Sometimes it’s an Afghan, Sometimes Yarn, and Sometimes… a Little of Both

While shopping at tag sales or in thrift stores, I often find handmade afghans in beautiful condition and with wonderful prices. Some, like the peach baby blanket I found in May, I pass on just as there are and they’ll go into comfort packages for children entering foster care. Others I buy with the sole intention of recycling the yarn, like the three and a half pound one back in March. Right now, I have two afghans that fall somewhere in-between.

#1 – Yellow! and a Variegated

The first one was an amazing yarn buy, only $1.49 at Sal’s and yet it weighed over two pounds; that’s only 75¢ per pound!

I reconsidered my idea of taking the entire blanket apart for its yarn, once I realized I could simply remove the sections that contained two mismatched yarns. The yellow I unraveled is more of an antique gold, colder than the yellow in the rest of the blanket, and the large ball of variegated yarn has long sections of each color, which, when crocheted, looked very different from what’s in the blanket.

Now I have seven ounces of the gold yarn, four ounces of the mismatched variegated, and one and a half ounces of the matching variegated, plus…

a small, but nonetheless, better-coordinated 32″ x 46″ afghan.

I’m going to add a border to cover the long strands left where the yarns were carried up the afghan’s side. At first, I thought I’d use this blue yarn, which matches the blue in the variegated very closely. (Another interesting idea would be to put blue on the sides and green on the ends, or possibly green on one side, blue on the other, and red on the ends!)

When I saw the above photo, I immediately thought Wow! Too bright! That particular yarn may be a closer match to the shade of blue in the variegated yarn, but I’m still switching to this darker, calmer one. It helps create a better overall balance in the blanket’s colors, with some light/bright, some medium, and some dark.

It would be nice to finish the border with a narrow edging of a contrasting color or two. Too bad there’s not enough of the matching variegated yarn to make it all the way around the blanket. Maybe I’ll use red.

#2 – Turquoise and Browns

The second blanket, made completely with one variegated yarn, TLC’s “Surf and Turf”, was even larger and heavier, weighing two pounds and ten ounces. I paid more for it, $4.00 at Savers, but I expect to pay more for variegated yarns, don’t you? What a deal at $1.50 per pound!

Although the original afghan looked just fine the way it was, I really wanted some of that variegated yarn to play with! A variegated yarn is often my starting place in choosing yarn colors and stripes for a ripple.

After some thought, I realized I didn’t need, or even want, over two and a half pounds of a single variegated yarn, pretty as this one is. I decided to unravel it back to a four-foot square, leaving me with nine and a half ounces of the variegated yarn for my charity yarn stash and a child-sized blanket to give away. Happy, happy!

I can’t resist doing the math; inquiring minds want to know. At $1.50 per pound, my ball of variegated yarn cost me just 89¢. ($1.50 ÷ 16 oz. = .09375¢/oz. and .09375 x 9 1/2 oz. = 89¢) That means my “new” blanket was $3.11. ($4.00 – 89¢ = $3.11) Such a deal.

A multi-colored border will be a nice finishing touch for the modified blanket. I’ve already started adding a white half-double crochet row.

The crochet pattern of this blanket is two rows of double crochet, alternating with two rows of single crochet, but I noticed three rows of single crochet in a few places. Shhh, the crocheter’s secret is safe with us, right? After all, we’ve all had that sort of thing happen to us, at some time or other, haven’t we?

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6 Responses to Sometimes it’s an Afghan, Sometimes Yarn, and Sometimes… a Little of Both

  1. psmflowerlady/Tammy says:

    Ooohhhh…. you are so right on the 2nd blue and a red would be awesome! And being a kinda newbie crocheter – I have a dumb question. When you unraveld the variegated, does it matter @ which end you start? If so, how did you know which was the correct? Inquiring minds want to know!

    • Linda says:

      Yes, it matters. You start unraveling with the last stitch that was crocheted on the blanket. The end of the yarn will be tucked away among the stitches. Once it’s been found and untangled, pulling on it will easily unravel the crocheting. Zzzzip!!

      If you try to begin unraveling from the wrong end of the blanket, after all, there is a yarn end tucked away at the beginning point too, you’ll soon discover that undoing every stitch is like untangling a knot. There’s no zipping from this end!

      Telling the difference between the beginning and the finishing rows requires “reading” the crochet stitches. Let’s look closely at a piece you’ve recently crocheted, one in which you know where you started and finished. Looking at the piece’s top edge, which is the top of the last row you crocheted, you can see that the top of each of the stitches has two parallel strands of yarn. (The two loops you choose from when working through the back loop only.)

      IF you worked your first crochet row into your beginning chain by putting your hook under two strands of the chain stitch, when you look at the crocheted piece’s bottom edge, or the bottom of the first row you crocheted, you will see each stitch’s bottom has just one strand of yarn.

      So, two strands = top, or finish, unravel from here, one strand = bottom, or beginning, don’t unravel from there.

      However, IF you’re like me, and you worked your first crochet row by lifting just ONE strand of the beginning chain, thing’s will be a littler harder, because you’ll see two strands at both the top and bottom edges of the blanket. I looked to Google for help, but found nothing there, so we’re on our own here. Think about how you insert the hook into the row below to form a stitch.You can see how a stitch “grows” upward from the row below; each stitch seems “rooted” in the hole where you inserted your hook while making it. Look at your crocheted piece upside right, and then, upside down, trying to see the difference in the way the stitches look from each direction. Always remember, you need to find the ending point, which will be at a top corner, in order to unravel a crocheted item.

      You might want to crochet a little swatch just for the purpose of unraveling it. Do half of the first row of crochet by lifting two strands of the chain and half by lifting one strand of the chain, so you can see how their bottom edges look. Look at the top edge of the piece. Do some single crochets and some double crochets. Think about the anatomy of the stitches while you’re making them and also while you’re unraveling them.

      Boy, I am wordy, but I hope you’ll find this helpful.

  2. Kim says:

    I just wanted to say…. I wanna be like you when I have a bit more free time. I’ve been following your blog for a few months now and love all the work you do…especially with it being for charity. I’ve learned a lot reading here, especially concerning using my reclaimed sweaters. I was having a hard time figuring out how to use the materials afterwards. I never thought to go by weight and never got around to measuring the yardage….so it sat there. Thanks for sharing and keep up the good work!!!

    • Linda says:

      Welcome to alottastitches!!

      As a mom of 10, or 12?, I can imagine that free time is a precious commodity for you!
      I’m so glad to hear you’ve found some of my ramblings helpful. The nice thing is, it’ll all be here for you to refer back to when you find the time to put it to use!

      Yes, the kitchen scale is our friend!! DH made me a niddy noddy to measure yarn yardage, but it takes too much time! As long as the yarn we unraveled is about the same thickness as the yarn suggested in the pattern, we can soon estimate whether we’re ready to begin that new project… or not. 😉

  3. psmflowerlady/Tammy says:

    Wow – thank you so much for that thorough and clear answer! Looking at the afghan I’m working on now, it makes perfect sense the way you described it – thank you. I’ve unknit things but never crochet pieces, so it was very helpful.

    • Linda says:

      You’re very welcome, Tammy. I’m so glad my explanation made sense to you! Since you were so kind as to test it for me, (thank you) I know it’s worth including in the next post I happen to write about unraveling a crocheted afghan for it’s yarn. It can wait here, a little hidden treasure among the comments, until then. lol.

      Unraveling items for their yarn can be quite interesting. I’ve learned alot about sweater construction from all the sweaters I’ve unraveled!

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