Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Unexpected Afghans

If you read my previous post, you will know that my mother was the "official" baby afghan crocheter for our family and friends. Well, she's no longer around, and it seems like I have inherited the position. My family has had a population explosion in the past few years. I have new nieces and nephews, and their older brothers and sisters, and their even older cousins, and, of course, my grandchildren. And I'm not even mentioning our good friends who are becoming grandparents right and left. That adds up to a lot of afghans - baby size and larger.  When I make an afghan for a present, I like to make one of my patterns, whether it's been published or not. The first one I made for my great-niece, the one I wrote about in the previous post, was one of my original designs. I had made one for me years before, and just changed the colors to pink and white. When I started designing for publications, I proposed the pattern to an editor, and it was published in a book. Then, I started working smaller baby-sized afghans, using another pattern, and when I submitted the proposal, it also was published. And ditto for a third afghan. I knew these patterns were good - they were easy for me to work quickly, and the new mothers loved them. Eventually, though, I ran out of previous designs, and now, anytime I'm asked to design an afghan for a publication, I have to put on my thinking cap, and do some work. I have some basic criteria for afghans that I crochet for presents. I like them to be quick (I don't have much time to spend on each afghan - see "population explosion" above.) I like to be able to remember the stitch pattern and not have to look at the directions many times in each row or round to see what to do next.  I like to be able to make the pattern in all sorts of yarns. And, I like to be able to make the afghan larger or smaller, depending on the recipient. A small one for a baby. A larger one for a child. An even larger one for a grown-up. With all these criteria in place, I made umpteen afghans this past year for my family and friends. (When you make one for a new baby, you have to make another one for the older sibling.) I also made some for publications - one for a book that was just published: Unexpected Afghans by Robyn Chachula. 


Unexpected Afghans is a book of 24 afghans, and  pillows to match, all innovative crochet designs with traditional techniques. Each afghan is designed by a different designer, and there are hints and tips throughout the book, to make your crocheting experience easier. There are 5 different styles of afghans - cables, granny motifs, color, lace, and tunisian. It's a great way to learn how to work these different techniques if you're not familiar with them. And it's a great way to practice them if you are familiar with them. My afghan (the first in the book) is called Eloise Baby Blanket. It has easy cables and lacy shells. So if you're not used to working cables, or have never worked cables, or just find cables impossible to do, this would be an excellent blanket to crochet. Did I say the cables are easy? Very easy! And remember my basic criteria for making afghans for presents? Quick, easy-to-remember stitch pattern, able to be crocheted in all sorts of yarns, and easy to change the size. This blanket meets all these criteria - so I'm going to make this one for the next baby that shows up. Or the next wedding. Or just because!


If you are interested in the book, here's where you can find more info:
Unexpected Afghans

And, if you want to read the blogs of the other designers in the book, here is that info:

Meet the Author: Robyn Chachula - Crochet By Faye

Meet the Designers (in alphabetical order):
Annette Petavy - Annette Petavy Design
Annie Modesitt - Modeknit
Carol Ventura – Tapestry Crochet
Diane Halpern -Three Rivers Crochet
Dora Ohrenstein - Crochet Insider Newsletter
Doris Chan - Everyday Crochet
Drew Emborsky - The Crochet Dude
Edie Eckman – Edie Eckman   
Ellen Gormley - Go Crochet        
Jill Wright – Wool Crafting   
Kim Guzman - Wips N Chains
Kristin Omdahl - Styled By Kristin
Linda Permann - Lindamade         
Mary Beth Temple - Addicted to Alpaca 
Megan Granholm - Loop de doo
Simona Merchant-Dest - Stylish Knits
Tracie Barrett – Tracie Barrett


Finally, I am giving away one free e-book copy. All you have to do is leave a comment - what kind of afghans do you like to make? Or what are your "go to" afghans? And please be sure to leave your email address, so I can get in touch with you when you win! I'll be picking the number by a random number generator, this coming Sunday, July 8. All comments made before midnight, eastern time, on Saturday, July 7, will be eligible. Good luck!!!

31 comments:

ALSO's Cakes, Pastries and More said...

Hello there =)
My favorite Afghan to make is a Granny Square blanket. I have made a few, my favorite being my most recent baby blankie- it was one large granny, using 2 strands of yarn (white and blue) so it was thicker.
My blankets my Grandmother made me are nice and thick with only one strand- I don't know if its that yarn quality has changed over the years or what- so using the 2 strands together made me feel like it would be comparable to my older blankets. =)
Thanks for the entry in the drawing!
alsos-cakesandmore@sbcglobal.net

Joyce said...

My go-to's are large squares put together using any number of methods but my fave is the Crochet Dude's lacy method of putting them together. I also love the old Caron ABC's baby blanket for baby showers.

Joyce said...

My go-to is to use 12 inch squares and any number of joining methods. I also love the old Caron ABC's baby blanket pattern.

Dana Bincer said...

Sounds like you should be dubbed the Afghan Queen! =) Very fun post. Adore your design. It has soooo much textural interest! Beautiful. And of course, I heartily agree about memorizing a pattern. Your blanket is simple yet interesting. Fantastic!

Dana Bincer said...

Sounds like you should be dubbed the Afghan Queen! =) Very fun post. Adore your design. It has soooo much textural interest! Beautiful. And of course, I heartily agree about memorizing a pattern. Your blanket is simple yet interesting. Fantastic!

My favorite type of afghan is one very much like yours. A back and forth design that's easy to memorize but looks like a million bucks!

Hookin It With Mr. Lick Lick said...

I like motif afghans because of the patterns made by the motifs but I also like just a plain row by row, changing color afghan.

You can contact me through my blog or email - hdvixen@aol.com. Thanks!

HindyB said...

My go-to afghan for years has been the Out-of-the-Ordinary Crib Afghan from a Woman's Day crochet book of granny square patterns. I've made many in different color combinations and yarn weights and the afghan always turns out beautiful.

cay said...

I crochet a lot of afghans for charity, so your criteria are ideal for most of my projects. I don't have any one pattern because I really don't like to make anything a second time. Always looking for new patterns.
cayscrafts@gmail.com

cay said...

I crochet a lot of afghans for charity, so your criteria is perfect for most of my projects. I don't have any one favorite pattern because I really don't like to do the same thing twice.
cayscrafts@gmail.com

@theresay said...

Hi Marty! I love to make granny square afghans, but not the kind where you make 30 of them and join them all together, but the one that just keeps growing and growing, round and round.

@theresay said...

Hi Marty! I like to make granny square blankets, but not the one where you make 30 of them and join them all, but the one that keeps growing and growing, round and round.

Unknown said...

I like to make afghans as wedding and baby gifts. Much more personal than picking something off a registry. We don't have a big family, so my 3 kids and my niece and nephew already have afghans I've already made them, but my 17 year old son just asked me to make him a new one. One that is actually big enough to cover him. He still uses the one I made him about 10 years ago on his bed. I always have a few extras put away in the attic too. Just in case I need a last minute gift.
kbcrochets@gmail.com

Unknown said...

My absolute favorite baby afghan comes from a Leisure Arts book of baby blankets, the Itsy-bitsy Spider Web. I love it because of the same criteria as yours, easy to remember pattern, easily increased in size, and, the fact that it's one piece & looks like a granny square is the icing on the cake. Everyone marvels at it when they receive it as a gift.

Deborah Misfit said...

I love the teddy bear filet baby afghan - it is three rows of three teddies - it looks great in all colors and Mom's seem to ooh and aah over it!

Deborah Misfit said...

My favorite afghan is a teddy bear filet baby afghan - I love it. And Moms seem to ooh and ahh over it!

Cherie E said...

My go to afghan is the ripple pattern. I like that it is clean and a tight weave. I have to "think" while I'm working on it and it helps keep my brain active.

Thank you for the opportunity to win the latest book.

nawlinsjanet said...

I pretty much love all sorts of afghans but my favorite are the ones with lots of texture and a beautiful finish.
nawlins.janet@gmail.com

Darlenedjr said...

Hi, I don't have an favorite. I love making all kinds of afghans. i have made several up for my kids, they gave me the designs they wanted on the afghan and I made it, but now I think it's my turn to make what I like or want and I see a couple designs in your book I would love to get my hands on and being it's my birthday tomorrow, I would love it even more. Thanks for letting me post on here. I love what you do. Darlenedjr@yahoo.com

Cherie E said...

My go to afghan is the ripple. I love the design, how clean it is and the fact that it's tightly woven. Thank you for the opportunity to win this book.

CherinFL54@hotmail.com

Darlenedjr said...

I don't have a special one that I like. I usualy make up a afghan, but I love the ones you have here, and being it;s my birthday, I am thinking of making one for myself. Darlenedjr@yahoo.com

amhv said...

If I need a afghan fast, I do a simple sc, dc pattern with ombré yarn. It is works up quickly and has a nice pebbly texture.

sandra in SC said...

I haven 't made an afghan in a long time. This book looks like it could get me back there.
Sandra in SC

Sharon said...

I love making afghans--both solid and squares. In fact, when I take my annual cross-country train trips, I'll choose a pattern in squares so I can work on them in the train room, then assemble when I get home.

The last baby blanket I completed was done in filet crochet hearts in baby blue. I try and have at least one blue and one pink afghan done and ready to give so I'm not rushing to make one for new babies.

Sharon said...

I love making afghans, both solid and in squares. In fact, when I take my cross-country train trips each year, I choose a pattern in squares which I work on in the train room, and then assemble when I get home.

My latest completed project is a filet crochet hearts pattern in baby blue. I try to have at least one pink and one blue baby blanket ready to go so I'm not rushing to make an afghan for the next baby!

amhv said...

If I need something quick, I usually do a sc/dc repeat in an ombre yarn. This has a nice texture and is simple.

Marty Miller said...

From Craftylady953, who couldn't leave a comment herself, so emailed hers to me:

My afghan of choice currently is the round ripple designs in both full size and baby size. I have made probably 12 of them over the last couple of years. However, haven't kept one for myself...yet. Seems every time someone sees me working on one, they make a comment of how lovely it is, how nice it would look on their couch, or how much their new grand child would love it. You know the story. I am sure we all have done the same thing, give it to them. But that is fine. I know they will appreciate it, and that makes my heart feel good.

Vickie said...

I don't have a go to afghan. I always make something different. Guess I like a challenge even when it makes me want to pull my hair out!

Kim Luniak said...

I don't have a go to afghan pattern, but after many years of crocheting, I always make just afghans. I love to make a different pattern for each person to make it their own special "hug".

Kim Luniak said...

I love making afghans and really don't crochet anything else. I don't have a go to pattern as I try to make each afghan differnt so everyone gets their own special "hug".

BJLK said...

One of my favorite afghan patterns is the 7" x 9" rectangle I designed for our local crochet chapter's Warm Up America annual drive several years ago. It's kind of like a granny, but not square. When I found myself with too many assorted colors that I wanted to use up, I donated a bunch of lapghans using the pattern to our local hospice to be used by both patients and their caregivers.

BJLK said...

One of my favorite afghan patterns is the 7" x 9" rectangle I designed for our local crochet chapter's Warm Up America annual drive several years ago. It's kind of like a granny, but not square. When I found myself with too many assorted colors that I wanted to use up, I donated a bunch of lapghans using the pattern to our local hospice to be used by both patients and their caregivers.