Friday, September 12, 2014

My Version of the Mile-A-Minute Baby Afghan

I finished my first Mile-A-Minute baby blanket and I love the concept.  Not only is it a great way to use up yarn, it's a beautifully polished finished project.  Because of the way its put together, you can combine yarns of different colours, brands and makes still present a very unified project.

I posted an "I'm finished" picture on the Facebook group, Crochet Addict.  Less than 24 hours later, it had 1000 likes and repeated requests for the pattern, so I decided to blog my version of the pattern here below, rather than try to respond to so many people individually.

Apologies for the pictures.  This is what you get when you take pictures on a cloudy/rainy late afternoon with your iphone.

The pattern is below.  Scroll down to find it!  On your way, check out some of the crochet eye candy in the photos.

This is how much white yarn I had left over.  Nothing makes a yarncrafter happier than using leftovers all up!

One of my favourite things about this pattern are the ridges created by joining the strips together.  I placed my strips backsides-together and used single crochets in the back loops only to get this look.  The ridges also keep the blanket nice and square and make it very easy to fold neatly.

A few of the edges look curled up in this photo.  This is a hasty and slightly deceptive shot.  I really should try to take some better pictures.  One of the best things about this blanket was how evenly the ends turned out.  Check out the symmetrical ends in some of the photos above.

Pattern Instructions - My Version:
The inspiration for this pattern is available through Ravelry.  Search for "Mile A Minute Baby Afghan (archived)" if you would like to see that version.  The Ravelry version links to this pattern.  My version is slightly different, so I'm writing it out below.

This blanket was made with sport-weight (#3) yarn.  I used leftovers from my yarn bin so the amounts are a best guess, but here's what I used:
- For the colourful strips: Bernat Satin Sport - 3 colours, less than one skein each (this yarn is discontinued; a good substitute would be Caron Simply Soft Light; it's skeins are much bigger, so you would require significantly less)
- For the white edging: I used a combination of Bernat Satin Sport in "Aran" (discontinued) and Bernat Softee Baby in "Antique White."  I used approximately 1.5 skeins of the Bernat Satin Sport and 1 full skein of Softee Baby, so 2 full skeins of Softee Baby should be enough to do the trick!
- Because it was sport-weight yarn, I chose a G hook
- Keep your yarn needle and scissors handy; this blanket works out best when you work in the ends as you go (i.e., as you finish each strip)

I consider myself to be a medium-speed crocheter.  At my humble pace, each strip took one hour to complete, including working in the ends.  Time to join the strips and add the border was a bit extra.

To Crochet A Strip:

You'll use one of your colour choices make the inside of the strip first.  Then you'll add a white border around it.

Foundation: Ch 7. Join with sl in 1st ch to make a loop.  (Note: A magic ring will not work for this pattern.  Stick with the ch 7 option!)
Row 1: Ch 3, 2 dc in foundation loop.  Ch 3.  3 dc in foundation loop.
Rows 2-49*: Ch 3, turn.  3 dc in ch 3 space from previous row.  Ch 3.  3 more dc in space from previous row.  1 dc in top of ch 3 chain from the row below.
* = make the strip however long you'd like.  I found 50 worked well for sport-weight yarn and a baby blanket.  Different blanket and yarn sizes might work better with more or less rows.  Just make sure all your strips are the same.
Row 50: Ch 3, turn.  3 dc in ch 3 space from previous row.  Ch 5.  3 more dc in space from previous row.  1 dc in top of ch 3 chain from the row below.  Fasten off your yarn.

Now for the strip border:
Note: There is not really a "right side" or "wrong side" to the colour strip, since you've been crocheting back and forth, back and forth.

Join the border yarn with a slip stitch in any of the spaces along the side of the strip created by either the ch 3 or the lone dc.  Ch 3.  2 additional dc in this space.  Work 3 dc in each of the spaces created by the ch 3 or lone dc's along the side of the strip.  

When you get to the loop at either end,  work 12 tc into the loop, then continue up the other side with 3 dc in each space.  Join your last dc to the top of the starting ch3 and fasten off.

Now is the time to work in your ends.  Trust me, it's easier to do it now than when the blanket is all joined together!

Voila!  One strip complete!

It's your choice as to whether you'd like to stockpile all of your strips and join them together at the end, or join them as you go. It makes no difference either way.

Hold two finished strips with the backsides together.  (Look at the white border to determine which is the front and which is the back.)  At this point the strips also have a top and a bottom, thanks to the v-shape created by the colourful middle of each strip.  Make sure the Vs are pointing the same way before you start joining!

(Here is where I may need to add pictures.)

Using your border colour, and starting in the back loops of the 10th tc on the arched ends of the strip, join the 2 strips together with a sl.  Crocheting in the back loops only, work your way down the strip, beginning with the 11th tc, then the 12th tc, then each of the dcs, using sc to join the strips together.  Fasten off once you reach the 3rd tc of the arch at the other end of the strip.  Work in your ends.

To firm up the edges of the blanket, complete a round of sc around the entire blanket.  I used one sc in each dc around.  In order to keep the arched/scalloped edges curvy, I stitched 2sc into most of the tc stitches on the ends of the blanket.  (I'll post a diagram later to show what I mean.)

If you have any questions about the instructions, please leave a comment below and I'll do my best to clear it up for you!  Enjoy!

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