Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Color Block Afghan


{subtitle} Long overdue


This blanket was most certainly a labor of love. My nephew graduated in May of 2011, and his graduation totally snuck up on me. Ignore the fact that the whole family discussed it at Thanksgiving beforehand. Maybe it's my age. Ya know turning 40 can do a number on ya.
So, I started it as soon as we got the invitation to his commencement. Thought I would be done by Fall, and I was, give or take 8 months. Why did it take so long? Well, I tend to get distracted easily these days. That's why I have been posting mostly one-day projects. But, the repetition of crochet in large projects is still very soothing to me. I just need regular breaks to be a little creative.
I chose to create an afghan of squares because, when I crochet on-the-go, it is so much easier to carry small projects.  I could easily take a couple of skeins of yarn along with a hook and get several blocks done.  The trick was putting it all together, because it was impossible to take anywhere once that process started.
The afghan bedspread measured 67"x85" when complete. This pic shows it on my queen size bed.  It covered the top of the bed plus a few inches when pulled to the top edge of the mattress.  I didn't keep track of how many skeins I used since I bought them as I needed them. I wasn't concerned about dye lot, because the pattern of the blocks meant I wouldn't have 2 different dye lots of the same color side-by-side. But, I estimate you would need 4 skeins of each color (20 total). 12 blocks of each color are needed plus 3 more of the first three in the pattern (mine being Cranberry, Medium Blue, and Dark Gray).

Basic pattern information:
Yarn = I Love This Yarn (from Hobby Lobby) in 5 colors, estimate 4 skeins of each color: 
A = Cranberry
B = Medium Blue
C = Graybeard
D = Navy Blue
E = Light Gray
Hook = I/9 5.5 mm

Abbreviations:
ch = chain
hdc = half double crochet
sl st = slip stitch
sc = single crochet

I made 63, 9" squares of half-double crochet. Here is how I did it. Adjust to your tension.

Ch 31.  Turn, hdc across beginning in 3rd ch from the hook (29 hdc total). Ch 2 for turning chain. Repeat to make 23 rows of hdc. Check for squareness by folding it diagonally to make a triangle.
Repeat for 12 squares in each color, plus 1 more of Cranberry, Medium Blue, and Graybeard.
To piece squares together, first create a color pattern to follow.  Mine was Cranberry, Medium Blue, Graybeard, Navy Blue, Light Grey.  Since I used 7 squares per row, I simply repeated the pattern in order as I moved down the rows, going left to right.
Sl st the pieces together on the back.  I suggest you work across in rows first, making it easier to follow the pattern you have created.
Edging - Make 2 rows of hdc in Light Gray and one row of the edging in Navy Blue around the entire perimeter. Start with the light gray. Sl st into the top of a hdc or equivalent opening (for sides without clear stitches) along middle of any side. Ch 2, hdc in each stitch (or equivalent openings). For rounded corners, crochet 2 hdc in the last stitch of one side, 2 hdc in the corner stitch, and 2 hdc in the first stitch of the new side. Finish each row of hdc with a sl st to first stitch. Finish off.
Next, in Navy Blue, sl st into the top of any hdc you have just made (preferrably not a corner).  Ch 2, sl st, ch 1.  *Dc, sl st, ch 1*. Repeat between *s along the edge of light gray and finish with a sl st to first sl st.  Finish off, weave in ends.

I am currently working on another afghan for another nephew who graduated this past May.  Poor guy, he has to wait because this one took so long to finish.  Cross your fingers that this one goes faster, for his sake!

58 comments:

  1. That turned out beautiful! Nice job!

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    1. http://pinterest.com/soverycreative/

      I love your afghan. Nice color scheme and great instructions.
      I too love making the squares because you can make them on the go!
      Thank you.

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  2. I just finished my first block blanket. Boy I wish I had seen this before I put it together. You explained how to sew the squares together so much better than the pattern I was using. I am going to start on my net one and follow your method. Thanks so much.

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  3. Thank you! I'd love to see how it comes out. I could post it, if you send me pictures.

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  4. You think it took you a long time to make this afghan, I started a queen-sized afghan for my daughter 2 years ago in December of 2009, and finished it after Christmas December 2011. I did mine in Red Heart's Zebra colored yarn (black, gray and white) her favorite colors ( not mine), and after making the basic afghan in those skeins, I started around it in what I had left of the Zebra colored yarn, then changed to White and the last few rounds were in Black. She loved it even though it took me nearly 2 years to complete. I just started crocheting and as other people say, gauge doesn't really matter, but I used a Size J crochet hook, and chained as many as I thought would be the right width and went from there. I actually measured my own queen-sized bed and then added about a foot and 1/2 on each side for the extra width. I'm glad I completed it because it was "hanging over my head" like a guillotine and I wanted to complete it for her. She had her baby in July of 2011, and it has been a comfort to her and her boyfriend and the rest of the family.

    Lisa Hayes, Dragynl8y@gmail.com

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  5. What a special gift you made. It must be very satisfying to know how much the afghan is loved. It makes all of the hard work worth it.

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    1. What a lovely Afgan I have made many in the last few years for my 13 grandchildren I have 3 to go one being a boys one. He wanted blue but I think I will follow your pattern, I think I can see it on his bed. Thank you for sharing your pattern Lelia

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  6. I just love this pattern...the colors are great for the male gender which you used. Making 2 for 2 males that I know for Christmas 2012. Planning to make 2 for a couple of gals in softer feminine colors. Thank you for displaying your master-piece.

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  7. This is just so beautiful! I'm doing it in varigated colors.Thank you so much for sharing this!

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  8. I'm not really a fan of the colors, kind of reminds me of country grandma type stuff. But the pattern looks useful. Thanks for posting.

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    1. I can see that. I've always called the medium blue "country blue." But, it was in the range of colors he chose. If you try the pattern, I'd love to see what you make.

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  9. Beautiful just beautiful I would love to make this for my boyfriend, I just made some patch throw pillows for his bed with all the colors you have here. I'm new to crochet and still learning how to read patterns so it seem a little difficult to me....can a beginner achieve this?

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    1. I don't think it's very difficult. Besides handling the large size, the biggest challenge is connecting the pieces together. You might make a couple of squares and test out connecting them to see. Let me know how it goes, good luck!

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  10. I cannot wait to begin this project. I have been doing regular granny squares for a very long time and mitered squares, but now a square with hdc.... thank you for a beautiful example.

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  11. Thank you! I love the hdc stitch. It is so much faster and has a nice look to it. Enjoy!

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  12. Thank you for sharing your beautiful blanket. It looks absolutely gorgeous. I like the way you arrange your color pattern, will most definitely use that in a project I'm planning. Greetings from Iceland

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    1. Greetings, and thank you! I'd love to see what you make.

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  13. thank you so much for sharing your beautiful project. I love your color pattern. I have started crocheting one for our new house, it will surely be wonderful. thank you

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    1. Thank you! Email me a pic when you finish. I'd love to see it!

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  14. Love it, those are almost the exact colors my son has chosen for his blanket. :) One question, did you block the squares before connecting them?

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    1. Thanks. Yes, then I connected them in rows first. Connecting them went pretty quickly this way.

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  15. Wow!!! What a great afghan and color scheme for a young (or not so young man). I'm a beginner but after looking at your one stitch pattern, I don't feel intimadated at all. Thank you for a great gift idea with love in every stitch!!

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    1. Thank you! Let me know how yours turns out, I'd love to see it.

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  16. What size are the individual squares? Thanks

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    1. Mine come out 9". You can stitch a few rows and check your gauge. If your crochet style is tighter or looser than mine, you will need to adjust, either using more stitches or fewer stitches per row and more rows or fewer rows to make the square.

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  17. I am making an afghan like this (9 inch squares), but using different stitches for the different color blocks. For example, using a dark purple I will make seven squares of a textured stitch ( sc, trc, sc.) and seven squares of the moss stitch. Using Aran, I made seven squares of hdc and seven squares of sc. This way I am not getting bored with one stitch and if I get tired of one, I can start another and then go back. I am calling it a 'Stitch Sampler Afghan'. It's also a great way to learn new stitch combinations on a smaller scale.

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  18. Sounds beautiful, and a great idea for learning new stitches. Send me a pic when it's done, I'd love to see it.

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  19. Found your pattern today! I have been looking for a "boys" pattern to make an afghan for my son's twin bed in various shades of camouflage colors. Almost settled on a ripple pattern but still hadn't been "feeling" working the pattern but this block pattern of yours is truly catching my eye! I don't like the stitching together of the blocks, I generally like a pattern that flows along with no joining but this pattern is calling me! The style/colors are eye popping. They would be popping for a camouflage print I am sure! Thank you for this pattern! I shall see how it goes!

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  20. Sorry! Just reread what I wrote and I meant to say I don't personally like to sew together the blocks! The actual work of that. But, your pattern is lovely! Goodness! I should reread before I post.

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    1. Thank you. This was actually my first project to stitch blocks together. I thought I would be tired of it by the end, but it wasn't bad at all. I think this would look great in camp. I'd love to see it if you can send pics.

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    2. Haha - I mean camo, guess I need to proof read mine, too!

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  21. I love this pattern. It reminded me of a patchwork quilt my mother made for all of her grandchildren. I think I will try this for my grandson who is graduating from High School this spring. Like you I probably won't have it done for graduation but maybe by the time he leaves for college.

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  22. Thanks. Good luck. It surprises me every time that it takes so long, but I have so many projects going. It would probably go faster if I didn't.

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  23. Dear Joey,

    My afghan, which I posted about on Jan. 6, is done. How do I email you a picture as you requested?

    OhioMom

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  24. I am a beginner at crochet i have only done two projects one of which is a blanket i am now on my third project. I have been really hesitant on trying anything with squares but the way you describe it it seems so much more simple compared to anything i have read for instructions. And a lot easier to follow. My husband has been wanting me to make him a blanket you have inspired me to give it a try.

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    1. Great! Let me know how it turns out.

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  25. I'm working on your pattern with Burgundy, Purple, Gray Heather, Navy, Cream. It's for a queen sized bed, so I'm making the squares 10". My sister-in-law is quite excited about it.

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    1. It sounds pretty, send me a picture when it's done.

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  26. Joey: I've started my first block for this afghan, but in reading the instructions I don't see how I'm supposed to "bind off" each block---just with a hdc, then a slip-stitch at the end of the row? Thanks.

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    1. I'm sorry, I just saw this comment. Yes, I finished each square pulling through a slip stitch.

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  27. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  28. Found this pattern 2 weeks ago and I love it and made it. The only change I made is for those who "HATE" to sew pieces together (like me). Make block strips instead of individual blocks. Start the block or "strip" as stated and work until you achieve the desired length of that "color block". THEN, just change the yarn to your next color and work that "block" to the same length, then change to the next color. Work this way until you reach the desired finished length of the strip and finish off. Make the next "strip" in the same way, working from your color arrangement, and keep this up until you have the width you desire then all you have to do is sew the "strips" together with any one of your colors (I used the aran). Work the border/edging as stated. Doing this reduces the amount of "sewing together" and the number of seams in your project. I made this in an 8 color motif using Red Heart colors - cornmeal, pale yellow, mirage, coffee, warm brown, and aran with a size J hook and it turned out great.

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    1. Sandra, I love this tip. If I had known ahead of time how my blocks would lay out, this would have been much simpler! I'd love to share your project, if you'd like to send me a pic.

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    2. Could you explain this block strip simpler? Do you crochet the width of your block, change colors, crochet the next block, etc., then turn and continue yr blocks, thus crocheting the afghan in one piece? But hank you.

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    3. Diane,
      I think you would begin with a ch 31 - the width of the block, and follow with 22 rows of hdc in color A. This is the same as my pattern for the first block. Do not finish off the block. Instead, change colors to what would be color C and complete 23 rows. Continue in this manner following the chart down the first column, changing colors after every 23 rows. You are completing strips that you then sew together at the end. Hope this helps.

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  29. Could you do this pattern if your knitted it instead of crochet. Please respond to this reply

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    1. I'm sure you could. I don't knit, but I think it would work. Let me know if you try it.

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  30. S glad you are thoughtful & publish patterns. Thank you:)

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  31. I have actually done this same pattern in knitting.It was done in a row of knit and then the next row in purl stitches. It turned out beautiful. It was the first full project I had ever done in knitting and was so easy to do

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  32. I think this would be a great way to use up yarn even if you don't have a color pattern to repeat, say if you are using up scraps. I love the block strips idea too. This would be great for charity projects! Thanks for sharing!

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  33. Hello Joey! I absolutely love this blanket! So I am still pretty new to crocheting and was wondering if I could do this pattern in double crochet instead of the half double because I do not like doing the HDC I am not worried about it coming out larger than the pattern states? Thank you!!

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    1. Thank you! Yes, double crochet would work. You will have fewer rows. Simply measure as you work to ensure you stop when you have made a square.

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