 skeins x 220 yards = approximately 2,800 yards)

If I made the afghan as instructed I would have about 1,200 yards the MC left. If I just cast on the instructed 126 stitches and kept knitting until the yarn was use up, I would have a very long rectangle. So how many stitches do I cast on to make an afghan where I can use all the yarn but it is in proportion? We had to figure out how may yards equals one square inch of knitting. So… 48”x66” = 3,168 square inches. I divided total yardage (1,620) by square inches (3,168), I get about .51 yards to the square inch. I then took my total MC yardage (2,800) and divided that by .51 and the total square inches of my afghan will be 5,490 square inches.

Now comes a little playing around. We rounded the square inches down to 5,400 and looked for numbers we could divide it by about evenly (90x60, 80x67, 70x78). I think the best shape would be 80”x67”. If my gauge is 2.75 stitches/inch then I need to cast on about 184 stitches.

As for the CC colors, if each skein is about 200 yards then I need 14 skeins. Yay! That means 14 different colors!

7/21 I had another day of dyeing. I tried to make chartreuse and I think I was pretty successful. I then tried to make coral mixing fuchsia and yellow and a little black to tone down the intensity. The color tested on a paper towel seem perfect but the yarn didn’t absorb the dye. I kept adding more dye which in hindsight doesn’t make sense, because if the yarn isn’t absorbing the dye that is already in the pot, why would it absorb additional dye? Anyway, after about two hours in the pot the yarn absorbed all the yellow and black but none of the fuchsia. The yarn is old yarn I found at the thrift store and I noticed the label said it was mothproofed. I did some research and learned mothproofing is done by adding the pesticide Mitin FF during the dye process. I wonder if the Mitin FF affected the absorption of the dye. My research didn’t back this up so its just by guess. But even though I didn’t get coral, I like the gold I ended up with. :-)

7/30 Started taking the sweater apart with Kim (KMDesigns) over dinner and a bottle of wine!

8/3 Unraveling is done. The yarn is in skeins, washed, and now drying.

8/4 All the yarn is wound into balls. Cast on today!

9/21 First day of fall and I am almost done with my eighth color (moss green). Over half way done!

10/1 Started color number 10.

10/10 Started color number 11.

10/18 Started color number 12.

10/25 Started color number 13.

10/29 Started color number 14 and final color. I can see the finish line! :-)

11/3 FINISHED! I love it!

Afghan measures 6’8” L x 5’7” W and weighs 5 pounds 8 ounces! :-)

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July 11, 2016
November 3, 2016
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  • Project created: July 11, 2016
  • Finished: November 5, 2016
  • Updated: May 24, 2018
  • Progress updates: 2 updates