Remembering Mom

I didn’t want to share sad news on my birthday pattern post, but for those of you that like to keep up with what is happening, there has been a milestone in my life. My 80 year old mother passed away the morning of the 12th of October. She died from complications from Covid19. But even before this sad event, we had lost our mother a piece at a time over the past 15 years. My mom had Alzheimers, and was often confused about who we were the past couple years.

She is the one that first placed a crochet hook in my hand, and was an amazing knitter, though she never taught me to knit. In the last year or so she could no longer remember how to crochet or knit. She could still wind a ball of yarn and the folks at the facility where she lived would often give her yarn to wind, she would even teach other residents how to wind the yarn.

Now, you would assume that with Mom teaching me to crochet that she would have been excited about my career choice of the past 10 years. Sadly that is not the case, my mother and I had what one might call a “difficult” relationship. I could never figure out if it was because we were too similar or too different.

Our similarity is striking for those that know both of us. I look a great deal like her and have the exact same voice. When I visited her 20 years ago in the town she had moved to in Northwest Kansas, I would walk into a local shop on my own and the people there would say, “You must be Wilha’s daughter.” She would jokingly say, “You poor thing,” when people would say I looked like her. She didn’t like the way she looked, but I’ve always thought my mom was beautiful and was happy people saw her in me.

One of our biggest differences is my habit of saying “What If”. I always annoyed my mom because I would change patterns all the time, whether it was crocheting or sewing. I always saw a different way I wanted to do things. I think that meant I was destined to be a designer. Once I did started getting my crochet designs published, mom would offer criticisms no matter what I created. It wasn’t until years later that I found out she was always showing her neighbors and friends my published work and bragging about me.

Mom on the left laughing with her friend Isla.

Mom and I had some great times together though. She could make me laugh so hard. When we would get to laughing it would go on for 30 minutes or more. Sometimes it would be the silliest things that would get us going and then we couldn’t look at each other or we would start up again.

We went on a trip to Tucson, Arizona together when I was 5 months pregnant with my first child. She was running a T-shirt booth at a music festival and I went with her to help. One evening I lay down on the bed in our hotel room and couldn’t get up because of my baby bump. We both were laughing so hard she couldn’t help me get up.

When I moved to my home in the mountains we stayed in touch with monthly 3 – 4 hour phone calls. We both loved the Fire Mountain catalog and “Bead & Button” magazine, when the newest version came in the mail we would call each other and page thru it together. In her 50s she had taken up bead weaving, something I used to tease her about because threading those fine needles was a complete pain. We had many a chuckle about how you had to hold your mouth just right to thread a needle. I often laugh to myself when trying to thread a needle myself these days, because I hear her voice.

She grew up on farms and ranches in Kansas and Texas. Sometimes she would joke that she learned to ride a horse before she learned to walk. She loved horses right up to the end. I had sent her a pop-up birthday card with a herd of horses in it for her birthday this year. She also adored dogs. The photo above is Mom with her Sarah Dog at my wedding. I had the startling realization this week that I am now the same age as my mother was on my wedding day.

I designed my “One Skein Joy Slippers” because I wanted to make her some warm slippers for Christmas a couple years ago. When I was growing up, every Christmas morning there would be new slippers under the tree for each family member. Mom was an amazing knitter, but I wanted to relive that Christmas feeling with a crocheted version of the slippers.

It has been a big adjustment to know my mother is no longer in this world, but I comfort myself that she is now free of pain and confusion. Someone said to me a day after Mom was gone that she is watching over me, if that is the case I’m sure she is trying to get my attention to give me “constructive criticism” on my latest designs. Rest in Peace Mom, you were definitely one-of-a-kind.

Note: I’ve been a bit delayed getting this post up. This past weekend 2 wildfires took off very near where I live and my family and I had to evacuate to stay with my sister-in-law. We are currently waiting out the fires and hoping for a quick resolution. Things are a bit hairy, but I took a lot of yarn and my computers with me. I don’t have my usual arsenal of props and so forth, but I hope to continue with my design and blogging work while we weather this latest surprise 2020 has thrown at us.

Pebbled Star Afghan Square

Oh wow! The past couple of weeks have been really crazy for me, I’ll share more about that later. The question right now is how did we get to October and my birthday again?! That means it is time for a fun pattern as a gift to all my dear readers to celebrate. This pattern is available free to all of you here on my blog, but if you would prefer a PDF version with stitch charts, is available for purchase in my Ravelry Shop.

I’m really happy with this afghan square, I had a lot of fun changing directions with the center square becoming a diamond shape, as well as the fun textures of the little clusters and surface single crochet. This square is #21 in the Moogly 2020 Afghan CAL, you can find the other gorgeous squares designed by lots of my other crochet blogging friends.

Tamara’s version of my square crocheted in gorgeous purples.

Pebbled Star Afghan Square

Designed by Andee Graves

Skill level:       Intermediate

Finished Size: 12” square

Materials:

Yarn – Worsted weight yarn in 4 colors : Sample uses Red Heart “With Love” 100% Acrylic (7 oz/198 g, 370 yds/338 m),

  • Color A: #1401 Pewter
  • Color B: #1805 Bluebell
  • Color C: #1969 Wintergreen
  • Color D: #1101 Eggshell

Hook – J / 6mm

Notions – Yarn/tapestry needle, Stitch markers

Gauge: First 7 rounds of pattern = 4” across square


Abbreviations/Special Stitches

  • (RS) Right Side: The side that will be the textured side of the fabric.
  • (WS) Wrong Side: The side that will be the flat side of the fabric.
  • (PM) Place Marker
  • (Cl) 3 double crochet cluster st: (YO, insert hook in indicated st or sp, YO pull up a loop, YO pull thru 2 loops on hook) 3 times, YO pull thru remaining 4 loops on hook.
  • (Fan) Fan Stitch: [(dc, ch 1) 3 times, dc] in indicated place.
  • (sl st loosely) Loose slip stitch: Insert hook in indicated place, YO, pull up a loop thru place and loop on hook keeping loose like making a chain st.
  • (sl st) Joining slip st: Insert hook in indicated place, YO, pull up a loop thru place and loop on hook, continue to pull up on working loop until original loop is tight.
  • (V-st) V-stitch: (dc, ch 1, dc) in indicated st or sp.
  • (sc2tog) Single Crochet 2 together: Insert hook in first st, YO, pull up a loop, insert hook in second st, YO, pull up a loop, YO, pull thru all 3 loops on hook.
  • (FPsc) Front Post Single Crochet: These are the surface single crochets worked around the post of the single crochets in Rnds 11 and 15.

Pattern Notes:

  • Start square with an adjustable slip knot. Beginning tail tightens the loop on the hook.
  • First 2 rounds are worked without turning, then Rounds 3-8 are worked in turned rounds. Round 9 will be joined and worked in same direction as Round 8. Rounds 10 – 15 are worked in turned rounds. Rounds 16-19 are worked without turning. It is important that Cluster stitch rounds are worked as wrong side rounds to be sure that they “pop” to the right side of the square.
  • Keep tails on wrong side of square as you work to help track which is wrong side and right side.
  • Stitch counts at the end of each round and row are shown in italicized brackets at end of each round or row.
  • When instructions specify “sl st loosely”, this means work those slip stitches similar to a chain stitch and do not pull the working loop to tighten them as in a joining slip stitch. You will be working into those loose slip stitches.
  • Surface crochet embellishment will be worked after square is finished. When working surface crochet stitches be sure to keep tension loose so that stitches sit squarely on the surface.

Instructions

Rnd 1 (RS): Begin with Color A. Starting with adjustable slip knot, ch 2, 8 sc in 2nd chain from hook, slip st to join to first sc of Rnd. [8 sc]

Rnd 2 (RS): Ch 1, [sc in next st, (sc, ch 2, sc) in next st] 4 times, slip st to join to first sc of Rnd.  PM in each ch-2 sp to mark corners. [12 sc, 4 ch-2 sp]

Rnd 3 (WS): Ch 1, turn, [sc in next st, (sc, ch 2, sc) in marked ch-2 sp, move up st marker to ch-2 sp just made, sc in next st, Cl in next st] 4 times, slip st to join to first sc of Rnd. [16 sc, 4 Cl, 4 ch-2 sp]

Rnd 4 (RS): Ch 1, turn, sc in next 3 sts, [*(sc, ch 2, sc) in marked ch-2 sp, move up st marker to ch-2 sp just made,* sc in next 5 sts] 3 times, Repeat from * to * once, sc in next 2 sts, slip st to join to first sc of Rnd. [28 sc {7 sc each side}, 4 ch-2 sp]

Rnd 5 (WS): Ch 1, turn, sc in next st, [*Cl in next st, sc next st, (sc, ch 2, sc) in marked ch-2 sp, move up st marker to ch-2 sp just made, sc next st, Cl next st,* sc next 3 sts] 3 times, Repeat from * to * once, sc in last 2 sts, slip st to join to first sc of Rnd.   [28 sc, 8 Cl, 4 ch-2 sp]

Rnd 6 (RS): Ch 1, turn, [sc in each st until reach marked ch-2 sp, (sc, ch 2, sc) in marked ch-2 sp, move up st marker to ch-2 sp just made] 4 times, sc in sts to end of Rnd, slip st to join to first sc of Rnd. [44 sc {11 sc each side}, 4 ch-2 sp]

Rnd 7 (WS): Ch 1, turn, [sc in next 3 st, Cl in next st, sc next st, (sc, ch 2, sc) in marked ch-2 sp, move up st marker to ch-2 sp just made, sc in next st, Cl in next st, sc next 3 sts, Cl next st] 4 times, slip st to join to first sc of Rnd.  [40 sc, 12 Cl, 4 ch-2 sp]

Rnd 8 (RS): Repeat Rnd 6. [60 sc {15 sc each side}, 4 ch-2 sp]

Rnd 9 (RS): Change to Color B. With RS facing attach yarn at first sc on left corner.  Ch 1, sc in same st as join, [*(sc, ch 2, sc) in marked ch-2 sp, move up st marker to ch-2 sp just made, sc in next st, (ch 1, skip next st, sc in next st) 2 times, skip 2 sts, Fan in next st, skip 2 sts, (sc in next st, ch 1, skip next st) 2 times*, sc in next st] 3 times, Repeat from * to * once, slip st to first sc of Rnd. [32 sc, 16 ch-1 sp, 4 Fan, 4 ch-2 sp]

Rnd 10 (WS): Ch 1, turn, [sc in next ch-1 sp, sc next st, ch 1, skip next 3 sts/sps, (V-st next ch-1 sp, ch 1, skip next st) 2 times, V-st next ch-1 sp, ch 1, skip next 3 sts/sps, sc next st, sc next ch-1 sp, ch 1, skip 1 st, sc next st, (sc, ch 2, sc) in marked ch-2 sp, move up st marker to ch-2 sp just made, sc next st, ch 1 skip next st] 4 times, slip st to join to first sc of Rnd. [32 sc, 24 ch-1 sp, 12 V-st, 4 ch-2 sp]

Rnd 11 (RS): Ch 1, turn, sc in next 3 sts/sps, [*(sc, ch 2, sc) in marked ch-2 sp, move up st marker to ch-2 sp just made, sc in next 4 sts/sps, sc2tog next st and sp, sc in next 5 sts/sps, (sc, ch 2, sc) in next ch-1 sp,  sc in next 5 sts/sps, sc2tog next sp and st,* sc in next 4 sts/sps] 3 times, Repeat from * to * once, sc in next st, slip st to join to first sc of Rnd. [88 sc, 8 sc2tog, 8 ch-2 sp]

Round 12 in progress, moving corner stitch markers.

Rnd 12 (WS): Change to Color C. With WS facing, attach new yarn in first sc at right corner, ch 1, sc in same st as join, [*ch 1, skip 1 st, sc next st, (skip 2 sts, V-st in next st) 2 times, skip 2 sts, dc in next st, ch 1, (dc, ch 2, dc) in next ch-2 sp, ch 1, dc next st, (skip 2 sts, V-st in next st) 2 times, skip 2 sts, sc next st, ch 1, skip next st, sc next st, ch 1 , slip st in marked ch-2 sp, move st marker to ch-2 sp at point of star, ch 1,* sc in next st] 3 times, Repeat from * to * once, slip st to join to first sc of Rnd. [ 16 V-st, 16 dc, 24 ch-1 sp, 4 ch-2 sp]

Round 12 finished and new corners marked.

Rnd 13 (RS): Ch 1, turn, sc in same st as join, [*loose slip st in next ch-1 sp, skip slip st, loose slip st in next ch-1 sp, sc in next st, hdc in next ch-1 sp, ch 1, skip next 2 sts, (V-st next ch-1 sp, skip 2 sts) 2 times, V-st next ch-1 sp, Fan in marked ch-2 sp, move st marker up to middle ch-1 sp of Fan, V-st in next ch-1 sp, (skip 2 sts, V-st in next ch-1 sp) 2 times, ch 1, skip 2 sts, hdc in next ch-1 sp*, sc in next st] 3 times, Repeat from * to * once, slip st to join to first sc of Rnd.  [8 ch-1 sp, 8 sc, 8 hdc, 8 loose slip st, 24 V-st, 4 Fan]

Rnd 14 (WS): Ch 1, turn, [sc and hdc in next st, skip next 2 sts/sps, (hdc, ch 1, hdc) in next ch-1 sp, skip 2 sts, (hdc, ch 1, dc) in next ch-1 sp, skip 2 sts, V-st in next ch-1 sp, skip 2 sts, dc in next ch-1 sp, ch 1, skip 1 st, (dc, ch 2, dc) in marked ch-1 sp, move stitch marker to ch-2 sp just made, ch 1, skip next st, dc next ch-1 sp, skip 2 sts, V-st in next ch-1 sp, skip 2 sts, (dc, ch 1, hdc) in next ch-1 sp, skip 2 sts, (hdc, ch 1, hdc) in next ch-1 sp, skip 2 sts/sps, hdc and sc in next st, sc in next st, sc in next 2 loose slip sts, sc in next st] 4 times, slip st to join to first sc of Rnd. [ 24 ch-1 sp, 16 sc, 32 hdc, 24 dc, 8 V-st, 4 ch-2 sp]

Rnd 15 (RS): Ch 1, turn, [sc in each st and sp until reach marked ch-2 sp, (sc, ch 2, sc) in marked ch-2 sp, move up st marker to ch-2 sp just made] 4 times, sc in each remaining st or sp until reach start of Rnd, slip st to join to first sc of Rnd. [136 sc {34 sc each side}, 4 ch-2 sp]

Rnd 16 – 19 (RS): Change to Color D.  Ch 1, [sc in each st until reach marked ch-2 sp, (sc, ch 2, sc) in marked ch-2 sp, move up st marker to ch-2 sp just made] 4 times, sc in each remaining st until reach start of Rnd, slip st to first sc of Rnd. Fasten off at end of Rnd 19.

  • Rnd 16 count [144 sc {36 sc each side}, 4 ch-2 sp]
  • Rnd 17 count [152 sc {38 sc each side}, 4 ch-2 sp]
  • Rnd 18 count [160 sc {40 sc each side}, 4 ch-2 sp]
  • Rnd 19 count [168 sc {42 sc each side}, 4 ch-2 sp]
Completed thru Round 19.

Surface Crochet Outlines

If you are not familiar with working surface single crochet you may find it easier to work the surface crochet first on Rnd 15. If you want to work the surface crochet before finishing the square, complete Rnd 12 before doing the surface crochet on Rnd 11, and complete Rnd 16 before doing the surface crochet on Rnd 15.

Surface single crochet around stitches of Rnd 11:

With Color D attach yarn with a standing sc around the post of any of the sc along a straight edge before a side point, [continue working a FPsc around the post of each sc until you reach the side point ch-2 sp, work one FPsc using the slip st from Rnd 12 as the “post”, continue with FPsc around the post of each Rnd 11 sc until reach the corner point ch-2 sp, work one FPsc using the inside strands of the 2 dc from Rnd 12 as the “post”] 4 times, continue working a FPsc around the post of each sc until you reach the beginning of your surface crochet round, slip st to join to first FPsc of round. [112 FPsc {14 between each point counting 1 point]

Surface crochet/FP sc around posts of Rnd 15:

Inserting hook using inside strands of the 2 corner sc from Round 16.

With Color A attach yarn with a standing sc around the post of any of the sc along a straight edge before a corner ch-2 sp, [continue working a FPsc around the post of each sc until you reach the corner ch-2 sp, work one FPsc using the inside strands of the 2 sc from Rnd 16 as the “post”] 4 times, continue working a FPsc around the post of each sc until you reach the beginning of your surface crochet round, slip st to join to first FPsc of round. [144 FPsc {36 each side counting 1 corner}]

Finishing

Weave in tails and block.