We designed our first afghan in 1996. It came about shortly after the publication of our Woolly Thoughts book when we were contacted by Brown Sheep, a large American yarn company. They asked us if we would design an afghan for them. We agreed but actually had no idea what it was they were wanting. At that time, in UK, the term afghan only related to dogs or coats.
This was in the early days of the internet and, fortunately, we had already been online for two years and had lots of American contacts so we asked them – and got many very varied answers. They all agreed that it was a kind of blanket but there were very diverse opinions on size, shape, texture, etc. We sent several designs to Brown Sheep. They chose one based on an idea we had used in many ways before.
The main point of everything in our book is that the designs work with any type of yarn. This isn’t good news for a yarn company because they want a design that sells yarn for them. To their credit, we were able to reach a happy compromise and the pattern was published with separate instructions for almost every type of yarn they made. It was called Round the World.
It wasn’t long before we realised that an afghan was the perfect way to represent mathematical ideas. A mathematical concept, or curiosity, could be demonstrated on an almost indestructible, eye-catching wall-hanging. The Woolly Thoughts afghan collection was born and over the years we have created more than 80 afghans. A few have gone to museums and galleries. Some hang on the walls of our Victorian house which we bought specifically because it has big walls. Others are laid out on a trolley to slide under the bed (which had to have its legs specially extended). The rest are stowed in rolls in our workrooms. Sooner or later we will have to find new homes for some of them.
The photos below show most of the afghans. There are links to places where you can see more pictures, read a brief description, and buy the pattern. Every afghan has a story to tell so there is a link on each one where you can find out more about the idea behind the afghan and how it came about. The pictures are loosely arranged in the order of their popularity over the years. Some of the popular, newer, afghans are far down the page. Some of the photos are very old and not of very good quality.