In my last post about the Sunny Spread
I mentioned near the end: "Speaking of afghans. . . I did start one several weeks ago. I will post about it soon!" What I should have said was: several months
ago. Sadly, that's the case for my latest crochet project: a Log Cabin Throw from Crochet Today Jan/Feb 09
issue. Here is a photo clip from the issue:
I started this afghan in the middle of February this year because I really was in need of an afghan to work on. I went through my Crochet Today back issues and chose the Log Cabin Throw, designed by Marianne Forrestal, for the project. I like afghans that are solid (not real fond of lacey), so they can keep you nice and warm from head to toe. But the real reason why I chose this pattern is probably because of the intense colorwork that is involved. Looks complicated, doesn’t it? I wanted to pick a pattern that would be challenging and this one has definitely provided.
The yarn I chose was Bernat Berella "4", which is the exact same yarn I used for my Sunny Spread. It is my favorite afghan yarn to date. I enjoy using it because it is 100% acrylic (so machine wash and dry), it feels soft even before it is washed, it's not crazy expensive, and it doesn't have that plasticky sheen like other acrylic yarns have.
I wanted this afghan to be a bit more neutral, like muted blues, browns, and greens. To help myself better visualize the color scheme and block layout, I played around with my Gimp software and made a digital afghan schematic:
Dark Taupe, Soft Taupe, Navy, Topaz, Natural, Deep Forest Green, Soft Forest Green, Rich Periwinkle, and Cobalt were the chosen yarn colorways. There weren’t many colors to choose from (hint to Bernat), but I am happy with what I bought.
When I started crocheting this afghan I began a Crochet-Along on the Crochet Today Crocheter's Ravelry group. Find the forum thread here.
I had a difficult time obtaining the right gauge for this pattern. Here's my "gauge story" that I wrote in my Ravelry notebook:
Little gauge gremlins have been playing around with my gauge swatches lately. :( I tried using hook sizes I, J, and K and none of them can achieve the right rows per 4”. The original pattern calls for 13 sts x 14 rows = 4”. My stitch gauge is perfect with size K but my row gauge is 17 rows = 4”! Is my yarn substitution causing the problem? Evidently, no. I have a ball of Red Heart Soft Yarn (the yarn used in the original pattern), and I tried swatching. Still a major difference in stitch and row gauge. It always seems like I am 1/2” off with my row gauge for some reason. The way I crochet is probably what causing all of this; the designer most likely has taller single crochet than me. Every person is different!
So what can I do to solve this problem, or can I just live with my incorrect gauge? “It won’t cause that much of a change,” I said to myself, planning on using the K hook anyway. But then I did some calculating. If I used size K my resulting square will 9-2/3” high and 12-1/3” wide. Yikes! That is like 1-1/3” smaller than the pattern’s original square size (i.e. 12” x 11-1/2”). I don’t think I could live with that.
I told my sad gauge story on the Log Cabin Throw CAL thread, and quiltnut proposed adding rows of single crochet to compensate for the incorrect row gauge. This sounds like a good idea. A finished square has 40 stitches and 40 rows, I will just make it 40 stitches and 44 rows. I thought this idea of extra rows would make it hard to sew the squares together (because some of the squares are rotated and that might lead to stitch edges matching up to row edges), but after reviewing the chart, I see now that there is no need to worry. There is no instance when stitch edges are sewn to row edges. Whew! That is certainly good to hear!
When I was almost finished with my first square I noticed that the Topaz and Soft Taupe did not go well with each other. So I ripped back and and moved the Dark Forest Green to the center. And this was the resulting block:
And I regretfully haven't done much since this first square, and here it is May and summer isn't far away now. I probably will have to leave this afghan untouched until cooler weather arrives, but it is nice to know an afghan will be waiting for me come October. :) But who can tell, I crocheted my way through June working on an afghan before. Maybe I can do the same with my Log Cabin; we'll see!