Sunday March 26th 2017

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The Power of Plain Jane

wenonablanketsby Contributor: JustDawne

As this year draws to an end and another looms on the horizon, I’ve found myself thinking about what I have accomplished in 2009. I have to remember to give myself credit for goals met and jobs well done while identifying projects or areas of my life that still need a little work. I find it helpful to give myself an honest ‘kick in the butt’ from time to time.

One area I feel very good about is my support of Knit-A-Square. I’ve met the goals I’ve set for myself while making some new friends along the way. I am happy to report that I have knit even more squares than I had committed myself to making! There is a very good reason for this success – I knit a lot of Plain Jane squares.

cascade220swdouble2A ‘Plain Jane’ square is a simple garter stitch square (knit every row). A garter stitch square may not sound like much but it is the foundation of the blankets lovingly assembled by the dedicated members of the Soweto Comfort Club. There is quite a bit of power in those simple squares. So many squares making their way to South Africa from so many corners of the globe. When bound together these humble squares become works of art.

The Plain Jane square has many advantages:

  • They are inexpensive to make.  Shop your stash and work squares from your odds and ends.
  • New knitters gain valuable practice while contributing to something worthwhile.
  • They are quick to make and give us a feeling of accomplishment when we don’t have a lot of knitting time.
  • KAS squares make a perfect project for school knitting clubs. (They make a good reason to start a kids’ knitting club too.)
  • They are easy to make while chatting with family and friends.  No one can doubt that you are paying attention to the flow of the conversation.
  • They are not demanding; easy to make while watching television.  (For me they are my excuse to sit still and watch television!)
  • Squares give us a chance to knit when our brains may be too tired to focus on a more complex project.
  • They are totally portable.  The perfect project for all those times we find we have to wait. No need to carry a pattern.
  • They are well behaved and lay flat, rather than curling up.
  • They make an excellent canvas for adding fun crochet motifs like letters or animals.

I’m the first to admit that knitting Plain Jane squares can get a little boring.  There are ways to shake it up a little and put a new spin on the Plain Jane.

cascade220swdouble6mm 3plynavajo

  • Knit with 2 strands of yarn.  When I do this I get a very spongy, soft and elastic square.  In fact, my double stranded squares impressed my daughter so much that she actually asked me to knit her a blanket.  This is the first thing she has ever requested I knit for her.
  • Turn finer yarns into warmer squares, and faster knits, by using the Navajo Ply Method to make a triple-ply yarn, from one ball, as you go.
  • Try your hand at a mitred square. If you’ve made mitred squares before give a reverse mitred square a try.

It is an interesting coincidence that Knit-A-Squares’ December challenge is to make garter stitch squares. December 1st, World AIDS day, kicked off the challenge. Great minds think alike!

Thank you to all who are making squares. It gives me such a feeling of joy and hopefulness to see each square added to our gallery. Thank you.

Spoiler alert: the next designer square, offered by Lucy Neatby is absorbing, a lot of fun and a bit of a challenge. It’s also totally Lucy and I really love it! (I’m the lucky person who is knitting the sample square.) I’ve been knitting several rows on the Lucy square when I have time to concentrate and whipping out Plain Jane squares in between.

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12 Responses to “The Power of Plain Jane”

  1. I can hardly wait to see Lucy’s square!

      • Haja says:

        Actually, I thought that was the suotlion for many years, until attending some classes with an expert who reminded me that using a size larger needle increases the HEIGHT of the stitch, but not the DISTANCE BETWEEN STITCHES (this is what produces the too tight cast on) .so simply being careful to keep enough space between the cast on stitches really does the trick. Need a video, try Cat Bordhi. Also, I use the old Norwegian cast on for items where more stretch is required (hats, socks, etc). Really works. (She also has a really stretchy cast off tutorial, quite good)

      • Pasini says:

        Oops – I just realized that I didn’t put at least two sqeuars on my card in addition to the shape of the card itself…my panels are all rectangular. Sorry! but I could not delete my link.

      • The next time I learn a blog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I imply, I do know it was my option to learn, but I actually thought youd have one thing attention-grabbing to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about one thing that you would fix in the event you werent too busy in search of attention.

      • Pat says:

        ooo how cool that you found old sewing mzieagnas! and i don’t understand why these types of clothes ever went out of style. those shapes and patterns are so so beautiful. i’d seriously want to own all those dresses!

      • buy levitra says:

        Just want to say your article is as amazing. The clarity in your post is simply great and i could assume you are an expert on this subject. Fine with your permission allow me to grab your RSS feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please keep up the gratifying work.

      • Andrea says:

        sounds like really good news a virus is sohmneitg that means you need to make it better by buying yarn (proven remedy trust me), now go get well missus

  2. Twila says:

    Me too! (Re: Lucy’s square)

    And I love the reverse mitered square. It’s so irritating to get a few inches knit only to find that the square isn’t 8″ wide. The reverse mitered square is ALWAYS the right size.

  3. [...] always we are incredibly thankful for every square sent (especially the Plain Jane garter stitch squares that make up the bulk of our blankets). Together we are working to keep the [...]

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