What are the elements of a design that make you say "I've GOT TO crochet this afghan!" ? Is it overall style, color, gift giving, a unique stitch or motif, the type of yarn etc..?
For me the choice of pattern depends on who is the recipient or how much use/washing it will get. If it is me, I will stretch myself and look for a pattern that has color changes making an interesting shape, a new stitch, or a design element that rocks. If it is a baby blanket, I'm heading to the stitch dictionary and some acrylic yarn. Depending on the parent, I might get crazy with a border pattern. If it is for a friend that knows the effort and time with an afghan, I'll stretch myself there too.
When afghan fever hits me it's usually because I want to submit something for publication so I'm thinking about the color palette, the kind of person that might like to crochet it and what they might use it for. A lot of times I'll see some little thing- it could be a picture in a magazine(or Pinterest lately), a gorgeous color combination or even the inside of an old watch-whatever catches my imagination. Then I'll make a little sketch and usually forget about it. Later(sometimes years later) when I'm looking for an idea, I'll go thru my notebooks and if a sketch looks like it might work with the type of yarn and colors I want to use, I get motivated!
I really hate making large pieces where the same stitch pattern is repeated thru out. I know a lot of people like to make this type of afghan but I have a short attention span so I try to design things with at least two different motifs where the pattern is somewhat complicated and has color changes so I don't lose interest.
If I'm lucky and the colors work and the swatches look good, then I go back to the drawing board and work out the pattern details. Then the fun finally begins and I get to CROCHET for hours on end without feeling guilty!
It depends on how I'm feeling, I like something that grabs my attention, which is usually the particular motif that is used or a stitch that stands out as a must try!
Yup-unique motifs really grab me!
If I am crocheting a baby afghan I'm looking for something with small stitches so fingers don't get caught and something that is fairly quick to make but looks impressive. The last couple I have made have been basketweave ones I found the pattern for on ravelry.