Color-block Afghan (finally!)

It is done! After about 20 months of work, I’ve finally completed this gargantuan project that I admittedly almost quit multiple times. But I made it. It’s done. Yay!

I could leave this post at that, but I won’t. This particular pattern comes from a book called Unexpected Afghans by Robyn Chachula, and the pattern, by Leigh Radford, is the Behrens Color-block Afghan. In the essentials, it’s easy: small, two-round double-crochet squares (a variant of the traditional granny square) sewn together with an overcast stitch (whipstitch) to make an afghan of giant color blocks. There are seven colors to block and you get to choose your own (yay!).

This is one of several aghans I marked from this book to make, and it became my first attempt because of a yarn sale I happened upon in the summer of 2016. A bunch of Lion Brand Heartland yarn skeins went on sale for $2 each in a clearance bin, which is a really awesome price. Colors were limited, but I got five different colors and multiple skeins of certain colors. Black became my default big block (plus connecting thread, plus edging) because five of those skeins were available, heh. Otherwise, I picked out a few other colors for the rest of the afghan, and created my design. Colors chosen in the Heartland yarn were Black Canyon, King’s Canyon, Glacier Bay, Sequoia, Great Smoky Mountain, Yellowstone, and Hot Springs (aka black, green, teal, blown, grey, yellow, and purple).

The square pattern was easy enough, but time-consuming. The basket above shows the full set of squares, all 414 of them, needed for this afghan. I began making them in July 2016 and finally finished the 414th in April 2017. That’s when I discovered my folly: this project was going to need a LOT of hand-sewing…and man, I hate hand-sewing. First, every square in an 18-square line had to be stitched together individually, the ends woven in and cut. (See picture below of a line before the ends were cut – looks like a messed up caterpillar!) Then each line had to be stitched to the previous line, a process that usually took me about an hour to complete, excluding the time it took to create the line in the first place. After my first line, I said hell-no and nearly threw the squares away. But this particular color-block pattern was so pretty, and so I kept them, and came back to the process every couple weeks. This is why it took me so long to finish! I really, really don’t like sewing!

Eventually, though, I got into a routine of doing about five lines per month. Slow, painstaking, and often causing my entire right arm to go numb from repetitive movement…but I got there. And the end-result is totally worth it. In the sunlight like below, it almost looks like a cloth-version of stained glass!

Honestly, I’m not sure I’ll ever make another afghan. I’ve cut back crocheting a lot due to the pain in my right shoulder (not just from this afghan but a long recurring problem). If I do decide to make another, it’ll be one that I don’t have to sew! This was just too much for me, and while I love the end result, I was not particularly thrilled with the process or the length of time it took to finish. Still, I’m glad I didn’t throw out my squares and that I persisted through a year of sewing to finish, because the colors are just gorgeous and I now have an afghan of my own to put on the back of one of our couches! I’m proud of myself for persisting and making it through, and now it’s time to put crochet on hold for a bit, haha!

About Amanda

Agender empty-nester filling my time with cats, books, fitness, and photography. She/they.
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7 Responses to Color-block Afghan (finally!)

  1. Alexx's Keto Avenue says:

    All I can say is WOW! You did such an amazing job and it turned out so very beautiful! Not only do I absolutely love the colors but the detail that went into this project sounds like it was insane! The whole thing is beautiful and breathtaking and I’m totally not surprised you made it! The fact is you are such a wonderful person and you have, despite all the pain and suffering managed to keep moving and falling forward! I truly am in awe of you and I am very proud of who you are and this fabulous afghan is just an awesome example of how dedicated and persistent you are! Great job wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Amanda says:

    Thank you both!


  3. Michelle says:

    Oh, it is gorgeous!! Definitely worth the trouble with a finished product like that.


  4. Kristen M. says:

    This afghan really does look amazing! I love the black between each square! I am about to start my first pieced quilt with my mom in a couple of weeks and honestly already want to quit just thinking about how much work it’s going to be. But, like you, I know the end product will be something I love so I’m going to give it a shot. I can almost guarantee it will be my only quilt ever. 😉


    • Amanda says:

      Ironically, the pattern and photos in the book said two different things – it said to choose one color for all the joining (which is what I did) but the pictures showed all the joining in whatever color the block was. The only way they could have done that was to make more sewing work for themselves. I said NOPE. Black was good enough for me, and after I’d done a few lines, I realized it looked nice that way. It was difficult in the black section, just because sometimes black-on-black made it difficult to see which stitch I was on, but I managed. I’m just so glad it’s done. There will likely never be another one like this from me either!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: March in Review | The Zen Leaf

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