This is a baby afghan called Owl Obsession. The pattern is available here on Ravelry for $5.99. The finished size is 33×33 inches.
- Big Twist Yarn in color Premium Aquatic Tones.
- Medium, weight 4 yarn
- 100% acrylic
- 5 balls, approximately 15 oz or 580 yards
- Red Heart Super Saver Jumbo Yarn in color White
- Medium, weight 4 yarn
- 100 % acrylic
- 1 ball, approximately 14 oz or 744 yards
- Size I/9 hook (5.5mm)
- Yarn needle
- Stitch markers. I use the locking ones.
Creating the Motifs
The motifs themselves I didn’t find too difficult to create. It was mindless TV crocheting. I like to make my circles assembly-line style, where I would do many circles or owls starting with the blue/green yarn before completing the white part. I always mark the first stitch in each round with my locking stitch markers so it never gets lost. After completing a motif, I block it to the prescribed size (described below).
Combining the Motifs
There is really no easy way to combine this afghan. You cannot complete this step in rows, and because of the shape of these octagons, half octagons and squares. It resulted in breaking the yarn a lot and just picking up in new places. If I was able to use the same yarn for more than a few pieces, I considered it a success. To make sure the edges lined up well, I went through the whole afghan and began attaching the corners together with locking stitch markers. This was made easy by blocking the individual pieces before sewing them together. In a moment of weakness, I decided to leave all the edges to weave in for the end, and just weave them all in at the same time.
Weaving in Ends
In a 33×33 inch afghan, I must’ve weaved in over 100 ends. This was a combination of it being nearly impossible to combine the motifs in an orderly pattern, plus the multi-layer owl faces. Most difficult was the way the half octagons were crocheted because that resulted in about 10 ends per half octagon. Although I crochet over the ends as I worked, I never really trust that to hold them securely, so I always go back over and weave them back over with a darning needle until I’m satisfied they will not loosen.
The faces were created by crocheting a small black circle, and hand stitching it over a slightly larger white circle. I would’ve preferred to use buttons for the black part of the eyes, but to make it totally baby-safe, I went with crocheting them. When putting the black circle against the white, I snagged a white string under the black eye, and never went through the back of the white. Same for attaching the whole eye to the owl – I never go through the back of the octagon. Although it’s more difficult to only snag half the layer of the crocheted fabric, this results in a flawless look on the back. The most important thing to keep in mind while using this technique is to never split the yarn while sewing, or it will result in lumps.
I blocked everything twice. The first time was after I finished the individual motif, to ensure the edges would line up perfectly. To ensure they are always the same size, I traced out a octagon and square on my foam blocking boards in pencil, and linked it out to the exact dimension. To do this, I always place a pin in the very corner and one in between each corner. I like wet blocking acrylic yarn, because steam blocking runs the risk of melting or scorching the acrylic. I pin out a dry motif, and then spray water on it until it is slightly damp (definitely not soaking!), and then simply let it dry. After it dries and is unpinned, I’ve always found it holds it shape quite nicely. One of the keys to this is to never stretch the fabric when you pin it. The second time I blocked was when I blocked the whole afghan. I pinned out the edges to measure 33×33 inches. I snagged each peak of the edge at the top stitch, and pinned it with the pins leaning out on an angle. Because this was the final blocking, I didn’t want to just wet blocked; instead I carefully steam blocked. Because my iron doesn’t have a steam setting, I wet a towel, lay it out over the afghan, and gently bounce the iron on the damp towel. Typically, there is a small hiss of steam, and the afghan is slightly dampened, but more importantly, the heat loosens up and then sets the fiber. Because it’s acrylic, resting a hot iron can actually melt it, and give it an unpleasant hard shininess. To avoid this, I go quickly with the iron against the towel, and try not to press the iron down at any point. For this afghan – as most crocheted items – blocking the edges caused it to lie flat and not curl into itself.
I am very satisfied with this baby afghan. I’m not sure if I’ll make another one, considering how tedious it was to piece together all the squares and octagons and finishing the faces. I spent more time combining the motifs, making the faces, and weaving in ends than I did crocheting the pieces. That being said, I think the cuteness outweighs the annoyance of these steps.