It is so exciting to see everyone’s center blocks grow through beautiful pictures posted on the CAL – Crochet Along group on Facebook and Around-the-Bases CAL group on Ravelry. It looks like most people are off to a good start but there are a few questions that occasionally pop up that I wanted to address this week.
Throughout this CAL, unless otherwise noted, we will be counting stitches between one chain space (Ch Sp) to the next Ch Sp. For example, the following has 21 stitches per side. Corner chains are not counted as part of the stitch count for this CAL.
The patterns have been tested by several wonderful testers (see their beautiful center blocks here), along with the stitch counts at the end of each inning. However, stitch counts have not been verified for each row. So if you know you followed the pattern to the t and your stitch count did not match for any given row, please do not frog your work. Proceed with the pattern and the stitch count should be correct at the end of the inning.
Speaking of testers, check out Isabelle’s blog here. She brought her beautiful ATB afghan along to her world travel this past week and even survived hours of making sc’s for the 13th inning.
I recommended blocking the center block before starting the 1st inning. Although blocking is not all that essential for afghans, it does allow the subsequent stitches to show their beauty and it is easier to spot any errors on blocked ATB than on unblocked ATB.
For example, everyone’s blocks should be laying relatively flat at the end of the 3rd inning. The corners may look tight and even pointy as we added quite a few stitches in the 3rd inning. But if your afghan is wavy or wonky, you probably want to check your stitch count (you should have added a total of 43 stitches to your base block, per side, after completing the 3rd inning). If that is correct, check your crochet tension, especially Row 6 (where you made popcorns) and Rows 8 and 9 (sc rows), from the 2nd inning. Throughout the CAL, your afghan should lay relatively flat without bulging and rippling and should not look too wavy or wonky.
Here is my Enchanted Garden, looking pretty after being wet blocked. (If you are new to blocking, check out this great tutorial on how to wet block byTamara Kelly of Moogly. You can also google “steam block”.)
I will recommend blocking a couple more times during the CAL. But in general, blocking is not needed after each inning, unless you really want to.
Several people have asked about adding/repeating or changing stitches to make the final afghan bigger. My recommendation for a bigger afghan is to wait until the end to add stitches. (And of course, we can always start another one with a bigger center, too, right?)
It is possible to add more rows in each inning while keeping the stitch count to match the “math”. However, I do want to mention that it involves a little more than just figuring out the stitch count. Each inning is designed to work with the previous and subsequent innings. So for example, the 4th inning’s star stitches tighten the corner stitches from the 3rd inning that are probably looking a little too crowded at this point.
Similarly, some stitches (especially sc’s) are placed where it needs some tightening (for example, in the 2nd inning, sc’s in rows 8 & 9 were placed to tighten the stitches from the rows 5-7). If you change these to other stitches (say, dc), your afghan may start to look a little wonky.
So please keep these points in mind if you divert from the pattern.
We will have information on adding/repeating stitches towards the end, during the 15th inning.
For more tips on the CAL, please be sure to check this page out.