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Motif Afghan Crochet-Along: Welcome!

September 17th, 2009

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Hello, Crocheters!

My name is Edie Eckman, and I’m so excited to be leading this Motif Afghan Crochet-Along! I’m a crochet (and knit) designer, and lately I’ve been doing lots of motif crochet. You may think of it as “granny squares”, but I’ve found it can be so much more than that.

Let me tell you what I have in mind for this adventure.

We’ll be making a full-sized motif-based afghan in 3 or 4 colors. I’ve chosen Motif #48 from my book Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs as the basis for the design. It works well in 1, 2, 3 or 4 colors, and the hexagonal shape is so versatile that we have plenty of opportunity for creativity. You can find the motif instructions here.

This week, we’ll be choosing colorways. The following week, we’ll look at how the motif appears when stitched in a variety of color combinations and learn the “sliding loop” method of beginning a motif in the round. In Week 3, I’ll show you a couple of ways to envision the final design, so you can decide how many motifs to make. The next week will include tips for improving your technique, dealing with yarn tails, and joining as you go. The final week we’ll finish up: block, sew together (if we didn’t join them as we worked), and weave in the ends.

Of course, this is simply a suggested outline. As we progress, I’ll answer questions, and let you help me decide what we need to discuss. As in life, the plan is subject to change.

Choosing Colors

One of my favorite things about starting an afghan project is choosing the yarn. There are so many possible choices! I decided early on that I’d be using Lion Brand’s Vanna’s Choice and/or Vanna’s Choice Baby, because of the many beautiful colors that are designed to go together. Wool-Ease is another good choice.

Although I didn’t have any particular colorway in mind, I was looking for three or four colors that would look good together. I really find it hard to make up my mind when it comes to colors, so I’m starting with a bunch of choices. I like bright colors, but sometimes for home decor I’d prefer something more subtle. I’ve narrowed down my choices to four colorways, and wound some yarn onto white index cards to get an idea of how they might look together, and in what proportions.

Colorway #1

Colorway #1

Colorway #2

Colorway #2

I like #1 and #2 for a baby or kid’s afghan, but I don’t have any (little) kids at my house.

Colorway #3

Colorway #3

#3 would look great in my bedroom, but I recently did another afghan in a similar colorway and I’m afraid I might get tired of it.

Colorway #4

Colorway #4

#4 would work well in my den.

I’m leaning strongly toward #3 or #4.

What do you think? Let me know which colors you want to see me use in the comments section! You have FIVE days to help me decide, because I have to get the yarn!

Now…you go choose some yarns that will work for you. Since motifs lend themselves to using up colorful scraps of yarn, you could just go crazy and use a wide variety of colors! However, even if you are using up yarn from your stash, it’s a good idea to choose colors deliberately.

Also, leave a note and introduce yourself! We want to know what yarn and colors you want to use, and we want to know a little about you!

Let the adventure begin…

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  • Kat

    Yes, K.D. in TN – grannies are definitely a beginner’s thing! To make the afghan itself, you might want to practice on some single-color sampler hexes first though, so your afghan is nice and even. But really, once you get the hang of them, you can really barrel through them. And with any grannies, you just stuff ’em in a bag until you have enough to do something with. Potholders are good for first tries! Kat in sNJ

  • Louccee

    Hi Edie

    Like Vicky from Cradock, I’m another South African joining your CAL. Unfortunatley I am in in chilly London and missing the SA skies.

    I will be using a wonderful bluey variegated yarn for the outer part of the motif. Perhaps a navy or contrasting blue at the centre, which I am still searching for!!! Off to the yarn shop this morning then.

    This will be an afghan for my son – he complains that his sister gets everything I make!! Quite true.
    I too use slip stitching to join motifs and quite like the effect. I’m not sure how many motifs to make but will decide as I go along.

    Good luck eveyone.

    Louccee in London

    Edie says: I’m so glad to have an international contingent here! My daughter is studying in Paris, and she’s planning to find a knitting/crocheting group meetup there. We all speak “crochet”!

  • Karen

    Love colorway #1 can’t wait to try this and I also
    like to join as I go–that way you are finished and it doesn’t go into the closet. Looking forward to this and I have your book, love it.

  • Kiki

    I am using Colorway #2, with the addition of white. It matches my quilt PERFECTLY!

  • Sandy

    Well like some of you this will be my first CAL too. I really like Number three in the color choices. I will be making mine as a christmas present for my future daughter in law. (And was it work to get a good color scheme for her) But I’ll be using a bunch of jewel like bright colors for her and pairing them with soft white that I have a ton left over off. I was thinking of making the motifs just two colors at a time with the soft white like turquise and white, then another one in a bright rose and white, and so on. I hoping that it will tur out well.

    Hoping to be with you all thursday.
    Cant wait to have fun.

    Edie says: Sandy, that sounds lovely!

  • Pingback: YarnCraft Episode 50 :: Burning Knit & Crochet Questions Answered! | YarnCraft()

  • Sibyl Bolander

    I am excited to start this CAL. I also have had trouble in the past with connecting motifs and keeping strings of yarn from sticking out all over. I like #4 and I am going to the store to buy the yarn today. Have fun with this everyone!

  • Shannon

    Hi! I’m another one with Crocheter’s Deficit Disorder. I think I’ve got about seven projects worked about half-way through (EEK!!); they will all eventually get done, but I like to work and re-work projects until they are just right. Also, I find that, for me, the more complex, the better. Holds my interest longer. I even finish these working straight through sometimes!

    I enjoy working in motifs, but also find the attaching and sewing together to be a real pain. My favorite technique is really simple, and looks almost like a braid running between motifs. It’s very simple: holding wrong sides together, sl st, ch1, sl st, ch1, etc. Looks beautiful when finished, but it is raised slightly – almost framing each motif (which is probably why I like it so much).

    As for this project, I liked the colors in #4. I’m a big fan of the neutrals, as they always turn into great gifts if you find you just don’t have room to keep the finished projects.

    I’ll be following along here myself. I just happen to have a large stash of some Vanna’s Choice; I’ve been sitting on it for just the right project to come along.

    Edie says: I sometimes use a similar join, either (sc, ch 1, skip 1) or (sc, ch 3, skip 1). I find it strong yet flexible and decorative.

  • Cateetee

    Hi there, this will be my first crochet along…hope I can keep up, I have so many projects I am trying to do, but I am very excited to join you. I really like color way #3, it matches my bedroom. I will probably put together something with the yarn I already have…God Bless!

  • Trish

    like that sl st,ch one never added the ch 1

  • Robin

    I like #4 and can’t wait to try it myself.

  • Monica

    An afghan is a blanket, right? Because I did a trial motif and it seems to me as thought it is going to be very holey. My sample turned out the right size (using #4 worsed weight medium yarn for trial), but has alot of holes in it and doesn’t seem very thick (heavy). Will this be a warm afghan? Did I do it right? Is it supposed to have alot of holes in it?

    Edie says: An afghan doesn’t have to be a solid sheet of crochet to be functional. Nor does it need to be heavy. As a matter of fact, it’s not really comfortable to sit under a very heavy afghan. Think of the traditional lacy (knit) Shetland shawls. They are lightweight and full of “holes”, yet very warm. However, if you want to either (1) use a smaller hook, (2) change motifs or (3) use all dc on Rnd 3, you certainly may. This is YOUR project, so YOU need to be the one who is satisfied.

  • Leah Wright

    I believe that you should use the Fuschia, Aqua and Lavendar. I have recently been through breast cancer treatment and so everything that is pink catches my eye. Do we make the motif and then make an afghan or what do we do? Leah

    Edie says: If you like, go ahead and make a couple of motifs in different color arrangements. I’ll be giving more instructions in my next post on Thursday morning.

  • Lopapalooza

    I’m so excited about this! I wasn’t planning to do another CAL right now — like others, I have about a million unfinished projects. But then I saw who was running this and I couldn’t resist! I got the book back in February, and got addicted to making motifs. I even made a scarf that included Motif #48.

    If the voting is still open, I vote for #3 or #4.

    I went to JoAnn’s the other day to scope out possible color combos. I wasn’t planning to buy anything just yet, but they had Wool-Ease on sale, so I bought a whole bunch of skeins in Loden (main color), Chestnut Heather, Denim, and Fisherman. I made a mock-up of the afghan in Photoshop, which I’m planning to post on the Ravelry group (I’m also Lopapalooza on Ravelry).

    Now to finish some of my WIPs so I don’t go completely bonkers!

    Edie says: Oh, a mock-up in Photoshop! That’s exactly one of the things I’ve done for tomorrow’s post. It’s my first time using Photoshop, so your mock-up probably looks much better than mine. I’ll jump on over to Ravelry and take a look.

  • Cay

    I’ve never done a CAL before, or a hexagon. Can you believe that? Fifty years of crocheting and never even tried a hexagon. so, I’m looking forward to this. Will probably use kid colors and donate to Project Linus when complete. Am also very interested in the join as you go method.

  • Heather

    I’ve watched several CALs in the past but have never participated in one. I really like this motif so I’m inspired to join in. I’m very bad about completed projects but I hope that I’ll be able to finish this afghan with the support of everyone else who is working on it. I bought my yarn and started testing the pattern. I’m using Vanna’s Choice in Dusty Purple, Dusty Green and Beige. I plan to do R1 in purple, R2 Beige, R3 green, and R4 Beige. I was going to mix up that pattern but decided it would look too wild in the end. I look forward to working on this project with you!

    My color vote is #3.

  • Cathy

    Hi all, this is my first cal and hope i remember to come back on thursdays, im not one for a good memory :). I have some lemon yellow and white yarn left from my ripple afghan i made last year. this will be a great way to get rid of it, i have so much yarn in bags, and boxes, and baskets and etc… lol
    See you on thursday :)

  • Jane

    Hi again:
    I am too anxious to wait, so I have been experimenting with yarns and hook sizes. I found the hexagon too open for my liking in a DK weight yarn , so I went down a couple of hook sizes…now it is too stiff. I feel like Goldie Locks…or Golding Loops…too open, too stiff, I am going to try some softer yarns…I am really liking the bamboo!I have a few balls left over from a sweater I knit for my Daughter a couple of years ago. I think I will try a sample hex in that, and if it is ok, I will pick up some more colours. My other thought is the soy yarn. It has a very soft hand, I have plenty of that in my stash too! I will use the sample hex’s as coasters and give them to the local hospital for their bazzaar.

    Edie says: As a designer, I often find myself doing exactly what you are doing: swatching again and again until I get just the desired result. Actually, I’m pretty sure I swatch more than I work on full projects!

  • Marilee

    Jane, usually you would go up or down one hook size at a time when experimenting. You start with the suggested hook size for the yarn and see how that looks and feels to you. If it’s too loose and holey, go down a hook size. If your first motif was too tight and stiff, go up a hook size for your next to make it looser.

    Keep going this way until you get a motif that is just right… not too stiff, not too floppy.

    Also remember, when blocked or washed, it may feel differently, so experiment with your samples.

  • Judy

    I am excited to be apart of this CAL, since I’ve never done anything like this before. I purchased VCB in lamb, chocolate cake, and mint for our new grandbaby boy to be. Any thoughts on this color combination? I am still not sure. It seems pretty modern.

    Do you think granny squares are OK for boys? I’ve always thought of them for girls.

    Looking forward to Thursday. Thanks.

    Jess Says: Hi, Judy! Granny squares are great for boys — especially with greens and browns!

  • Tami

    Many years ago my mom made me an afghan with a similar pattern (hexagon) It was white/black/purple and was the love of my life. Sadly, I do not know what happened to it. I had a quilt to match that was in grandmothers fan in shades of purple with a black background and white eyelet sticking up around the curved edge of the fan. That got stolen. Anyway, Thank you for this blog and bringing back some fond childhood memories.

  • Tami

    What is ‘blocking’? And how do you do it?

    PattySue – I would use a dusty green and lilac and yellow – yellow R1 green R2 lilac R3 green R4 ~~OR~~ yellowR&2 greenR3&4 for half and lilac R1&2 green R3&4 and don’t just do it half and half but graph it out and do it in a pattern…

    o! i vote for #4 tho none of them are really my cup of tea but thats why there are so many colors (or flavors if i stick to the tea analogy – lol)

    question of the hour seems to be “how do you join as you go?”

    you can make 1/2 hexes. my mom did. just not sure how… (to make straight edges)
    (found a pattern in a book i have if you are interested)

    i first learned to crochet at age 8 and made 2 big GS and sewed them into a throw pillow and won first place at our local fair and i have been addicted ever since

    i taught my 4 daughters to crochet years ago and every mothers day we donate them to our church for the “blanket rail” who then donate them to babies in need

    my mom bought me a book when i was 10 of “101 granny squares” she gave me that and all her scrap yarn and away i went – it would come and go as i got bored with it or got bored with life and picked it back up again – i have finally sewn them all together in a HUGE king-size + afghan for my bed that i ADORE and my husband despises – lol – says it is too heavy

    Mary – if you do your motifs in diff shades and sewwed them together so they went from bold colors to muted colors i think that would have a very striking effect!

    Is there a website or blog where i can view past CAL’s?

    thanx Tami

    Jess Says: Hi, Tami. Blocking is a way of stretching and shaping your project. Click here to read more about it. You can read all about the previous CALs by clicking here.

  • Tracy

    I have picked colors for this project, or I should say my daughter has chosen what she would like. The afghan will be for her. She is six and loves to watch me crochet and is learning to do so stitches too. My pictures will be posted on the flicker page.

  • Margaret Muileboom

    I think that you should go with colourway 3 for your bedroom. It has a nice classy look to it. but you don’t have to take my advice, I’m just a wierd 17 year old who enjoys crocheting. I think I will enjoy learning from you. Thanks!

  • Kristen

    I am new to crocheting. I can do all the stitches, but have never tried to do an actual project before. I love this pattern design, and hopefully I can keep up! I am going with yellows and greens as color choices-I want to keep it bright and light. (To cheer up those grey winter days.) :)

    And to Judy in comment 370–Those sound like a great color combination to me. It doesn’t scream baby colors, it can grow with him.

  • Patty

    Hi Edie and Everyone:

    Thanks for hosting this. I plan on using colorway #4 for a wedding gift. I taught myself to crochet last year watching YouTube videos. I’ve checked out your Crochet Answer Book many times at the library. I’ve wanted to join a CAL and am so happy for your guidance.



  • Helene Montini

    I have been seeing these CAL’s for awhile and have been reluctant to join one in case I don’t finish a project. However I am going to join this one and try my best to keep up. I just read the initial post so I haven’t picked a color scheme yet.

  • Rocky

    I am so excited, Edie I bought your book and love it. Graany Squares are my favorite form of crochetting. I would go with Colorway #4, the colors are beautiful.

  • Klara

    I kow I am late but I like colorway 2 & 4. I will be using something similar to #2 myself. I think I am going to make a housewarming gift in a similar aqua blue &/or sweet pea green. I may add brown…
    Happy crocheting all!

  • Sandi Bell

    I am just getting back into crochet, I have done traditional granny squares. But nothing like this one, I am very excited about this one. I vote for #3. However I will make be making one with lots of color for my daughter who is currently in Balad Iraq. She says all she sees is sand, so I believe I will go for brights colors. Still deciding on a scheme.

  • pat

    Sorry I like number 2 the sweet pea and aqua. I have to many projects to start a new one but I will follow along. I’d like to learn to join as you go. Number 4 just doesn’t make it for me, it probably is because I’m not a grey afghan fan.

  • Katie

    OK, I’m in for this one too. Sounds like fun.
    I would go with #4 for colors. They look very refreshing to work with. Can’t wait to find some for myself :)

  • Julie

    I recently started working on the Morris Park Afghan (a knitting project). My fingers/brain tend to itchy for different tasks and would like to finally master the non-traditional granny square.
    I want to choose colours that aren’t the same as the knit afghan but that would still compliment my sofa. I’ll decide on my yarn by Friday. I’ve done a few test runs of the hexagon pattern and so far so good.

  • Kelly in Canada

    Hi Edie!
    My local public library bought your book on my recommendation. It is excellent. Evidently a lot of other library patrons think so, too – as it’s always out and there is a long wait-list for it!
    I like the variety of motifs, handy crochet tips, and the graphed patterns. I’d never crocheted from graphs until your book – and I love it!
    This will be my first time participating in a CAL. It’s amazing to think that there will be crocheters world-wide, women and men, taking part.
    I’m not sure what I’ll choose for yarn or colour (I’m another person who finds Vanna’s yarn not soft enough), but Lion Brand certainly has a lot of beautiful colours and weights from which to choose!
    I also have to choose between making this project as a Christmas gift for a family member… Or, to make an afghan to give to “Blankets 4 Canada”. (I’m making one for them right now in yellow-blue-red using square motifs from your book.)
    Thank you leading us on this adventure, Edie!

  • Pam

    Hi – its Pam in Spain again (msg no. 242) – I´ve chosen my colours and have started crocheting an Afghan for my little boy´s new bedroom – he´s 15 months old. I have chosen bright colours – red, green, blue and yellow which were inspired by his ceiling fan/light which my partner put up at the weekend.

    How do I find the 2nd blog in the CAL – has it been posted yet??

    Edie says-You’ve probably figured out by now that the posts go up on Thursday mornings, GMT -5. Remember that Spain is several hours ahead of the US, so you may have to wait until Thursday afternoon to read the post. Sorry!

  • Amy F

    Hi Again,
    I have decided to use Vanna’s yarns in Burgandy, Espresso and Beige. It is going to be a wedding gift. Now I am just waiting for Blog #2!

  • Louanne Manter

    I LOVE the book … Just used motif #98 for another project that I’m working on … was a wee bit too small so I had to make some adjustments to make it bigger. I enjoyed the intro pages too.

    Thanks for blogging this … Looking forward to the complete series.

  • Yvonne F

    Hi. This is exciting. I have never joined a group on line or blogged before. Since crocheting is a strong passion for me, I decided to join along. Thanks for inviting me. I am excited to learn new things. I just finished a large queen size granny square afghan for our bed. I did solid granny squares in all sorts of varigated yarns. Turned out awesome. I am almost finished with another one for mom for Christmas. I like doing solid granny squares as there are not so many holes. Thanks again Yvonne

  • Jo

    Hi Edie, I would really enjoy following this CAL. Vanna’s Choice happens to be one of my favorite worsted yarns. Normally I make large GS instead of several smaller ones and stitching them up together. It’s mainly due to the whole putting together after finishing them. I’m very interested in learning the join-as-you-go stitching. Most likely I’ll choose 4 fall colors which will look good in my living room. Brown will be my base color to pull the other colors together. Looking forward to following along. Thanks, ~Jo~

  • Eugenia

    To Kat:

    Hi Kat,
    I’ll try to find some cool patterns for you. Just let me know how to send them to you! :)


  • Tami

    happy birthday to me – lol – it’s friday 9/25 – where is the 2nd blog?

    Zontee says: Hi Tami, you need to go to the blog’s main page (either click the “Blog” button at the top bar or go directly to to see new posts, including Edie’s newest blog post.

  • Carolyn

    Hi Edie

    I am joining you from Australia. Looking forward to making this Afghan. I am unable to buy the same materials Vanna’s as you here in Australia so I will substitute 8 ply Merino Wool Washable knitting wool. I will choose Australian Colours, however not quite sure which ones. (Browns and greens). Looking forward to learning new techniques. I am relatively new to crochet, on my second rug.

    Best Wishes


    Edie says: Wow! We really do have crocheters from all over the globe. I have first cousins in Australia; I keep wanting to come down for a visit, but haven’t made it yet.

  • margie

    Hello Everyone!)
    I am proud to say that I read each and every post to date. I tried the last crochet along, but was frustrated and unsuccessful. This one is much more my speed. I have to invent time to crochet as I have a 2 and a 4 year old. I am on board with the posters with husbands who want them to clear out their stashes, and we are the house of half a****, with tons of half finished projects. I am also combining different yarn brands and weights. All are 50%/50% cotton poly, I am doubling the white I am using cause the light pink and baby blue are thick. I am quite impatient as I have finished 10 motifs, but then again this weekend was my birthday weekend and my husband let me crochet most of the weekend. My children are fighting over playing with the “stop signs” as my son calls them.

    I am very interested in hiding tails on yarn that tends to separate, finishing off like a pro and actually completing a project.

    I have another question for you. My son’s great grandmother made a varigated, white, pink and blue zig zag blankie and Mitch is outgrowing it, it is wide enough to add some more rows so that he can continue to use it. Has anyone every tried that? I know they still make the acrylic yarn. Anyone have any thoughts on it? I realize the color won’t be perfect, but I would hate to see him have to stop using it.

    Crochet On My Friends!
    I am with you!)

  • Shari

    I really like colorway #4. Those are colors I would choose for myself too.

  • tami

    I really like the join as you go idea! it is something i will keep in mind. But for this afghan i am using scrap yarn and not really sticking to a color pattern. just kind of flying by the seat of my pants. so when the motifs are all done i will lay them out on my bed and figure out how they look best. besides, i’ve been sewing squares together for years and i enjoy it and i like the way it looks. I actually have an afghan that more than covers my california queen sized bed. it started out about 30 years ago and there are tons of colors but i chose a “hunter camo” varigation and single crocheted all the squares together.
    anyway, cant wait to see how this continues!!! ps) i have 17 motifs done… but havent decided if this will be a baby afghan or adult…

  • tami

    PS) well there is a color patter to a point… I have 2 diff varigations that i am using for round one and they are diff shades of pink/white/blue and all the other rounds are either blue, pink, grey or purple (well, haven’t decided if i am using the purple yet…) my prob is i am using up a lot of partial skeins and dont know what i will use to sew them all together… Any ideas?????

    Edie says: Why don’t you find one unifying color- white, grey, or some other color that blends well with all your colors–then set that one aside for doing the join?

  • Carolyn from Australia

    Hi Eddie

    It only clicked with myself after I send my first message that I am already using (or trying to use) your book. What luck. I am working on my second rug by linking the different daisies you have featured. I have used fairly loud colours. However, it is great book to learn how to read patterns. I have visited New York only once December 2004 and loved all the Christmas Decorations.


    Carolyn (Australia)

  • pat

    For the person that has a problem picking colors. Years ago I read this great piece of advice-when you go to buy your yarn put the skeins together to see if the colors go well together. You can pick a color out and try another or start all over again. I will be doing a little boy sweater and disliked the main choice color. So I put the motif colors in the cart and checked them against various main color choices. The new color loks better than the pattern choice. It is part of the fun of starting a new pattern to pick colors.

  • GerryH

    I am so happy that I blog-hopped to Jerusalem Notes: Fiberwork by Debbie where I saw her post about this CAL. How striking her pic of hexs is.
    I love Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs and have it by my bedside for inspiration.
    Since I just came upon this CAL, I do have some catching up to do. However, I do have wonderful candy-colored-eye-popping yarns left over from crocheting some Lucy-style Attic24 projects.
    Now to do some reading in order to catch up with all the CAL-ers here.

  • Judy Sankey

    I have decided to do a take-off of colorway #3… I am using Taupe as my main color, and burgundy and rust as my two other colors. This looks like the maroon and burnt orange of my alma maters school colors (Virginia Tech). I love the look and I have a whole bunch of people who will be wanting this afghan! :O) Was it mentioned, how many hexagons does it take to make a full-size afghan? LOVE this project! I started it in the car on a road trip but it will take me through football season….

    Edie says: Well, I suppose since I’m just up the road from Va Tech, it’s OK for you to do it in Hokie colors. :-) Read the second post and the following comments about how many motifs you need.