Almost a year ago I bought more than a dozen skeins of yarn when a local art store was going out of business. They were only $1 per skein, and I just couldn’t resist the rainbow of colors they had available, so I bought one of each. In my mind I had planned to make a multi-color ripple afghan, but then I saw a beautiful pattern called an African Flower that my friend Francesca is working on.
Making blocks is a little more time consuming than doing a ripple afghan because there is more stop-start-stop-start involved, but I couldn’t resist the charm of the African Flower. I filed the inspiration away in my “someday” to-do list, and now that the weather has turned and the evenings are chilly, I decided to get started.
You can see that some of the blocks have a lot more loose ends than the one that’s on the bottom, center. I’ve been researching ways to switch colors and tie in ends as I’ve been honing the process of making the hexagons. After making 4 African Flowers, I’ve improved my skills at getting them done efficiently and neatly thanks to several videos and blogged tutorials.
One flickr tutorial was particularly great for the instruction it offers for changing colors in a really seamless, secure manner. The most useful video I found teaches a really good way to weave in the loose end as you crochet, which I repeat several times until I’m sure it’s not going anywhere. At this point, I’ve gotten pretty good at crocheting in the ends as I work, which is evident in that bottom center block. In fact, I probably could have snipped off the red end in the center right away, so when completed, I should only have that one final end of the last color to weave in.
I spent well over an hour cleaning up the 4 African Flowers, but once the ends are secure, the flowers really look sharp.
The ends them self don’t look half bad either.
In my research I came across a very different style of crochet, called “hyperbolic crochet”. It’s based on mathematical equations, and there is a crazy detailed explanation that made my eyes cross from overwhelm almost immediately. Luckily I found some instructions that cut to the chase and discovered that it really couldn’t be easier.
Basically you just chain 2, then go into the first chain (2 away from where your hook is) and make 2 SC and then chain one and turn it around to go back the other way, and then make 2 SC in each SC, and just keep going. At the end of each row you chain one and turn to go back, but basically you just keep making 2SC in each SC of the row you are working on.
The instructions that I used to get started might make a lot more sense. They instruct you to stop after a certain number or rows, but I plan to keep going. Eventually I should end up with a tighter spherical shape made of lots of undulating ripples–the perfect toy for my 6 month old niece since it’s soft, easy to grab on to, and made of cotton, so it’s ok if it ends up in her mouth.
The hyperbolic style of crochet appeals to the part of me that just wants to get into that repetitive, meditative rhythm and not think too much. I like the fact that it’s not as involved as making a full sized throw, but I’m happy that I’ll end up with something that I hope will be enjoyed by my niece.
I plan to mix up the two projects to suit my mood–when I have some down time, but am otherwise energetic, I’ll work on African Flowers, but for the evenings when I’m worn out but still want to do something creative, I think the hyperbolic crocheting will be perfect.