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?
Yes! There's a single, printable pattern with the entire set of directions in one place. The original twelve posts have been collected into one 11-page document and you can download the PDF here for just $4.99! Easily print it off to take with you wherever you may be. 

Download the printable 2015 Afghan Sampler pattern today! | The Inspired Wren

The original patterns and posts for the 2015 CAL will remain on The Inspired Wren; you also have the option save it for yourself and reference an off-line version. What are you waiting for? Download the pattern and get the yarn on your hooks today!

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 the future. Why 2017 the future? 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 yet.

I'm all done, is there another year-long blanket you suggest?
Yes! I'd encourage you to try a Temperature Afghan. Stitch one row per day for an entire year, matching the color of the yarn to the temperature outside your window. You can work in traditional rainbow colors or choose your own contemporary palette like I have. Learn how-to with The Inspired Wren's Temperature Afghan post. I've even made printable reference card you can download to help you!

Temperature Afghan with Printable Reference Card | The Inspired Wren

Ren Murphy writes for The Inspired Wren.

You should really see all that goes into each project!
From my marathon sewing sessions, to all that I do when I #shouldhavebeensewing catch daily updates on Instagram (and Flickr) of works-in-progress. Get that behind the scenes view you’re looking for, and sneak peeks of upcoming tutorials, too.

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