Just the other day, I was watching a TV drama and in one of the scenes, there was a mother and her daughter having a chat, sitting on a sofa, draped with the most colourful and beautiful throw or blanket or afghan that looked like this:
There were also matching cushion covers in that scene.
The moment I saw the scene, I was more focused on the crochet work than the scene itself. I knew that this should be a granny square pattern because of its distinctive cluster stitches that goes around in full square. What more, some of the members on NWM have also shared a number of beautiful projects in Granny Square stitches.
A granny square is a piece of square fabric produced in crochet by working in rounds from the center outward. Granny squares are traditionally handmade. They resemble coarse lace. Although there is no theoretical limit to the maximum size of a granny square, crocheters usually create multiple small squares (called "motifs") and assemble the pieces to make clothing, purses, Afghan blankets, and other household textiles.
This got me wondering, why is it called a granny square. The first thing that crossed my mind was that they were squares crocheted by grandmothers? Interestingly, a number of articles seemed to imply so but none were really concrete.
Then, I found this blog which made quite some sense:
According to a 1946 article attributed to the Oregon Worsted Company, the thrifty women of early America would carefully save scraps of yarn and fiber unraveled from old sweaters and socks. As these scraps accumulated, they were crocheted into small squares; the colors combined on the whim of the craftsman. The squares were then sewn together to make a blanket which was both functional and colorful. Because grandma was no longer up for manual labor, she was often the one to sew the squares together, thus they became GRANNY SQUARES.
It made sense because granny squares have always been promoted as a good way to use up scrap yarns. These crocheted squares were usually sewn together as a patchwork to make into a blanket and nowadays, we can see dresses, blouses, skirts, pillow covers and bags can be made the same way by sewing a number of granny squares together.
A basic granny square usually looks like this:
A crocheted square starting from the center, and added on row by row, all around the square in double crochet clusters. An example of a basic or classic granny square pattern can be found here:
But nowadays, we can find many other variations to granny squares such as the:
Sunburst granny square
Image source: crochet365knittoo
Solid granny square
Image source: craftpassion
Circle to square granny square
Image source: justbcrafty
Flower granny square
Image source: lullabylodge
Emma square granny square
Image source: lookatwhatimade
...a play with different yarn colours and basic crochet stitches.
In an Interweave article too, it was mentioned that we either love or hate granny squares. When the colours match and the motives jive, it will look beautiful but there is also a possibility of going overboard with colours. Less is more would come into play here? But one cannot deny the homely feeling that granny squares usually bring.
Do you like granny squares?
Apart from squares, there are also hexagon motives too such as these:
Image source: crochetforyou
or how about a heart shaped "square":
Image source: thewhoot
I have tried working a granny square but have not completed a project with it. The TV drama and all these searching is enticing me to include granny square into my long list of needlework projects now :)
So many projects to try! Take a look here:
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