Crochet afghans are a beloved and classic way to to make your rooms more cozy and warm. After all, they are not only a snug wrap for a chilly evening, but also a striking, decorative touch that will draw the eye and start conversations.
While a beginner may find them intimidating, you will do well with two things, some basic skills and patience.
Let us take you on an afghan-making journey. We’ll begin with selecting the right materials and guide you all the way through to the finishing touches.
Afghans and crochet blankets, which is which?
The word ‘afghan’ originally referred to a type of woollen blanket that was produced in Afghanistan and exported to other parts of the world. Over time, the term was used more widely to refer to any type of crocheted or knitted blanket that typically features geometric patterns or motifs.
Today, however, these terms are used somewhat exchangeably, and we can say that all afghans are blankets, but not all blanket are afghans.
How to Crochet a Afghan
Here is a list of steps for making any afghan or blanket:
- Choose a pattern. There are plenty of wonderful free crochet afghan patterns at any skill level. The one for you is out there. I guarantee it!
- Gather your supplies. The yarn and crochet hook sizes are usually given in the pattern you choose. You will often need scissors and stitch markers.
- Start to crochet! Follow the instructions carefully, but don’t be overwhelmed. In no time flat, you will build up your confidence and your chops. Don’t worry about mistakes, everyone, even crochet pros, makes them.
- Finish off your afghan. Weave in the ends, and secure all the loose threads. It’s also a great idea to add crochet borders and block your afghan.
- Wash and maintain your afghan with care.
Now, I’ll explain each point more detail.
Ad.1 Choosing a Crochet Afghan Pattern
At this point there are a few questions for you to answer.
The Why. Is it for yourself or to be given to someone? Will you wrap yourself up in it, or will it be a decoration? The more you use, the more you will wear out the threads and make lint.
Size. The intended use of your afghan will determine the size. To cover a bed, you need to measure your bed and size it up a bit. As a decorative accent throw, the afghan will be smaller than a bedspread.
Here you can find measurements of blanket sizes.
Skill level. Noob or pro, that is the question. Match the pattern to your skill level. Be ambitious, push the envelope, but don’t overwhelm yourself.
Ad. 2 Choosing the Right Yarn and Hook for your Crochet Afghan Project
Before you start crocheting, you’ll need to gather some materials. The most important items, of course, are the yarn and the crochet hook. When choosing yarn, consider the weight, texture, and color. A medium-weight yarn is a good choice for beginners, as it’s easy to work with and comes in a wide range of colors.
As for the hook, choose one that corresponds with the weight of your yarn. Most medium-weight yarns work well with a size H (5mm) or I (5.5mm) hook. If you’re unsure which hook to use, consult the label on your yarn for recommended sizes.
In addition to yarn and a crochet hook, you’ll also need a pair of scissors and a tapestry needle for weaving in ends.
Ad. 3 Start to crochet
And now time for the everyone’s most favorite part. To start with your project, just follow the instructions of your afghan. Don’t worry about mistakes, everyone, even crochet pros, makes them. Fortunately they can be fixed by unraveling (frogging) and backtracking a bit.
Steady tension… In any activity that involves working with strings, ropes or the like, tension is of paramount importance. While you may not think so, keeping the tension even in your yarn is the main thing that keeps your project straight and true. It’s critical that even as you are getting tired towards a long session or the end of the project that you keep your string as taught as at the outset. If you don’t, you’ll end up with asymmetrical and crooked projects that unravel easily.
Ad. 4 Finish off your Blanket.
Borders are great. Even if the pattern doesn’t call for one, it’s a great idea to work one in. It’s definitely an effort, especially since you’ve essentially finished your project, but it’s worth the while.
Of course, how you finish can often make or break a project. While it may be annoying, and keep you from your next big project, you really do need to weave in your yarn ends, tie them off and trim off the excess. If you don’t, your project will unravel… and so will your motivation.
Do I need to block a crochet blanket?
You know how opinions are divided about whether coffee is good for you or not? Well, it’s the same with blocking. Some don’t do it at all, and some swear by it. The choice will boil down to your personal preference and the yarn you used.
Here is a great tutorial about DIY station to block crochet squares.
Ad 4. Take Care of your Blanket.
OK, now that you are here and you have your finished project in hand, it’s a good idea to make it last. Avoid snagging it, of course. If you do, repair the snag ASAP.
Next, if you do have to lay it out or stratch it, avoid pulling unevenly or really tugging on it in an off-center way. Fold it gently, and don’t pack it too tightly to avoid kinking threads.
Store it in the shade to avoid fading, and avoid direct sunlight or strong glare from fluorescents.
To wash you blanket, follow the yarn label instructions. If you are not sure if machine wash is allowed, always go with a safe option and handwash.
Crocheting an afghan is not so difficult! Follow the steps above and you will get enough confidence to start your first project. If you read the article, you are ready to choose your first pattern. Here you can find over 50 amazing free crochet patterns to choose from: