Afghan (blanket)

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An afghan blanket

An afghan is a blanket of knitted or crocheted wool, cotton, linen (or many other kinds of natural materials) or made of any type of man-made material. [1] It is sometimes also called a "throw" of indeterminate size. They are often used as bedspreads, or as a decoration on the back of chairs.[2]


The word afghan refers to the people of the country of Afghanistan. The coverlet was originally produced by the Afghans. The use of afghan in the English language goes back to 1831, when Thomas Carlyle mentioned it in his Sartor Resartus.[3] The first mention of the word referring to the woven rug was in 1877.[4]

Afghans being made for charity by a crochet club.
Afghans being made for charity by US military members at a crochet club.

Types and styles[edit]

There are many styles of afghans: mile-a-minute[5] afghans, join-as-you-go[6] afghans, and motif[7] afghans. Mile-a-minute afghans are usually made in a number of separate strips, with a minimum of stitches per strip, and then the strips are joined together. Single piece afghans are the simplest style to make and are especially popular with beginners. Join as you go afghans are made up of many different pieces, one of which begins where the last leaves off. Motif afghans, such as the granny square, are composed of many different small pieces, called motifs, squares, or blocks. These motifs may be all of the same design or of different designs, but they are typically the same size, for ease of joining. Some favor the motif style because of its portability and versatility of design. The motif style is still a very popular and a complex design for making blankets, scarves, etc. Although not a requirement, an edge or border is most often added to nicely finish off the blanket.


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  3. ^ "Sartor Resartus", Fraser's Mag. VIII 670/1 Afghaun shawls, Thomas Carlyle, 1833
  4. ^ "Life and Letters of Elizabeth Prentiss", pp. 260, Letter: 13 Dec., 1868. Elizabeth Prentiss, George Lewis Prentiss, 1882.
  5. ^ "SB300-001 Mile a Minute". 2012-04-10. Retrieved 2017-07-25. 
  6. ^ "Join As You Go Crochet Tutorial on Craftsy". The Craftsy Blog. 2016-01-31. Retrieved 2017-07-25. 
  7. ^ "How to Crochet a Motif Afghan - dummies". dummies. Retrieved 2017-07-25.