The Official Chain Reaction Afghan Project CAL

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Marcy Smith wrote
on Oct 22, 2010 1:05 PM

Welcome to the Chain Reaction Project Crochet-Along! If you joined us earlier to start the squares, you'll notice that this is a brand-new introduction. If you're just joining, welcome aboard!

Here is the Chain Reaction Afghan, all put together, as seen in the Summer 2011 issue of Interweave Crochet!

(photo by Joe Hancock)

 In this crochet-Along, we'll work on the squares together, one per week.

Select whatever yarn tickles your fancy. The Chain Reaction afghan is worked in washable worsted weight, so if you're going for gauge, select a worsted.

This is what you'll need.

Patterns: Available in these issues of Interweave Crochet: Summer 2010, Fall 2010, Winter 2010 and Spring 2011. In the Summer 2011 issue, you'll find directions for putting all the squares together and adding a chain border. (NOTE: I've link to the digital issues, but paper issues are available for some. Check the Interweave Store.)

If you missed any of these issues, you can purchase them in the Interweave store (that way, you'll get all the other great patterns and articles in the issues). If you want just the patterns, in about mid-July, all the patterns will be available as a free eBook. Stay tuned for details. If you want to get started before then, we'll be working the squares in the order they were published, so if you get the Summer 2010 issue, that should hold you over until the eBook is available.

And, that's not all! Later this summer, there will be a DVD available with tips on techniques used in the afghan, as well as ideas for customizing your afghan. Kristin Omdahl and I taped these segments as part of Knitting Daily TV Series 700 and I'm thrilled that all these tips will be available in one place. Stay tuned for more information on this.

Now, for the yarn needs:

Yarn: washable worsted-weight yarn. Below are estimated yardage for colors as used in the original Chain Reaction Afghan, including border

(A) blue 850 yd
(B) cream 1,000 yd
(C) green 1,400 yd
(D) orange 900 yd
(E) purple 1,200 yd
(F) red 700 yd


Hooks: H, I, J as needed for gauge (see patterns for details)

Schedule (by week)

June 20 Circles Squared (Kathy Merrick)
June 27 Double Twist (Drew Emborsky)
July 4 Framed Flower (Edie Eckman)
July 11 Making Links (Kristin Omdahl)
July 18 Tunisian Cables (Angela Grabowski)
July 25 Lotus Blossom (Robyn Chachula)
Aug 1 Woven Arrowheads (Lily Chin)
Aug 8 Picture Frame (Lisa Naskrent)
Aug 15 Log Cabin Petals (Annette Petavy)
Aug 22 Tapestry Crochet Heart (Carol Ventura)
Aug 29 Woven Threads (April Garwood)
Sept 5 Circle Star (Julie Yeager)
Sept 12 Circle Around (Julie Yeager)
Sept 19 Intertwining Loops (Victoria Hewerdine Thornton)
Sept 26 ZigZag (Judith Bailey)
Oct 3 Snow at Midnight (Marion Braum)
Oct 10 Dilly Dahlia (Margaret MacInnis)
Oct 17 Ripples on a Coral Reef (Victoria Hewerdine Thornton)
Oct 24 Over Under Square (D. Jacob "Jake" Wildstrom)
Oct 31 Lace Square (Julie Yeager)
Nov 7 Put afghan together
Nov 14 Work border

Whew! That's a bunch of crocheting! The great thing about these squares is that you can learn a new technique with each square. Since they're so different, we'll all want to share our tips as we work them.

And, when you make and donate a competed afghan, Interweave will make a donation to Warm Up America. Just send an email to with a picture of your completed afghan, who you donated it to and why, and information about the crocheters who made the afghan. A photo of your completed afghan may appear in a future issue of Interweave Crochet.

I look forward to crocheting with you! Together, we can do great things!



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Holly@2 wrote
on Oct 27, 2010 8:09 AM

I have been looking for the winners of the contest and the patterns to make an afghan but cannot locate them. I keep going in circles on the website. Is there a qyuick link on the homepage that I am just not seeing??

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Marcy Smith wrote
on Oct 29, 2010 1:41 PM

Hi Holly,

The patterns are in the Summer & Fall issues of Interweave Crochet. Reader squares will be in the Winter & Spring issues.




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rondaletts wrote
on Nov 2, 2010 2:54 PM

I'm making squares for Knit A Square, a charity based in Australia and South Africa, that is asking the world's knitters and crocheters to make 8" squares and mail them to South Africa, where volunteers there sew them together into blankets, and give them out to AIDS orphans and vulnerable children.

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JHornback wrote
on Jun 20, 2011 9:05 AM

Any chance there will be video postings of how to do each square?  I am a fairly new crocheter and will probably need help.




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DeborahC53 wrote
on Jul 21, 2011 9:44 AM

The full pattern is now available for free download on

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Marcy Smith wrote
on Aug 13, 2011 10:52 AM

Hi all!

I hope your Chain Reaction afghans are coming along! I'll be posting a step-by-step for the Kathy Merrick Circles Around square in just a little while. I know some of you have had a bit of trouble with the joins.

Meanwhile, here's a picture of the Dilly Dahlia square by Margaret MacInnis, in a colorway different from the original square:


I really like this square! It works up pretty quickly and has such punch! It would be really great to work those dramatic post stitch rows in cream to give it a whole new look.

I can't wait to see how you've interpreted this square in your colors. Post some pictures!

See you again soon!

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jotalbot wrote
on Aug 26, 2011 9:49 PM

I am working on the woven arrowheads square and on line 3 I am only getting 34 single crochets. I'm not sure where I'm missing two.  Can you please help?? 

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jjennifer143 wrote
on Sep 29, 2011 3:36 PM

Hi everybody!  I have 9/20 of the squares completed, going in order (except for the tunisian square - I need to learn the technique so I skipped over it for now!).  I keep an eye on the schedule and am trying to catch up with the group.  I also have the DVD and have watched about half of the segments, and I enjoy it very much.

My question is - where is everybody?  Is this the correct thread?  Why aren't there any more posts?  Should I look somewhere else?  I have now signed up to get an email every time someone posts.

I'll upload a "portrait" of each square when I can find time to have them photographed.   My colors are slightly different from the pattern - burgundy instead of red, and brown instead of blue/aqua.  I am using Michaels brand, Loops & Threads, in Impeccable and am pleased with the yarn's performance.


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Posts 42
jjennifer143 wrote
on Sep 29, 2011 3:38 PM

Hi Jotalbot,

I found that it was especially easy to miss stitches at the beginning and end of each row.

This is a beautiful square!  Hope you have worked through it!


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jjennifer143 wrote
on Oct 17, 2011 2:42 PM

I am having SO MUCH TROUBLE on this site posting pictures!

I have completed 10 squares and I'll refer you to my Craftsy page where they are all posted:


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ksamrein wrote
on Oct 19, 2011 5:43 PM

Does the DVD called Crochet Me Workshop: Chain Reaction Afghan Project Crochet-Along with Kristin Omdahl and Marcy Smith
contain the same information that was shown as small segments in the episodes on Knitting Daily?

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jjennifer143 wrote
on Oct 20, 2011 5:04 PM

I bought both of the DVD's (Chain Reaction, plus the Knitting Daily season) and have watched selected parts of the CAL one so far.  

I'm not sure if all of the content is overlapping, but I suspect the CAL one is a subset of the Knitting Daily season - just the afghan parts. 

I have made 10 squares so far.  I was hoping the DVD would take the squares in order and talk about them individually.  Instead, they talk about categories like motifs, etc.  It's sort of a review of certain things, not a tutorial on how to make each square.

Still - it's enjoyable and inspirational, and I recommend it!


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Posts 434
Marcy Smith wrote
on Oct 26, 2011 3:23 PM

Don't you love Kathy Merrick's Circles Squared block? It's a little fiddly, sure, but I rather enjoyed it. I like to have some focused work among some of my more straightforward crochet.

I took a bunch of pictures while I was working on this square, to show the joins. Let's take it from the top -- or rather the center.

Here's the second wee circle linking up with the first circle:

Right after you make the center ring of yarn, you slip stitch the second circle to the first. Then you crochet around the yarn ring to make the second circle.

The next circle you join first to the center circle (shown above), then to the second circle (which is about to happen in the picture above)

Then you continue around, joining each new circle first to the center circle, then to the previous circle. Before you know it, the center circle is surrounded by 8 circles, and you're ready to start the next round of circles.

In the picture above, the first circle of the outer round has been joined to the first round. The next circle, the brown one, is a corner circle, so it joins only to the first circle of the outer round. It doesn't get to join the inner circle. The next circle will attach to both the brown circle and the pink circle on the inner round.

Is your head spinning? This makes a lot more sense when you're both following the pattern and checking out the pictures. Honest.

And, really, before you know it, you'll be done with the outer round. Notice how the white circles are attached to the inner circle, and the colors (corner) circles are unattached on the inner side. Notice, too that the joins are more substantial—three stitches rather than one.

Whatever you do, do not turn over the square at this point. If you do, this is what you'll see:

Don't look. Resolutely soldier on, working the first of the outer rounds that will convert the circles of circles to a square:

then work the next four rounds, which firmly establish the squareness of the square, and finish it off with that lovely lacy edge:

Now, you can turn it over:

and weep quietly:

Then thread your tapestry needle with each thread end and weave it under the stitches in the circles, matching tails to the circle color for the prettiest finish.

And you are done

I can't wait to see the colors you've used for your Circles Squared!



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KathieB@4 wrote
on Jan 11, 2012 10:47 PM

Hi Marcy,


I'm not seeing any finished I looking in the wrong place?  I was considering starting one of these it too late to start?


Thanks, Kathie/itssewnice

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