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Make a Silky Suri Tunisian Crochet Baby Afghan

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(1st published in PurelySuri Magazine, January 2014)

Harper's Suri Baby Blanket

My first grand baby was born in October, and I'm so excited! Knitting and I have never come to a meeting of the minds, but I love to crochet and have recently learned the Tunisian simple stitch. I was delighted by the thick, knit-like pattern it creates, so I set out to make a Baby Afghan with some super-silky 100% baby suri I had. I've also been experimenting with dyes, so it was a natural to want to dye this afghan with fun colors. With a bit of trepidation, since I've not done this before, I decided to share this pattern with you. I hope you find it easy and fun, and I would love some feedback on how the instructions were to use.

Materials:
Medium weight light fawn baby suri yarn
Tunisian crochet hook, size K
Regular crochet hook, size K
Large-eyed embroidery needle
Food coloring, vinegar and water

Stitches:
Tunisian Simple Stitch
Single Crochet
Slip stitch
Chain

Pattern:

1. Start with a slip knot on the end of your tunisian hook.
Chain 13, counting the stitch on your hook as 1, making 14 in all. This was the size I chose to make. Yours might be larger or smaller, depending on your needs.

2. Putting your hook through the 1st chain next to the hook, pull a loop through, leaving the stitch on your hook. Continue going through each stitch and pulling a loop through until the hook has all the stitches on it, almost like a knitting needle (this is why you need the long-handled afghan hook).

3. Without turning your work, pull a loop through the last stitch.

4. Now pull a loop through 2 stitches, and continue pulling a loop through 2 stitches all the way back to the beginning. You should now have only 1 loop on your hook. This completes the 1st row. Each Tunisian row has 2 steps.

5. To begin the 2nd row, put your hook through the first vertical bar and pull a loop through. Continue to the end of the row. When you get to the last bar, put your hook through 2 strands instead of only one, then pull your loop through.

6. To begin your journey back to the other end, pull a loop through 1 stitch only, then pull a loop through 2 stitches back to the beginning. This return stitch is the same in all Tunisian crochet stitches.

7. Continue making rows in like manner until you have a square. You can test to see if your piece is a square by folding it diagonally. If all the sides line up to make a right triangle, you have a square! Fasten off, leaving a 4-inch tail. Make as many squares as you need for your afghan. I chose to make 6 since mine was designed to be baby-size.

8. At this time, prepare your dyes if you decide to use them. This pattern looks equally lovely in natural colors. I chose to use dye because I wanted it to be colorful for my new granddaughter. I used food coloring because it was easy, as well as non-toxic for the baby. Dyeing at this stage also allows you to block the squares.
I found good dye instructions for food coloring here: http://www.dyeyouryarn.com/.

9. Using a slip stitch, join the contrasting yarn to one corner of the 1st square. Single crochet in each stitch along the first side. When you come to the corner, sc- chain 1- sc in that corner stitch to create a square corner. Continue in like manner around the square at least twice--more if you like--and fasten off, leaving a 4-inch tail. Do the same with each square.

10. Arrange the squares next to each other, and using the embroidery needle, sew together 2 sets of 3 squares, then join the 2 sets together. Leave a 4-inch tail when you finish sewing each section.

11. At 1 corner of the large rectangle formed by the squares, join the contrasting yarn (leaving a 4-inch tail) and single crochet in each stitch around the edge. Slip stitch in your original stitch. Chain 1. In the same corner stitch, sc-ch 1-sc to create a square corner.

12. Edge-stitch: Starting in the 1st stitch after the corner, sc-chain 1 (skipping the stitch under the chain)-sc. Continue for the remainder of the edging, alternating sc and ch 1, skipping the stitch under the chain, and making square corners as described above. You may choose to do more than the 2 rows of edging that I did. At the end, leave a 4-inch tail of yarn.

Finishing:
Using the embroidery needle, work each tail of yarn into the surrounding stitches to make them inconspicuous. Trim any tips.

Hand wash your afghan in cool water and simple shampoo, being careful to squeeze-not-wring with no agitation. Use conditioner if desired. Lay flat to dry, blocking the corners and edges to make them uniform.

Optional: I am still debating whether to attempt a simple (I'm really into simple!) cross-stitch on the squares. The Tunisian pattern makes that an inviting idea.

Please let me know how you did! I would love to see how yours turns out. I will post the results here. You can post a picture on my Facebook Page" or email me a picture at cindy@alpacalink.com


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Cindy Harris ~ Alpacas at Windy Hill ~ www.alpacalink.com ~ cindy@alpacalink.com