I was feeling in need of a new blanket project-- a sampler, preferably-- when I came across a crochet-along for 2016. The BAMMM Shazaam 2016 Afghan CAL (Ravelry pattern link) is being hosted by designer Margaret MacInnis, a.k.a. Muggins, at her Ravelry group. (Here's the thread devoted to the CAL.)
The afghan is a "block a month" crochet-along, and you can read all about it at the links provided above. Some of the 12" blocks are totally new designs; some (maybe just the alternates/"fillers" for people who want more than a total of 12 blocks for their afghans?) are patterns that have been around for a while. Most will be the work of the main designer/hostess, but there will be at least five blocks from guest designers, too.
From what I understand, most of the blocks are free, but at least some of them will be paid patterns-- with a (temporary) coupon code for a significant discount. (So far, the paid patterns have been reduced to 99¢ for people from countries without a VAT. They're a little more in countries with a VAT.) I think the coupon code is good for all of 2016, but if you're interested in participating, I would hurry and check into that yourself, in case I'm mistaken.
Each block is edged using a pattern called "Canada Goose Border", and when the blanket's finished, at the end of the year, there will be a special whole-afghan border to tie it all together.
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I selected several colors from my stash of acrylic to start my version of this sampler afghan. With the beginning of tender leaves just showing in my garden, I gravitated toward springtime pastels. (There's a list of the yarns I'm using on my project page on Ravelry.)
I haven't decided how many blocks I'll make, so I haven't yet made any of the filler blocks. In fact, I'm still not sure if I'll even stick to the suggested schedule of blocks for the whole year, but for the time being, I am. There are some very pretty blocks in the group, already.
Here are some quick photos of what I have so far:
Lots of puff stitches and front-post double crochets (fpdc). I'd never really taken the time to learn to do puff stitches properly, before, so this really did feel like a lot of them. They're still not my favorite stitch to make, but at least now I know I can do them (after a fashion), if they're in a pattern I simply can't resist.
I've already added the Canada Goose border to this block. I'm planning to add it to each one as I go, to have them ready to join when the time comes. The border might be a little challenging for a beginner, but once you get going, it has a nice rhythm to it, and the textural appeal is great.
Promise Me Spring
This felt like a fairly complicated pattern, to me. It's one of those blocks where you start out with small motifs (the leaves) and then join them in subsequent rounds by crocheting into them at various points. The instructions spell everything out in plenty of detail, but you do have to pay attention (or at least I did). I really like the results!
I haven't gotten very far in this one, yet, as you can see, but the finished project photos on Ravelry show that this block can be gorgeous. (This is one of the paid patterns, by the way, but I can easily imagine making more of this one, for future projects. A whole afghan made in this motif, with slight variations in color placement, for instance, would be beautiful.)
That's all I've done for this project, so far. I'm looking forward to spending some time working on the English Garden block tonight!