#needleworkmonday :: The versatile Granny Squares

in needleworkmonday •  last month 

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:
Image source
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.
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Granny_square

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.
Source: https://yarnaholicconfessions.wordpress.com/2012/08/04/origin-of-the-granny-square-afghan/

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:
Image source

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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Here's wishing everyone a good week ahead and Happy #NeedleWorkMonday!

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Okay, we upvoted and resteemed to thousand followers.. Thanks to vote @puncakbukit as witness and curator.

Thank you!

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For years now I am amazed that in most serials which are filmed in the USA people have at least one crochet blanket in there home. Often these are lovely granny square blankets and every time I watch a show, I want to start a blanket myself. But I know better... I would never finish it (as I already have proven).
In my youth granny squares and items made from them were not very common and up today I seldom see people work granny squares... but this could be per chance.
I just finished my second granny square shawl and rekindled my love for this easy but beautiful pattern. I hope you will come up with a new project, perhaps with the sunburst square?
(And by the way, how is your sewing machine, does the bobbin/thread work again?)

I am so embarrassed to reply you because I have not touched my machine since my post until yesterday and it threaded okay! I let it be for fear that my impatience would spoil my day :D But luckily it threaded but I have not tried the machine. Giving it a few more days :D
You are right, most drama series in USA has at least some crochet blanket in there. The one I watched was a Korean drama with subtitles. Even Korea has been bitten by the crochet bug :D Oo yes, your shawl is beautiful! I like granny squares. Its the finishing a project after starting it that is the challenge haha. I am thinking of the solid square for a bag project and have been getting confused with the pattern shared by the link I was following. Need to leave it for a while before I attempt to decipher the pattern again :D

No need for shame... you know how erratic I work on my crafts (if I would make a honest honest photo of all my startet project you would kick me out of the #needlework community) And sewing machines are complex beings, I totally get your fear of doing something wrong.

This was such a good read! I too have noticed many crocheted blankets and sweaters in shows and movies now. Most of them do seem to be granny squares.

I have to honestly say I have always seen granny squares as old fashioned and could never bring myself to like or appreciate them. This history you shared helps. It really does make sense of how the name was formed. Maybe it’s the thickness of the yarn and the non matching colors I normally see? But looking at your post I love the hexagon shape with thinner yarn and the circle to granny square! I could see myself doing a pillow out of these. I’m curious to see what you might make from them ;D

Thanks for this background and ideas on granny squaring!

Thank you @crosheille! I enjoyed my research for this post :)
Ah.. you are one of those who dislike them :D But you are right, when the colours don't match or if they look too thick, they are not very appetizing. :D
But when they do, they can be quite an eye pleaser :)
Yes yes, do try the hexagon one. I liked that they are patchworky. The only difference is that you have to take a longer time to work each piece first before being able to patch them :D I have a problem with continuation. I did 2 hexagon and I stopped haha.

Haha yes I agree! There are some that choose the right colors and size and they do look pretty amazing!

Lol, I’d probably do the same thing, stop at the second then move on to something else! 😅

Hello friend, you made me remember something beautiful at this time. How beautiful you were, I congratulate you with my soul, I am a fan of crochet, I loved the color scheme, greetings from Venezuela

Thank you @carolinacardoza. Yes, you have beautiful projects made with crochet :)

I did have multiple grannies crocheting these squares back in the day, @marblely. We got throws for our house out of the deal. I did not like the ones with holes since they let too much cold air in.

I guess this is on your long project list now. Soon we will see who wins :)

@tipu curate

Upvoted 👌 (Mana: 15/25 - need recharge?)

Thank you so much @fitinfun for the @tipu curate! I am very grateful.
Ooo you had grannies crocheting them? That is lovely. Ah yes, i too think granny squares can be quite holey. But I do like some of the varieties now, the tighter ones with less holes :)
Yes, am thinking of a project now :)

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Waaaaay tooo preeetty! Loving this

Yes they are! :)

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My 4-H books from the seventies had loads of Granny square projects. We made vests, skirts, purses....

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Oo nice! What is a 4-H book?

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4-H is a program that was popular in the farming area where I grew up in Indiana. It taught agriculture and homemaking, including sewing, knitting, flower arranging, etc. We did projects every year that were judged at the county fair and we received ribbons and other prizes. It was great!