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My Labor of Love: Crocodile Flower Afghan

by | Crochet, Home, Musings, My Favorites

My dad's crocodile flower afghan | www.1dogwoof.com

Well, my friends, I haven’t posted for a long time, but here I am. For those of you who have followed this blog and the occasional personal news, you may have known that my dad had cancer. He went to Heaven in August and I’ve been trying to find the will to get back to crochet and creating and blogging. When I first heard that the cancer had spread, all of a sudden, I knew I needed to create something that was going to be my labor of love. There wasn’t a whole lot I could do, so I did what I knew best, I crocheted. I decided to make an afghan for him during his stay in the hospital, and I didn’t want it to be any old afghan. I wanted it to be hard, to be beautiful, to be spectacular. It needed to be something I could throw myself into.

I remembered a pattern I had seen from sometime ago and decided I wanted to make an afghan that was nothing but these gorgeous crocodile flowers. Would you believe it, I’ve never crocheted the crocodile stitch before? But I was going to push myself to learn, and to learn it FAST. I figured I’d only have a few weeks to complete the blanket before traveling overseas to see my parents. Little did I know, I left home in under a week, changed my afghan plans slightly, and finished the whole blanket in 10 days.

My dad spent some really wonderful moments with us before he passed, and I’m glad he had something tangible from me for when I couldn’t be there in person.

The crocodile flower afghan I made for my father. | www.1dogwoof.com

I don’t have a pattern for this blanket; I was just rushing to get it done, and a part of me feels that this should be the only blanket of its kind in the world, just like my dad. So this is just a sharing of how I pieced it together.

The Crocodile Flower afghan square can be found on Ravelry as a paid pattern from Joyce Lewis. The directions are definitely a bit difficult to follow and it’s not meant for the beginner crocheter. I relied heavily on Dedri’s step by step pictorial to work my way through my flowers. You still need to buy the pattern, but her pictures are worth a thousand words! And yes, Dedri’s version of the flower was what I fell in love with so long ago.

A crocodile flower afghan square in blue ombre. | www.1dogwoof.com

The crocodile flower afghan I made for my father. | www.1dogwoof.com

I didn’t complete the entire afghan square, leaving off the last 2 rounds for quickness. I also used a larger hook so that my squares, even with 2 rounds missing, ended up being between 14 and 15 inches wide.

The first square took me 5 hours to complete. The second took about 4. In the time that I had (crocheting furiously every night before my flight), I made 5 squares, averaging around 3.5 to 4 hours for each one.

The white/cream part of the blanket was a plain c2c stitch, I think about 15 squares on each side, to approximate the same size square as the flowers. Then, I worked single crochet evenly around the edge, followed by a round of double crochet to imitate the look of the saw-tooth round on the flower squares.

The crocodile flower afghan I made for my father. | www.1dogwoof.com

Once the squares were done, how was I to join them? Oh, the choices! I thought about using the same stitch from my chevron blanket, but decided to use Tamara’s Mattress Stitch instead.

Crocodile flower in purple. | www.1dogwoof.com

The crocodile flower afghan I made for my father. | www.1dogwoof.com

I guess I could have stopped there, but the big white squares seemed so plain, and somehow I was bothered by the whole thing being square (strange, I know), so I added Kara’s Cluster Burst Edging on two ends. Then, FINALLY, I stitched a round of single crochet all the way around, followed by a round of double crochet to clean up the edges.

Cluster burst edging for my dad's afghan. | www.1dogwoof.com

And that’s it. You know, easy peasy. (Not really).

For yarn, I chose to use a combination of Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice and Michael’s Loops & Threads Impeccables. The color choices of both lines are incredibly vibrant, so it’s really up to you how you want to play the color game. The cream was Loops & Threads Impeccable Big! in Aran, and the rest was whatever caught my eye. I may have bought more than I really needed…

I used an I or J hook (I honestly can’t remember), and just had my little travel-acceptable crochet kit with me – a few hooks, my embroidery needle and a pair of nail clippers to cut the yarn.

The crocodile flower afghan I made for my father. | www.1dogwoof.com

One of my favorite color combos. | www.1dogwoof.com

The crocodile flower afghan I made for my father. | www.1dogwoof.com

The crocodile flower afghan I made for my father. | www.1dogwoof.com

The crocodile flower afghan I made for my father. | www.1dogwoof.com

My favorite crocodile flower color combo. | www.1dogwoof.com

The crocodile flower afghan I made for my father. | www.1dogwoof.com

The blanket is at home with me now. It still amazes me that I put something together this big in so short a time. I mean, really, my last quilt took FOREVER and there’s probably still ends I haven’t woven in yet, but this one is completely complete. My dad loved it, and I’m glad I can have this piece to remember those last few weeks together, chatting and crocheting and enjoying our time as a family.

I love you and miss you Daddy!

66 Comments

  1. Jessi

    Gorgeous! I bet your Dad loved this!

    Reply
  2. Wil Cash

    Your work is absolutely beautiful. My heart goes out to you for the loss of your father. Your work that you’ve completed is a wonderful tribute to his life.

    Reply
  3. Melissa

    absolutely gorgeous and wonderful. Thank you for sharing so much about you and the afghans story.

    Reply
  4. Bev

    What a beautiful tribute to your Dad. This is definitely an heirloom to be handed down to many generations.

    Reply
  5. Joanne Armstrong

    I’m so happy I have this pattern now. It’s handsome and luxurious and I can’t wait to start it. Thank you for keeping the price low and making it accessible to the masses. Your labour of love is treasure.

    Reply
  6. Ann Boulton

    So sorry for your loss. Your crocheted afghan is superb, I love the pattern and the colours you have chosen are a wonderful combination. Make no wonder your Dad loved it xxx

    Reply
  7. Melanie

    I’m so sorry to hear about your Dad. But I’m glad you got to give him the blanket you worked so lovingly on and see how much he appreciated and loved it! I did the same for both of my Grandfathers before they passed and now we have what we call Grandpa blankets that we curl up with. It makes me feel close to them and comforted every time I use them. πŸ™‚ You are very talented!!

    Reply
  8. Sarah Harris

    What a beautiful tribute to your dad. I so often tell people that crochet is my sanity but, as I am sure you know, it is so very much more than that.

    Reply
    • ChiWei

      Thank you!

      Reply
      • Zeny

        About the crocodile sunflower what are the colors that you used. Thanks

  9. Laurel

    Your story brought me to tears. On the 15th September 2015 my cousin died from complications from MS. I had been traveling 5hrs to visit him, twice a year for many years.
    During my last visit – a month before he died – I told my husband that I was going to make Michael a blanket. I started working on it in the car on our way home and completed it the day before he died.
    Michael never got to see it but it is now on his 84yr old mother’s bed – I gave it to her a year after Michael died and yes, there were lots of tears.

    I am a home-care worker and have recently made a blanket for a client. He has bad knees and uses it daily to warm up his knees to ease the pain. Having seen the comfort it has given him; I am now making more for other clients.

    Never underestimate the healing power of a crochet blanket………

    Reply

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