The Sistine Afghan

My mother named this project:

crochet squares crochet circles crochet blanket
One view of the Sistine crochet afghan

crochet squares crochet circles crochet blanket
Another view of the Sistine Crochet Afghan

It came to her late one evening in early September of 2004 when she was over at my house helping me weave in the ends of the circles I had decided were a necessary component of the project.

As I dutifully make motif after motif of my current project, weave in ends, and join one square to another, I am reminded of where it all began, and this work pictured above is, in many ways, a seminal project in my crochet oeuvre.

For one thing, it was the first project I ever made for the express purpose of entering in the county fair. Up until then, I entered projects that I had completed in the calendar year as required by the rules, but I gave no particular thought to entering them in the fair. This project was different; it only came to be because of the fair.

So it was, on an evening early September of 2004 as we sat hunched over this project that my mother asked the following question: How do you think up something that is this much work?

The fact is, my projects are never that much work when I first think of them.

The Sistine afghan was originally going to be composed of 54 double crochet squares, each 4″ x 4,” bordered with a row of single crochet, then joined with a whip stitch. I wanted to make this particular afghan because I wanted to be transported to the beach chair it was draped across in the picture that featured the project.

Once I decided on the 54 square afghan, one thing led to another. Soon, I decided to make it 10 squares by 10 squares, and I dutifully began making and amassing the requisite pieces. As the square count neared 80, I began to assemble them, but only after I had decided to jettison the single crochet border, and instead, juxtapose one square of color against another.

That juxtaposition led me to the conclusion that each corner needed a circle of color to bring all four colors together. So another element was added.

I began playing with the squares, and in a moment that proved to be fateful, I decided on a sawtooth arrangement because I liked the jagged edge it formed. I did not give it much thought, which was just as well, for I might not have continued with it if I had realized that my new plan required an additional 81 squares to work as I now envisioned it.

And that is how the afghan grew, from a modest 54 square beach chair throw to a 181 square afghan with 240 decorative circles attached:

crochet circles crochet squares
Detail of Sistine Crochet Afghan