June 2003

How to design your own afghan, using pattern dictionaries

A pattern dictionary is a wonderful source of inspiration. You may like some of the patterns and think to yourself, "I wish there was an afghan design with this pattern". The good news is that you can create your own afghan and be proud of designing it. There are just a few things to consider:

  1. Do not rely on the picture. Make a swatch to see the stitch in person with the yarn you want to use. Maybe you would not like it, when you knit / crochet in the yarn you have chosen. In addition, measuring a swatch will give you an idea of the number of stitches for the actual afghan.

  2. If you look closely, at the beginning of each pattern, there is a sentence giving you the multiple of stitches. The multiple gives you the number of stitches per repeat. For more information on repeats and multiples, check NU's Knitting or Crochet library.

  3. Now that you have chosen the yarn and made a swatch with it, you should decide if you want to make the afghan in one piece or in strips or even blocks. Blocks and strips are easier to carry and make wonderful summer project, because you will not have the bulk of the afghan on your lap. However, you have to sew the blocks together, which may be a time consuming task.

  4. For knit afghans, you should have a border unless the pattern is non-curling (as we all know stockinette stitch curls). You can also add the border after you finish the afghan or use a beautiful crochet border for the edge.

  5. For crochet afghans, curling is not a problem, but a nice border would be a wonderful finishing touch.
With all these details in mind, try designing your own afghan and if you have any questions, don't hesitate to post them on Needlecraft University's public bulletin board. One of our expert teachers or friends will respond to your question, quickly. Don't forget to send us the photos of your finished projects. All your friends here at NU, love to see your creations.

Nazanin S. Fard

Needlecraft University

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