Possibly the very best part of the Stardust Melodies crochet along is just how easy it is to plan. So today we’re going to talk about the options you have and how to go about deciding some things.
If you’ve made any of my designs before you’ll know: I. Love. Options. But, as great as options can be, they can sometimes be overwhelming. Decisions aren’t the fun part if there are too many to make. This project is not like that. And this is mostly because the squares are done all in one color.
So where do you start? Well, if you’ve already decided to participate in the crochet along, chances are you had some idea in your head of your finished afghan. Maybe it was just a little spark of an idea. But that’s all you need. I’ve noticed many are stating that they’d like to bust through some of their stash yarn. This is a great place to start! Several have also said they’re letting someone else pick the colors. This is also a great idea!
In today’s post we’re going to go over 3 things that will affect your afghan planning. Feel free to start with which ever of the three is most important to you. So, for instance, if you already know you want to stash bust, check out the Materials section to see how many squares you can make with the skeins in your stash, then move on to the Size section to see what sizes are doable, or to the Color section to get inspired to pick a layout.
How much yarn do you need? The easy answer for this is: 2400 yards/2200 meters of Aran or Worsted weight yarn will make you an afghan out of all 24 squares. 1800 yards/1660 meters of DK weight will make your afghan with all 24 squares.
Here’s the complicated answer (It’s not really that bad, I promise):
We’re going to make some pretty unique afghans with our own personal color choices and layouts. And if you’re working from stash you might plan your yarn a little differently. So for the rest of this section we’re going to talk about how much yarn you need per square – because that’s more practical than an overall measurement.
I recommend you use whatever yarn you love to work with. Really! Use yarn that makes you happy. Use yarn you have in your stash. Go out and find some yarn in colors that speak to you. The best yarns for this are going to be yarns with excellent stitch definition and yarns with a sheen. But those qualities are not hard requirements, they simply make for lovely textured squares.
IMPORTANT! There are a few yarns you should avoid. Here’s a quick list and reasons why they are not recommended.
- Variegated yarns will not show the textured patterns
- Self-striping yarns will also lose the texture of the patterns – the only exception might be a yarn with a VERY slow gradient color change but these have not been tested so I cannot guarantee results.
- Stonewash/marled yarns – again the color differences will take away from the texture.
- Textured yarns – bouclé, fuzzy yarns, anything with an odd texture will take away from your stitch definition and that’s what these squares are all about.
- I’m not recommending chunky, or heavy weight yarns – stitch definition is the key to the texture and you lose a lot of that with bigger yarns
- I’m only not recommending sport weight or lighter yarn because your squares will come out so small and you’ll have to make so many to make an afghan
What hook should you use? The one that works the best for your yarn and your personal tension. If you’re not sure where to start, use the hook recommended on the label of your yarn and practice with Begin the Beguine, then size up or down to find the hook that works for you. This is the best answer I can give you. Everyone crochets a little bit differently. Shoot for a stitch that’s a medium tension. Too loose and you lose stitch definition, too tight isn’t as bad but you lose yarn drape and the stitches become more difficult to work into. An incorrect hook size can also warp your squares, but I doubt we’ll run into much of that.
Yardage. Per square you need:
- Aran or worsted weight yarn (probably a teensy bit less for WW) with a 5.5mm hook – approximately 85 yards or less, 9 inch squares
- DK weight with a 4.5mm – approximately 65 yards or less, 7 inch squares
There will be slight variances due to different yarns and hooks and your own personal crochet tension and I can’t account for those. But, as a safeguard my own personal crochet tension is a little bit loose (which I’m noticing doesn’t seem to be the norm) and I always round numbers up at least a little.
Here are some common yarn brands and how many squares you should be able to get out of each skein. No guarantees but these measurements should be pretty safe.
- Red Heart Super Saver: 4 from a 7oz skein
- Hobby Lobby’s I Love This Yarn: 4 from a 7oz skein
- Hobby Lobby’s I Love This Cotton: 2 from a 135g ball
- Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice*: 2 from a 100g ball
- Caron Simply Soft: 3 from a 6oz skein (Ok, you might be able to get 4, you should probably use a smaller hook and treat this yarn like a DK weight, if you do you can get 4)
- Red Heart Soft*: 3 from a 5oz ball
- Stylecraft Special DK: 4 from a 100g ball (you might be able to eke out 5, but they’ll be small squares)
- Stylecraft Special Aran: 2 from a 100g ball (you’ll have about half a squares worth of yarn left after the 2)
*Might be a tight squeeze but you should be able to get them all in. If you’re a loose crocheter go down a hook size.
To determine how much yarn you’re going to need in total go to the next section on Size to decide how many squares you’re going to make.
I chose 12 as the number of squares to make things easy for planning. Multiples of 12 can make several great sized afghans. And dividing it up if you don’t want to make all of the squares is easy because 12 has so many denominators (<—math nerd). And then I got ambitious and made 12 more. But 24 is just more size options, right?
The yarn you’re using will affect your final afghan size, so see the Materials section of this post about choosing your yarn and planning how much you’re going to need. This section is about choosing number of squares that will give you to the desired result.
- An Aran or worsted weight square will be approximately 9 inches/23 cm
- A DK weight square will be approximately 7 inches/18 cm
So let’s pretend we’re just make 1 each of the 24 squares, and our layout will be 4 squares by 6 squares:
- An Aran or worsted afghan of 24 squares will be about 36 x 54 inches/92 x 138 cm before a border
- A DK weight afghan of 24 squares will be about 28 x 42 inches/72 x 108 cm before a border
Here are some more ideas to help you decide on how many squares you want to make and how big of an afghan you’d like
- Make all 24 squares twice for a 6 x 8 layout and a nice big snuggly 54 x 72 inch/138 x 184 cm in worsted
- Make the 12 free squares twice each in DK for a baby blanket
- Make the 12 eBook exclusive squares 3 times each for a 6 x 6 layout and about 54 x 54 inch/138 x 138 cm
- Pick 20 of the squares for a 4 x 5 layout
- Pick 8 of the squares to make twice for a 4 x 4 layout
The possibilities go on and on. But the best place to start if you’re not sure is by making the first square with your chosen yarn to determine what your final size squares are going to be and working from there.
Ok, this is the most fun part, right? Even if color isn’t the most fun part for you this project is perfect for you.
Let’s start as easy as can be: use one color. Seriously. A single color will put all of the emphasis on the texture of your stitches and that’s the whole point of this project, right?
Two colors: A checkerboard effect? Big wide stripes?
Three or more colors: now it gets interesting.
Ok, I’ve got you thinking. Before I go on, let’s talk about which colors work and why. Simply, light colors work the best but dark colors still work pretty darn well. Light colors will photograph the best and you’ll see the texture at a greater distance. But dark colors can still provide a rich texture square – you’ll just need to be closer to it to get a good look. The darker you go the harder it will be to see and photograph.
If you’re still looking at color palettes, feel free to get bold. Because the colors are staying in their individual blocks, they won’t mix like in other patterns. Have you ever picked out colors and they looked great in skeins sitting next to each other, but when you worked them into a project it was all wrong? This project isn’t like that. Because everything is color-blocked (quite literally) you won’t have those unexpected color mixes and odd effects. Just plop those skeins or balls together and that’s about the color effect you can expect from your afghan.
Most of you, I know, are going to use multiple colors and I’m going to guess you have an idea about how you’d like to place them. Ordered, random, gradient… It’s really up to you. This can be really fun! And it’s really easy. It’s so much easier than choosing color placement in pattern with lots of color changes because, well… pretty much anything will work!
If you still have some questions or you’re stuck on something, let me know! Add a comment below or head over to the Polly Plum Pattern Posse on Facebook where the conversation is just getting started about color and planning our afghans.
The best way to keep up with my goings-on is to follow Every Trick on the Hook on Facebook. You can also message me there, post on the wall, and follow my posts for the latest news.
If you’re looking for a more interactive Facebook experience, join the Polly Plum Pattern Posse Facebook group. We’re a fun and supportive group. Really! There’s so much help there that chances are your question will be answered by someone before I even see it. It’s the best place to go with a question. It’s also a great place to share your Polly Plum makes and see what others are making.