The Classic Basics- Granny Square

The classics are classics for a reason. Crochet has some classic patterns and designs that always seem to draw people into wanting to learn the skill. A classic that I have had multiple students want to learn recently is the Granny Square.

The Granny Square is really a motif, and there are times when motifs in general are called Granny Square. At this discussion I am simply referring to the classic look of Double Crochet (treble crochet in UK terms) groups worked into chain spaces. This makes what almost appears to be checker board of “closed” and “open” squares.

The classic version has a different color on every round, and when the last round is worked entirely in single crochet (double crochet in UK terms) is worked in black. This is the way I was introduced to this classic, however today it is interesting to see it worked in all one color or worked extremely large.

To work your own Classic Granny Square (in US crochet terms)…

Chain 4, slip stitch to the first chain to form a ring.

Round 1: Chain 3 (counts as a double crochet now and throughout), working in ring, 2 double crochets, chain 3, [3 double crochets, chain 3] 3 times, slip stitch to the top of the beginning chain-3, finish off. -4 (3) double crochet groups, 4 chain-spaces

Round 2: With new color, slip stitch to any chain-3 space, chain 3, 2 double crochets in same space, chain 3, 3 double crochets in same space, chain 2, [3 double crochets in next chain-space, chain 3, 3 double crochets in same chain-space, chain 2] 3 times, slip stitch to the top of the beginning chain-3, finish off. -8 (3) double crochet groups, 4 chain-3 space, 4 chain-2 spaces

Round 3: With new color, slip stitch to any chain-3 space, chain 3, 2 double crochets in same space, chain 3, 3 double crochets in same space, chain 2, [3 double crochets in chain-2 space, chain 2, 3 double crochets in chain-3 space, chain 3, 3 double crochets in same chain-3 space, chain 2] 3 times, slip stitch to the top of the beginning chain-3 finish off. -12 (3) double crochet groups, 4 chain-3 spaces, 8 chain-2 space

Round 4: With black color, slip stitch to any chain-3 space, chain 1, 3 single crochets in same space, *[single crochet in each double crochet across to chain-2 space, 1 single crochet in chain 2 space] repeat across to chain-3 space, 3 single crochets in chain-3 space ; rep from * around, slip stitch to beginning single crochet, finish off. Weave in ends.

At this point the Granny Squares can be joined together to create any number of things.

To update this Classic pattern, it is relatively easy after you learn the basics of this design. Essentially the chain-3 spaces are the corners of the square, each time you come to a corner you work a group of 3 double crochets, chain 3, and another group of 3 double crochets in the chain-3 space. You then chain 2 to work along the “sides” of the square, this chain-2 is always worked over a group of 3 double crochets, creating an open space or square. In every chain-2 space 1 group of 3 double crochets are worked. So to bullet point it:

  • Work (3 dc, ch 3, 3 dc) in every ch-3 sp
  • Work ch 2 over groups of double crochets
  • Work 3 dc in every ch-2 sp

Following these simple rules you can create a Granny square of any size. Then for the classic edge you work a round of single crochets, with 3 single crochets in each ch-3 sp, a single crochet in each double crochet stitch, and 1 single crochet in each ch-2 sp.

If you do not want to change colors every round, then after joining, slip stitch in each double crochet across to the next chain-3 space, slip stitch in the chain- 3 space and begin the next round.

Check this classic out for yourself.

 

There is More then One Way to Join a Motif Together

ScannedImageWhen the average non-crocheter thinks of crochet, often one of the first thoughts is the classic granny square. This motif has become a historic staple, however working any motifs worked in crochet can have a fun, stunning, and classic appeal. The draw back? Stitching them together.

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Remove hook from working loop, insert hook into stitch to be joined to and re-insert into working loop.

I have stated it before, but I am a crocheter, not a seamstress. So join-as-you-go has been a savior of sorts for me. It has allowed be to work various motifs without having to stitch them together, but simply work a stitch into the adjoining motif and they are now connected.

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Pull working loop through stitch

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Complete the stitch, and continue.

There are various applications that can be used in join-as-you-go, but one that I have been enjoying recently, has a finish that looks like I’ve spent time whip stitching the pieces together, without ever picking up a needle and thread (or yarn). To work this Joined Whip Stitch, or Braided Join, is actually pretty easy. When you are ready to join to the adjacent motif you simply remove your hook from your working loop, insert your hook through the stitch you wish to join to, re-insert into the working loop and pull it through the stitch, then begin and complete the stitch you wish on the motif you are working on. Essentially you are bringing the loop through another fabric and then completing your work, there is nothing fancy, nothing difficult, just a simple way to weave the fabrics together.

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The finished look of the Joined Whip Stitch or Braided Join

The look that this technique creates has a hand sewn appearance to some, and a braided effect to others. It is a little slow, and only a little, as removing your hook and getting it placed and then reworking the stitch can take a little time, not to mention a little fear of the working loop being pulled out. However the technique is simple and can be worked with any motif pattern without having to change the stitch structure. So give this method a try next time you have a motif to put together, you may find that it makes your project a little more enjoyable, with no needles required.

Joining Right Along

Since crochet has always been a point of relaxation for me, I never have fully appreciated joining work together. Actually I have avoided it like the plague, granny squares looked lovely, but then I’d have to put them all together! That afghan made in strips is attractive, but then I have to find a tapestry needle and sew it together. Well that takes the relaxation out of my work with hooks. So I left them alone for a long time, then the world of join as you go opened up to me. This is the process of working a motif and on the last row you work through to edge of the ones already created and thus work them together, joining with my hook as I create the final row. Genius!! This has brought a new world of crochet to my hook.  Without this technique I would have never used some scraps to make the pillow see in the photo.Join as you go motif, pillow.

To get this to work for you here are the things to keep in mind. Where do the stitches come in contact with each other? Do you want an open join (kind of like lace) or a solid join? Are your motifs the same size? What shape are you joining together? The simplest to work out is putting together a square motif, or at least one with straight sides. If you are already using a motif based pattern then the attachment of the motifs has already been thought out, so you just have to modify it to allow you to work the last row with the ones already created. If there are spaces in that last row, it much easier to connecting point, but you can work around regular stitches or in between them.

You never know what interesting designs you find in bring two pieces together, and that applies to much more then crochet, and joining as you go is a good metaphor for the path of my life. I use to treat my life as chapters of a book, which I have closed one chapter to move on to another, but really I find myself reflecting on past “chapters”.  So using the metaphor of a “join as you go afghan” might be more appropriate, since they build on one another and are forever connected.

This has opened my thoughts and given a new direction with my hook to enjoy the classic crochet works of motifs, without the hassle. I hope you will investigate this option for yourself as well.