Warm Up America!
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Warm Up America!

Join America's needleworkers in making warm afghan blankets for those in need. Create 7-inch x 9-inch rectangular sections using any basic knitting or crochet pattern, and donate them at your favorite Michaels store.

On November 16, 2013, we invite you to join us in-store from 1-3 pm to knit or crochet squares -- bring a friend or family member. New to needlework? Don't worry -- we can show you how during the session!

Have a few squares ready for drop-off?  From October 25, 2013, to February 15, 2014, we'll have collection baskets in our stores (look in the Yarn Department!).  Find your nearest Michaels store.

On January 25, visit us for our Joining Party, held in all stores.  We'll show you how to link squares together to create finished blankets.

Interested in learning more?  Read about the history of Warm Up America!

Craft Time: 30 minutes
Uses Recycled Items: No
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Material List

  • Acrylic or Acrylic-blend Yarn, 4-ply Worsted-weight -- Your Choice of Color(s)
  • Scissors
  • Knitting: 4mm Needles (or Size Needed to Obtain Gauge)
  • Crochet: 5mm Crochet Hook (or Size Needed to Obtain Gauge)

Project Instructions


Gauge:  5 stitches = 1 inch (2.5 cm)

Garter Stitch: Cast on 35 stitches. Knit every row until piece measures 9 inches. Bind off.

Stockinette Stitch: Cast on 35 stitches.

Row 1: Knit all stitches.

Row 2: Purl all stitches. Repeat these 2 rows until piece measures 9 inches. Bind off.



Gauge:  9 stitches = 2 inches (5 cm)

Single Crochet: Chain 30 for foundation chain.

Row 1: Single crochet in 2nd chain from hook, and in every chain in foundation row. Chain 1 and turn in your work.

Row 2: Working under 2 top loops of each stitch in previous row, single crochet across row. Chain 1 and turn. Repeat Row 2 until piece measures 9 inches. Fasten off.

Optional:  To create a textured effect as pictured, as you single crochet across each row, work in the back loop only of each stitch in previous row. 

Double Crochet: Chain 27 for foundation chain.

Row 1: Double crochet in 3rd chain from hook and in each chain of foundation row. Chain 2 and turn in your work.

Row 2: Double crochet in each stitch across row. Chain 2 and turn. Repeat Row 2 until piece measures 9 inches.

Joining Sections

A full-size, 49-inch x 63-inch afghan requires 49 squares measuring 7 inches x 9 inches.

You may join squares by the following methods:

  • Use a yarn needle and yarn to backstitch or weave the edges of squares together
  • Use a crochet hook and yarn to crochet the squares together
  • Use your sewing machine to connect squares with a large-size zig zag stitch and neutral or transparent thread

Step 1:  Begin by joining individual squares to create vertical strips of seven squares each.  Join squares across their shorter (7 inch) edges, so that the longer (9 inch) edges run the length of the strip.  The finished vertical strip should be 7" wide and 63" long.

Step 2:  Now join 7 vertical strips along their long (63") edges to complete the afghan.  Once all strips have been joined, you may find it necessary to work a row or two of single crochet around the border of the afghan to flatten curled edges and ensure a finished appearance.



If you prefer to work with bulkier yarns, use a larger hook or needle. Reduce the number of stitches in your foundation chain and the total number of rows to compensate.

For example, this square, made from Lion Brand® Wool-Ease® Thick & Quick yarn, was double crocheted using a US N/13 (9mm) hook. There are only 17 stitches in the foundation row, and 11 rows total.

Craft Notes

The Craft Yarn Council offers a great tip for making sure your pieces are all the right size:  To crochet or knit "perfect" Warm Up America! sections, cut a 7" by 9" cardboard template. Use the template as a guide; it's easier to handle than a measuring tape and great for kids.