An Amazing Crochet Project for A Beginner -- I Swear!





Wow, right? Before making this blanket, my experience with crochet was limited to slip stitch seams, single crochet edging and the occasional double crochet bikini (oops, did I admit to that?!).




So yeah -- I wasn't a crochet noob... but I wasn't an expert by any means. I didn't even really know how to to hold the hook, and held the yarn in my right hand like I was knitting!




One day I saw this project in progress on Pinterest, and fell in love. 


lvislife on Ravelry


But it was crochet! Could I do something that looked so complicated? I learned that the pattern was free (😱) and that almost every row was different from the last. That sounded like the perfect way to truly learn crochet at my own pace. This is Sophie's Universe by Dedri Uys -- one of the most entertaining projects I've ever done. It will be for you too, I guarantee it!




Back then it was 2015, and it was a crochet along.  I quickly realized that if I tried to keep up with it, I'd just be forcing myself to do an enjoyable project too quickly. (And if I'm honest, I couldn't keep up anyway.) If you don't crochet a lot, you really don't have the muscle discipline to go for long periods -- even if you're a knitter.

So I finished it in 2018. 😂




You'll immediately notice that the original uses a million colors. When I started, I wasn't sure if I really would enjoy it, so I was hesitant to go all in. I thought -- could I do it in just one color? I priced it out in the cheapest wools I could find. Knit Picks, DBNY liquidations, crazy Craftsy sales, you name it. Whoa! I was hitting $400 for the nearly 5000 yards required. I started pricing it out in acrylic, but even then I was hitting the $200 range for what I wanted. 

I sat pretty and kept my eye out for sales. One day, I was at my local (and favorite) Maine discount store Marden's, and I found these huge Red Heart Super Softs in a really great green.




Wait -- did you look at that price, hmm? Yep! $2.99 for 515 yards of worsted weight! I bought 10 skeins for $29.99 and made the entire blanket with some of one skein left to spare.

It's impossible to get this color to translate the same in each of my photographs, but here's one in the sun to give you a feel of the true shade. It's called "Grass Green" and that is really an accurate naming:




I had to stand on a chair to take these pictures! It's about 5.5 feet square.





The afghan is an interesting construction that starts in the round from the center. The circle shifts into squares and back as you move outward, by adding occasional 'corners.' The beginning is the most addictive part, as every row has totally different stitches and the rounds go super fast. You can easily stop after the square and make a small baby blanket or table covering.




If you look closely you'll see there's a lot of garden motifs -- leaves and this glorious flower.




I realize that you may think this is not a beginner pattern. Here's where I'll challenge you to try it. I have NEVER seen a more comprehensive and clear pattern in my life, knitting included. Every 'clue' comes with full color high detail photographs and every technique is religiously explained. Dedri has made this pattern for EVERYONE, and if you manage to get through just that first rectangle, you will have realized that you are A Crocheter, no joke.

Also: I have a credo. Never start with a boring project. I watch people learn to knit with a scarf, and too often see them put it down forever. A scarf is boring! It has no new things to do -- and everyone knows a scarf needs to be way longer than you ever think it does. Why not do a simple stitch sampler cowl? Or even a hat? That's the way I get people into it, anyway.




I also learned an important thing about myself. When I'm knitting, I'm obsessive about every stitch being right and I will ladder a column 50 rows back, if that's what it takes. hahaha crochet don't work that way. You have to go ALL THE WAY BACK around to get to just one row below. Hell, no -- with that many stitches? I learned to let go and either fudge the next row, or even embroider a fake stitch onto a place where I forgot it. 

For the first time, I wasn't shackled by my knitting OCD. What a relief!

I'm sure some people made a perfect blanket, but mine was definitely wonky by the end with all those different stitches. I decided to block it. Acrylic doesn't block, you say? I beg to differ!

Just pin out your piece and hover a steam iron over your work. It won't block like wool -- but it will behave much better, I promise you.






This project taught me that I love doing crochet. My guilty secret, though, is that I don't really like how crochet looks. I do think this pattern is one of the outliers -- it truly is beautiful. 

I finished this in January of 2018 -- but in September my husband and I bought an off-the grid camp that gets cold at night! Wouldn't this be perfect for it? I don't know yet, because I had to close it up for the winter in October. I hope that we'll get back in there by May, after any chance of my pipes freezing. Would you like a tour?
















The camp is mostly run by propane (water heater, lights and fridge) and has a generator to pump water up from the pond when you need it. It is absolutely charming, but I'm not sure we needed another property! 😅I hope to have many pics of my knits there, in any case. Here is La Boheme, from a recent blog post. Wait... is that a new way to block?!




Ok ok, so it took me 3 years to make this afghan... but that's just because I was waiting for the next Dedri Uys free pattern masterpiece this year!

Yes, I'm doing it again. This is my Ubuntu CAL




Once again, I've cut down drastically from the original color scheme.




And once again, I'm going bargain basement! The cream color was a box that was donated to our local library (definitely worth a visit if you are in Bar Harbor, ME, especially on Thursday knit nights!). After realizing the 13 skeins of bulky wasn't going to get me anywhere, I bought the rest in black from Knit Picks. I'm at a point where I'm knitting one skein PER ROUND, omg! But this time I want to be covered from toes to forehead, which isn't exactly true for my Sophie's Universe.

So, are you game? Are you going to put down the knitting needles and pick up your hook? You won't be disappointed. 😘


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Comments

  1. O M G, your camp (cabin, as we'd say in the West) is gorgeous. I would live there every day that the weather allowed.

    And your crocheted afghans are gorgeous, too. I used to rock out crocheted afghans decades ago, but no more - I'd saturated my market of friends and relatives, and then moved on to knitting SWEATERS for myself!
    -- Gretchen (aka stashdragon)

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    1. Ha, thank you about my camp! It certainly is beautiful. I need to get back there to see if it is still standing, lol. Also, I agree about the giveaways of afghans and I imagine that quilters run into this problem all the time. Where do you put ALL THE BLANKETS??

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  2. I bought the book and I might do one in a solid color. So you are the one that did the giant Ubuntu, I remember that pic from FB.

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    Replies
    1. Oh yes, I'm that crazy one with the gigantic afghan! Just had to buy another round of skeins and am going to do the next part back in the cream color. I think it will pop. We shall see!

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  3. Well, if you live in Maine, you probably need those blankets most of the year!
    -- Gretchen (aka stashdragon)

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