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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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!