Yes, that’s right. I completed my first afghan, and my first real crochet project. A picture of the Lotus Moon pattern came across my Facebook feed somewhere around mid-August and it made me want to learn how to crochet. The pattern was created by Polly Plum Crochet at http://www.everytrickonthehook.com. And so, Polly Plum became my “accidental crochet mentor.” Her patterns are explained very thoroughly and she creates videos to guide you through the more unusual stitches. I also asked questions of the Facebook group “Lotus Moon CAL” (which means Crochet Along,) so you have many crocheters working on this project at the same time and helping each other out.
You may have seen some of these photos before in other blog posts, but I am compiling them here for you.
This afghan is made up of nine octagons, six squares, ten triangles and a border. For those of you who just want to see the pictures, here they are. If you’re interested in the stitches, I talk about each of them below the pictures.
Each piece begins with what is called a magic circle. This basically means there is no gap or hole in the middle. You close the magic circle by pulling on the original thread in the middle to cinch the stitches tightly together. (I didn’t realize how much I would like crocheting, so for my next project, I’ll post photos of each part as I crochet along.)
After the circle, you add stitches in different colors around the circle, and each round builds up with different colors and types of stitches. The holes or gaps are created when you skip stitches, or create bigger stitches which add a greater width to the circle. For instance, if you do a double or treble crochet stitch, you have more yarn spiraling out which makes the circle wider.
The pink stitches after the white in the middle are called “puff stitches.” The puff effect is created by gathering several loops onto the hook and then pulling the yarn through, gathering the loops together to create a “puff” look. Initially, this was very difficult for me to learn, because as a beginning crocheter, you tend to crochet too tightly, but as I loosened my grip and pulled each loop a bit higher on the hook, I finally got the hang of it. The next color yarn you see is called “rose mist.” It is a marbled yarn, so it creates a very realistic effect of a flower petal, adding a nice gradual color move from the pink to the darker magenta flower petal tips.
The magenta petal portion involves two very unique stitches. One is called the picot stitch. The picot stitch creates that pointy look at the end of the petal. Essentially, you create a chain link of three stitches in a row and then hook into the back at the base of the chain, thereby looping your chain to create a pointed end. In this round, you also crochet what is called a front post stitch. This is the magenta spike that you see dropping down the base of each petal, linking it to the center of the circle. You take the magenta yarn and wrap it down and around the previous color rounds of the circle and then pull the yarn up again, so the magenta yarn wraps around the previous colors and creates that spike look.
After completing each flower, you need to create the green and blue base that the petal sits on. This is where you get a bit three-dimensional. You turn the entire flower over and create a base of chain links onto the back of the flower. You can’t see this round from the front.
You add layers to this invisible chain base, and the octagon starts to bloom forward from the base. First, you create a layer of white puff stitches, just like the pink stitches of the flower. Then you add another layer of light green puff stitches on top of the white stitches. And now we close up the green pad portion of the octagon. You take the darker green and single crochet all along the edge of the light green stitches until you get to the flower petal tip. At this point, you insert your hook into the back of each flower tip, which secures the flower to the green pad. Without doing this, the flower is sort of just flapping in the breeze.
To attach the light blue yarn, you use that post stitch method again, except this time it is a “back” post stitch, essentially crocheting backwards into the dark green yarn, which helps to make the light blue yarn invisible except for the portions in between each green leaf/petal/pad. Then you just keep adding the blues until you finish the octagon.
Whew! So that’s the octagons. The squares use all of the same methods, except there is one really cool part where you add long treble crochets that spike down into the center of the circle. That felt really weird to crochet, but it all comes together by the end of the square.
I’m not sure I can explain how to make the triangles. It’s a combination of a magic circle, double and treble crochets, and crocheting not just into the circle, but adding double crochets to the base of already created treble crochets. This stitch was definitely a mind-bender, sort of like crocheting in Inception or something. hahah
Lastly, this project involved a “join-as-you-go” crochet method to attach the pieces, which basically means you attach the pieces at the same time as creating the final edges of the pieces you were attaching. It sounds hard, and it was time-consuming, but it creates a really nice even look to the afghan.
I stuck with the original colors that Polly Plum used, but many of my CAL group members created beautiful color combinations. I am definitely considering creating another Lotus Moon project!