Well And Truly Hooked On Geocaching

You can tell Dawn Van Curan is hooked on geocaching just by looking at the afghan blankets she crochets.

Since making her first geo-afghan three years ago, the Texan has gained official Groundspeak approval for the design, which she now sells on international webstore Etsy.

Dawn van Curan

Van Curan (GC handle: Re2dog) says the inspiration for that original blanket was a birthday quilt she received from her best friend in Washington state. “I decided I wanted to show her what I could crochet. As she is also a geocacher, I decided to try to make the geocaching logo on a granny-square afghan. I had made many aghans using initials, a Texas State flag and even a few with a running/hopping kangaroo – all of which I designed – so how hard could it be?

“I got out my graph paper and started designing the geocaching logo in the same way I had done with the others. It took me several days to get it the way I wanted. I knew it wasn’t exact but it was very close. I think it took me around 18 hours of work time to get my pattern.”

With her first blanket successfully completed, Van Curan opted to submit the design to Groundspeak  for permission to sell her geo-afghans. “When I first heard back, I was told I needed to add the ‘circle R’ in the upper right corner as it is a registered trademark. That was fairly easy to incorporate. I submitted the new pattern with the ‘circle R’. A few days later, I got a response and was told that my outer circle for the design was not round enough to pass their inspection.”

That’s when things really got tricky, she says. “Rounded lines in a granny-square afghan are a little more complicated. I originally squared off the three parts of the circle as it was easier. The part that is the person’s leg was good as it doesn’t have much of a curve. The lines followed the logo but weren’t rounded enough. I almost gave up on the idea of getting permission to sell this afghan as I wasn’t sure I would be able to get those areas round enough.”

However, the Killeen resident perserved, printing out a copy of the company’s logo which she placed under graph paper and “just worked one of the [circular pieces] out until I had it right”. “Then, the other two were easy as it was just a matter of copying the first one in the correct areas. I ended up making the circle lines a little wider than it was originally, to accommodate the extra rows that make it rounder.”

Since then, Van Curan has sold three of her geo-afghans on Etsy, with each taking about two weeks to complete.  “As I have to change colour so often, there are many ends to knot off and sew in, which is more time-consuming than the actual crochet time,” she explains.

Customers pay US$189 (NZ$247) for one of her worsted-weight creations, though the pricetag is higher than she would like. However, it reflects the fact that van Curan has “to pay Groundspeak a hefty royalty to be able to sell this afghan”.

When not working on her latest crochet project, she’s often on the trail with her husband, who is now retired from the military. The couple began geocaching in July 2007 after reading about the hobby in their local newspaper, and has since logged 2255 finds in 40 of the 50 American states as well as four countries. When on holiday, they prefer to “drive as much as we can” – after all,  “this is a perfect stop and stretch your legs activity”.

It’s Not About The Numbers is picking Van Curan has the perfect travel rug to bundle up with for when the pair get cold too.

*To buy your own geo-afghan for US$189 (with free shipping for American customers), visit Dawn van Curan’s Etsy shop, Dawn’s Afghans.



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  1. Dawn Van Curan

    Just found that you published the story as I had MANY hits on the geoaghan on Etsy! Great job! Thanks!

  2. CraigRat

    Looks fantastic

    I wonder if Dawn would be better off using the ‘open source’ geocaching symbol of the G in a circle to make things cheaper?

    Impressive work!

  3. Summerhill's

    Go Dawn! 🙂

  4. Emily Taylor

    I know groundspeak is a bitch but just sell it anyway without them.

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