I have finished my Transfiguration OWL Afghan, WITH a border. I used the beautiful Eight Pointed Flower Square by Julie Yeager.
The challenge was to "vanish over 2,400 yds of yarn." I hooked up a square and weighed it to get an idea of how much yarn I was using per square ( about 124 yds), then multiplied that by 20 squares. Already I had 2480 yds of yarn. That didn't include the yarn to sew everything together, or the border rows. I would easily make the required yardage.
The next part of the challenge was to learn and incorporate a new technique in the making of the afghan. I learned a new method of starting and then joining crocheted rounds, Air Crochet. It is absolutely beautiful. It really makes the joins invisible. Now that the Winter Term is almost over, I should have a bit more time (when I am not frantically knitting socks for Sock Madness), so I hope to do a demonstration of the technique here. Though, if you follow the link I gave, you can just learn it that way. It takes more time because you have to completely finish off every round. And, that means a lot more weaving in. I think it is worth it in the professional look of the finished product.
Because I know I have a problem with finishing, I made myself state in my OWL proposal that the half-way mark would include 12 squares, SEWN TOGETHER. This was probably the smartest thing I could have done. Every time I finished 4 squares, I ... sewed them together. Then, I ... sewed that row to the rest of the afghan. It is amazing how little finishing work you have to do if you finish as you go. I don't know why I avoid this with knitting and crochet. I mean, when I cook, I always clean as I go. I put away ingredients as I use them so that when I am ready to pop what ever I am making in the oven, or sit down to eat, there is very little clean up. Because of the new start/join technique (air crochet), I was weaving in each round as I finished it. That meant that the only weaving in I had to do was the sewing ends. Again, I did that as I sewed. When I started the border rows yesterday, I had only to sew in the last row's ends. There was no dreaded feeling in my stomach when I started the first border row because I knew I had NO OTHER ENDS left to sew in.
One other good thing about this afghan. I often wing the colors of crochet squares as I go. Because you have to submit a plan for your OWL before you start, I had to really think about the plan of each square, what colors I was going to use, and how I was going to hook it together. I think you can see a bit of the two rugs in the above photo that inspired the colors. Also, it was really nice to have made a plan in advance of how I would rotate the various color combinations. If you look closely though, you will see one random variation of the color scheme. I had to throw one odd square in, just for fun. It was completely spontaneous. I can only change so much.
Here is what the back looks like:
A complete success.
shaping the planet with a new afghan.