April 19, 2016

2015 CAL Afghan Sampler FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions for the 2015 Crochet Along Afghan Sampler on The Inspired Wren

Let's take a quick trip back to last year. I am still receiving lots of questions regarding the 2015 Crochet Along Afghan Sampler. I thought I'd take a quick moment some time today to answer the most Frequently Asked Questions.

Gorgeous! 2015 Crochet Along Afghan Sampler | The Inspired Wren
The 2015 Crochet Along Afghan Sampler

What is (and where are the rest of the squares for) the 2015 Crochet Along Afghan Sampler?
In January of 2015 I began an afghan sampler project where I hooked up two separate squares in two different colors using the same sample stitch each month. By the end of the year I had a completed Afghan Sampler with whip-stitch joined squares and a simple border! I also published the directions for each square, for the join, and for the border each month, and you can find them all here.
Short Answer: Click on the Crochet Along page at the top of this site.

How many skeins do I need? You said you were guessing the amounts of yarn needed when you started, what did you end up using?
I used three skeins of Colors A and C, and four skeins of Color B. I had to go out to get that fourth skein, before I even got to the border. 
Short Answer: The final sampler used three 6 oz (of 315 yard) skeins of Colors A and C, and four 6 oz (of 315 yard) skeins of Color B. 

When working on a sampler crochet project, be sure to label your squares as you go! | The Inspired Wren
When working on a sampler, don't forget to label your squares as you complete them.

Why is this square so many lines less/more than another square?
Some crochet stitches are taller than others. If you were to hook a row of single crochet and a separate row of triple crochet and place them one on top of the other they would not measure the same size in height; a single row of triple crochet will measure taller than a single row of single crochet. Because this Sampler uses various combinations of stitches, the row count for each square will vary.
Short Answer: The stitches are various heights, it's not important how many rows you stitch, it's important that each square measures approximately 9" x 9".

My squares are not all coming out exactly 9" x 9", why is that?
Yeah. Mine didn't either. I stated way back in January 2015, when I announced this Sampler that I was making it up as I went. And I really did. As a result there are some imperfections built-in. As long as the squares are approximately 9" x 9" with a 38-count single-crochet border on each edge, they'll line up into a final blanket. If my counts don't get you to approximately 9" x 9" Chang the counts! The process of joining them together will square them off.
Short Answer: It's okay. Keep them approximately 9" x 9" (using the counts given OR the counts that work for you) and they'll square up when you joint them.

I've already crocheted x-number of rows and I'm at 9" should I keep going?
If you are working on Square 1 be sure you are not pulling up on the rows; that particular stitch will stretch a lot. Otherwise, use the stitch counts across and the row counts up that get you close to approximately 9" x 9."
Short Answer: As long as you are not stretching the square as you measure it, it's not important how many rows you stitch, it's important that each square measures approximately 9" x 9".

Use stitch markers to count rows. Here green = 10 rows and orange = 2 rows. | The Inspired Wren
Use stitch markers to keep track of rows as you work; here green = 10 rows and orange = 2 rows.

How can I create a 38-count single-crochet border? That's not the same as the number of rows and/or stitches across.
The trick is to evenly spread the single-crochet border among the rows and/or stitches. Let's look at Square 1 with 55 rows. I find it's easier to count the ridges, or the space between the ridges, than the actual rows of this specific square. I count 27ish of those spaces on Square 1. If I were to single crochet in two spaces then put two single crochet in one space, I'd be placing 4 stitches every 3 ridges and that would get me up to 36 stitches when worked along the 27 ridges. then I just need to sneak 2 more stitches in (not right next to each other, maybe one extra at each end?) and that would equal 38. 
Short Answer: Figure the math to spread the stitches out as evenly as you can, then fudge the balance. It will be different along the top/bottom versus the sides and different for each square.

Do I need to block my squares? This one seems longer/wider/shorter than the previous?
Eh. I didn't. But it would probably make for a better fabricated final piece; excellent craftsmanship always shows. 
Short Answer: It's okay to not block. Keep them approximately 9" x 9" and they'll square up when you joint them.

I'm having trouble, why doesn't mine look like yours?
I'm so sorry. That sometimes happens to me with other patterns and it's the worst. Unfortunately without sitting right next to you and watching what you're doing, I have no clue why it isn't working for you. I typically refer to the name of the stitch -- and in many cases link to the website I originally learned it from -- for each square. There are many YouTube tutorials on the various stitches (it would be difficult for me to supply a video for each square as I am left handed). Start by finding the stitch and seeing if you are working it correctly. If that fails, find a substitute stitch and create a 9" x 9" square of your own -- I have seen a few final afghans with such substitutions. I won't be upset (you can still join our Link Party), and you'll have a final blanket to snuggle under. Do what works for you.
Short Answer: I don't know; check YouTube for stitch tutorials or just go ahead and substitute a different stitch for that particular square.

9 of 10 sample stitches for the 2015 Crochet Along Afghan Sampler from The Inspired Wren

How can I hook up a larger finished version of this blanket?
Good question. I have not taken the time to do that myself and so I'm not comfortable giving directions/suggestions on how to make a bigger version -- in large part because I made it up as I went and so I haven't stitched some of these squares in well over a year now! If you've done it, let us know in the comments.
Short Answer: I haven't done it myself, so I don't know.

Can I print out/can you email me the directions for the entire Sampler in one document?
Such a document does not exist. Sorry. But don't worry; all of the squares are available on this site and will remain in place indefinitely. You can come back again and again to these directions and they'll be here for you.
Short Answer: That's not an option at this time.

Where's the 2016 Sampler? 
There isn't one. But! (for the crochet-along lovers out there), I have plans for a Striped-Sampler in 2017. Why 2017? I want to hook-up a larger blanket than the 2015 Sampler and I really want to be ahead of the crochet-along the next time I do this. I was serious at the beginning when I said I was "making it up as I go." I was. I did. The deadlines helped me finish but they were difficult to work against. I'm learning from that lesson and planning for a better outcome next time. I hope you'll join me when that time comes. Until then, happy hooking, my friends!
Short Answer: There isn't one; check back in 2017.

Detail of the 2015 Crochet Along Afghan Sampler from The Inspired Wren

Ren Murphy writes for The Inspired Wren.

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  1. I have been off of work with vertigo and this project has been my challenge. I have completed 25 squares! I worked most of your ideas and I did the additional third colour to make up some squares and then made some patterns up using other Pinterest patterns. I have also unpicked several squares and redone them using a smaller hook. I think I am now happy with the final 25 and I am about to sew all of them together. Wish me luck!! I also have my eye on a striped throw for my next project. To think that I only ever crocheted granny squares thank you for your inspiration :0)
    Karen, Nottingham UK

  2. I love this throw and look forward to the challenge! I had a pattern, years ago, for a much larger throw, but lost the printout after only completing 10 squares. I put 9 of them together which was only large enough for a decorative piece. At least having the patterns online means I won't lose the paperwork! LOL

  3. I would love doing this! But my group is in french. May i translate it?
    Of course, i will put a link to show where i took the inspiration!
    Thank you,
    QUÉBEC, Canada

  4. Pssst!

    By the way,My group name is "le feu au crochet"... if you want to see.... not a big thing but fun!

    (It Means my crochet is on fire)lol


  5. Thank you so much for this fun sampler project, I'm so excited to get going! I noticed in the FAQ there's a question about condensed instructions. Well, I copy and pasted them together.. I can send them to you if you'd like? Is that weird? Eh. Well, I have a copy if you want it.

  6. Question: for the border, you say sc 38 stitches on each side... what about the corners? Standard is chain 2, am I correct in assuming that you ch 2 in between the sides?

    1. I was wondering the same thing. I had to make less rows to make my square 9 x 9. I don't know if I should do the border as one long stitch connected by two stitches in the corners or cut the yarn off and start again. Also I can't figure out why there is a chain one at the end.

  7. My 38 stitch squares are coming out way bigger than 9" even using a smaller hook. I would like to adjust the # of stitches, but is there some guideline for doing this so that the patterned squares come out right?

  8. Had a lot of fun following this sampler, a few years late. The only one I didn't understand at all was the cable. The instructions to "sk fpdc in next 2 then fpdc in skipped st" didn't make sense to me. I tried it in several. Ways, but wasn't sure how to do the sc in the following row (there seemed to be too many stitches) and then trying to find 4fpdc in the following row - the dc were twisted so I couldn't figure out which stitches to loop around.

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