Monday, October 17, 2016

Three More Afghan Blocks

After completing the ogee-motif afghan (no new photos to share, yet), I pulled the spring-hued afghan back out of temporary storage.

It is fun to work on, though I don't love trying to get all the blocks to the same size.  When I lay them out, it's clear that I've failed in that goal, once or twice.  I hope they'll work together well enough, once joined, but there have been times when I've left off rounds that it now looks like I could actually have used, after all.  (Oops.)

That little difficulty aside, I enjoy making samplers.  There's no risk of getting bored, and you can work with more complicated, involved blocks without worrying about how you'll manage crocheting a whole blanket's worth of them.  All you have to do is make it through this one time, then you're off to the next pattern.  Of course, that also means that you can't ever completely relax-- not in the way that you can when you're making dozens of the same small motif and have every line of the pattern completely memorized.  It's a trade-off.

So, here are my latest completed blocks!

"Ilsa" Crochet Block

"Ilsa in Spring"
Pattern: Ilsa, by Polly Plum
(paid pattern, available on Ravelry)

This design is beautiful, and the pattern is very clearly written.  (I've had good luck with all of the Polly Plum patterns I've tried, so far.)  I think it's one of the designer's most popular patterns, and it's easy to see why.

I left off a couple rounds of the 3-inch border portion of the 12-inch block in an effort to match the other blocks.

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"How I Wonder" Crochet Block

"How I Wonder in Spring"
Pattern:  How I Wonder, by Polly Plum
(paid pattern, available on Ravelry)

Again, I left off a couple of rounds to get it to the size to match my other blocks for this sampler afghan.

Five-pointed stars are fairly unusual in crochet afghan blocks, since even numbers (four, six, eight) are easier to work into a square. The odd-numbered points are distinctive.

You need to pay very close attention to the pattern in round 10, but apart from that, most of it was fairly intuitive-- not one of those where every single round has a high level of difficulty.

The star stitch frame is a nice touch. Going through the mini tutorial, I felt that it might take a while to get the hang of it, but it actually isn’t that complicated. There’s a definite rhythm to it, which makes it easier to memorize.

I thought I might need to go up a hook size on the star stitch, because at first it tended to work tighter than the rest of the block, but in the end, it stretched and evened out. If it’s too tight the next time I make this block, I’ll definitely consider swapping hooks just for the star stitch portion.

(My eye is drawn to a minor finishing flaw, now that I've taken the photo... It's nothing too terrible-- just a slightly annoying bump on the top edge of the lime green-- the right side of the uppermost "arm" of the star. The ends are already woven in, but I'll probably unpick it and try to finish it more neatly.  It shouldn't take too long to fix, in any case.)

This was fun to crochet, and I like my results!  This would make a very cute afghan for a baby or young child.

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"Star-Crossed" Crochet Block

"Star-Crossed Spring"
Pattern:  Star Crossed, by Helen Shrimpton
(Free on the designer's website!)

I substituted a round of sc for the last three rounds, to get the block to match my others for this sampler afghan.

This is a pleasing pattern with a highly textured central motif that can pass for either a star or a flower, depending on your need and color choices. I added a little surface crochet to spice it up and to help work in/balance all the colors I'm using in my sampler.  (The added lime is just sc on top of the brown. The pink in the center is two rounds of single crochets on top of the “spokes” of the first round, with 3-chain picots in between each single crochet.)

The center of the block is bowing/cupping just a little bit, at times--  but it's not too bad, and I hope that might lessen once the blocks are joined together.  It's no worse than the center of the star in "How I Wonder", which also tends to "poof out" slightly.

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That's twelve so far, for this sampler afghan, and I'm already working on the thirteenth block.  I'm not sure how many more blocks I'll make... At a minimum, it will be sixteen, but I'm thinking it might end up being twenty.

More photos as the remaining blocks come off the hook!  :o)