How to Craft an Afghan

Afghans come in many varying sizes, designs and uses. Simplest to master is the granny afghan as it is a series of smaller squares assembled to make a bigger square or rectangle. Much like patchwork, small pieces can be identical or co-ordinated then joined to form an overall visually appealing lap blanket, baby blanker or throw for the lounge.

How to choose materials:
Depending on the purpose of the afgan colour and texture are most important when it comes to selection your materials. You want to select colours to accentuate a particular decor, or pastels for a baby blanket. You will need wool/yarn preferably with a composite of durable materials. You will need to purchase a hook, preferably the “K” crocheting hook. The gauge is around 6 ½ squares, which you can purchase a hook that matches this gauge also.

How to square:
Use a variety of coloured yarns in succession per square. If you want to shift colors, it is best to avoid chain stitching at the end of your lines. Start turning your work until you connect with the colors, chain stitch one row and work your line in accordance.

To chain stitch, start with placing one slip knot over your crochet hook. Your hands should be prepared to work, which includes the thumb and middle left finger. Hold the yarn at the end and then wrap up and again over your crochet hook. You should be crocheting at the front of the back and to the front. Learn more about “Yarn over Yo.”

When you start squares, create 54 squares on a chain two stitch. Move to row. To row one work, you will need three single crochets in your second chain stitch and away from your hook on another single chain turn.

Move to your second row. Work two single crochets in your first single crochet and move to the following single crochet and the second, single crochet in the last single. Continue with five stitches and chain another single turn.

In your third row work two single crochets in your first single, continue singles within the following three singles, adding two more singles to your last single, and then chain another turn.

Moving to the fourth row, work two singles in your first single and then single crochet an even row to the last single. Work another two singles to the last and chain one turn.

Next row, repeat by adding four rows and after you reach rows eleven up to twenty-three begin your stitches across the material.

Continuing, create a loop in all of your first two singles. Use the “Yarn over Yo” method and move through all three of your loops on the crochet hook, which brings you to one single crochet and the decreasing phase. Next, single crochet two even stitches to decrease your last two singles and churn one turn. Repeat the steps on the twelve rows, yet only stitch three single crochet remains.

On your last row create a loop in each of your preceding three singles and start the “Yarn over Yo” method to continue through each loops on your crochet hook and then close.

Now you will start border rounds. Gather your greens, blue, and reds with a slipstitch in your corners. Do another three singles in the corner and another single to the following corner making sure the singles are even. Repeat the steps from about, and slip stitch toward the first single crochet.

On your second and third rounds, slip stitch toward the middle stitch of your corner, and repeat the round once, and close after your finish the third round.

Now you are ready to assemble. You should have a six square Afghan created, which is wide and has another 9 squares lengthwise. You want to oversew stitch (Whipstitch) the square togs and run ALL crosswise stripes so that they move in the same course. Now, border another round. Gather your yarn with another slipknot at the corner, and single crochet three in the corner, single crocheting another in the following corner, while making sure it is even. Repeat, stitching around and slip knot to reach the first single. Round two includes the slipknot to the middle single crochet of your corner, repeat round one, and close.

Crafting Your Own Chalkboard

The new thing seems to be chalkboard anything. But I can see why, its fun for children, it makes an ordinary item into a cute decoration, it adds a little homemade quality to any gift, and its easy. The best part about it is it requires no artistic talent at all!

What Can I Make Into a Chalkboard?

The chalkboard possibilities are endless! This is where your children’s (or your own) imagination and creativity comes in handy. You can make just about any surface into a chalkboard, including:

  • glass
  • cardboard
  • wood
  • tabletops
  • mirrors
  • cabinets
  • silverware
  • cups
  • ceramic pots

Think how cute chalkboard flowerpots would be! Or, paint up an old picture frame and make the inside a chalkboard surface. Chalkboard doesn’t just have to be for your children. In fact it may just be what you’re looking for to fill in that blank wall space. You can add that little homemade flare to anything like chalkboard labeled dishes at a party, chalkboard gift tags made from cardboard, or chalkboard signs for gardens or weddings.

Chalkboard Mediums

Chalkboard paint comes in premixed paint cans, spray paint, and I’ve even seen chalkboard vinyl. If you want a colorful chalk surface, some companies are even making tinted chalkboard paint! However, if you’re into doing things yourself, you can make your own chalkboard paint with some of your own leftover paint and a little secret ingredient.

Making Your Own Chalkboard Paint

What you’ll need:

  • Flat-finish latex paint, color of your choosing
  • Unsanded tile grout
  • Roller or sponge paint brush
  • Fine-grit sandpaper

Method:

  1. If you’re only going to be painting a small area, I recommend only mixing a small amount at a time.
  2. Pour one cup of stirred flat-finish latex paint into a container.
  3. Add 2 Tablespoons of unsanded tile grout.
  4. Mix thoroughly making sure to break up any clumps.
  5. Apply with the roller or foam paintbrush to a painted or primed surface.
  6. Apply multiple coats in different directions, making sure to cover it completely.
  7. Sand with fine-grit sandpaper once it has dried.
  8. Before you use your chalkboard surface, make sure to prime it by rubbing the side of the chalk all over the surface until its completely covered.
  9. Your chalkboard is ready for use!

It’s likely that your homemade paint will have clumps and granules left from the tile grout. But there’s no need to worry. Some of those little granules will just “melt” into it, but for those that don’t, that’s what the sandpaper is for. That is why themixing thoroughly step becomes very important; you want to end up with the least amount of clumps possible. However, if you are wanting a smoother surface, a manufactured version might be a better choice because it goes on just as smooth as any other latex paint.

A little bit of advice: don’t use chalkboard pens on your homemade paint because it doesn’t come off like it would when applied to the manufactured paint. But, traditional chalk works great and your surface can be completely cleaned with a damp cloth. You and your children can enjoy crafting together with this easy project – I hope you enjoy it.

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