This hexagon afghan was crocheted over five (yes, five!) years. To quote little Luc, “(some things) just take a little time”. Granted, he says that when he’s getting ready to jump off the curb, but it’s a good bit of wisdom to remember when working on those seemingly never-ending projects.
So, back to that five-year timeline. I don’t think another project has taken that long, but I also haven’t dug down to the bottom of my knitting baskets in a while. All of my previous posts about this project are stored over on my old blog, Winter Foliage (specific links below).
I started this project in 2010, when I was still living in Boston! You can see its humble beginnings here and here. As I discussed then, I had a pile of partially used skeins of yarn and was itching to turn them into an afghan. I tried a few designs, but didn’t like where they were going. Then I saw these photos, and happily sacrificed a grey poncho to start this project.
I limited the colored centers to bits of yarn that I already owned and that I seemed to have enough of to see me through to the end. This turned out to be green, maroon, orange, light blue, dark blue, gold, beige, and purple. A rainbow; I had a rainbow’s worth of colors.
About a year into crocheting the project, it looked like this. And by year two, it looked like this. In that second post, you can see that I had started to experiment with border ideas… more on this below.
In the end, I did have to a second skein of a few colors, and many more skeins of grey, because crochet eats yarn. But it was so worth it to create a large afghan that’s perfect for snuggling.
As far as I can remember, this was my first big crochet project. But somehow I decided that it was a good hobby to take up during the final months of writing my PhD. #procrastinatemuch
Knowing nothing, I turned to Attic24’s thorough and beautiful instructions. As you can see in a few of the project history posts above, my strategy was to crochet a bunch of the colorful + white circular centers. With those in a pile, I would roughly lay out a few and decide what colors would come next.
My color strategy was to keep things as random as possible while not letting the same color touch. This worked out fairly well, and I only ran into trouble as I was running out of yarn.
By the time I got to edging, (year 4 or so?) I was so ready to be done with this blanket. At first, I just wanted to edge the whole thing with hexagons that were made entirely from one of the colors used in the blanket. I tried it (sneak peak here), but it really didn’t look good to me.
One thing I was reminded of during this project is that it’s not worth rushing the finish. My original idea would have just lowered the visual quality of the whole afghan.
On a hexagon afghan, there are two types of edges. There are the edges where there are big dips between the hexagons. These big dips would fit a half hexagon. So, I crocheted those, and added them to their spaces. You can see the half hexagons long the lower afghan edges in the above photo.
The other edges are made up of smaller dips. They won’t fit half a hexagon, but you wouldn’t want to fill them in in order to create straight edges. I used these instructions to fill in those “valleys” with the grey yarn.
After the valleys were filled in along all four sides (using half-hexagons on two sides and the simple “valley” fill on the other two), then I added the straight multi-color border using the dark blue, gold. Again, I followed these instructions, but made my border only half as wide. And finally, I finished the afghan with a final round of grey single crochet.
Hearing that a project took 5 years, some people would likely shake their head. Then they’d probably tell me that I could pick one up this afternoon and be done with it. But I can’t.
I’m convinced that there’s a deep value in hand-made goods. Even the ones that take way too-long to complete.
The work itself is meditative. Feeling the yarn move through my hands, picturing my family use this blanket for years to come, and thinking about the homemade afghans I used as a kid lift up my soul. Creating a keepsake that I know my kids will remember warms my heart to no end.
Learning something new is good for my brain and my coordination. Now I can crochet hexagons with my eyes closed. That was not the case five years ago. And, I think it sets a great example for kids to see adults working through the process of learning a new skill.
On a simpler note, I’m always doing something, and this project created a good mix of travel and at home work. I could easily slip some colored skeins into my bag and make the centers while on the go. Then, at home, I could pick up the full blanket and quickly add a hexagon or two.
What are you working on? Do you have any unending projects? Hopefully this will give you the motivation to keep chugging along, or to jump off the curb and start something new today.