I own a lot of yarn. I mean a LOT. I’m always picking up different colours and sizes of yarn, not necessarily because I need it, because I want it. I like it. I like the colour, the texture, the dye-lot, etc. Sometimes I see yarn that’s at the bottom of a bin; abandoned and alone. I feel bad for the yarn and I buy it. Thus it become my “rescue yarn”.
When you craft with yarn as much as I do, you end up with scraps. Scraps are small amounts of yarn that are left over from a project (or projects) and aren’t enough to make another. It’s still a significant amount of yarn, not to be confused with ends that are one to five inches in length, but the best you could make with it is maybe a tiny circle or square. Then what? If you make little squares you could potentially sew them together, but that would take such a long time and you would have to find more yarn to sew the squares together. For me, it’s just not worth it to use my scraps in that manner. A lady living close to my Grandmother collects scraps from other people and makes comfort dolls for children. It’s an amazing idea! Unfortunately, I’m not great at making dolls and toys yet. After a lot of thought I came up with the idea to make a scrapghan. I picked a simple pattern, the never ending granny square, grabbed my freezer bag full of scraps, and went to work. So far I’ve completed 12 rows!
I would just like to mention now that I don’t crochet a granny square in the “traditional” way. When I first started to crochet I started like all newbies do – learning to crochet a granny square. However, when I would look at the finished product I found that the middle was always crooked. No matter what I did, how careful I was, how loose or tight I crocheted, the middle came out crooked. The square would straighten out after about the fourth or fifth row but the middle remained the same. After a lot of research on the matter I found a couple of solutions. I could either block my afghan after it was finished to straighten it out, use a different hook, or turn my work. Well, newbie me didn’t understand the concept of blocking (nor did I have the tools or space to block such a large project) and using a different hook just didn’t work. So, at my wits end, I tried turning my work. IT WORKED. My middles started coming out straighter and straighter. Sometimes they come out slightly crooked, but that’s a much easier fix than the way it happened before. So now when I crochet a granny square, I always turn my work. This creates a reversible material that doesn’t really have a right or wrong side to it. Both sides are equal.
I also do my corners differently when I create a granny square. I start it off the same: chain 4, slip stitch to the beginning chain to form a loop. Chain 3 (counts as your first double crochet), double crochet twice into the centre loop. *Chain 2, double crochet three times into the centre loop.** Repeat from * to ** three more times. Chain 2, slip stitch to the top of the chain 3. Simple, right? Here’s where I change the pattern:
Chain 3 (counts as first double crochet), turn. Double crochet twice into the chain 2 space. Chain 2, three double crochet into the same chain 2 space as before. *Chain 1, three double crochet into the chain 2 space. Chain 2, three double crochet into the same chain 2 space.** Repeat from * to ** two more times. Chain 1, slip stitch to the top of the chain 3. Slip stitch in the next two double crochet stitches and into the chain 2 space. Chain 3, turn.
The pattern differs from a regular granny square in the sense that I turn my work after each row and I create the first corner as a complete corner instead of creating half the corner and then finishing it at the end. I will illustrate the difference below:
You can see the difference in the two squares, and can see that the middle in my first example is going crooked whereas the one in the second example is straighter. I actually kind of like the look of the second one better, just because it has a different visual texture to it.
It doesn’t really matter how you crochet your granny squares, as long as you enjoy making them. Heck, I found a pattern for a granny square where the crocheter chained 3 and did two double crochets straight into the starting chain. No chain 4 loop required!
The granny square is a classic project that has been loved and made for generations. I read somewhere that the granny square gained its name because back in the day yarn was hard to come by and money was tight. Women would save scraps of yarn from old socks and sweaters and crochet them into small squares. The squares were then sewn together to make blankets. Since Grandmothers weren’t up for physical labour anymore, they would sew the squares together and thus the name “granny square” was born.
How do you crochet your granny squares? Leave me a comment below! I would love to hear from you and about your experiences with crochet and granny squares. 🙂