The simplest patterns usually produce the loveliest afghans. Using old tried and true stitch patterns, and varying the needle and yarn size and color patterns, can produce many lovely variations on these old themes. Once you know a pattern well and have decided to make more than one of that pattern, try experimenting a bit. The choices in yarn texture, color and material has never been better than it is today.
Some of these patterns are crocheted (C) and some are knitted (K). I have not given gauges with these patterns. In my years as a designer I have rarely found 2 people who knit or crochet with the same size needle or hook and can come up with exactly the same gauge. So for you beginners, I've tossed aside the gauge as one less thing to worry about and for those of you who have some experience with afghans, you really don't need it. For clothing I adhere to gauges, but with afghans I enjoy the variations I can create by altering hook and yarn size, so I have given a choice of 2 sizes and it is up to you to determine which gives the nicer effect according to your own stitching. Even in clothing I prefer the looser "one-size-fits-all" style; easier on the crafter, easy to wear and easy on the eye.
Tip: When making afghans in squares that must later be joined together (such as granny squares or left-overs projects where you might be making only 1 or 2 rnds of a granny square), then joining is simplified by using the "sl st, ch-1, sl st" technique. Place squares with right side facing. Work in back loops only. With your hook and desired yarn color, sl st in the corner of the first square; ch 1; sl st in corresponding corner of 2nd square; *ch 1; skip 1 st on first square and sl st in next st; ch 1, skip 1 st on 2nd square and sl st in next st. Repeat this process from * across the sides being joined.
Tip: When knitting afghans and heavy sweaters, it is easier on the hands and arms if you use a circular knitting needle and simply work back and forth in rows. The work is then supported by your lap.
Feather and Fan (K)
a.k.a. Knitted Ripple
This pattern lends itself well to lap robes and baby blankets.
MATERIALS: 36 oz of 4-ply worsted weight yarn in colors of your choice and size 10 or 11 knitting needles to make an afghan approximately 54x72.
Tip: Use 3 or 4 different colors and change colors every 4 rows.
START: With your main color cast on 190 sts. Knit 5 rows for border and change to another color (if using several colors).
PATTERN: ROW 1: Knit 5 (border); knit 2 together twice, *(yarn over, knit 1) 4 times; knit 2 together 4 times; repeat from * across, ending with (yarn over, knit 1 )4 times, knit 2 together twice; knit 5 (border).
ROW 2: Knit 5, purl across to last 5 sts and knit 5.
ROW 3: Knit.
ROW 4: Repeat 2.
Work even in pattern (changing colors if desired) until 18 sets of 4 pattern rows have been completed. Knit 5 rows even for border and bind off.
Bear Claw/Tear Drop (C)
(also known by a variety of other names)
This is a good pattern for using leftover yarns, or better yet, a planned sequence of upto 5 colors (such as shades of brown, shades of blue, etc).
MATERIALS: You will need about 48 oz. of yarn. If using a planned sequence of colors, you will need about 14 oz of the main color and 12 oz each of at least 3 other colors. You will also need a size I or J aluminum hook...whichever produces the better looking stitch in your opinion.
PATTERN: With main color loosely chain 145 sts.
ROW 1: Dc in 4th ch from hook and then in next ch; *ch 1, skip next ch, dc in each of the next 3 ch; repeat from * across row; ch 3 and turn (ch-3 counts as first dc of next row and all rows are finished with ch-3 and turn unless otherwise noted).
ROW 2: DC in each of the next 2 dc; *ch 1, dc in each of the next 3 dc; repeat from * across, ending by working a dc in the top of the ch-3 turning ch in row below BUT only work off loops until 2 loops remain (this is how you will change colors). Break off main color, leaving a tail to be sewn in later. Pick up a loop with your next color and draw through the two loops on the hook. You have now changed color and you can ch 3 and turn.
ROW 3: *Ch 1, sk next dc, dc in next dc, work Long Double Crochet in next st (LDC= yarn over, insert hook in next ch-1 space that is 2 rows below the one you're working on; pull up a 3/4" loop, then yarn over and draw through 2 loops on hook twice); then dc in next dc and repeat from * across to last two dc's; ch 1, skip next dc, dc in top of turning ch.
ROW 4: *Ch 1, dc in each of the next 3 dc; repeat from * across, ending ch 1, dc in top of turning ch and changing color as before.
ROW 5: Work LDC over first st, dc in next dc; *ch 1, skip next dc, dc in next dc, work LDC over next st, dc in next dc; repeat from* across, ending with dc in top of turning chain.
ROW 6: Dc in each of next 2 dc, *ch 1, dc in each of next 3 dc, repeat from* across, ending dc in top of turning chain and changing colors as before.
Repeat rows 3 through 6 for pattern until afghan is desired length; end off by working two rows of main color.
FINISHING: Make fringe on each end. A good fringe can be made by using 16" strands of the main color. Hold 6 to 8 strands together and pull through one of the ch-1 spaces on the end. Finish with a knot. OR, you can fold the strands in half and with your hook pull the folded portion part way through the ch-1 space and then using your hook, grab the lower portion of the hank and pull it through the fold.
Reversible Shell (C)
This another old pattern of simple shell stitches that lends itself well to left-over yarns, or better yet, a planned sequence of colors.
The pattern size can be altered by working out the "repeat" pattern across the row: For the foundation chain the repeat pattern is a multiple of 6, plus an additional 8.
MATERIALS: You will need about 48 oz of yarns in colors of your choice, plus a size H or I aluminum crochet hook.
ROW 1: With your main color, ch 176. Make 2 dc in the 4th ch from the hook, then skip 2 ch, and sc in next st; *sk 2, 5 dc in next st, sk 2, sc in next st; repeat from * across row. Ch 2 and turn.
ROW 2: 2 dc in first sc, sc in top of shell, *5 dc in sc, sc in top of shell, repeat from * across row. Ch 2 and turn.
Repeat Row 2 for pattern. A nice finish for this afghan, if desired, is to work several rows of shells around the border.
Indian Afghan (C)
This is another of those very old patterns that has gone by many names, including "trail of tears". This pattern also makes use of the long double crochet (LDC). It has remained very popular with crafters throughout the years due to its simplicity and because it lends itself so well to redesigning. Other than the granny square, this is probably the most popular of the "left over yarns" projects. Perhaps its greatest feature is that it requires no sewing in of yarn ends; in fact, no sewing of any kind, and creates its own fringe as you work. You can use a different color on each row or plan a sequence of colors..it doesn't matter with this one.
MATERIALS: Yarns in colors of your choice and a size G or H aluminum crochet hook.
REPEAT PATTERN: This pattern is a repeat of 10 plus 5 for the foundation chain.
SIZE: A foundation chain of 195 sts will net you an afghan of approximate twin bed size.
Tip: Either black or off-white make lovely main colors on this afghan. Use them for the border and for every 10th or 20th row for contrast.
Note: Entire pattern is done in sc and LDC (long double crochet). All sc's are made in back loop only of sc below it.
LONG DOUBLE CROCHET: To make a LDC, skip to the row below the one you're working on and draw up a loop in the front of the st of that row; then complete as for a dc.
Note: First 5 rows are done in main color, but from the 2nd row onward: at the end of each row you will break off your yarn leaving a 6" to 8" length of yarn for the fringe. The fringe can be trimmed evenly when the afghan is completed. To begin each row from the 3rd row onward: you will pull up a loop in the first stitch, then chain 1 st with the "tag" end, then chain 1 stitch with the working end of the yarn. This creates a knot that will not come apart or loosen with wear. To end each row: you will make your last stitch and then chain 1 and then break off the yarn. Again this creates a knot that will not loosen with wear. Don't forget to tighten those "knots" a bit to secure them. On the 6th row, begin using a different color for each row with a row of main color every 10th row.
ROW 1: With main color chain 195 and sc in 3rd ch from hook and in each ch across. Ch 1 and turn (the only time you will do this).
ROWS 2-5: (See note on how to begin each row from row 3 onward) Working in back loops only, sc in each sc; ch 1 and break off.
ROW 6: Continuing to work in BLO (back loops only) throughout the pattern; sc in each of first 2 sc's; *LDC over next st, sc in next 9 sts; work from * across row ending with LDC in next st, 2 sc in next 2 sts; ch 1 and break off.
ROW 7: Sc in first 3 sc, *LDC over next st, sc in next 9 sts; work from * across row ending with LDC, sc in next sc, ch 1 and break off.
On each succeeding row you will make one more sc at the beginning of the row until you have reached a point where you would be making 11 sc at the beginning of the row. Then you will begin the pattern from that side again by 2 sc over the first 2 stitches and a LDC over the next stitch followed by 9 sc, etc. across the row.
Finish afghan by working 5 rows of sc in main color, just as you began, and then trim the fringe if needed.
VARIATIONS ON A THEME
This basic pattern of sc and LDC lends itself to innumerable geometric variations. Two I've devised over the years and which I use not only for afghans but for sweater coats (a bit complicated since they incorporate both knit and crochet), involve the method of carrying one color yarn while working over it with another.
This first variation creates diamond shaped panes of a solid color. Rather than working the long double crochets all in one direction though, you will have a bit more structure in the pattern to create shapes.
Work the first 5 border rows and then 1 row of color.
On the next row join both your main color and another color and work 3 sc while carrying the main color across the row and working over it (to cover) as you go; make 1 LDC with color but do not work off the last 2 loops on hook; drop the color and pick up the main color with your hook and finish the LDC with the main color; then make sc in next LDC of previous row with the main color, but don't work off the last 2 loops of the st; change the color again back to the row color. (Make sure you worked OVER the row color when making the MC stitch); Make 1 LDC over next stitch and 9 sc over the next 9 sts; LDC over next stitch while changing to main color, then sc with MC over LDC of previous row while changing color. Continue in this fashion across row. On each succeeding row, you will have 2 more sts in the MC panes. (In the next row it will be 3 of each MC, surrounded by LDC's of the row color; the next row after that will have 5 sc's of MC. You will continue in this fashion until you have 9 sc's of the MC in the MC sections and then you will begin to decrease on the following rows: 7 MC sc, 5, 3, 1.)
When the diamond shape is completed you will drop the main color and work 6 rows in colors. On the next row you will join the MC and another color again and work 6 sc and 1 LDC with color while changing to MC on the LDC. This will offset the position of this row of panes from the first section you did. When this section of panes is completed, you will begin again from the beginning (excluding the border).
Diamond pattern Trail of Tears
ANOTHER VARIATION on the long double crochet produces a stained glass mosaic effect.
Use a main color, a number of varied colors of your choice and a size H or I crochet hook.
You will begin and end each row as before, creating knots and fringe. The pattern is basically 2 rows. On one row you will make the ldc's and on the other you will make sc's and chains.
CHAIN 175 loosely with MC, then sc in 2nd chain from hook and in each ch across (173 sc); break off.
ROW 2: Attach alternate color in first st and make sc, *ch 1, skip next sc, sc in next sc; repeat from * to end. Break off (on this on every row).
ROW 3: Attach MC in first st, *and while keeping next ch-1 at the front of your work, dc in the sc below that chain (you have made a bldc...a back long dc); sc in next sc; repeat from * to end of row.
ROW 4: Attach alternate color to first sc and make sc, *sc in next dc, ch 1, skip next sc, sc in next dc; repeat from * to last st, sc in last sc.
ROW 5: Attach MC to first sc, sc in next sc, *work bldc in sc below next chain, sc in next sc; repeat across row.
ROW 6: Attach alternate color and make sc in first sc, *ch 1, skip next sc, sc in next dc, ch 1, sc in next dc. Repeat from * across row.
Continue working rows 3 and 4 throughout. You will alternate a row of color and a row of MC. You will work sc, ch 1, sc patterning on the alternate colored rows and you will work the bldc on the MC rows. On the first row of MC (after the foundation row) you will have a single sc at the beginning of the row and then a bldc. On the next MC row you will have 2 sc at the beginning and end of the row. This staggers the bldc's and creates the stained glass effect of the alternate colors showing through.
Brocade and Lace
SIZE: 62x72", not including ruffle
MATERIALS: 42 oz Black, 36 oz assorted leftover colors or colors of your choice. Size H or I aluminum crochet hook.
Note: Pattern is worked on a multiple of 10 plus 2. It is not necessary to cut off black yarn when changing colors. You will be picking it up again shortly.
Row 1: With black ch 202. Make sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each ch across until the last chain is reached. In last ch draw up loop with black and then pick up first alternate color and draw through remaining 2 loops on hook; drop black. Ch 1 and turn.
ROW 2: With color, sl st in first st, sc in next st, hdc in next st, (dc in next st) 5 times, hdc in next st, sc in next st; *ch 1, skip one st, sc in next st, hdc in next st, (dc in next st) 5 times, hdc in next st, sc in next st. Repeat from * across row; sl st in last st; ch 1 and turn.
ROW 3: Sl st in sl st of previous row, sc in sc, hdc in hdc, dc in each of the 5 dc, hdc in hdc, sc in sc; *ch 1, sk ch-1 of previous row; sc in next sc, hdc in hedc, 1 dc in each of next 5 dc, hdc in hdc, sc in sc. Repeat fro * across. In last st draw up a loop with color; drop color and draw black through last 2 loops on hook. Ch 1 and turn.
ROW 4: Sc in each of first 10 sts; *dc over the ch-1 spaces of previous 2 rows by inserting hook into skipped st on Row 2. Sc in each of next 9 sts. Repeat from * across to last repeat. Dc over last ch-1 spaces, sc in last 10 sts. Ch 1 and turn.
ROW 5: Sc in each st across till last st is reached. Draw loop through last st with black; drop black, pick up new color and draw through 2 loops on hook. Ch 3 and turn.
ROW 6: With color, skip first st, dc over next 2 sts; hdc in next st, sc in next st; *ch 1, skip 1 st, sc in next st, hdc in next st, (dc in next st) 5 times, hdc in next st, sc in next st. Repeat from * across to last 6 sts. Ch 1, skip next st, sc in next st, hdc in next st, dc in each of the last 3 sts. Ch 3 and turn.
ROW 7: Make a dc over each dc, a hdc over each hdc, a sc over each sc and a ch 1 over each ch-1 space. When forming last dc in last st of row, make st as usual until last 2 loops are left on hook, then drop color and pick up black; draw black through last 2 loops. Ch 1 and turn.
ROW 8: Sc in each of the first 5 sts; *dc over ch-1 sps by working into skipped st on Row 5. Sc in each of the next 9 sts. Repeat from * across until last repeat. Dc over ch-1 spaces; sc in each of the last 5 sts. Ch 1 and turn.
ROW 9: Sc in each st across. In last st, draw up loop with black, drop black and pull new color through last 2 loops on hook. Ch 1 and turn.
Repeat Rows 2 through 9 until there are 50 stripes of color. Repeat rows 8 and 9 and then end off. Sew in ends.
RUFFLE: Attach black in first st to the left of the right corner st at the top. *Ch 5, sc in next st. Repeat from * across top.
In corner st make (ch 5, sc) 3 times. Over each sc and sl st along the side make a sc, ch 5. Over each dc make: sc, ch 5, sc. When you reach the next corner, sc in corner st and in same space make (ch 5, sc) 3 times. *Ch 5, sc in next st. Repeat from * across bottom. Work 2nd side to correspond to first. Work (ch 5, sc) 2 times in last corner. Form next and last loop of round with: ch 2, dc at base of first loop of round (this brings your hook into position for the next round of loops).
ROWS 2-7: *Ch 5, sc in next loop. Repeat from * around, forming the last loop of each round on rnds 2-6 with ch 2, dc at base of first loop of round. On rnd 7, simply ch 5 and sl st in base of first loop, then break off yarn.
Sew in ends.
©1998 by Ernestina Parziale