Happy 4th of July!
Summer is in full swing now. The days are long and the sun is HOT! And because of Memorial Day, the 4th of July and Labor Day, how could we not celebrate America all summer long? Personally, I keep Americana decorations up all year, but summer tends to be the peek of country pride season.
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Believe it or not, I have made this blanket ten times! Yep, you read that right. Ten. Times. And finally, for once, I can happily say that I get to keep one for myself.
These blankets make amazing gifts and that is sort of how it all got started. A few years ago, my husband’s family was having their first family reunion in many years and they were going to be having a basket auction. My husband asked me to make a blanket for the auction, something we could put in a nice basket and raffle off to raise money for future reunions.
So after some thinking and planning and testing stitch designs, I finally decided an American Flag would make a pretty cool blanket. You just didn’t see it that often back then—not like you do now on Pinterest. I’ve seen quite a few variations, but mine remains my favorite. I could be biased.
When I designed it, I knew that I wanted to use the original Betsy Ross design for two reasons:
- Fifty stars would just be overwhelming to stitch on by hand, let alone trying to get them straight.
- My husband and I love history, antiques, patina, old things so I wanted this throw to be brand new, but look aged.
I think I succeeded…and his family loved the outcome!
I didn’t want to go with the more traditional red, white and blue, so I picked out colors that were more muted. Not as bright. I love how soft the Hobby Lobby’s I Love This Yarn is even before it’s washed, so I went with that brand this time. I’ve also made quite a few in Red Heart in Burgundy, Aran and Navy and they came out just as amazing! So if you’re not close to a Hobby Lobby, as I know some people are not, you have other options. Any worsted weight yarn works well with this pattern.
Now there is some minor color changing in this pattern, but I’ve added a photo tutorial to help you along. Don’t let that scare you. It’s not that complicated.
It actually took me four hours to type up the written pattern because I’ve included every little detail and photo instruction I could think of to make this project as easy as possible. After making it ten times, I’ve worked out any kinks or difficult spots with some tips and tricks.
Growing up in a military family, I was raised to take pride in our country. Even though I’m an adult now and my Dad has passed on, that pride has never left me. So even if you don’t make this afghan for yourself, there is surely a veteran out there who would probably appreciate one.
Let’s support our veterans!
Who would you make one of these afghans for? Yourself? A gift for someone else? I would love to hear about them in the comments below!
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Old Glory American Flag Afghan
- 3 skeins of I Love This Yarn – Cranberry 7 oz/199g – 355 yds/325m
- 3 skeins of I Love This Yarn – Linen 7 oz/199g – 355 yds/325m
- 1.5 skeins of I Love This Yarn – Navy 7 oz/199g – 355 yds/325m
- I/9 (5.25 mm) hook
- G/6 (4.25 mm) hook
- Needle and Thread
- Elmer’s Craft Bond Quick Drying Glue
- 11” diameter round bowl lid, plate or piece of cardboard
- Tapestry Needle
- 1 Stitch Marker
- Heavy objects to weight down the stars while the glue dries
Finished Size Approximately:
36”W x 62”L
7 Suzette stitches and 13 rows in a 4” (10cm) square.
*(sc, dc) in same space, skip a space* Repeat from * to * across.
FC – foundation chain
sc – single crochet
dc – double crochet
tc – triple crochet
sk – skip
sp – space
ch – chain
sl st – slip stitch
- Must have a basic knowledge of color changing, but I have included tutorial photos just in case. There are 9 rows per color stripe.
- I refer to each Suzette Stitch as a “bump” because of it’s resemblance to a bump. Each “bump” means both the sc and dc stitches used for the Suzette Stitch. The bumps are also easier to count rather than individual stitches.
- This afghan is worked from the bottom up, so when you get to the color changing section, I will refer to each cranberry/navy stripe or linen/navy stripe as either Section A or Section B. There are more instructions below.
- The stars are crocheted separately with the G/6 hook, glued to the blanket with single dots of glue placed at each star point and then hand sewn on the blanket. More information is included in the Finishing section of the pattern.
*** American crochet terms used throughout.
Using I/9 hook
FC: Ch 200
Row 1: In 2nd ch from hook, *(sc, dc) in same ch. Sk next ch* Repeat from * to * across, ending with only a sc in last ch. Ch 1, turn. (99 Suzette stitch bumps were made)
Row 2: In last sc of previous row, *(sc, dc) in same st. Sk next st* Repeat from * to * across, ending with only a sc in last st. Ch 1, turn. (99 bumps)
Row 3 – Row 9: Repeat Row 2. Finish off after Row 9.
Note: You can weave in your tails as you go or crochet the next row right over top.
Attach Linen yarn in the final sc of Row 9.
Row 10 – Row 18: Repeat Row 2. Finish off after Row 18.
Row 19 – Row 27: Repeat Row 2. Finish off after Row 27.
Row 28 – Row 36: Repeat Row 2. Finish off after Row 36.
Row 37 – Row 45: Repeat Row 2. Finish off after Row 45.
Row 46 – Row 54: Repeat Row 2. Finish off after Row 54.
Now you will begin color changing in your rows.
Count over 77 stitches, ending on a single crochet (38 bumps) and place a stitch marker. This will be where you change from Navy to Linen. The Navy block will stay the same until the end of the afghan while the Cranberry and Linen stripes will continue to alternate.
Row 55: Attach Navy in final sc of Row 54. Continue with the Row 2 pattern until you reach the stitch marker where you will switch to Cranberry.
Step 1 (single crochet)
Step 2 (Begin double crochet, but don’t finish)
Step 3 (Draw Cranberry through the final step of the double crochet. Tie Cranberry tail to Navy to secure.)
Step 4 (Let go of Navy, but don’t cut. Using Cranberry, sc in same sp with stitch marker)
Continue Row 2 pattern with Cranberry to the end of row.
Continue the Suzette Stitch to the end of Row 55. Sc in last st, ch 1, turn. (38 Navy bumps, 61 Cranberry bumps)
Row 56 – Row 64: Repeat pattern.
Note: This is the photo of Row 55 going left. Row 56 is not pictured here so pretend you are working the next row and this is to show when you are coming back the other way, where to change the color at. It will be the same every time you change, no matter which color row you are working. You will begin on the Suzette stitch right before the change with your sc and half of the dc. Switch colors and sc with the color you just picked up in the last st of the previous color. Don’t cut until directed.
At the end of Row 64, finish off only the Cranberry. Always leave the Navy uncut.
With Linen (& Navy)
Row 65 – Row 73: Attach the Linen in the last sc of Row 64 and continue the Row 2 pattern for 61 bumps, then switch to Navy for 38 bumps to complete the row.
Note: On Row 73 and all future final Linen rows, Linen will end in the middle where it meets Navy. Finish off the Linen and you can either tie it to the Navy strand with a basic knot or wait until the Cranberry is added in the next row and tie to new Cranberry strand.
With Navy (& Cranberry)
Row 74 – Row 82: Continue the Row 2 pattern across with Navy for 38 bumps. Attach Cranberry and continue Row 2 pattern across for 61 bumps.
Note: Cranberry will always finish on the end of the row, not the middle. After final row of each Cranberry stripe, finish off only the Cranberry.
Now ignore the row count in the sections listed above since these will change. The procedures will stay the same.
With Linen (& Navy)
Row 83 – Row 91: Repeat Section A
With Navy (& Cranberry)
Row 92 – Row 100: Repeat Section B
With Linen (& Navy)
Row 101 – Row 109: Repeat Section A
With Navy (& Cranberry)
Row 110 – Row 118: Repeat Section B.
On Row 118, as you complete the Navy part of the row, cut only the Navy. Tie it to the Cranberry before proceeding down the final row. Finish off Cranberry. Weave in ends.
Using Linen and G/6 hook
FC: Ch 4, join with a sl st in 1st ch to form a loop.
Round 1: Ch 3 (counts as first dc), work 14 dc in loop. Sl st in top of ch 3. (15 dc)
Round 2: *Ch 5, working in bottom loops of ch, sc in 2nd ch from hook; dc in 3rd ch; dc in 4th ch; tc in 5th ch. Sk the next dc of previous round. Sl st in next st.* Repeat from * to * 4 more times to create 5 star points total. Sl st in top of ch 3 from Round 1.
Finish off. Weave in end.
Finishing – Attaching Stars
Make sure the afghan is facing right side up, with the Navy block in the upper left corner. Lay flat on a table or other flat surface. Remember it will have to stay there for a few hours or overnight depending on the glue you use so put it somewhere it won’t get ruined.
I used a plastic lid to a mixing bowl that I bought years ago (You can buy those bowls at this link — Sterilite brand). It came in a pack of nesting bowls. You can use anything that is round that measures 11” across or if you don’t have anything, you can make your own round template from cardboard.
Here is a video I found on YouTube created by HeatherAnne Norbury on how to make circles using 2 pencils, string and cardboard. She uses pipe cleaners, but string works fine. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W12BbEbeEec
If you need to make your own circle, you will need to measure 5 ½ inches between your center post pencil (or whatever you use) and the pencil tied to the other end of your yarn. This will give you an 11” circle.
Here is the glue I used… It dries clear, but hard. That’s why I only use dots of glue at the star tips. If you glue the entire star on, it may “pop” and not stick properly or it would create stiff sections in your soft afghan. I basically use this just to map out where the stars go so that I can hand stitch them on later. The hand stitching keeps the stars permanently in place. If one point does “pop” while drying, I am still able to know where to stitch the point because I just match up the hardened glue on the afghan to the hardened glue on the back of the star point.
So, working in the Navy block, center your circle template and place your stars around it the way you want. I prefer to have all my stars have one point straight up toward the top of the afghan. I also prefer to have at least one point touching the bowl, which you would see in the picture if they were not curled. If you prefer to work with completely flat stars, you can block each one before you glue. It might make this process easier. I did not block mine.
Here they are not glued…
Now you will begin taking each star, one by one, flipping it over and putting one drop of glue on each of the five star points and replacing it the way it was.
Work your way around the circle, gluing each one and replacing it. Don’t worry if they don’t stick that well. You will fix that in a minute. Just get them glued first.
Now remove your circle template.
Make any last minute minor adjustments to your star points to straighten them, if desired, before you put any weight on it to dry. Drying times vary depending on the glue you purchased. So follow those directions for your drying times. Putting a weight on the stars will help them to stick to the afghan better.
I used a large board to put weight on my stars…and then I put a case of waters on top of the board. This may have been slight overkill, but I don’t like taking chances on them popping.
Other times that I have made this afghan, I have used books placed in a circle on top of the stars and then took whatever I could find around the house that was heavy and put that on top of the books. I used full canisters from my kitchen, heavy mixing bowls, a stack of plates…basically whatever I could find that would add weight.
Here’s the board before I added the case of waters.
After you’ve waited the proper amount of drying time, you will be able to handle the afghan without the stars budging. I would not trust the glue to keep the stars on permanently, however.
Using a needle and thread, you will begin stitching the stars in place. I used about 18” of thread per star. (That’s 18″ of thread folded in half. The full length used would be 36″)
Personally, I don’t want the thread showing through on the back of the afghan or the top of the stars so I stitch through only the top strands of Navy yarn and then only through the bottom strands of the Linen star.
When I make my initial knot, I leave a fairly long tail. I sew around the entire star perimeter and once I get back to the beginning, I tie off the thread to the long tail.
What to do with those tails after sewing…
With a small hook, any size will do, pull all four threads between the star and the Navy block.
I’d love to see your finished projects as well! Feel free to post any of your finished projects made from the patterns found here at Highland Hickory Designs to my Facebook page. We can have our own little showcase! (No spam please. It will be deleted. Thank you for understanding.)
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This pattern is dedicated to my Dad—who was always proud of his country.