16-Bit Afghan

A couple of years ago, The Animator's Wife created this afghan for The Animator, who runs a retro video game podcast.

16-Bit Afghan 1

The picture doesn't do it justice--that afghan is over 8 feet long!

Since The Animator posted about it on his blog, we've had some inquiries about how it was made. Since it was based on a sprite from the game Dracula X: Rondo of Blood, we can't give you the exact pattern since the sprite is copyrighted, but we can tell you how it was made so you can make one of your own.

Step 1: Choose a Sprite
You'll want to pick a sprite that's not too large or complicated (unless you're very ambitious!). Keep in mind that each pixel will be a 3-inch wide granny square, and you'll have an idea how big your completed afghan will be using that sprite. Fewer colors will also make it easier to find yarn in enough colors to make it. This is the sprite we used for The Animator's afghan:

16-bit Afghan

Step 2: Select the Yarn
Determine how many different colors are in your sprite. Ours had several different shades of grey, orange, and purple. Each shade needs its own color of yarn, otherwise your afghan will not look like the sprite. We recommend Vanna's Choice for yarn. It's a nice worsted weight that comes in 68 different shades, so you don't have to worry about matching different yarn brands to get all the colors you need (and it's not expensive, either!).

Step 3: Make Your Pixel Grannies
Using your sprite as a color guide, make one granny square per pixel (don't worry about the background unless you want a pixelated background--you can fill that in with double crochets later). It helps to cross each pixel off a printout of the sprite as you go so you can keep track of which pixels you've already made. Keep all the grannies somewhere safe so they don't get lost!

16-Bit Afghan 8

Pixel Granny Square
Size J hook
Worsted-weight yarn

Ch 2.

Rnd 1. 8 sc in 2nd ch from hook. Join with sl st in first sc. 8 sc.

Rnd 2. Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc); do not turn. Skip first sc, 5 dc in next sc, *dc in next sc, 5 dc in next sc; rep from * around. 24 dc.

Rnd 3. Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc); do not turn. Skip first dc, dc in next 2 dc, 5 dc in next dc, *dc in next 5 dc, 5 dc in next dc; rep from * twice. Dc in last 2 dc, join with sl st in first dc. 40 dc.

Finish off.

Step 4: Assemble Granny Squares
Using your sprite printout as a guide, sew the granny squares together. We used the whipstitch, but you can use any joining method you choose. It'll look strange at first without the background, but just keep checking your work against the sprite printout to make sure all the grannies are in the correct spot.

16-Bit Afghan 4

Step 5: Add in the Background
This is the tricky part, unless you decided to make a pixelated background. After the granny squares were all assembled, The Animator's Wife decided she was sick of making granny squares, so she decided to fill in the background with double crochet.

To do this, consider that each pixel granny is 11 dc wide. To figure out the width of the afghan, multiply 11 by how many pixel wide the afghan is.

Width in dc = 11 dc x number of pixels wide

Additionally, each pixel granny is 5 dc high. So to figure out the height of the afghan, multiply 5 by how many pixels high the afghan is.

Height in rows = 
5 rows x number of pixels high

With this knowledge, you can now begin to fill in the background with dc. The Animator's Wife started in one corner and worked her way down. If you need to, work it out on graph paper before you get started.

16-Bit Afghan 9

Wherever your background butts up against the side of a pixel, join the background with a slip stitch to the side of that granny. Then ch 3 and sl st in the granny again before turning and starting the next row of the background.

16-Bit Afghan 5

Wherever the background goes over the top of a pixel, simply continue your row of dc, working the dc into the top of the grannies.

16-Bit Afghan 6

And wherever the background runs under a pixel, join each dc in that row with a sl st to the granny square.

16-Bit Afghan 7

Step 6: Add a Border
All that's left to do after filling in the background is adding a border to make it look neat and tidy. For our border, we did 2 rows of dc with 5 dc in each corner.

16-Bit Afghan 2

But Selena--you forgot about weaving in the ends!

Um, no I didn't. We lost count at some point, but this baby is made with somewhere around 400 granny squares! Any ends that weren't crocheted over were moved to the back. No one but you and the recipient will know if you display it on the wall (which such a lovely and labor-intensive piece of love deserves!).