Sunday, August 23, 2015

War Eagle Afghan

Crochet is a strange creature for me.  I start a bajillion and one things, and finish very few.  I'm not sure what my problem is, except that I like trying new things, and the internet is like a toy shop of crochet patterns!  

This past week was my mother-in-law's birthday.  Some time back, she'd pinned a picture of an afghan and I thought, "hrm, I think I can make that."  So, I took yarn I actually had in my stash and set out on my journey.  But, I got partway into the journey and it became pretty tiring.  Maybe it's color fatigue.  Maybe it was pattern fatigue.  Whatever it was, I set it down.

But, it became something that was perfect for the days of sitting in the cancer center while my husband received his chemotherapy.  There was very little counting, and a quick eyeball would tell me where I was in the pattern.  Also, the volunteers began to want to see it every time I came in, just to see how far I'd gotten.  In short, it was perfect for noisy, distracting environments and curious observers.

At some point, I despaired of finishing it by my mother-in-law's birthday.  It seemed quite the impossible task.  I mean, even when I finished, it still needed a border which is something I've never done.  In truth, I've never made an afghan to give to someone else.  Ever.  So, I was in uncharted territory, and I began to question whether she would even want such an item.

But, my husband seemed happy for the task I'd set out to accomplish.  Thus, I marched forward, row after row and then one day, two days before her birthday, I handed to my husband and I said, "I finished."

This is my version of the Corner to Corner Afghan pattern by Red Heart Yarns.  The link will take you to The Crochet Corner as they have a video tutorial done for Red Heart Yarns' pattern.  I simply printed the pattern and took off.  It's very straightforward, and it really comes together quickly.  

 The afghan I made is approximately 48" square.  I failed to measure it when it was complete, but that was my aim.  I (erroneously) believed I didn't have enough orange yarn to go further and that I'd not find it, but I later discovered the the color I used is still in production.  So, it might have been larger had I not believed that, but then I probably would not have finished in time.  It worked out for good in the end.  :)

The yarns used are Caron One Pound in White and Midnight Blue, and Red Heart Super Saver in Carrot.  I used one full skein of white plus part of another, and nearly all of one skein of blue.  I used a full skein of carrot plus a little of another.  My hook size was H.

The border is from the book Around the Corner Crochet Borders.  The link will take you to Amazon to look at the book.  I used border #6 in orange, blue, and white.  I can tell this book  will be dogeared before too long.  I love the variety of options!  The only problem I had with the border was corners, which I didn't fully understand.  So, I had to wing it a bit.  

Anyway, I hope you enjoy my very first gift afghan post.  I gave it to someone I love a lot, who is a treasure to me, and who raised a wonderful young man to whom I've been married for 25 years.  I pray for her afghan to bring her joy.  And I hope it's useful for those Auburn games which are coming up quite soon indeed!  

May God bless you today with His loving presence.  <3

Saturday, June 27, 2015


It's been a long time since I posted anything, so I thought I'd kick off a (hopefully) new era of posting by presenting a crochet-a-long (CAL) that I've joined.  It's even a *mystery* CAL, so we don't know what it'll look like until we are nearly done.  The awesome part is it's conducted by an amazing crochet artist known as Lilla Björn!  Her works are so beautiful.

Note: All of the links in this post go to various posts on the website of Lilla Björn.  None of this is my work, and I provide the links so that you can jump right to the topic I'm praising.  :) 

Anyway, this newest CAL is called Circles of the Sun and this post holds pictures of my version of Block 1.  As usual, I've opted for soft colors instead of brights, which seems to be the standard thing for me.  My husband is encouraging me to try a quilt pattern with some brights, so we'll see where that goes. :)

This pattern was relatively easy to understand.  It is a little harder than Beginner, I think, but not too much.  You really need a deeper understanding of some of the stitches, especially when she anchors them in a previous crochet round.  However, Lilla Björn has some exceptionally well-done tutorials on her website that help a great deal.  I may actually master the Magic Circle and the Needle Join before this is all over, and that excites me!!

But, the end effect is gorgeous! The blue in the close up is *over* the purple, giving it the appearance of complicated color swapping.  Then you have the lovely pink "petals" that are rising from the block because the gray was worked behind it, on the same row. In the full block picture, the blue round toward the outside of the block is actually Surface Crochet, which I've never done before.  It was much easier than I thought, and it give the block a pleasing effect.

For about 7 rounds, the block is round.  She squares the block in rows 8 and 9, with an eye toward making a pillow from the blocks.  All total, there will be 9 blocks made, all different.  Of course, you could go wild and make a throw, or a blanket, or anything with this gorgeous block.  When it was still round, I thought it would be quite the lovely flower.  

For this project, I opted to purchase yarn.  I partly did it because I wanted to make sure all of my yarn is the same weight, and partly because I wanted a bunch of near-pastels and this was the easiest way to get that desired effect.  The yarn I bought was Caron Simply Soft in the colors Soft Green, Soft Pink, Orchid, Grey Heather, Bone, and Soft Blue.  For reference, each skein except the Grey Heather is 6 ounces (170.1 grams) with 315 yards of yarn (288 meters). The Grey Heather is 5 ounces (141.7 grams) with 250 yards of yarn (228 meters).  I'm using a size H/5.00mm hook.  

The finished block is just under 6 inches by a hair.  I will probably block it to 6 inches.  That means that my pillow, in a 3 x 3 pattern layout, will be 18+ inches in size.  I'm quite okay with that. :)  I'm not sure what I'll do with the pillow yet.  I may gift it to a loved one, or plop it on my bed.  Decisions, decisions! 

So, if you dabble in crochet, this might be a nice project to tackle.  You get the block pattern once a week, so that gives you 7 days to complete a single block.  Lilla Björn is available to answer questions, and eventually there will be a video explaining how to make the block.  I don't think you'll be disappointed!!

I pray that the LORD grants you a wonderfully blessed day!