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Afghans

Crochet Afghan Blogs

  • Baby Crochet Inspired by Nature

    Crochet patterns for baby may be plentiful, but few baby crochet designs are as adorable as those in Nature's Gifts for Baby.  Today's Guest Blogger is Sara Leighton.  Sara designed the whimsical patterns you'll find inside of Nature's Gifts for Baby and she's here today to talk about her inspiration for them.  Welcome Sara!

    Hello, there!  I’m Sara Leighton, designer of the patterns in Leisure Arts' recent publication Nature's Gifts for Baby.  I’ve been a part of the wonderful crochet design community for several years now.  This is my first book and it gives me such joy to see it in print.  Many thanks go out to Leisure Arts for working with me and bringing this project to life.

    Nature's Gifts for Baby Front Cover Nature's Gifts for Baby Front Cover

    I’d love to tell you a little bit about the inspiration for each baby set.  There are seven sets in the book, each inspired by the incredible beauty of the natural world.  I love the thought of sweet little babies being all wrapped up in my designs!  What a compliment to have my designs invited into others’ lives as they celebrate their own little gifts of nature.  I’d also like to share some tips for customization for those crocheters who are particularly adventurous.

     

    Coniferous Set

    Coniferous Set Coniferous Set

    Forests are full of life and magic, just like babies!  I wanted to celebrate those precious moments with a hat and blanket influenced by the grandeur of the Pacific Northwest.  I’ve lived in the Pacific Northwest for most of my life and thus have been fortunate enough to have its gorgeous forests surround me and inspire me.

    Custom Tip: Make the blanket in any size by starting with any multiple of 6 stitches plus 3.  A larger blanket might mean a big forest of tree appliqués lining the bottom!  Remember that you’ll need more yarn if you’re making a larger blanket.

     

    Starry Set 

    Starry Set Starry Set

    The night sky has captured our imaginations and inspired many stories across different cultures.  The simple stitches and crisp details of this space-inspired set make it shine.  Truth be told, I was inspired to design this set because I am a space fanatic in my daily life.  It’s a good thing that I work as Campus Manager of a small private school, because working with young people helps me to get away with wearing my space dress, space leggings, space skirt, space scarf, and space earrings (though not all at once)!

    Custom Tip: Change one of the constellations to the baby’s star sign to make the set more personal. You could even write the little one’s name or initials in the stars!

     

    Fox Set 

    Fox Set Fox Set

    With a flash of bright orange, this sweet little fox set steals your heart.  I wanted to conjure thoughts of playful forest friends in soft snowfall with this whimsical project.  Foxes are fairly trendy these days — and for good reason!  They are totally adorable and irresistibly mischievous.

    Custom Tip: If springtime strikes your fancy, replace the off-white in the blanket with green.  You could also add a bow to the fox for a more feminine look.

     

    Seedling Set

    Seedling Set Seedling Set

    It’s so fulfilling watching the next generation be born, grow up, and reach their potential. This is a crisp, sweet baby set that seeks to recognize the joy babies bring to our lives as they blossom and change.  This set was inspired by a class activity that I enjoyed when I was in first grade.  We got to explore sunflowers at various stages of their development.  I never forgot the excitement I felt learning all about how living things grow and change.

    Custom Tip: Frame the panels instead of joining them to create unique nursery decor.  You could also make pillows out of them to add some fun to a favorite chair.

     

    Sunrise Set

    Sunrise Set Sunrise Set

    Mr. Golden Sun shines down on baby in the form of these bright, sunny hexagon motifs.  I like that you can work them up in your spare moments and soon you’ll have a beautiful set for your wee one.  When I was a very young one, under 5, I lived in sunny California.  This set is a tribute to that early and warm part of my life, my own sunrise.

    Custom Tip: The size of this blanket is easy to customize; simply craft more or fewer motifs.  You may even want to experiment with different hexagon arrangements.  If you’d like a larger blanket, be sure to factor in more yarn.

     

    Water Lilies

    Water Lilies Set Water Lilies Set

    This set was inspired by Monet’s paintings which reflect the simple beauty of a quiet pond.  I have a huge amount of respect for art, especially impressionism, and Monet’s paintings have always been among my favorites.  I finally saw a few in person a few years ago; I cried with happiness.

    Custom Tip: Monet created over 200 paintings in the Water Lilies series, with no two being completely alike. Place your lily pads and flowers however you desire to create your own unique version. Since variegated yarn is used for this set, no two sets will look quite the same.

     

    Raindrops Set

    Raindrops Set Raindrops Set

    Rain refreshes the earth, bringing water to thirsty plants and animals.  This cool set is a great way to play in puddles - without getting wet!  It rains a lot of the time where I live.  I love it!  The rain brings everything to life.

    Custom Tip: The cloud appliqués are very versatile. You can add as many or as few as you like to your set. Stitch letters onto them, stuff them to turn them into a matching mobile.  The sky is the limit when it comes to creativity. 

    Thanks Sara for your keen insights into the incredibly cute baby crochet designs in Nature's Gifts for Baby. You can find Sara everyday at her blog: Illuminate Crochet.  

    Have a great day!

    -Veronica

  • Lacy Chevron Afghan from Breaking Amish & Return to Amish

    Today's Guest Blogger is Ann Elaine from Craftdrawer Crafts.  Her blog is full of ideas for crochet, knit, crafts, sewing and cross stitch.  Today, she tells us about one of her favorite Leisure Arts patterns: Lacy Chevron Afghan.  You may recognize this as Mary's Afghan from the TV shows Breaking Amish and Return to Amish.  Welcome Ann Elaine!

    Lacy Chevron ePattern by Leisure Arts Lacy Chevron ePattern by Leisure Arts

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The Lacy Chevron Afghan is an interesting afghan to crochet. It combines a repeated shell stitched with the look of the ripple afghan pattern. I have always been a fan of the ripple afghan and enjoy the way it looks when combining it with other colors. The Lacy Chevron takes it one step further and gives the afghan the feel of movement within the colors of the yarn. The wave pattern of the Lacy Chevron afghan is one similar to the one featured on an Amish reality television show.

    Leisure Arts Afghan Parade eBook Leisure Arts Afghan Parade eBook

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    In addition to the ePattern, the Lacy Chevron Afghan can also be found in the Afghan Parade eBook along with three other designs for a total of four patterns.  The afghan made by Mary on the shows Breaking Amish and Return to Amish is actually called a Lacy Chevron.  I've tried the pattern with a few random scrap colors for practice and found it’s was fairly easy to crochet once you got the hang of it.

    Close-Up of Lacy Chevron Afghan Close-Up of Lacy Chevron Afghan

    I did find similar patterns to the Lacy Chevron online but the instructions in the original Afghan Parade eBook are written better and much easier to understand. It reminds me of crocheting a repeated shell stitch afghan along with granny squares. It’s best to crochet with a worsted weight yarn and with similar colors to enhance the wave effect. My sample pattern was modified and I crocheted a smaller ripple from the pattern to give it a slightly different look.

    When crocheting the Lacy Chevron it’s good to read through the pattern and take your time. The directions are clear and if you use shades of yarn in the same color it works up beautifully. In the Afghan Parade eBook the afghans featured are all worked in one piece so there are no seams to sew. If you like the look of the Lacy Chevron you will also enjoy crocheting the V-Stitch Shell, the Small Shell Afghan, and the Stained Glass afghan included in the Afghan Parade eBook.

    - Ann

    Thanks Ann!  You can find Ann Elaine everyday at her Blog Craftdrawer Crafts.   If you want more information about the connection between the shows Breaking Amish and Return to Amish and the Lacy Chevron Afghans, check out her blog entry on the subject here: Mary's Crochet Afghan Patterns from Breaking Amish and Return to Amish.

    P.S. If you'd like to make your own Lacy Chevron Afghan, we've just released a new Lacy Chevron Afghan Kit with a modern neutral yarn palette.  You can check it out here: Lacy Chevron Afghan Kit.

    Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 4.25.42 PM Lacy Chevron Afghan Kit with Yarns Included
  • One-Skein Baby Projects

    Please welcome our Guest Blogger, Sharon Silverman.  Sharon is the author of Crochet Refresher, Tunisian Crochet Baby Blankets, Tunisian Shawls, and most recently One-Skein Baby Projects.  Her very popular Heirloom Frame Crochet Blanket ePattern gets rave reviews on LeisureArts.com.  She has two brand new ePatterns that you can be among the first to download.  They are a Mosaic Blanket ePattern and a Lacy Crescent Shawl.  Sharon is here today to tell us about her latest Leisure Arts Book: One-Skein Baby Projects.  

    “Good things come in small packages,” the saying goes, and that’s certainly true for babies and for crochet projects.  My goal for One-Skein Baby Projects was to create adorable designs that crocheters could whip up for a special little baby without a large investment of time or money. I’m delighted that Leisure Arts was on board with the concept and gave me the go-ahead.

    Photo 1, book cover One-Skein Baby Projects book cover.

    The first part of my design process was to decide what items to focus on, and to select yarn for each project. I was inspired by Bonbons and Vanna’s Palettes. Both are mini-skein sets from Lion Brand. So cute to have all of those colors in one package! Those seemed ideal for toys.

    Photo 2, Pretzel Rattle Pretzel Rattle

    I used Vanna’s Palettes for the Pretzel Rattle. Why a pretzel? I should probably confess that pretzels have fascinated me ever since I wrote a travel guidebook about my home state, Pennsylvania Snacks: Your Guide to Food Factory Tours. I learned that Lititz, Lancaster County is home to the first commercial pretzel bakery in America, and that the history of the pretzel extends as far back as 610 A.D. That’s the first documented instance of European monks rewarding children who had memorized their Bible verses and prayers with a pretiola, Latin for “little reward.”

    A pretzel-shaped rattle has other advantages, too: lots of places for baby to hold on, and holes that are perfect for peek-a-boo.

    Safety is always my top priority when designing baby items. For the rattle, I used an unopened tube of beads completely encased in clear, waterproof packing tape. It’s positioned in the middle of fiberfill stuffing so it’s completely hidden from view, from feel—and from little teeth. Unless an elephant steps on the rattle and then a tiger rips the packing tape and the bead tube to shreds, the beads pose no danger.  (If you are in regular contact with an elephant and a tiger, omit the bead rattle—although a choking hazard may be the least of your worries.)  

    Bouncy Block uses Lion Brand Bonbons for a bright-colored, highly textured cube that’s fun for little hands.

    Photo 3, Bouncy Block Bouncy Block

    I think crocheters will enjoy making this because each side is different. Instead of fiberfill stuffing, I used washable cotton batting because it is denser and keeps the block nice and plump while retaining its shape.

    Every baby needs a “lovey” to cuddle and snuggle with. The Snow Bear Lovey (Bernat Baby Sport and Patons Astra) is a sweet bear-and-blanket combination. I chose a textured stitch pattern on the blanket to keep it interesting for crocheters and for babies. The head, muzzle, nose, ears, and arms are made separately, then assembled and attached to the center of the blanket. The ears are definitely my favorite part of the Snow Bear’s head. Something about them makes me go, “Awww…”

    Photo 4, Snow Bear Lovey

    Once the toys were finished, I worked on baby garments from head to toe—literally!—the Bubble Hat (Red Heart Anne Geddes Baby), Ribbed Vest (Caron Simply Soft), and Booties for Cuties (Red Heart Baby TLC).

    My own children are in their twenties now and hence no longer suitable models for baby gear, so it was thrilling to see the smiling little boy wearing the Bubble Hat and the Ribbed Vest in Leisure Arts’ photos. Way to make my work look good, buddy!

    The hat is sized for 0-3 months, 6 months, and 12 months; the vest is sized for 0-3 months and 3-6 months.

    Baby Bubble Hat Bubble Hat
    Baby Ribbed Vest Ribbed Vest

    Booties for Cuties are designed to keep little tootsies warm. High cuffs cover the ankle and keep the footwear right where it belongs. This project is sized for 3-6 months and 6-9 months.

    Baby Crochet Booties for Cuties Pink Booties for Cuties - Pink
    Crochet Baby Booties for Cuties Blue Booties for Cuties - Blue

    One other garment, the Hibiscus Top in Lion Brand LB Cotton Bamboo, has very recently been published as a stand-alone ePattern by Leisure Arts on its website.

    Crochet Hibiscus Top Hibiscus Top

    Every parent will tell you that you can never have too many bibs or washcloths. The final three projects in the leaflet are two bibs and a set of washcloths.

    The Bright & Easy Bib (Patons Grace) is worked in single crochet so it’s nice and dense. The ties are worked as part of the neckline so there’s no chance they can come loose.

    Crochet Bright & Easy Bib for Baby Bright & Easy Bib

    The Pullover Bib (Bernat Handicrafter Cotton) has a stretchy neckline that makes it easy to get on and off. A variation on single crochet produces a tight weave to keep messes from getting through. This bib is sized for head circumference 14” and for 16”.

    Baby Pullover Bib to Crochet Pullover Bib

    Sunshine Washcloths (Lily Sugar ’n Cream) brighten up baby’s nursery or bath. Thick and thirsty cluster stitches make these quick cloths pretty and practical. Make a few, roll up and tie with ribbon, and pop them in a basket with baby toiletries for a charming shower gift.

    Baby Crochet Sunshine Washcloth Sunshine Washcloth

    It was a pleasure working with Leisure Arts on One-Skein Baby Projects. Along with doing the editing and photography, they added helpful video links to the patterns. What a great way for crocheters to learn something new or to get reacquainted with a technique they haven’t used in a while. In the past I’ve written Tunisian Crochet Baby Blankets, Tunisian Shawls, and Crochet Refresher for Leisure Arts; another leaflet, Easy Afghans, will be published this spring. They also offer some standalone ePatterns of my work on their site.

    My hope for One-Skein Baby Projects is that relatively new crocheters will find easy items to suit their skill level, experienced crocheters will enjoy exciting stitch patterns and techniques to hold their interest, and that the finished projects will put a smile on the faces of babies and their parents.

    One-Skein Baby Projects Table of Contents Table of Contents

    To tell you a little bit about me, I’m a lifelong crafter who switched gears from travel writing to crochet design after I rediscovered my love of crochet about ten years ago. I’m a professional member of the Crochet Guild of America and a design member of The National NeedleArts Association. I was a featured guest on HGTV’s fiber arts program, “Uncommon Threads,” and have been interviewed on numerous radio podcasts. Recently I expanded my crochet work to include large-scale museum installations, indoors and out. I love to travel and explore the outdoors, especially with my husband, Alan, and our two grown sons. So far I have visited 48 states, 5 Canadian provinces, and 9 European countries. You can find me on Facebook and Pinterest at Sharon Silverman Crochet; on Ravelry at CrochetSharon; and on my website, www.SharonSilverman.com. I would love to hear from you!

    Happy crocheting!

    Photo 14, Sharon Silverman Sharon Silverman
  • Cable Twirl Afghan

    (Click Here for Digital Download)

  • Wedding Ring Afghan

    (Click Here for Digital Download)

  • Hearts & Bows Baby Afghan

    (Click Here for Digital Download)

  • Sweet and Sunshiney Shells

    I finished the Sunshine pattern from Blankets for Toddlers this weekend!

    It was my big, all-consuming project for this weekend and I'm happy to see it completed.  It took three skeins of Red Heart Super Saver and an I hook.  It measures 38" long and about 34" wide, and I'm sure it will stretch out a tiny bit with regular use.  I felt like adding a bit more color to it, so I worked single crochets across the top, and in the free loops of the begging chain at the bottom in a bright pink yarn.  I think it looks fun.

    This is a fun and simple pattern--I would definitely recommend it for car trips or movie marathons.  The pattern is simple enough that you can look up from your work and enjoy the scenery around you while your hands stay busy and your laps stays warm.  I watched a tremendous amount of crime-solving on TV this weekend while I finished this up.  It was such a laid back fall activity to enjoy, and I loved it.  I have another baby blanket or two to finish up, and then I think I'm done with blankets for the year!

    I didn't realize I would have quite so many blankets to make when I thought about making more blankets this year, but oh my goodness.  I feel like some sort of blanket wizard now.  I'm not actually a blanket wizard, but when you consider that I had only made three or four before this year and that I made three or four just this summer.....well, I feel like I've really pulled something off.  Yay!

    This project is the same row of shells and single crochet stitches over and over.  I've been getting over a little cold, and I've been a little worn out and also loopy from medication.  It was nice to have something that made me feel a little more productive while I was glued to the couch without having anything too complicated for me to mess up in my less-than-stellar state.  I'm going to give this to some friends with a new little niece, and I'm hoping this will see a lot of use this winter.  I'm also hoping that the baby appreciates the little pop of pink I added to the borders, but I think I should just be happy with how nicely the pattern turned into a nice little blanket.

  • A Happy Scrappy Afghan

    I finished the afghan pattern from Learn to Crochet Circles into Squares!  I'm so happy with this!

    I've been working on this blanket in fits and starts for quite a while.  I crocheted most of my circles in a weekend earlier this summer.

    And then I made most of my squares a month or so ago.
     

    And then I realized last week that I hadn't finished this pretty little lap afghan, and I jumped back into this with crochet hooks blazing.  Well, I really only had one crochet hook.  That's really all I needed. My H hook and I crocheted squares around the last few circles, and I started seaming the squares together on Friday night.  And then I seamed some more on Saturday.  And on Sunday.  I'm slow at seaming.  I'm even slower at weaving in all those ends from the seaming.  But this was worth it.

    I can't enter this in the state fair, like I had originally planned, but I can happily put this in my gift stash.  I had thought I knew who I would give this to when I was about halfway through the square-making stage of this project, but now I'm not sure.  I'm wondering about giving this to my nephew.  This is pretty large to be a baby blanket--36" X 40"--but he'll be toddler size any day now.

     

    I put a lot of hours into this blanket, and it makes me happy to think of it going to my favorite little guy.  I don't have blanket levels of love for many people.  Do you know what I mean?  I like to crochet or knit baby blankets because that seems like a great way to let a baby AND parents feel loved, but I don't normally make blankets for people who aren't newborns.  Sometimes I'll say that I "blanket love" someone, but I don't say it very often!

    This blanket is a little time-consuming, but it's also pretty simple to crochet.  You can use up a lot of scraps and play around with your color possibilities, and of course you can make it a bit smaller or larger than the pattern's recommended five rows of six squares.  You can do whatever you want! This pattern is easy to modify, which is one of the nicest things I can say about a pattern.  I love mixing up colors and square sizes and any other aspect of a pattern that can be changed up.  Best of all, you will definitely have learned how to crochet circles into squares if you try out this pattern.

     

    No wait, the very best part is that you're going to have a beautifully colorful blanket if you try out this project.  That's my favorite part.

  • Afghan Mania and the African Flower Motif

    You know what I should be making?  If you guessed "another dadgum blanket," you're so right!  So what if I have a couple of other blankets that I haven't finished!  I've wanted to make the Squared Afghan pattern from Learn to Crochet African Flower Motifs for a while now and last week I snapped a little and got started.  I'd made a square from this once before, and I think getting the hang of it before beginning an actual project helped a lot.  Once I had my colors picked out, I was all set!

    I'm using an I hook and worsted weight yarn in red, teal, and yellow.  I knew that skein of teal yarn from the blanket I talked about a couple of weeks ago would come in handy!  I also had quite a bit of red and yellow yarn, too.

    Obviously, I have already run out and I'm barely halfway through.  Whoops!  Afghans are big.  I don't know why I forget, but I always do.  This takes a lot of yarn!  I bought my third skein of Caron One Pound--okay, my third skein of yellow--for this year and I might be buying more because this is my border color.  And it turns out I grabbed a skein of Hot Red yarn instead of Cherry Red yarn when I was stocking up on more red yarn.  And you can tell.

    But I'll be using Hot Red for all of the rest of my squares, so I think it will look fine.  This is not a state fair blanket, and I'm trusting that the friend I'm making it for will love the almost garishness of the bright colors.  I love red and blue and yellow together, and I love that the blue is more of a teal.  In case you were wondering, the model in the book looks like this:

    And that's lovely.  But I take everything pretty literally, and I haven't seen a lot of blue or green flowers.  And this is coming from someone who has grown a ridiculous amount of zinnias.  I wanted my 'flowers' to have more vibrant colors, and now that I think about it, I may have had zinnias on the brain.  Those, or Gerber daisies.  But something bright and beautiful for sure.  And this is really fitting the bill.  I've made all ten of the Square 1 squares.

    And now I've made one whole whopping Square 2.

    I love them!  This makes a big square (about 10 inches) and this afghan is supposed to measure 44" X 55".  The squares are working up fairly quickly, and I have the pattern mostly memorized.  I really like the African flower motif, and I think I'm going to love how a blanket full of them looks.

    And I'm halfway to finding out for sure!

  • More Happy Scrappy Afghan Adventures!

    I picked up my happy scrappy afghan project again.  I haven't done a whole lot with the Afghan pattern from Learn to Crochet Circles into Squares, but I really like what I've done so far. 

    And you may have noticed that some of these circles have been crocheted into squares!  I decided to go with brown because I'm really into brown afghans right now. 

     

    I think it's a great contrast to the bright circles, and I have quite a bit of brown yarn in my stash.  I think I'll be running back to the yarn store for more, but that's fine.  I needed some dark green for my green circles anyway.

    And.  I didn't realize that there are some circles that are more of a teal with aqua!  The shopping list for this pattern was so long that I completely missed both the word "teal" and the word "aqua"!  I promise I would have paid closer attention if I was buying yarn, but I was using up scraps and I'd already decided to swap out lilac with purple for light yellow with mustard.  The teal/aqua combo look so similar to the light blue/darker blue circles in the picture!  I'm debating with myself about buying more yarn, making double the number of blue circles, or just making an extra circle of each color. 

    I'm also thinking a lot about why in the world I decided I needed to use an H hook for an afghan when the pattern calls for an I hook.  Even if my stitches got a bit stretchy, this would still be a heavy and warm blanket.  If I had to guess, it's because I couldn't find my I hook when I began working on this.  I lose my I hook more than I used to lose my H hook.  I guess I'll need to go out and buy two spare I hooks so that the original will turn up--that's what mostly solved my Missing H Hook Problem.  Anyway, the last two rows feel a bit cramped but the gauge is mostly okay.  The squares are nearly the recommended 7" across (my gauge tends to run a bit large) and I'm sure they'll stretch a bit after seaming and washing. 

    I don't know who this blanket is for, and I'm working on it because I need to finish up some WIPs.  The number of projects I have lying around is starting to make me feel a little antsy, and the only way to feel better is clear some of them out.  It feels a little odd to jump on this project instead of any of the baby projects I should be working on, but I love these colors so much!  And I think this afghan may go in the state fair this fall.  My knitting group decided that we would dominate the yarnwork categories of our state fair this year.  And yes, the word "dominate" was used repeatedly.

     I've been 'assigned' the crochet categories.  I'm actually pretty excited about it.  I always mean to submit something to the state fair, and then I don't.  Something about my friends declaring that we're going to win everything (we're not. But it's nice to have goals) is a good motivator.  Besides, I've done this before.  I was 17 and it was the youth division, but I still won a ribbon!  I entered a lap afghan of my own design using--what else?--granny squares.  Thinking about the state fair is even more motivating than this former 4Her would like to admit.   I know there's a tendency in craft blogging to be all 'oh, little ol' me?' or to at least act like a rational and gracious adult but seriously, if I don't win a rosette....well, I don't know what I'll do but I know I won't handle it well.  I want to dominate.

    Ahem.

    I really don't think I'll finish this up this weekend (the wild thought did jump through my head earlier in the week when I was fantasizing about the weekend), but I hope to crochet at least half of the squares I need for this.  This is going to be a beautiful afghan!

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