With 2020 coming to an end, we’re finishing our Traveling Afghan with a simple crochet border that features puff stitches and clusters for a clean, modern look.
Reflections and Connections
When then Traveling Afghan idea was conceived in late 2019, no one had any idea what the next year would bring. This creative collaboration between almost 50 different knit and crochet designers was meant to highlight our maker stories, learn new stitches, and make new friends; who knew it would become a lifeline of connection in a world sorely lacking it? With most of us locked down in our homes, towns, and countries, passing this heirloom from one designer to the next seems so much more significant than we originally gave it credit for.
I was there at Vogue Knitting Live when the first few squares were transferred from Alexi @twoofwands to Cecilia @MammaDIY and Wilma @Wilmade. We gathered together and took photos and videos of the beginning of this year long project. Vanessa @vanessaknits and I, slated to be the end of the knit and crochet afghans respectively, vowed to get together to document the completion of these two one-of-a-kind blankets. And now it is December. We live an hour away from each other and yet, are separated by snow and Covid.
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The Power of Friendship and Fiber Arts
But the blankets are complete! Despite the pandemic, the shipping delays, and everything this year has thrown at us, all 49 designers came together to create two masterpieces. Each designer wrote a note to the next as they shipped their package on. I am lucky enough to read them all, the sweet words of encouragement and friendship written on scraps of notebook paper being my favorite part of it all.
Below, you’ll find the the free pattern for the final crochet border of the 2020 Traveling Crochet Afghan. It is a simple combination of stitches that creates a textured complement to the 24 unique squares. If you’d like to start at the beginning, head over to Two of Wands to read more about the Traveling Afghan project, and find links to all 50 free knit and crochet squares and border patterns. You can also purchase complete knit and crochet kits directly from Lion Brand Yarn.
2020 Traveling Crochet Afghan Square Patterns
Here is the full list of patterns for the 2020 Traveling Crochet Afghan.
#1 – 11/1-1/13 – New York City, USA – Alexandra Tavel of Two of Wands
#2 – 1/15-1/28 – Barcelona, Spain – Cecilia Losada of Mamma DIY
#3 – 1/29-2/11 – Utrecht, The Netherlands – Wilma Westenberg of Wilmade
#4 – 2/12-2/25 – Gloucestershire, UK – Lindsey Newns of Lottie and Albert
#5 – 2/26-3/10 – New Brunswick, Canada – Kimberley Giggie of Lakeside Loops
#6 – 3/11-3/24 – Ontario, Canada – Lee Sartori of Coco Crochet Lee
#7 – 3/25-4/7 – Alberta, Canada – Janine Myska of Knits n’ Knots
#8 – 4/8-4/21 – Alberta, Canada – Abigail Ellazar of Knits and Knots by AME
#9 – 4/22-5/5 – California, USA – Arica Presinal of Skeinsnsticks
#10 – 5/6-5/19 – California, USA – Meghan Ballmer of Meghan Makes Do
#11 – 5/20-6/2 – California, USA – Nicole Riley of Nicki’s Homemade Crafts
#12 – 6/3-6/16 – Arizona, USA – Bailey Williams of Hooked on Tilly
#13 – 6/17-6/30 – Colorado, USA – Jess Coppom of Make & Do Crew
#14 – 7/1-7/14 – Kansas, USA – Emily Davies of Hooked Hazel
#15 – 7/15-7/28 – Michigan, USA – Jennifer Pionk of A Crocheted Simplicity
#16 – 7/29-8/11 – Michigan, USA – Melissa Fisher of Woods and Wool
#17 – 8/12-8/25 – Ohio, USA – Toni Lipsey of TL Yarn Crafts
#18 – 8/26-9/8 – Georgia, USA – Vincent Williams of Visuvio’s Crafts
#19 – 9/9-9/22 – North Carolina, USA – Tia Edwards of Simple Things Crochet
#20 – 9/23-10/6 – North Carolina, USA – Ashleigh Kiser of Sewrella
#21 – 10/7-10/20 – North Carolina, USA – Rohn Strong of Rohn Strong
#22 – 10/21-11/3 – Pennsylvania, USA – Jessica Benvenuto of Fly the Distance
#23 – 11/4-11/17 – New York, USA – Brianna Iaropoli of Life and Yarn
#24 – 11/18-12/1 – New York City, USA – Teresa Carter of Debrosse
#25 – 12/2-12/16 – New Jersey, USA – ChiWei Ranck of 1 Dog Woof
2020 Traveling Crochet Afghan Border
Let’s talk about this border! First, this blanket is massive. I shouldn’t be surprised, with each square measuring 10×10 inches. Because there are 24 unique squares, there is no consistency in the number of stitches on each side of the blanket. On some squares, I can work into easily defined stitches. On others, I’d have to pick up stitches evenly across. With a blanket of this size, I wasn’t going to try to count all the way around, and then hope for a magical multiple needed for complicated borders. That meant shells and scallops were out. Besides, the border should complement the shapes and designs of the blanket itself.
I chose to work a simple straight edge border using a combination of puff stitches and clusters. This accentuated the puffs, bobbles, and many straight lines already in the blanket. The math only requires a multiple of two, which means if things don’t line up exactly, a skipped stitch won’t be noticeable. Adding an extravagant puff stitch border also gives the blanket a little extra weight around the edges. Even in a sleepy state, you’ll always be able to find the edge of the blanket!
To start, you’ll need to work single crochet stitches evenly around the entire blanket. This gives us a good base from which to start the combination of clusters and puffs. You don’t need to count, and the number of stitches on each side do not need to match. Just make sure you work evenly across each square. I averaged 30-35 stitches across each square.
On the next round, you’ll be working into every other stitch. When you hit a corner, you may realize that you’re one stitch short and can’t skip a stitch before hitting the corner. That’s ok. It all works out in the end, and a few skipped stitches won’t hurt the overall effect. The same goes for the other rounds – if you can’t skip a stitch before the corner, just work the corner as usual and keep going.
At the end of Round 5, you have the option of stopping, or repeating the border again. If you purchased a kit from Lion Brand Yarn, you should have enough yarn to complete another full repeat of the border. By my measurement, you should have 4-5 full balls of yarn from the crochet kit leftover. The border itself takes around 2 balls, since the puff stitches are such big yarn eaters.
And that’s it! Thank you for joining all of us on this journey around the world. We hope you’ve learned new stitches, made some new connections, and created a gorgeous masterpiece of your own. Will you be keeping your new blanket, or gifting it to someone else?
Puff and Cluster Crochet Border Instructions
Yarn used: Two (2) skeins of Lion Brand Wool Ease
Hook used: Size J/6.00mm crochet hook
- ch – chain
- 2-dc cluster – [yo, insert hook into st, yo, pull up a loop, yo, pull through 2 loops] 2x, yo, pull through all loops on hook.
- 3-dc cluster – [yo, insert hook into st, yo, pull up a loop, yo, pull through 2 loops] 3x, yo, pull through all loops on hook.
- puff st – [yo, insert hook into st, yo, pull up a loop] 5x, yo, pull through 11 loops on hook, ch 1 to lock the st.
- sc – single crochet
- sk – skip
- sl st – slip stitch
- sp – space
- st(s) – stitch(es)
- yo – yarn over
Crochet Border Instructions
Round 1: Join yarn with a standing sc, work sc evenly around the blanket, with a (sc, ch 3, sc) in the corners. Join to first sc with sl st.
Round 2: Ch 3 (counts as dc), 2-dc cluster in same st, ch 1, sk 1. *Work 3-dc cluster in next st, ch 1, sk 1. Repeat from * around, while working [3-dc cluster, ch 3, 3-dc cluster] in the ch-3 sp at the corners. Join to first cluster with sl st.
Round 3: Ch 1, sc in ch-1 sp directly behind join, ch 1, sk 1. *Sc 1 in next ch-1 sp, ch 1, sk 1. Repeat from * around, while working (sc 1, ch 3, sc 1) in the ch-3 sp at the corners. Join to first sc with sl st.
Round 4: Ch 3 (does not count as st). *Work puff st in ch-1 sp, ch 1, sk 1. Repeat from * around, while working (puff, ch 3, puff) in ch-3 sp at the corners. Join to first puff with sl st.
Round 5: Ch 1, sc in ch-1 sp directly behind join, ch 2, sk the puff st. *Sc 1 into each ch-1 sp, ch 2, sk the puff st, repeat from * around, while working (sc 1, ch 3, sc 1) into the corners. Join to first sc with sl st.
If you have enough yarn, you can repeat Rounds 2-5 to increase the width of your border.
On your final Round 5, you can end your round with an invisible join. Fasten off and weave in all ends.