Become Part of the Chain Reaction Afghan Project

It's more than an afghan — it's a Chain Reaction!

What does that mean? Well, recently, I went to our local blanket-making day for Project Linus, which donates handmade blankets to kids in need, in hospitals, safe houses and traumatic situations. There, I met a woman who has been without a job for 18 months—it's the very first thing she told me about herself, so clearly it weighs on her. During that time, she has made about a dozen blankets and given about half of them away. (There's one she can't ever part with, she says. She's fallen in love with it —that happens). She crochets to save her sanity, she said. And she gives her crocheted blankets away because she can. Because it makes her feel better to help someone in worse need than she is just by doing the thing she loves.

That's the energy behind our Chain Reaction Afghan Project. In this yearlong project, we're bringing together—in a single afghan—squares designed by your favorite crochet designers and squares designed by you. When the final afghan is put together, we'll auction it for charity.

In each of the Summer and Fall issues, we'll publish patterns for five squares by your favorite crochet designers. Each square reflects the designer's unique take on crochet, and you're sure to learn a new technique or two as you crochet the squares. (After you make the squares, you can post pictures of your version in the Gallery)

And, here's where your own creative force comes into play: At the same time, we're inviting you to post pictures of your own original designs in the Submission Gallery. In August, we'll select a batch of squares to consider for publication. CrochetMe members will vote on the top ten squares, and we'll publish the patterns for those ten squares in the Winter 2010 and Spring 2011 issues. The completed afghan will be published in the Summer 2011 issue.

Throughout the project, you can share your stories of making community afghans in the Forum. We're hoping to ignite a Chain Reaction of crocheting afghans for community giving. To get you started, we've listed some charities that accept blankets in our Craftivism column in the Spring issue. Please share your own favorite charities in the Forum.

With the Chain Reaction Afghan Project, we are pooling our energy and your energy to create a blanket and maybe something more. One of the exciting elements of the project is that we don't know what the afghan will look like: You are a major creative force in its development. And we have no idea of the force of our collective energy. We are very excited to see where this Chain Reaction will lead us.

To get you started, we've created patterns for two squares that are a little bit of us, reflecting the Interweave imprint and the CrochetMe banner. Both are sampler sorts of squares that may teach you a new technique. You can download the free pattern for the Interweave blanket square here, and the free pattern for the Crochetme blanket square here.

If you're already imagining your design, here are the basics: The squares should be 12 inches crocheted in worsted-weight, washable yarn. Submit original designs only, please. You might turn to the Harmony Guides Basic Crochet Stitches for inspiration. And you can read all the fine print about submissions here.

Crocheters are givers. Sure, we make things we love, we learn new techniques and revel in new yarns. But we also know that in the time spent making something for others, the energy is returned to us. And maybe you'll consider making two of each of the squares: One for the afghan you'll fall in love with and keep, and the other for another lovely afghan to give away.

We look forward to joining you in the Chain Reaction Afghan Project!



P.S. You can download the entire collection of crochet patterns for the Chain Reaction Afghan Project here to complete all of the squares, as well as learning how to crochet squares together for a blanket.

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