When you've spent the time to crochet an afghan or blanket, it's worth the extra time to make a border for it. Crocheted edgings can enhance the design of your afghan by adding color and interest. In cases where the finished afghan didn't reach the size you wanted, crocheted edgings can add additional inches and save your work.
You don't need extensive additional materials, because the edging typically uses the same yarn and hook as the afghan body. You may want to have hooks available that are one size larger and one size smaller so that you can adjust hook size if needed to keep the edging flat. When the border is finished, you will need a pair of scissors and a yarn needle to weave in the yarn ends. If you plan to add fringe, you'll need lightweight cardboard to make a template.
Many afghan patterns include directions for making an edging. However, you can use a different edging or add edging to a plain afghan to make a one-of-a-kind creation. Edging pattern collections are readily available, so you can choose the look you want.
Straighten Your Sides
Your afghan will look its best if you straighten the side edges before you begin the edging. Often described in pattern directions as crochet evenly around, this method can also serve as as a simple edging on its own. As the name implies, you make one single-crochet in every stitch of the first and last rows of the afghan. On the side edges, you must observe the end stitches as you work, because you will make a different number of single crochets depending on the type of end stitch:
- Make one single crochet in a single-crochet end stitch.
- Make two single crochets in a double-crochet or half-double-crochet end stitch.
- Make three single crochets in a treble-crochet end stitch.
Work this edging as one continuous round, using the same yarn and hook that you used to make the blanket. If the blanket is multi-colored, use the dominant color to blend the edge row, or one of the contrasting colors for interest. Start the single-crochet round along a side edge with the right side of the blanket facing you. When you come to a corner, work three single crochets in the corner stitch and continue with the round. When you return to the starting point, slip stitch into the first single crochet to join the round. Fasten off and weave in the yarn end if this completes your edging -- or continue with the first round of your chosen edging pattern.
Fringe gives a flowing look to the afghan. You can fringe all four sides, or just the shorter edges of a rectangular blanket. Make a template for the fringe by cutting a rectangle of lightweight cardboard, such as from a cereal box, that's 1/4 inch wider than your desired fringe length. Wind the yarn evenly around the cardboard, but don't pull so tight that the cardboard bends. Cut the yarn with scissors along one edge of the cardboard. You now have strands that are a little longer than the desired length of the fringe.
To attach the fringe, insert your crochet hook from the wrong side of the blanket through one stitch on the edge. Fold one strand of yarn in half, place the center of the strand on the hook, and pull the hook through the stitch so the strand is looped at the back of the blanket. Pull the strand ends through the loop and tighten. Repeat until the edge is completely fringed. Straighten the fringe as needed by trimming the loose ends with scissors.
- To make a fuller fringe, use two strands of yarn with every stitch.
- The typical fringe length for an afghan is seven to 10 inches, so your cut strands should be about 14 to 20 inches long.
Reverse Single Crochet Edging
For this edging, you work single crochet stitches backwards, from left to right, around the afghan. This may seem awkward at first, but it takes only a little practice to master the stitch. Also known as crab stitch or shrimp stitch -- perhaps because it looks like little crustaceans lined up on the edge -- reverse single crochet makes a firm, rope-like edging that gives the afghan a tailored look. It's ideal for children's blankets because it wears well and doesn't snag easily.
Add more interest to your blanket with an edging that creates simple shapes such as scallops or picots, which are small, even loops. These patterns use combinations of basic stitches worked over one or two rounds to create an attractive border.
Adding a lacy edge is an elegant and feminine way to finish your afghan. Some lace edgings require multiple rounds of crochet in complex stitch patterns. However, advanced-beginner and intermediate crocheters can make attractive lace edgings using patterns such as the double V-stitch or treble scallop stitch.
Jan Burch has written about home, garden, wellness and other topics since 1992. Her articles have appeared in ByLine, Living Natural and New Mexico Woman. Based in Albuquerque, Burch is a Feng Shui consultant and Jin Shin Jyutsu practitioner. A life-long crafting enthusiast, she holds a master's degree from the University of California.