Last year I decided to challenge myself to make something that put me well outside my comfort zone. I saw a post on the Australian Crochet Community Facebook page about the Phoenix CAL by Hooked on Sunshine and decided that I would take a massive flying leap outside my comfort zone and give it a shot.
Up until this point, the most complicated thing I’d made was a basketweave blanket. I’d followed video tutorials on YouTube to learn a few stitches and had only really ever looked at one pattern before (which may as well have been written in Kanji for all it made sense to me). So sure, jumping into a full-scale afghan CAL was a great idea … right?
What. A. Learning. Curve. I had missed the start of the CAL but that was fine because I knew I was never going to be able to keep up with it anyway. I think it took me about 3 weeks and several attempts to get through the Week 1 section!
Another few weeks and I was partway through Part 3 and struggling. I had literally never even heard of some of these stitches before and apparently had lost the ability to count at some point too. I decided that Phoenix and I needed a bit of time out and put it in the Naughty Corner for a while.
After finishing up the Tetris Blanket that I designed for my son, I decided to give Phoenix another go. I was still totally in love with how it was looking, but pretty daunted at the thought of getting through the rest of it.
A little back story : I had bought the sage green yarn for my Mum to use as she loved the colour. Turned out she hated working with it so she gave it back to me. After getting confident (somewhere around Part 4 of the CAL) that I was actually going to be able to make it through the whole pattern, I decided that Phoenix would be for my Mum for Christmas.
It was November when I made this decision. So totally no pressure. Oh lord, the things I do to myself. And it was summer here in Australia, so the perfect time to be making a huge Afghan (eye roll).
Enter several weeks of frantic crocheting (cue the Benny Hill theme song for those of us who are old enough to remember it).
In between all the Phoenix-ing, I was also making Xmas gifts, sewing and crocheting for animals rescued from the bushfires and generally trying to make it through the heat/ash/smoke and ick that was Sydney at the end of 2019.
I did not, I’m sad to say, make the Xmas deadline for this project. But I did get it finished and I am utterly besotted with it. I never thought I’d be able to make something quite so beautiful and complex, but the pattern was so simple to follow, even if not all of the stitching was easy to do.
What I used
Phoenix was created with a 4mm hook (my favourite cheapo aluminium one from a Dollar Shop) and Marvel 8 Ply from Spotlight in Sage and Cream:
Phoenix is now available as a complete pattern from Hooked on Sunshine: www.hookedonsunshine.co or from Ravelry : https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/phoenix-19
Phoenix used approximately 21-22 balls of yarn (I lost count somewhere in the middle) and measures just over 180cm wide. I didn’t complete the entire pattern – I went up to Round 105 of 108 and stopped because I wanted to have a more solid border on the blanket than the end of the pattern.
Why I recommend it
Basically, I’m obsessed with the Hooked on Sunshine patterns now – they are clearly written, have excellent photos to help with a visual guide and are easy to follow. Some of the patterns have video tutorials too, although I haven’t used these yet. There’s also an AMAZING Facebook group, with ‘Assist Fairies’ – experts on hand to help with questions pretty much 24/7 from my experience. And all of the members of the group are wonderful and supportive.
The detail in Phoenix is just staggering – so many different stitches and different combinations of stitches to play with. It’s just too much fun to make.