I finally completed a UFO that was hanging around too long. (See blog post Mojo Killer Slain or Finally an FO for the reasons, if you're interested.)
This was an afghan I made for a young couple from church, who were married in May. I wanted to make them something and thought, afghans are pretty universal. My only previous afghan experience was with the Summer Baby Blanket, made for my friend Rossi's baby, a couple summers ago. I was a knitter before I was a crocheter, and although my experience with crochet isn't too long, I have gained a lot of confidence. I don't ever look at a crochet project and think, "I could never make that." I'm at the point where my only limitation is my interest - and that's a comforting place to be.
Generally, per square inch, crochet is much faster than knitting, so I decided that Stephanie and Jay were going to receive a crocheted afghan. I looked through some crochet patterns I queued on Ravelry and found Sunny Spread in the Jan/Feb 2008 Crochet Today! magazine.
It's by Ellen Gormley, who writes great crochet patterns, teaches, authors books and blogs. I have seen her teach on the Knit and Crochet Now! TV show - which is now, a netcast.
I liked the pattern because, done in a neutral, it has a contemporary, sophisticated look and will go with just about any decor.
I don't know Steph and Jay's taste. When I mentioned to a few people, that I was going to make them an afghan, they told me about the still-hideous granny square afghans they received in bizarre colors. Their reactions made me think, "Okay then, granny squares are out," which I never really entertained. They inoculated me, just in case.
The pattern called for SuperSaver yarn. It's a great economy (budget) acrylic, but even after laundering, it's a bit stiffer than I like for an afghan. I used a premium acrylic, because I can't assume the newlyweds will be inclined to hand wash and flat dry a wool afghan. I have had good experiences with Knit Picks Brava worsted, so that's what I used. It's extremely soft and smooshy after washing. I chose the color cream, which is more ecru than it appears in my photos.
When I swatched, I tried to use a J hook, but although I got gauge, I didn't like the fabric well enough. It was a little stiffer than my idea of an afghan. I went up to a K. It was a little better, but I didn't settle on the drapability of the swatch until I made it with an 8 mm L hook.
The afghan took forever, but I enjoyed each and every motif I made. When I had finally assembled the 64 squares, not including the swatched motifs, I thought about modifying how I was going to connect the motifs. I thought about crocheting them together, but after all my drapability hijinks, I thought the crocheted connections would be too stable and inhibit drape. I resigned myself to whip stitching the motifs into rows and then whip stitching the rows together, as Ellen's instructions direct.
The resulting afghan appears seamless and the whip stitching was fiddly but not terrible.
AFter weaving in the last end, laundering it, and attaching my label, I made a "fix it" bag" and the project was really and truly done.
I emailed the bride's mom, for the couple's address, in Seattle, so I could mail the 9 month late wedding gift. She replied that the lovebirds were here in Jersey and I could give it to them at church this morning. Great! I didn't have to mail it. Not great!! Church was cancelled because of icy roads and bad weather. I guess I'll need that address after all.