I’ve been wanting to try entrelac crochet for a long time. It looks like a billion separate little blocks all attached to each other (like a granny square afghan), but it’s not. Believe me, I live to crochet, but I cringe at the idea of attaching a bunch of squares together. It makes my jaw clench to think about it … booooriiiing!!!
One of my favorite websites for all things crochet is The Crochet Crowd. TCC is run by Mikey and Diva Dan, and a handful of others who are mostly behind the scenes. You can find lots of fun and helpful videos and links to patterns here. An added bonus, Mikey provides left-handed instructions and videos for all southpaw crocheters. Also, several times a year The Crochet Crowd (who is affiliated with Yarnspirations) hosts CALs — Crochet-A-Longs for those in the know. Sometimes, the pattern is divulged up front, while other times it’s a mystery.
TCC is currently hosting a Mystery Amigurumi CAL that I am taking part in. I have been wanting to try amigurumi for some time, and have tried a time or two but found it very confusing. I decided now was the time to give it another shot because Mikey has done a superb job putting this CAL together, including downloadable PDFs of the instructions which include photos as well as tutorial videos that show him completing the pieces to be assembled with his own tips along the way to make it easier. Check out the Mystery Amigurumi CAL HERE. They have released 3 out of 4 weeks of clues, but I just got in on it this week and completed all three weeks’ worth of clues and have started a second separate set already so I will have two completed projects when I’m done. The Week 4 clue won’t be released until Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015 so anyone interested has more than enough time to get in on this. The best part of this CAL is that it is a small project which only uses 1 skein of yarn (maybe part of a second skein, depending on what yarn you choose and the tension with which you crochet) and a very small amount of contrasting yarn for embellishments (scrap yarn is ideal for this purpose). I always have a dozen or so extra skeins on hand (leftover from other projects, or gifted to me by my mother-in-law after she completes a project) as well as a ton of little yarn balls that are too small to make anything out of. These small yarn balls are perfect to use in creating embellishments for larger projects, so this CAL cost me nothing, nil, nada out-of-pocket — and believe me, cost is always an important consideration when I’m looking to start a new project.
Look for a future post to feature my Mystery Amigurumi CAL experience!
Back to the baby afghan…
Hard to believe this afghan was worked in rows, isn’t it? Each color was somewhat variegated, meaning that it transitioned from the full richness of the color, to white, and back again. I used Loops and Threads Powdery brand yarn in Purple, Gold and Turquoise. I’m not a big fan of the color gold, in general, but this shade is more like a rich yellow buttery color. It’s beautiful!
Some crocheters prefer to find a pattern and stick with the yarn used by the designer in the instructions which is perfectly fine. However, I tend to be all over the place on how I choose patterns, preferred stitches and yarns. In this case, my husband sprung on me that a guy he knew was expecting a baby only two weeks before the due date. TWO WEEKS!!! Ugh… I had been working on a larger afghan for my daughter and some smaller projects and did not even have baby afghans on the brain. Talk about stress. As soon as he told me I whipped out my iPad and started researching patterns looking for inspiration. All I knew was that the afghan was for a baby boy. He had no idea about what colors the nursery was going to be or if the parents had color preferences, at all. Extra pressure, yes, I love it!! Give me more. LOL
After a few google searches turned up some less-than-inspiring patterns, I turned to the old stand-by, The Crochet Crowd. Somewhere on that site I came across a video tutorial for entrelac crochet in rows (interesting because a lot of other entrelac projects are worked in the round). After viewing the video I knew I’d found The One. The next day, I headed to Michael’s to see what kind of yarn jumped out at me. These great Loops & Threads Powdery yarns grabbed my eye right away. It is thicker than regular worsted weight yarn and so unbelievably soft! These three colors (out of the 7 or 8 shades available) kept tickling my fancy, I knew they would look great together, but I was a tad bit worried about how the parents-to be would like the bright colors. However, these beauties would not be denied, so into my cart they went, three skeins of each color — I always buy one more skein of each color than I think I’ll need, to make sure I’ll have enough. Sometimes, I will return unused skeins, but more often than not, they will end up in the yarn dresser in my closet for future endeavors. At a cost of $3.99 per skein, I invested about $35 to craft this baby afghan. I ended up using 2 complete skeins of each color, and a pretty small amount of the third, so I have almost a full skein left of each color. I plan to use the yarn that is left to make either an infinity scarf for my younger daughter for Christmas or some infant hats to sell.
Entrelac is worked using the Tunisian Simple Stitch, in which you collect a certain number of stitches on your hook going one way along the project and then work those stitches off coming back across. Therefore, rather than turning your work constantly (as you do with other patterns) this project is worked across and back, with no turning at all. I don’t think I can adequately describe how to work this pattern, so for anyone interested please check out the video Mikey has available HERE to see for yourself how to work this pattern. Also, to get the edges on all sides to be even like they are, I used the methods in another great video Mikey did; find that HERE. Mikey did not put tassels on his creation, I added those after the afghan was completed … another one of those things that just called out to me to be done. Each tassel consists of two lengths of each color, six strands total, folded in half and looped through stitches in the blanket. TIP: Always make the tassel strands at least a couple of inches longer than you need them to be for the finished product. Lay the blanket on a flat surface and trim the tassels across to get the even ends. (Don’t stress over this part, they don’t have to be exactly right to the millimeter)
I mostly work on crochet projects in the evenings while watching TV, though I do sometimes sit down during the day to hook for short periods of time between other tasks. As well, anytime I have to leave the house where I might have to wait around a bit somewhere (i.e. while getting car serviced, waiting for kids at sports practices, while visiting family, etc.) I can usually be found lugging a tote bag with my latest project in it to occupy my hands.
This baby afghan took me all of the two available weeks to complete. As a matter of fact, I sent it off to work with the hubby without measuring it or even taking photos of it. GASP!!!! Luckily, I caught him before he gave it to his friend and he took these great pics for me so that I could share them with all of you. Thank you, Jamie! I think it ended up being about 4 by 4-1/2 feet, or pretty close to that, anyway.
Know what’s even better? When Jamie’s friend got a look at it, he asked him how we knew what colors their nursery was done in. Uh … what?! So weird that these colors screamed at me from Michael’s yarn shelves and it turns out they were exactly perfect! I always trust my gut in crafting matters. It just always seems to pay off.
Can’t wait to try another afghan with this stitch!!! Hope you enjoyed reading this, leave a comment if you did and let me know what project you’re currently working on, crochet or otherwise.
Disclaimer: All text and photos belong to myself and my husband, James Pence. Further, I personally purchased all materials that were used in the making of this afghan. I did not receive compensation or any other form of support from any vendor mentioned in this post.
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