Monday, May 28, 2012


Several years ago, I got the idea to crochet an afghan for myself. I asked my Mother to show me how. She showed me the basic stitches, but I didn't do a project right away. When winter rolled around, I decided to try something. I went to some store. I don't remember which. I bought some big, fat, purple chenille - a choice that screamed of my inexperience! The wrapper around the yarn had a pattern on the back for an afghan and I followed it - sort of. I ended up with a beautiful, cushy, warm, purple afghan that was (no surprise here) one foot shorter on one end than it was on the other.

In previous generations, I suppose girls learned to crochet from their mothers and grandmothers, who were then present in the room while the girls worked on their first project. Had that happened with me, I'm sure I would have received advice about counting stitches. Or more likely, I would have been advised to start with granny squares. (In retrospect, I think my Mother did tell me to try granny squares first. But by the time I got around to looking at yarn, I had forgotten that.)

I still have that purple afghan, by the way. It is still beautiful, cushy, warm & very purple. And now it has lots of ends sticking out, because I had no clue how to properly handle ends. It really is wonderfully funny.

I didn't make anything else for several years. Then, when I was getting ready to move from Pennsylvania back to Georgia, I decided to make a lap throw for my wonderful Daddy. Poor Daddy. He was my guinea pig for my first granny square project. The squares were fine (other than still not knowing how to properly handle the ends), but when it came to joining them I made several errors, the greatest of which was to use the same variegated yarn that I had used to make the squares. The end result wasn't ugly. But it wasn't wonderful either.

Daddy, of course, says that he loves it. He even wrote a haiku about it.

Dozing ‘neath my throw,
                  My heart filled with gratitude,
                                    I’m thinking of you.

Well, I suppose that does count for something! But when I heard my stepmother casually mention throwing it in the washing machine, I actually shuddered. I am so worried about it falling apart! That should tell you everything you need to know about my first effort at a granny square project.

My sister told me she really liked Daddy's throw. I asked her if she wanted me to make one for her. She said YES!!! This time, I actually went online and did a little research about granny squares. I found a different pattern than the one I used for Daddy's throw. About a third of the way through it, I discovered multiple videos on YouTube showing crochet techniques including - voila! - how to deal with the ends. A needle, you say? Brilliant!!!

Here is my sister's throw:

I did a better edging, which I also learned from a YouTube video:

She's only seen pictures of it. I'll take it to the family reunion in July. I really loved how this turned out! It is pretty and warm and I know that MOST of the ends are secure.

My Mother was with me while I was making this one and the next trip to JoAnn's found her picking out yarn for HER throw. I used the same pattern that I used for my sister's and learned another valuable lesson. NEVER do the same project twice in a row with no breaks. It was SO BORING! While my sister's project felt like a labor of love, my Mother's project just felt like labor. I honestly felt like I would never finish!!! But I did:

Here is a close-up, with a signature that I added:

Honestly, I don't like it as well as the one I did for my sister! I'm now working on my next three projects simultaneously. What I really need right now is to find some other people working with yarn. I absolutely believe that I would learn so much more if I was working side-by-side with people who are more expert at the craft of crochet.

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