As much as we'd like to forget about it, there are always events in our lives that cause us pain and despair. No matter how much we would like to avoid it, we will always know someone who is experiencing one of these times.
We have found that during these times, one of the things that helps the most is knowing that other people care; that others are aware of our pain and despair, and that they want to help.
We couldn't think of a much better way to get that point across than with a Bearghan for the younger ones (infant to approximately 6-years of age) in need. A Bearghan is a collection of granny and/or sampler squares that have been hand-made by a very special person somewhere in the world. The squares are then given to another special volunteer who assembles them into an afghan and touches it up to send on to the person who is in need of comfort.
The knowledge that so many people throughout the world with all this love and caring in their hearts for a stranger would create these squares and build a present that will last a lifetime brings peace, joy and something warm to cuddle up with after experiencing tragedy or loss.
What is a Bearghan?
A Bearghan is a result of many long hours donated by many loving, caring and wonderful people. Each Bearghan is assembled from granny and/or sampler squares. Typically, the squares are crocheted by more than one person and are made from acrylic worsted weight yarn. They are then combined into one Bearghan (made of 6 12-inch squares or 20 6-inch squares and one 12-inch square) and sent to an infant or small child in need. So, usually there are roughly 7 to 22 people involved in the creation and assembly of each Bearghan. Many times more people are involved than that.
What kind of yarn can I use?
Please use 4-ply acrylic, worsted-weight yarn only. No 2-ply or 3-ply. No cotton, no wool, no thread, no bouclé. Caron, Red Heart, and Wintuk are some of the common brands used for HMB squares.
What color yarn should I use?
There is no need to go out and purchase a particular color, unless you want to. Using colors from your current stash is perfectly acceptable, as there are plenty of banked afghans and generic afghans made of any solid or variegated color (except black).
What colors are least requested?
Black is never used arbitrarily for a comfort afghan, and solid black squares should never be used in a comfort afghan.
What size are the squares?
The most common size is a 12" square. It takes twelve 12-inch squares to make a comfort afghan (three squares across by four squares down). This has become a very manageable number of squares for most assemblers to work with.
How do I measure the square?
Brands of yarn and various colors work up differently, so it's important to measure each square you make, no matter how many you've ever made. Use the measuring guide on the reverse side of this paper. Spread the square on a flat surface. Don't stretch it; just spread it out. If you're within an eighth or quarter inch of 12", you're good.
What's all this talk about knots?
Please, please, please NEVER use a knot anywhere in your squares. When you begin your square, leave a tail of five or six inches (some people prefer seven to eight inches), then start your initial chain. When your square is finished, leave another long tail (six inches, e.g.) before you cut the yarn. If the manufacturer's skein has a knot in it, cut it out and treat it as a color change.
What pattern should I use?
Pretty much anything goes. The granny square is a perfect pattern for almost every comfort afghan, but any pattern you're comfortable making, go for it. Remember, you're never obligated to make any square you're not comfortable making. If you just want to stick with a granny square pattern, you are more than welcome to do so.
Can I make a sampler square?
Yes. If you crochet a sampler square, please make sure it's a perfect square. If it's 10" vertically and 13" horizontally, it's not a 12" square. Just keep in mind that an assembler is going to add another round of edging to the sampler square.
What should my last round look like?
It needs to be flat on all four sides. You should end it with a round of sc, hdc, dc, granny clusters, or other 'regular' stitches. Anything frilly or ruffly or a shell-type edging may work on a completed afghan, but not on an individual square. Also, it's easier for the assemblers if your square has an uneven number of stitches in each corner (3 or 5). When your square is finished, pretend you're going to add another round and look at all four sides of your square -- will someone else be able to insert a hook in every stitch? Feel free to leave the tail hanging out instead of weaving it in. Assemblers are very willing to weave in the ends after they've edged the square.
It sounds as if my square needs to be absolutely perfect.
No, not at all. Every square is stitched with love and we all know it. The individuality of each square, whether it's simple or complicated, adds to the wonderful variety of a comfort afghan.
What are tags?
Please do include a tag on each square you make. It can be your business card, a piece of an index card, a paper luggage tag, even a small piece of paper - anything, really, with your name, city and state, and e-mail address. At minimum, your first name and state.
THANK YOU, each and every square maker, for all you do on behalf of Heartmade Blessings. Whether you make one square a year or several a day, your contributions are appreciated beyond words.
If you need additional information or would like to donate squares please feel free to Contact us.