The Building Blocks Afghan by Michelle Hunter

I love the bookBuilding Blocks by Michelle Hunter. It is appropriate for the beginning knitters or the advanced knitter wanting a social knitting project, and she's filmed videos on each of the skills in the book. Here are some of the great things about this book:

  1. The patterns are presented in an easy-to-follow format.
  2. The designs are difficult enough to keep you engaged but no so hard you want to pull your hair out.
  3. Michelle teaches many skills in a short time period, as each block measures about 10” X 10”.
She has three other books, Building in Color, Building with Lace, and The Best of Knit Purl Hunter, which are also wonderful to grow your skills.

    How I’m Making my Building Blocks Afghan

    I chose Hikoo Sueno in color 1182 Dusty Lilac for my blocks, andI'm knitting my building blocks in long strips that are six blocks long.

    I'll end up knitting four of these strips, which will cut my seaming down considerably, allowing me to finish my project in less time than seaming each block to another, making the strips.

    I'm also knitting 10 rows of seed stitch instead of the cast-on edge in each block, 5 rows of seed stitch at the beginning of each block, and then six rows of seed stitch and a bind-off edge at the end of the block. My method uses three fewer rows and cuts down on the amount of yarn required to knit the project.


    building blocks

    I am planning to use eight skeins of Hikoo Sueno for the 40" X 60" throw I am currently working on. I'm using my third skein and am working on my tenth block, so I'll have enough yarn to complete at least a part of another block. That's just over three blocks per skein on a US #6 needle.

    My throw will be six blocks long by four blocks wide. Remember, I'm doing strips so my yardage goes further because I'm not casting on and binding off between each block. Plus, I have a few less rows of seed stitch because I don't need the extra rows for joining each block together.

    Reasons to use my method:

    • I use less yarn because I’m not casting on and binding off with each block.
    • I have fewer ends to weave in because I use each ball of yarn until it's gone, building each block in my strip.
    • I need fewer rows of seed stitch because there is no seaming needed to attach each block together, which would “eat up” your rows.
    • My project can be completed quickly because I’m doing a lot less finish work.
    • My seed stitch borders will look more uniform because they have no seams in them, they are one continuous piece.

    Things to consider before using this method:

      • You must knit all blocks facing the same side. In other words, it’s imperative that you can identify the right and wrong sides of your work.
      • If you make an error on block 1 and you are now working on block 4, you will have to take your work out all the way down to block 1. This means, you must check your work and make sure it's correct as you go along.
      • It's best to block each strip before weaving in your ends to ensure the proper length. If your block is too long or short, it’s easier to remove or add a few rows if you can find your ends.
      • This method works best with one color. If you want a variety of colors, this method may not save you a whole lot of time.
      How to Seam Your Horizontal Edges

      How to Seam Your Vertical Edges

      How to Use Stitch Markers for Your Blocks

      Here's a my weekly Technique Tuesday show where I spent a lot of time discussing this building block project:

      I have more technique videos available for free—hopefully these will help you in your knitting journey.

      Regardless of how you proceed with your building blocks, I can assure you that you're in for a real treat as you learn a new skill with each block!  

      Kelley Hobart
      Kelley Hobart

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