Monday, February 13, 2017

Peppermint Afghan

Well, it has taken me a while to get back into blogging, but life has been busy, and I thought I would take a little vacation from blogdom.  It didn't take long for something else to fill the gap though, so life didn't get less busy, just  a tad more relaxing.

AC posted a blog about the Peppermint Afghan I made for Shauna's birthday, and asked me to do a guest blog about the creative process for some of you interested bloggers out there.  So here goes....

Some time last fall Shauna sent me a picture of a Peppermint Afghan, and jokingly suggested that I  make her one.  I thought the pattern was beautiful and worth looking into to see how difficult it might be.  Maybe, just maybe I could do it.  After some searching  I discovered it was a free pattern from Red Heart wool  so I downloaded it.  What a surprise to find  5 long, detailed pages of instructions sitting in the printer tray.  After one attempt to read through it I knew it was beyond me.  I couldn't make head nor tail of  most of it.  Sigh!

Luckily I noticed a link to a video on the web page, and it was just what I needed to walk me through each and every step of the pattern.   It was over an hour long, and I watched it over and over again as I inched my way through the pattern.

After watching the video a few times and getting the pattern etched into my brain,  I went in search of some wool and a crochet hook.  What an adventure that was.  A local craft store had wool on sale, so AC and I set off with pattern in hand.  I had no idea how to read the instructions on type of wool, weight, how many balls to buy etc, so stopped many ladies in the wool section of the store to ask if they were knitters, and would they please help me with this pattern.  Most were very helpful, and as AC and other husbands patiently stood by, very kind ladies wandered around the wool department with me, helping me choose the right weight, and number of balls of wool I would need.  After an exhausting hour or so, we finally walked out of the store with a big bag of red and white wool. Sheesh, what an ordeal.

Now the real work or fun, would begin.

The first step in the process was to make 42 peppermint circles.  Rows 1 to 10 were the same for all 42, so once I got that pattern in my head, it was clear sailing, but row 11 was different.  So, I made all 42 circles up to row 10, then set about completing row 11 on each one.

I needed 10 circles with pattern 1 for row 11; 10 circles with pattern 2 for row 11; 9 circles with pattern 3 for row ll; 9 circles with pattern 4 for row 11; 2 circles with pattern 5 for row 11; and 2 circles  with pattern 6 for row 11.  Are you confused yet?

A picture of motif #1.  The lone circle with the red edging shows the finished motif or circle up to row 10.  The group of 9 shows the finished motif with the unique white edging.  

Reverse side of the motif.  The red and white wool is not stitched together, just woven along the underside.  

The pattern also called for 30 small square motifs to intersperse in the design when sewing the afghan together.    They were all the same, so once I got to this step it was easy peasy!  Sort of.
Once I had all the #1 motifs completed I knew I had to work out a system to keep all the different numbered motifs clearly marked and separated to make it possible to put them in the right order when sewing the project together.
To keep myself organized I set up 6 bags each labeled with the motif number, and colour coded each bag and motif with different coloured wool.  This was a very important step, as each numbered motif would be placed in a different location on the afghan when I started sewing it together.   Yikes what a puzzle.

If you look closely, you will notice the different coloured threads on each circle.  
Each motif had to be placed in a specific order with the small square motifs between each row.  I had to lay them out on the bed, tie them together at the corners, then move it to my lap to sew it together.

I had extra wool left over, so I added the red and white border,  but it was not called for in the pattern.   
I started work on the project in November, and at the end of  December presented Shauna with a bag of wool, a picture of the afghan, and a few completed  peppermint circles along with a note saying the completed afghan might arrive by her birthday in 2017.

Surprisingly I got it done ahead of schedule, and presented it to her at dinner one night in January.
Looks great doesn't it?

Lots of room for us all to snuggle down under.
Now that I know what I am doing, I might make another one.  I'll keep you posted.