Crocheters, here's a granny afghan idea for cold nights by the TV

Nippy days and frosty nights ahead! Use odds and ends of yarn and make an heirloom -- a pretty, old-fashioned granny afghan -- to keep away those winter drafts. If you don't have enough yarn for an entire afghan, watch for sales in the fall. Pick a main color to complement your family room -- this afghan is great for throwing over your knees while TV-watching -- or to fit the dorm decor of your favorite college student.

Use one main color in one row of every square, either in the center of the square or on the outside row. This gives your afghan an "altogether" look. Use the other odds and ends in the remaining rows.

Make each square with four rows instead of the usual three, and then add a fifth row of white around each square. This is more cheery than the usual black edge. You can also use off-white, also called winter white, for this fifth row. For a single size you will need 120 squares, 10 squares wide and 12 squares long.

When you put the afghan together, crochet the squares together on the back of your work. This is neat-looking and easier than sewing it together.

Another method is to make larger squares, using 11 or 12 rows in each square. This afghan goes together faster. Make a three-row center in your main color, then seven rows of odds and ends, and repeat the main color on the outside row. This will take 24 large squares, 4 wide and 6 long. Make it longer for a tall person by adding 4 more squares, for a total of 28.

These afghans have the added advantage of being convenient to make, because you can carry the makings for a couple of squares with you wherever you go, and you don't have a big bulky bag of yarn to tote around. Work on it while riding in the car, or plan to make one or two of the small squares each evening. Or take it along on a trip. Set a goal for yourself, and you will be surprised how fast it goes.

Here is a scalloped edge that can be made in the main color. This edge gives your handiwork a finished, lacy look. Make a row of single crochet around the entire edge. Then make a second row in a border of shell stitches. Starting at a corner, make six double crochets in a space, then skip two spaces and slip-stitch through the next space. Skip two spaces and repeat six double crochets in the next space. Repeat all the end of each edge and another shell group at the beginning of the next edge. This will prevent the corners from cupping.

Remember, when cutting off the yarn be sure the yarn tails are at least three inches long. Pull them through the work and knot them neatly so that the ends don't pull out.

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