It’s almost time for my next CAL (Crochet – a – long). Here’s where you’ll find everything you need to know to get ready and I’ll answer some questions that may come up as we go.
Who or What is FRAN
FRAN is the name of the finished project. FRAN is Fetching, Refined, Affable and Noteworthy. We will make female named patterns that go together to make FRAN. I will release a new pattern every 2 weeks.
What will the CAL make?
The FRAN Mystery CAL will make what I hope you’ll agree is a manly/unisex blanket or throw. There are no flowers, circles or curves at all in the patterns – just straight lines and texture. My blanket is about 68 inches x 68 inches (173 cm x 173 cm), but yours will perhaps be bigger or smaller depending on your chosen yarn and hook combo. While mine is square, you can add more squares to make it rectangular – although she’s really big and you may not want to.
We will make 4 smaller patterns 9 times and 1 very large block 5 times.
When does is start?
The first pattern will be posted on Monday 7th March 2016.
Every 2 weeks I will post a new pattern. The last part (the border) will be posted on Monday 11th July 2016. I have changed my plans on how the last parts of the CAL will be released. We’ll now be finished earlier about June 6! Yay!
How will I stay up to date with the CAL?
I will be posting all patterns with tips here on the blog, but to get them delivered to your inbox and make sure you don’t miss anything, sign up for my monthly newsletter, making sure you check the FRAN box.
Newsletter & CAL signup
What skill level is required?
If you know how to do the most common crochet stitches – sc/hdc/dc (US Terms) or dc/htr/tr (UK Terms), then you can make this blanket! You can. Honest. I will help you learn the techniques that we will use with those 3 stitches to make each of the squares.
You’ll see as we go through the CAL that each pattern shares rounds in common with others. By the end, you will know how to do some things without having to think about it. HINT : all patterns start just like a traditional granny square.
I have a YouTube Channel that shows all the stitches and techniques we’ll be using so you can see what I’m rabbiting on about. You’ll be fine 🙂
How much Yarn will I need?
Yarn shopping! Yay! I made mine in a single colour in French Navy Bendigo Woollen Mills 10 ply cotton.
BWM 10 ply cotton is roughly equivalent to worsted weight. I have some help for choosing a yarn if you can’t get your hands on the lovely BWM cotton. There’s a great website called YarnSub. You can search for any yarn and it will give you all the important info about the yarn such as wpi, yardage, cost comparison, recommended hook etc. So neat – but the best bit is if you scroll down it gives you alternatives with a % match. Such a great site! The BWM 10 ply entry is here.
You’ll need 3,240 metres (3,544 yards) of 10 ply cotton/worsted weight. If you’re using 8 ply or DK, I estimate you’ll need 3,100 metres (3,390).
I bought 10 balls of 10 ply and have lots of little balls left over that add up to one ball. In theory 9 x 200 gram 10 ply balls will be enough, but I’d get 10 just in case.
I want to use more than one colour!
Sure you can do that! I just like single colour work as there are way less ends to deal with and you can see the textures and patterns really well. I like that. You may not and that is totally cool. You’ll see each pattern has places where you can change colours – there are loads of options in fact.
I write all of my patterns as if you are using a single colour, so my tip for changing colours is to end your colour with a ch 2 & ss or ch 3 & ss, depending on what round you’re on. Just end with however many ch sts are in the other corners of the last round of your colour and join with a ss to end. Then attach your new colour to a different corner to start the next round. Easy.
What size hook should I use?
Use what you normally would with your yarn. The recommended hook size for 10 ply Bendigo Woollen Mills is 4.5 mm but I used a 6 mm as I tend to crochet tighter than most. As long as you use the same for all blocks, all will be well. 🙂
But I don’t like mysteries?
But what if you don’t like mysteries? I am happy to send the layout and pictures of the patterns privately to you before we start if you promise not to tell, but I leant last time it is just too time consuming to do via this page. So if you do want a sneak peek, please sign up to my newsletters above and tick the FRAN box as it’s much easier for me to pass on the secret stuff to those who want it that way once or twice a week.
I’ve joined late, where are the patterns?
Hi! Welcome 🙂 It’s never to late to start. You can find links to all the pattern posts in the CAL on the FRAN CAL page.
I haven’t made one of your patterns before? Why do you end and begin your rounds like you do?
Check out my free Granny Square Crochet for Beginners ebook, my seamless crochet tips post or my YouTube video explaining it all if you are unfamiliar with how I write my patterns. I start each round in the middle of the corner as that helps everything look pretty much seamless. Checking out how I make a traditional granny and becoming familiar with my method will help you be able to complete the CAL with ease.
But my blocks aren’t the same size?
All my small patterns turned out the same size and the big one is 3 times as large exactly as the smaller ones. You should get the same result as me.
However, sometimes you may find your block is a bit smaller or bigger than others. It’s ok. It can happen for a variety of reasons. All of the patterns in this CAL will be easily adaptable if you need to alter the size.
- If it’s a little bit too small, blocking is usually all you need to get it to size.
- If you block is too small for blocking to fix, add another round of stitches – the type will depend on how much you need to make up. If it’s just a little bit, do an extra round of sc (US)/dc (UK).
- If you block is too large, either leave of the last round or 2 or change the stitch type of the last round. Eg if the last round is tr, change it to dc.
What is blocking?
Blocking is a little trick that helps make your work look a lot better. I do it very simply by pinning each block to a foam board and squirting it with steam from my iron. Job done!
My small blocks have different stitch counts and a different number of rounds?
Just because the blocks end up the same size, does not mean they should automatically have the same number of rounds and the same stitch count. For example, more sc (US)/dc (UK) rounds in a block means more rounds are needed as they are shorter stitches. Using more dc (US)/tr (UK) rounds means less rounds are needed as they are the longest stitches we use in this CAL.
A different stitch count will be fine when we join – I’ll show you how to deal with it when it’s time.
Will the patterns be in the Spincushions Crochet App?
Kind of. Clicking on the Blog link will be the best way to use the app to get the patterns. I can only add patterns by updating the app which I only do once a month and I have no control over the timing of when upgrades go live, so the blog link is your best bet if using the app.
Yep – by doing this CAL signing up to the newsletter or sharing your progress on Instagram, you’ll be in the running to win yarny goodness prizes.
There is a lovely hand dyed skein of blue yarn by my instragram buddy Thimble & Purl . All you need to do to be in the running to win that, is share your work on Instagram using the tag #FRANmysterycal.
When the CAL is finished, I will draw random winners of both prizes.
Once the CAL is over, I will be compiling all the patterns, round by round pictures, hints & tips, joining and border into an ebook so you can have everything in the one place. I’ll let you know when it’s ready for pre-order. ebooks sales help me keep this blog running and designing new patterns for you so I really appreciate your support.
If you get stuck, there are a few ways to get help
- join the Ravelry group
- Join the Facebook group
- email me via the “contact me” field up on the right
- if you are subscribed to the CAL emails, reply to any of those
- ask in the comments of the pattern you are having issues with here on the blog
I will get back to you as soon as I can. The groups are probably your best bet for timely help as other folks doing the CAL will be able to help.
If I have missed anything, please just ask. I will update this post with anything new I think everyone could benefit from.
So that’s it – time to go yarn shopping and have some fun!
UPDATE 2 March 2016 – you can watch a recording of me chatting about FRAN on Periscope here.