The Great American Aran Afghan

I am a new member and this is a bit embarrassing to post, I taught myself knitting a bit over a year ago, I’ve been sticking to the simple stuff, scarves and basic knit and purl afghans and dabbled with sock knitting with circulars.

About 3 week ago I made the knitpicks cable bag. That was my first time doing cables and I was very apprehensive(ok terrified) of tackling them, but it was so easy, they came out so great, I was very proud of myself.

Soon I found the Great American Aran Afghan booklet and fell in love, and since cables were so easy to do, I jumped in with both feet, got the yarn and got ready to make a masterpiece.

Well now I feel like a complete idiot, I don’t even know how to read the pattern. I don’t know what ridges are and can’t make sense of the charts, their scheme in the pattern or even how to put chart A and B together.

I am totally confused and hours trying to decipher the pattern have been unsuccessful.

Help please?


Please tell me what the Great American Aran Afghan is…I’d love to look at it and then maybe help you out.

Thanks for trying to help

I knew it was too ambitious, but I saw it and common sense went out the window.

Here is what it looks like

And this is the booklet

Thanks again.

My LYS is going to be having a class featuring that afghan. The owner is on knittinghelp with the username of tmsl. I’m sure she would be willing to help you! Her name is Laura and she is GREAT!

I can’t help being a newbie knitter as well. But I applaud you for wanting to take this on.:yay: I’m sure once you start to figure it out, you will get it. :thumbsup: We all have to start somewhere, right?:mrgreen: :hug:

[B]I’ve made it![/B] I’d be happy to help if I can! :slight_smile:

When it says work 3 ridges, they mean knit every row until there are 3 ridges made by knitting garter stitch. So like on the Julie H Levy square (2nd square in the book), it says “[B]Work 3 ridges, inc 28 sts evenly across last (RS) row[/B].”

So cast on, and knit a row. Turn your work, and knit a row again. Keep turning and knitting until there are 3 ridges on the right side and increase on the last right side row.

Keep in mind that these “ridges” are only the borders for the squares. They don’t have to be precisely correct. Just do them the same for all your squares, so take notes when you start your first square. Cast on the same way, and knit the same number of rows for the squares.

Now, regarding reading the pattern. Each pattern is both written out and charted. Pick which way you like, and use those directions. You don’t have to use both the text and the charts.

So again, using Julie’s square as an example, after you do the ridges and increase to 76 sts, it says “[B]Beg Charts A and B: Row 1 (WS) K3, work 17 sts [of] Chart A, Chart B over 36 sts, 17 sts Chart A, K3. Cont in pats as established keeping 3 sts each side in garter st…”[/B]. Refer over to the next page where it says “In other words”, and look at the directions for Chart A. Start as you were told, K3 (knit 3 sts), then follow row 1 of Chart A, and only row 1. Then knit row 1 of Chart B (only row 1), and knit row 1 of Chart A again. Knit 3 stitches (these are the garter stitch stitches for the borders), and turn. Row 1 of your square is done.

Continue like this knitting 3 sts for your border, then a row of chart A, a row of chart B, a row of chart A again and K3 for your border.

It helps to place a stitch marker between each change in pattern like K3, place a stitch marker, K row 1 of Chart A, place stitch marker, row 1 of chart B, stitch marker, row 1 of chart A, stitch marker, K3. Do this for ALL the squares because it helps to remind you that when you come to a stitch marker, you need to change to another pattern.

It also helps tremendously to use a row counter for both chart A and chart B since they have a different number of rows. Or a note pad, or however you keep track of rows. I used a red row counter for one, and a blue for the other and just kept track of which was which.

Ok, so you’re probably a little overwhelmed right now. Maybe this will help. This afghan still is one of my all time favorite projects. It is very challenging. Some squares are way harder than others. But you will learn techniques that you’ve never dreamed of, and end up with a breathtaking heirloom afghan. Take one square at a time. Don’t think about how many squares there are to make. Just do em one at a time and take your time.

Good luck! Don’t hesitate to ask more questions if you need help! Keep them in this thread instead of PM, so it can be a learning tool for anyone who wants to knit this afghan. :slight_smile:

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OMG! What a beautiful piece! When I saw “Great American Afghan”, I assumed it was another red, white and blue and I’m not too hot on Americana. But, I was dead wrong! It is so full of challenges and learning… would love to make this! One square at a time? Doesn’t sound too bad at all. Thanks for sharing! Mary

Thank you! Yep, this is the “Aran” afghan. There is a Great American Afghan too, but it’s not in red white and blue either. Besides, you can always use your own yarn color choices. :slight_smile:

:inlove: so pretty, Silver!!

My LYS is buying the books now and going to have a class this fall…I’m going to take it because I think that is the only way I will finish it, having to make them before the next class…otherwise I would get to sidetracked…:teehee:

Val, I think it’s great that you jumped into this project and I can’t wait to see your afghan!! :yay:

Thank you so much.:muah:

Silver, I am going to follow your advice exactly and I am going to start it today.

I’ll probably be back with a gazillion questions, I tend to over think and complicate things more than they have to be.

I am glad you all understand why my common sense went out the window.

I am in love:heart:

Silver, on average how long did it take you to make each square?

Thanks again everyone, it’s hard learning everything on my own with no one to share or can even understand the knitting madness.:knitting:

I don’t know how long each square took, but I’d guess a square a week or every 3 or 4 days or so. (I take my time when knitting.) But the whole afghan took me 6 months from start to finish.

There are 24 squares, and you only use 20 for the afghan, so pick out the 4 that you don’t want to knit, and knit all the rest. (The one with the little sweater on it is my favorite!) Of course, you can knit the other 4 too, the book suggests making them into pillows, but I just didn’t knit them.

Happy to help! Don’t worry about asking too many questions, just be patient if I don’t hop on right away and answer. But you can always slide me an email too to poke me, if you need an answer quickly. :teehee:

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Sorry, but I just saw this or I would have tried to help. Silver has you on your way though and you will have an heirloom when you are done. Good for you for tackeling a challenging project. You will have learned sooooo much when you are through with this.

Good luck!!!


My LYS offers a class, which I took, and currently I have 10 squares done.

Adding my two cents: Be sure to do a guage before beginning so that all of your squares will be pretty much the same size. The gauge in the book is on a US 7 and my guage turned out to be on a US 8 so that meant I had to go up one size for all other suggested needles.

Also, on the first page of the book at the bottom, it tells you which are the five easiest squares. I would begin with one of those five squares. This will help to build your confidence. :happydance: The Betty Salpekar square is the most difficult–I believe it’s because she made her instructions so awful to follow.

I’m knitting mine in Malabrigo in the Pollen color and it’s going to be lovely. Good luck!

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Dear Lord! I do the [I]exact[/I] same thing!! Isn’t it annoying?? :teehee: My life would sure be a lot simpler if I didn’t do this. :wall:

For me, if I read something with instructions I then read it over and over and over and by doing this I somehow seem to add more things to it than what it says to do. And then it’s like, “oh hell no, this is insane” and then I walk away for a while and come back and read it again and it’s like, “Oh, duh, I can do that”. :teehee:

Good luck with it! It’s a BEAUTIFUL afghan, I may even try it myself. Thanks for sharing. :hug:


I am going to have to wait, I bought size 7 needles and my gauge is an 8.

So now I have to buy needles.

I am not good at waiting :pout:

WOW!!!:cheering: I :woot:think I will tackle a knitted afghan and that pattern is awesome. I think a square every 2 or 3 weeks should get it done for me. Thanks for posting about learning to knit and this afghan!!!:inlove:

I fell in LOVE with the afghan, and knowing how much help there is out in Knitville, I ordered it! There is actually a blog on it, and an errata sheet! Just looking it over and planning which square to start first. I appreciate all your comments on it, Silver…its already been a help

Rubyjane please post links to blog and errata sheet. Thanks

Wow :heart: I have completely fallen in love with this. I would love to make it, but is it an available pattern here in the UK?

It’s a book by itself, you can order it on