Bauhaus blocks

Years ago, I came across the work of Xenobia Bailey. I fell head over heels in love with her many concentric crochet circles. I wanted to make something as memorable as what she made, but she had done so much with the circles, I didn’t feel I had anything to add that would be as good as what she did and that wouldn’t be simply derivative.

Xenobia Bailey's concentric circles

I didn’t know what I would do, but over time, I ended up doing a lot with squares, and one spring, as what is known as the “state fair” season approaches at my house, I began toying with making squares as square as I could make them without any gaps. My goal was to be able to juxtapose blocks of colors that were as close to exactly the same size as I could get them without having any other color to mediate either through a border or a different color for joining.

I ended up calling them Bauhaus blocks both because the name was alliterative and it recalled for me my favorite childhood toys, most of which were associated with building things or designs. I entered the resulting afghan in the 2008 North Carolina State Fair:

My pixelghan composed of 1681 of the Bauhaus blocks

Later I used the same construction method with a 4.25 mm hook and Red Heart Super Saver yarn to make a slightly larger square that was then used as the foundation for a yoga/beach blanket:

My yoga blanket at Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

Some people have expressed interest in making such a blanket, so tonight, I have assembled a pictorial essay to help anyone who wants to give this a try.

To start, you will need a worsted weight yarn and a G hook of some sort. I used a 4.25mm hook to make a 2.25 inch square, but if you crochet tightly you might want to use a 4.5mm hook, and if you crochet even more loosely than I do, a 4.0mm hook, might be what you need. Because I take this with me everywhere, and it sometimes directly touches my skin, it had to be washable and could not be a fiber that made me itch, so I used an acrylic.

To start, you need to make a slip knot with a very long tail. I recommend at least 36″. You will be using this tail to crochet a line of slip stitches across the top of either edge, and you will use it later to join the squares to each other, so don’t scrimp.

Using a 4.25mm hook, make a slip knot with a 36 inch tail

The increasingly popular foundation single crochet will not work for this project, so you will need to begin by chaining 9 and then turning the chain so that the back loop is facing you, and you will work a single crochet into the second back ridge from the hook.

Chain 9 and begin to work a single crochet stitch through the back ridge of the second chain from the hook

Work one single crochet into each of the seven remaining back ridge loops for a total of 8sc.

Work a single crochet stitch into each remaining ch (8sc made)

When you get to the end, chain one, and then turn the piece counter clockwise (this will create a straighter edge). Continue until you have completed 8 rows of single crochet. Fasten off, leaving a second tail of approximately 36″.

Continue for a total of 8 rows. Fasten off leaving a 36 inch tail.

Now you will make use of the long tails to make slip stitches (a technique also known as tambour crochet) across either edge of the square. Begin by inserting the hook from front to back in the space closest to the base of the tail to be used and yarn over the hook:

Insert the hook through the first space from the front to the back and work a yarn over

Using the hook, bring the yarn over to the front side of the square, and make eight evenly spaced slip stitches across the edge:

Pull yarn through to front
Working from front to back, make 8 evenly spaced slip stitches along the edge

Rotate the square 180ยบ and do the same along the opposite edge of the square:

A completed Bauhaus block, ready to be joined

When you have completed these steps, you will have your first Bauhaus block and will just need a couple of hundred more to make your own blanket.

Join the loveliness
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6 thoughts on “Bauhaus blocks

  1. This is a beautiful design I will be putting one on my to do list. Thanks for sharing your design.

    1. You are more than welcome. I wanted to design a blanket that anyone with enough scraps and determination could make for themselves.

  2. I too will put this on my to do list. I’ve admired your state fair afghan for a long time now and would love to have a go at making one of my own. Thank you for writing a tutorial for this!

    1. @Mary Jo, I’ll be covering that in Tuesday’s blog. It supposed to be overcast tomorrow, so the light should be really good for detailed photos.

      @Connie, thanks so much!

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