Operation Purple Heart

Operation Purple Heart Comfort Afghan for US fallen heroes.

Operation Purple Heart Comfort Afghan for Canadian  fallen heroes.

Operation Purple Heart (OPH) began in 2002, during the "War on Terrorism". For the  men and women who have lost their lives while defending ours, HMB will make a comfort afghan for their loved ones.

For Operation Purple Heart comfort afghans we use 12" squares.  It takes twelve 12-inch squares to make an OPH comfort afghan (three squares across and four squares down).

Square Guidelines

You might be wondering, Why have guidelines if they're donations? . It is important to remember that your donated squares will be assembled with 12 12-inch squares, probably from as many other people, all with their own styles and creative flares. In order to make sure that the afghans can be assembled properly and evenly, each square needs to meet some very basic guidelines.  We also ask that all ends be left hanging, do not weave in your ends.

The following are the square guidelines for an OPH comfort afghan:

What kind of yarn can I use?
Please use 4-ply acrylic, worsted-weight yarn only.  No 2-ply or 3-ply.  No cotton, wool, thread or boucle.  Caron, Red Heart and Wintuk are some of the common brands used for HMB squares.

What color yarn should I use?
Acceptable shades of red/white/blue for U.S. comfort afghans are true red, pure white and royal blue or navy blue, pure purple and stars & stripes variegated.  No burgundy, orange-red shades, no other shades of blue, no pastel colors, no off-white or soft white. 

Acceptable shades for Canadian comfort afghans are true red, and pure white.  No burgundy, orange-red shades, no pastel colors, no off-white or soft white. 

What size are the squares?
ll squares should measure no less than 12-inches.

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.