The holidays may be over, but it's still cold outside! The good news? Yarn is on sale! Yippee! This is when I start my crochet season (I tend to craft in cycles--quilting season is next!). Right now I'm making blankets and hats and booties to get my friends and I through the winter.
Call it what you like, a blanket, a throw, an afghan--or my favorite twist, the "lapghan"--but don't call it difficult. If you know the basics of crochet, you can make this super soft, super cozy afghan in about 6 hours. What makes it so quick is the chunky crochet hook (15.75mm) and two strands of thick, textured yarn (we like Lion Brand Homespun).
A friend gave me a green one after I had surgery, and it now has a permanent home on the arm of my couch. I use it almost every day. It is so soft, and it drapes perfectly around your every curve to keep you warm. After that, I begged her to show me how to make it, and I couldn't believe how easy it was! So easy that I made one for a friend's birthday, one for my sister's birthday, and one each for my parents and in-laws for Christmas. It can get a little expensive since it is two strands of yarn, so I started using my 40% off coupons to Michael's and JoAnn to slowly build up my stock in each color. But take advantage of the yarn sales to get your whole stash now!
This is the one I made for my parents (sorry, I couldn't get a very good picture of it with my crappy camera). I used the Homespun "Harvest" color, which is variegated, so it has a beautiful array of colors. I added a little something to it by weaving a long piece of brown satin ribbon through the second-to-last row.
My in-laws got this warm gold color (this pic is before the gold ribbon was added, but it turned out so pretty!).
I told you this "pattern" (if you can call it that) was easy, so I'm going to give you your first free one. Ready?
Quick and Simple Afghan
Finished size approx. 45" x 70"
*8 skeins Lion Brand Homespun yarn
*Jumbo plastic crochet hook, about 15.75mm
Ch 75 (or more if you want it longer).
Row 1: sc in each chain to end. Turn.
Rows 2-60: sc in next st, and in each st across. Ch 1. Turn. Repeat until row 60, or until it is wide enough for your liking. Fasten off. Weave in ends.
That's it! Leave it as is, or try one of these finishing options:
*Ribbon--Weave in a piece of coordinating ribbon through every other stitch on the second-to-last row of each end. Finish by looping ribbon around the outside of the last stitch and tying in a knot.
*Fringe--Cut 12" pieces of the same yarn, enough to create a full fringe along the short edges. Fold pieces in half, thread looped end through a stitch, pull ends through the loop, and tighten. Repeat until fringe is to your liking.
*Simple border--sc in each stitch around the entire blanket.
If all that pattern talk looked like gobbledy-gook to you, but you'd like to learn this new language, there are a couple of things we can recommend.
1. Ask someone to teach you! Crocheting and knitting used to be essential skills to most women. I love that women are reclaiming these arts, even though it's more expensive to make a blanket than to buy one. There is most likely a woman in your life who has these skills and would love to share them with you. If not, find a class at your local craft store or yarn shop.
2. There are tons of crochet how-tos and videos online, as well as a whole shelf of books at the library or book store. Or check out the book section at the craft store. (Jessica just checked out Crocheting for Dummies and says it's great.) Google "how to crochet" and check out all the tutorials and videos there are. We like Lion Brand's step-by-step tutorial for getting started. But what helped me really get to "the next level" of crochet was this CD-Rom by Coats & Clark, Crochet Made Easy. In 14 lessons it teaches you pretty much everything you need to know using videos, still pics, and written instructions (something for every type of learner!). I'm a visual learner, so I just needed to watch someone do it to get it, and this did the trick.
Over the next month we'll feature some of our crochet projects, a giveaway, as well as more free patterns we've developed just for our readers so you can take advantage of all the great yarn sales going on. Now is the time to get "hooked" on crochet! (Lame pun intended.)
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