Wednesday, January 13, 2010

This is Not a Harlequin Afghan!

Harlequin Afghan from Woman’s Day Granny Squares, Number 5, 1977

According to “A harlequin pattern is a repeating pattern of contrasting diamonds or elongated squares standing on end. Traditional clown suits are made in a red and white harlequin pattern.”

And as everyone knows, geeks are both omniscient and infallible. Therefore, this afghan with its circles and striped squares is definitely not a harlequin.

Now, this is a harlequin.


Actually, this is Freddie Mercury rocking a harlequin bodystocking in 1977. So, the designer of this afghan can’t claim ignorance when it comes to knowing what a harlequin pattern looks like.

After all, who could possibly have overlooked that man?

For the complete pattern (and more snark!):


SIZE: About 45 1/2’’ by 66 1/2’’.
MATERIALS: Knitting worsted weight yarn, about 48 ozs. including white and as many colors as desired. Aluminum crochet hooks sizes G and J or K, or size required to crochet to gauge.

GAUGE: 7 sc and 7 rnds of sc = 2’’ with G hook; each round is about 10 1/2’’ in diameter.

NOTE: There are 17 colors in the afghan shown. To help allocate colors, each round requires about 1 1/2 ozs. in all, each stripe of a square takes about 3 yds., each triangle about 11 1/2 yds. of one color. Except for the white border, changes in dye lot will not be apparent, so yarn need not be purchased at one time.
Seventeen different colours! I suspect the designer of this afghan didn’t care about adherence to international harlequin standards. She was just looking for an excuse to clean out her yarn stash.
Just like the designer of these sequined harlequin knickers had an overabundance of Mardi Gras decorations she was desperate to use up!
ROUNDS: Make 24 in colors of your choice plus white. With color and G hook ch 4, join with a sl st to form a ring.
Rnd 1: Work 8 sc in ring, do not join but continue around, marking the beg of rnds throughout.
Rnd 2: 2 sc in each sc around.
Rnd 3: * 2 sc in next sc, sc in each of next 2 sc, repeat from * around.
Continue to inc about 8 sts at even intervals on every rnd, but only enough to keep the Round flat – if inc’s are not made directly over previous inc’s, a more round shape will result. Work in color for 10 rnds, with white for 2 rnds, with same color for 3 rnds, then last 2 rnds with white.
Sadly, back in the seventies, there were few creative outlets for women over-endowed with yarn. Nowadays, you don’t have to restrict yourself to a boring old afghan.

Even if you want to crochet a harlequin!
SQUARES: Make 15, working 2 rows of each of 6 colors for each Square. With G hook and first color ch 19.
Row 1: Hdc in 3rd ch from hook and in each remaining ch – 18 hdc counting ch-2 at beg of row; turn.
Row 2 (right side of square): Ch 1, sc in back lp of each hdc, sc in top of ch-2, working off last lps with next color.
Row 3: Ch 2 (for first hdc), hdc in both lps of each of next 17 sc; turn.
Repeat Rows 2 and 3 for 12 rows in all – 6 stripes. Fasten off yarns.

TRIANGLES: In one color for each only, make 16. Ch 20. In the same manner as for Squares, work in hdc and sc, but dec 1 st at each end of 2nd and remaining rows until all sts are worked off.
The world is your palette. Literally!

ASSEMBLING: At diametrically opposite points, mark north, south, east and west positions on the perimeter of each Round. Hold 2 Rounds right sides together, matching any of the marks. On wrong side overcast through the inside lps across 2 or 3 sts on each side of a mark. Join another Round to a joined one at a diametrically opposite point in the same way and continue until 4 Rounds are joined. Assemble 5 more rows of rounds. Then in the same manner join the 6 rows of Rounds together. Next, pin each Square into an opening between Rounds in diamond position, and overcast in place in the same way. Set the Triangles in the spaces around the outside of the afghan to even the edge.

BORDER: With white work 5 rnds of sc around the entire afghan, inc’ing as necessary to keep the “corners” flat. With double white yarn and J or K hook, work a rnd of reverse sc, skipping an occasional st if necessary so as not to stretch out the edge.
Okay, despite what I claimed above, not all harlequins are multi-coloured or diamond-patterned. For instance, the harlequin Great Dane is a big black-and-white spotted dog. But when it comes to my canine harlequins, I’m a traditionalist.

Click here for the printable pattern.


  1. Victoria,
    As ever this is a brilliant post I particularly love the harlequin sequin knickers - excellentie :-) Now the harlequin afghan - what can I say? reality check? drug abuse? who knows? Thank you for your lovely posts they always make me smile or laugh or cry with laughter :-)

  2. Great post as always! I love the jester dude he is way cool. There were some girls here in Denver doing up the city in crochet and knit art. I thought it was great, but I guess they were fined for littering :-( Other crafters said they deserve it ..what a waste of yarn Hmmm some people !

  3. Thank you Sunroom and Unique! I think we can take it as a given that there was drug abuse involved - it was 1977!

    And that's so sad about the Denver girls getting fined for littering. Maybe they need to knit up some ski masks to hide their identities. I'm planning on posting an appropriately girly one soon, to go with the bank robber and his son.

  4. This jester suit would love to have would be fun to wear.