Several months ago I was asked to crochet a 12″ square for a special wedding blanket the Red Heart Joy Creators were putting together (you can read more about the happy event and grab the other pattern links here). What could be more romantic than the French Provincial style? In my humble opinion, not much. With that in mind I quickly started playing around with textures incorporating those lovely neutral colors into an ornate, 12″ afghan square worthy of a fairy-tale.
Those of you who follow me know how much I love texture. Why crochet row upon row of basic sc or dc stitches when you could use front post or back post stitches, popcorns, clusters, or shells?! This free 12″ afghan square crochet pattern is one of my most textured pieces to date–flowers, vines, trellises, ornate framework on mirrors and table legs–oh my! Incorporating this square into your next afghan or home decor project is guaranteed to take to the next level.
One of the reasons it was so easy to get carried away in a moment of luxury was because of the beautiful Chic Sheep yarn I was using. 100% merino wool means it slides smoothly over hands and hook, and is so squeezable and soft (this stuff is hard to put down, folks)! Some people have complained that this yarn gets full of static, but that’s easy to avoid if you don’t wind it into a cake on a ball winder, and pull only from the outside of the skein. Easy-peasy!
Knowing how to work post stitches, clusters, shells, and popcorn stitches will make this project go much more smoothly, but the amount of color changes could slow you down. Allow a bit of extra time to complete this project if you have not crocheted a piece with many color changes before. You’ll feel more relaxed and happy this way, which is the whole point of crochet!
So, let’s get started, shall we?
1 ball each #4 worsted weight Red Heart Chic Sheep yarn in Suede, VIP, and Linen
Uses approximately 120 yards Suede, 75 yards VIP, 50 yards Linen.
5.5mm hook, or hook needed to obtain gauge
ch = chain
sl st = slip stitch
sc = single crochet
hdc = half double crochet
dc = double crochet
tr = treble crochet
BPsc = back post single crochet
FPhdc = front post half double crochet
BPhdc = back post half double crochet
FPdc = front post double crochet
BPdc = back post double crochet
FPtr = front post treble crochet
2 dc cluster: dc2tog worked in same st
3 dc cluster: dc3tog worked in same st
Shell: 5 dc in same st
Large shell: 7 dc in same st
Popcorn st: 5 dc in same st, take hook out of last dc just worked and put it through top of first dc, grab loop from 5th dc and pull it through the first dc.
Measures 6” across after round 7
12” by 12” when blocked
-Mid-round color changes will be made by pulling a loop of the new color through the final 2 loops of a sc, dc, or tr st, or the last 3 loops of a hdc st. Color changes at the beginning of a new round can be done with a chainless starting method.
-This square has a lot of color changes. To cut down on the amount of ends I had to work in I carried my working yarn across the back of the square and worked over them in the next round if at all possible. I was able to hide most of my strings this way. I did cut my yarn for the VIP “buds” in round 13, the Linen “shells” in round 14, and the Linen “flowers” in round 17.
-If you have not done a lot of projects with a large number of color changes, and the color changes have you thoroughly confused, try making a solid colored square first.
Perfectly Provincial Afghan Square (US Terms):
With Suede yarn,
Round 1: ch 1, [2 dc cluster, ch 1] 8 times in magic circle, join with sl st to ch 1. (8 2 dc cluster, 8 ch-1 sps)
Join VIP, drop Suede and fasten off.
Round 2: ch 1, *popcorn st in ch-1 sp, ch 2; repeat from * around, join with sl st to first popcorn st. (8 popcorn sts, 8 ch-2 sps)
Join Linen, drop VIP and fasten off.
Round 3: ch 1, work 3 sc in first ch-2 sp, work 3 sc in each ch-2 sp around, join with sl st to first sc. (24 sc)
Round 4: ch 1, 2 sc in first st, sc in next 2 sts, *2 sc in next st, sc in next 2 sts; repeat from * around, join with sl st to first sc. (32 sc)
Round 5: ch 1, sc in same st as join, *sk st, shell in next st, sk st, sc in next st; repeat from * around omitting sc in final repeat, join with sl st to first sc. (8 shells)
Note: The dip between each shell should line up perfectly with the point of each popcorn st. If it does not you will need to rip the last round out and restitch it so that it does.
Drop Linen, and fasten off.
Round 6: with Suede: chainless starting *tr in center top of popcorn st from round 2 (this will be the 3rd dc out of 5 from the popcorn st), join VIP: ch 1, popcorn st in sc between shells from prev round, pick up Suede: ch 1, tr in same st where you worked prev treble, BPhdc around next 5 dc, ch 1; repeat from * around, join with sl st to first tr. (16 tr, 40 BPhdc, 8 popcorn sts)
Round 7: with Suede: ch 1, *FPdc around tr from prev round, with Linen: 3 dc in ch-1 (located behind popcorn st), with Suede: FPdc around next tr, sk st, with VIP: (3 dc cluster, ch 1) in next 2 sts, 3 dc cluster in the next st, sk st; repeat from *around, join with sl st to first FPdc. (24 3 dc clusters, 24 dc, 16 FPdc, 16 ch-1 sps)
Drop VIP, and Fasten off.
Round 8: with Suede: ch 1, *FPhdc around FPdc from prev round, with Linen: FPhdc around next 3 dc sts, with Suede: FPhdc around FPdc from prev round, sc between FPdc and 3 dc cluster, 2 sc in next 2 ch-1 sps, sc between 3 dc cluster and FPdc; repeat from * around. Join with sl st to first FPhdc. (40 FPhdc, 48 sc)
Your piece may be rippling a bit at this point but will flatten out soon.
Round 9: *with Linen: sk 2 sts, large shell in next st (will be center of the row of 5 FPhdc sts you made in prev round), sk 2 sts, with Suede: BPsc around next 6 sts; repeat from * around, join with sl st to first dc of first shell. (8 large shells, 48 BPsc)
Drop Linen, and fasten off.
Round 10: ch 1, *BPhdc around next 7 sts, sc in next 6 BPsc; repeat from * around, join with sl st to first BPhdc. (48 sc, 56 BPhdc)
Round 11: ch 1, *FPtr around FPhdc from round 8, join VIP: (3 dc cluster, ch 1) in each of next 6 sts, 3 dc cluster in the next st, with Suede: FPtr around FPhdc from round 8, sk 2 sts, hdc in next 2 sts, sk 2 sts; repeat from * around, join with sl st to first FPtr. Drop VIP, and fasten off. (56 3 dc clusters, 16 FPtr, 16 hdc, 48 ch-1 sps)
Round 12: with Suede: ch 1, *sc between FPtr and 3 dc cluster st, 2 sc in each of the next 6 ch-1 sps, sc between 3 dc cluster and FPtr, dc2tog around next 2 FPtr sts; repeat from * around, join with sl st to first sc. (112 sc, 8 dc2tog)
For this round you will join the VIP color for each popcorn stitch and cut it after completing the stitch. You should leave ends long enough to weave in securely. For an extra measure of security I knotted my ends together before weaving them in.
Round 13: ch 1, *sk 2 sts, BPhdc around next 10 sc sts, sk 2 sts, FPtr around second leg of dc2tog, join VIP, ch 1, popcorn in top of dc2tog, fasten off VIP. With Suede: ch 1, FPtr around first leg of dc2tog (you should be crossing your FPtr stitches. This will make what looks like a tight V under the popcorn); repeat from * around, join with sl st to first BPhdc. (80 BPhdc, 16 FPtr, 8 popcorn st)
Round 14: ch 1, *FPdc around next 3 BPhdc sts, FPhdc around next 7 FPhdc sts, FPdc around FPtr, sc in ch-1 sp, ch 1, sk popcorn st, sc in next ch-1 sp, FPdc around FPtr, FPhdc around next 7 BPhdc sts, FPdc around next 3 BPhdc sts, FPtr around FPtr, with Linen: 8 dc in ch-1 behind popcorn st, with Suede: FPtr around FPtr; repeat from * around, join with sl st to first FPdc. Drop Linen and fasten off. (8 FPtr, 32 FPdc, 56 FPhdc, 24 FPdc, 32 dc, 8 sc, 4 ch-1 sps)
Round 15: ch 1, * BPhdc around next 4 sts, BPsc around next 6 sts, sc in next 5 sts, BPsc around next 6 sts, BPhdc around next 4 sts, FPdc around FPtr, BPhdc around next 4 sts, tr in center top of popcorn st from prev round, ch 2, tr in same st as last tr made, BPhdc around next 4 sts, FPdc around FPtr; repeat from * around, join with sl st to first BPsc. (48 BPsc, 64 BPhdc, 8 tr, 20 sc, 4 ch-2 sps, 4 ch-2 sps)
Round 16: join VIP: ch 1, *3 dc cluster in st immediately following FPdc, with Suede: dc in next st, hdc in next 2 sts, sc in next 17 sts, hdc in next 2 sts, dc in next st, with VIP: [3 dc cluster in next st, ch 1, sk st] 3 times, 3 dc cluster in the next st, with Suede: FPdc around tr from prev round, with VIP (Linen also makes a nice variation here): 4 dc in ch-2 sp, with Suede: FPdc around tr, with VIP: [(3 dc cluster in next st, ch 1, sk st)] 2 times, 3 dc cluster, ch 1, in next st; repeat from * around, join with sl st to first 3 dc cluster. (68 sc, 32 3 dc cluster, 24 dc, 12 hdc, 8 FPdc)
Drop VIP and fasten off.
Round 17: with Suede: ch 1, *FPtr around FPdc from round 15, sc in 3 dc cluster, hdc in next 8 sts, FPdc around FPdc from round 15, with Linen: ([2 dc cluster, ch 1] 2 times, 2 dc cluster) in ch-1 behind popcorn st in round 13, sk 7 sts on current row, with Suede: FPdc around FPdc from round 15, hdc in next 8 sts, sc in 3 dc cluster, FPtr around FPdc from round 15, sc in ch-1 sp, 2 sc in each of the next 2 ch-1 sps, FPdc around FPdc from prev round, sc in next 2 sts, ch 1, sc in next 2 sts, FPdc around FPdc, 2 sc in each of the next 2 ch-1 sps, sc in next ch-1 sp; repeat from * around, join with sl st to first FPtr. (8 FPtr, 64 sc, 64 hdc, 16 FPdc, 12 2 dc clusters, 12 ch-1 sps)
Drop Suede, and fasten off.
Round 18: with Linen: ch 1, sc in next 11 sts, *sc between FPdc and 2 dc cluster, 2 sc in next 2 ch-1 sps, sc between 2 dc cluster and FPdc. Note: you should be able to work the sc into the ch-2 sps, AND the sc sts you skipped in the prev round joining them together. You should have 6 sc sts across this section instead of the 7 you skipped in the prev round, but if you skip the first st, working into the remaining sts is pretty easy, sc in next 18 sts, 3 sc in ch-1 sp in corner, sc in next 19 sts; repeat from * around, omitting last 11 sc sts in final repeat, join with sl st to first sc. (46 sts/side 184 total)
Fasten off and weave in ends.
Block for best results.
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Disclaimer: Yarn provided to me by Red Heart.