Generally speaking, I don’t like making large items like blankets at all, even baby blankets. My round baby blanket, for example, I started while pregnant with my second daughter, & finished two years later when pregnant with my third daughter.
But one of the things you can never have enough of, in my experience, is blankets. Especially for winter babies. So, the task was to make a blanket. And, since I am easily distracted, it had to be a simple blanket and a quick blanket. Thus, the Little Leaf Afghan was born. (I call it this because I believe the particular DC cluster stitch I use is called the leafhopper stitch, but I could be totally wrong about that.)
The blanket is green and white to make it seem to move faster–it’s easy to gauge progress in terms of “OK, only four more stripes to go!” I have a nice picot edging on it because I wanted some sort of edging, but it needed to be a gender neutral edging as Becky isn’t sure yet what she’s having. (She’ll find out ahead of time, the party pooper.) For some reason, a ruffle just doesn’t strike me as gender neutral. Fringe does, but what baby wants to deal with fringe?
Anyhow, here’s the pattern. Note that I am calling this a mini-pattern, as it’s more of a schematic than an actual long crochet pattern like you typically see. (Another reason I don’t make too many blankets is because the patterns tend to be asininely long.) With no further ado:
L (8 mm) hook
9 oz green worsted weight yarn
8 oz white worsted weight yarn
(These are guesses, as I used Caron yarn in pound skeins, & I estimate I used slightly less than half of each; better to have too much than not enough)
Leafhopper Stitch: This is a 2-dc cluster stitch, worked as follows–Yarn over, draw up a loop in first stitch. Draw up a loop in next stitch. Yarn over & draw through two loops on hook twice. For the next stitch, you’ll draw up your first loop in the same stitch as you drew up the second loop in the last stitch. So, if you have stitches 1, 2, & 3, the first Leafhopper stitch will start in 1 and end end 2, and the second will start in 2 & end in 3. And so on. When you get to the end of the row, you’ll work a normal double crochet in it after finishing the leafhopper stitch you were just working on. To wit: the last leafhopper stitch will be worked with the first leg in st 69 and the last leg in st 70. So you’re going to put a DC in stitch 70. You must do this, or you’ll lose a stitch every leafhopper row, and your blanket will come out looking like an idiot made it.
Picot: This is for the edging. The picot is worked like this: Single crochet in the proper stitch. Chain 3. Slip stitch into the back of the third chain.
Base chain is 71 stitches. The first row is 70 single crochet. (Be sure you don’t deviate from the stripe pattern; you don’t want an extra row of single crochet.)
Stripe: Work 1 row of single crochet, then 1 row of leafhopper stitch, then 1 row of single crochet, then 1 row of leafhopper stitch. Change colors (stop & cut your yarn with 2 loops left on the hook, line up the next color & draw it through the last 2 loops to finish the stitch) at the end of the fourth row. So: each stripe is 4 rows: Single crochet. Leafhopper. Single crochet. Leafhopper (with color change).
Work 15 stripes. The first & last stripes will be white. Do not finish off at the end, just switch to the green so you can do the border with a lot less trouble.
Border: In green: Single crochet evenly down the sides. I put 2 single crochets in the side of each leafhopper row & one in the side of each single crochet row. Single crochet two or three times in each corner stitch; you’ll be able to tell where this is. Single crochet in the free bumps of the starting chain, back up the other side, and in each stitch in your final (leafhopper) row. In the next round of the border, you’ll single crochet in two stitches & then put a Picot in every third stitch. Be sure to put one or two extra stitches in your corner stitches again this round, to keep everything flat.
Note that you can mess with a lot with this pattern. Obviously, you can use different yarn. You can use a different size hook (changing the number of stitches as necessary to get the desired width) and any number of stitches. You can even do this in all one color.
However, there is one thing you do not want to change about this pattern. Don’t mess around with where you start & end the stripes too much. You want to always change colors at the end of a leafhopper row. This pattern has a very obvious front & back. Change colors at the proper place, and you can easily crochet over the yarn ends & hide them nicely at the back underneath single crochets. Otherwise you’ll have a metric butt ton of ends to weave in, & who the hell wants to do that?
This is a close-up of the stitch. This is the front of the leafhopper stitch. The back just looks like a long line of yarn going straight up; there’s absolutely no interest to it. By contrast, the front looks a lot more complicated than it really is. This stitch goes fast, please believe me. There’s no way I’d have stuck with it if it was slow. It’s a bit open because of the large hook used, but judging by having it on my lap as I worked, it’s still quite warm.
This is a handy stitch for a lot of things. I’m going to be making a sweater & hat using the same stitch to go along with it.
This is a somewhat close-up of the edging on the blanket. I frequently have problems with wanting to put my picots too close together; this is definitely one stitch you don’t want to stack up on top of itself.
Overall, this is a good “wow” factor afghan–it looks like it was a lot more complicated than it really is to make.
You could probably make this in two or three days. It took me a while, but that’s because I’m lazy as hell & day before yesterday I only made one stripe. Yesterday, this sucker was only half done (7 stripes), so I know it can be made quickly.