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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. Bailey

    I’m sorry for your loss. I too lost my father to cancer and it is a tough journey. This is a beautiful tribute to your Dad.

    Reply
    • ChiWei

      Thank you!

      Reply
  2. Alli

    I’m so sorry for your loss. My husband lost his mom 2 weeks ago. You do such beautiful work and I know that memories were made and that afghan will be even more special. It’s beautiful!

    Reply
    • ChiWei

      Thank you so much Alli. My condolences to your family as well; I hope you can also cherish the memories with a smile.

      Reply
  3. Susan

    ChiWei, I’m so sorry for your family’s loss. Your quilt is an absolutely beautiful testament to the love you have for your father. I know he treasured it.

    Reply
    • ChiWei

      Thank you Susan.

      Reply
  4. Melissa

    Your blanket is absolutely stunning. I lost my Dad when I was 20, 32 years later I still miss that amazing man. I know that your Dad felt every drop of love that you put into his blanket. What a precious treasure. Praying peace and comfort for you and your family.

    Reply
    • ChiWei

      Thank you Melissa.

      Reply
  5. CC

    My sincerest condolences on your loss. What a gorgeous and vibrant tribute of a blanket. I’m sure your father appreciated having such a beautiful and tangible gift of your love with him in the hospital to comfort him and keep him warm. Best wishes to you and your family.

    Reply
    • ChiWei

      Thank you so much for your kind words!

      Reply
  6. Laura

    Such a gorgeous labour of love. Beautiful blanket. I am sure that it was like having a warm and cheerful hug from you during the times when you couldn’t be there in person. Condolences to you and your family.

    Reply
    • ChiWei

      Thank you Laura for your kind words!

      Reply
  7. Amy Anderson

    That afghan is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. Thank you for sharing your story ChiWei – and I’m sorry for your loss. I’ll be thinking about you and praying for you! xo

    Reply
  8. Jeanine

    Sorry for your loss of your Dad. He must have been happy to have you for a daughter, you create beautiful things, and you are so thoughtful.

    Reply
  9. Juicy

    So sorry for your loss. Lovely sentiment and afghan. I, sadly, feel your grief all too well. I lost my father in June, and only 9 days after my daughter was born. It was also cancer, and it all happened in 8 days. It’s beautiful that you were able to finish this for him, and now it’s something special for you to hold onto to remember him.

    Reply
  10. Auntiepatch

    What a beautiful blanket! But, you know, if it was ugly and wonky he would still have loved it. Because our Dads are like that. I, too, miss my Dad. It will get easier with time. Remember, and cherish, the good times with him.

    Reply
  11. Pam Shields

    First of all, Please accept my sincerest sympathy on the loss of your Dad. You were blessed to have been able to be with him..

    Second , ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS~ LOVE THE FLOWERS LOVE THE COLORS..LOVE THE TRIM…

    welcome home…

    Reply
  12. Debra

    What a beautiful tribute to your father. I lost my father three years ago to Parkinsons and I still miss him every day. My condolences on your loss.

    Reply
  13. susanne

    such a beautiful afghan!!!!!! i know your dad enjoyed it!!!!

    Reply
  14. Fran Stockham

    This is a beautiful tribute to your dad! Sometimes it is very hard to put into words, ones feelings. I believe that this is when our creative side steps in to express our deepest feelings of love, sadness and happiness.
    Your “Crocodile Flower Afghan” attests to this.

    I am so sorry for your loss.

    Time, patience and so many happy memories will soften your sadness.

    Reply
  15. Pauline Fisher

    Such a beautiful labour of love, no wonder your Daddy loved it too. ❤️

    Reply
  16. Janet Carey

    So sorry for the loss of your Dad. Your love for him show trough your story. The blanket is lovely.

    Reply
  17. Debbie

    Hi chi I normally don’t comment on post, but the blanket is gorgeous, and I’m sorry about your dad, I lost both my parents a long time ago. It’s takes some time for the pain to subside but it will! For some encouraging news go to http://www.jw.org there you will learn why we grow old and die, and if the dead will live again

    Reply
  18. Julie

    My condolences on the loss of your Dad. Your posts reveal what a caring, loving, selfless person your are. I pray you are comforted by knowing even a stranger such as I care. Those that get to call you a friend are the fortunate ones. Thank you for sharing your talents and life stories.

    Reply
  19. Lorraine Cooper

    I am so sad to hear of your father’s passing. I cannot think of anything that is so beautiful and probably full of love and tears, as the blanket you made. It is so beautiful but the fact that you were able to work through your grief and make such an object of beauty is such a tribute to you and your father. I lost my mum recently and I never saw her for twenty years but we talked on the phone every other Tuesday up to the moment just before she passed. I was heart broken that I couldn’t get to the UK from
    Australia due to my health, but all she wanted was reassurance that she had been the best mother she could be, and, I’m grateful I had the opportunity to reassure her. I made a blanket in her honour and I love to hold it and cuddle it while I watch tv and I feel as if she is here with me,
    I hope you can reach a place where all you feel is joyful to have had such a wonderful person in your life and to look forward to the time when our loved ones will be resurrected.
    Thank you for sharing and I will pray for you.

    Reply
  20. Patricia B

    ChiWei, my deepest condolences. I’m sure you will always have fond memories of the time you had together and that beautiful blanket.

    Reply

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