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The design was inspired by a meeting, in 2003, with Simon Singh, author of The Code Book

The afghan has a coded message. By identifying groups of letters which appear together, it is possible to crack the code and read the hidden message. It is not easy to do from this photograph but if you want to try, start by trying to identify the squares for the word ‘the’, which occurs twice. The dark blue crochet square represents a space.

Scroll down for the answer.

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Code Comfort

It is not possible to find a distinctly different colour for each letter of the alphabet. To reduce the number of colours needed, half the letters are represented by knitted squares, the other half by crochet squares.

You can write a shorter message, using a smaller number of squares, although you will probably still need as many colours. The pattern gives ideas for compiling your message and some tips for cracking codes. It also includes a pattern for a code-cracking cushion.


Most of the squares are made individually and stitched together. Where you are fortunate enough to have one knitted square above another, you can knit a continuous strip.

(Eleven colours were used in the afghan in the photo as there are only 22 different letters.)