Monday, March 7, 2011

Granny Squares

Granny Squares

"Granny Square" refers to crocheted squares that may then be sewn or crocheted together to make a blanket, pillow, sweater - whatever you can imagine, I've seen it done with a granny square. This type of crochet work is not limited to a certain stitch or to the square shape. You can make a rectangle, octagon, etc etc. 
This week I'll be exploring the granny square and I want to hear from you. What patterns have you used, what did you like/didn't like about it. Post pictures if you have them. 
Ok, so I'm going to go over the first square I ever made and actually this was the first thing I ever crocheted. I was at my grandparents' house and my mom thought I'd be bored so she bought me this learn to crochet kit with yarn, hooks and instructional book. I went through the various tutorials and then jumped into the granny square without any no-how or practice. I made this UGE granny square blanket. Not many granny squares sewn together - no, this was just one giant square. It was awesome and I gave it to a teacher of mine who was having a baby. Very proud moment for me.

So, let's make one!

To crochet a granny square of any shape you must first crochet a small circle - remember our tutorial on crocheting in the round? Weeelllll, we're doin' it. Ok, so crochet a base chain of 3.

Our granny square is made up of double crochet stitches so two of your loops are for your turning chain. You will be adding double crochet stitches to the first loop of your chain - 12 to be exact. Your chain 2 turning chain counts as your first double crochet. To make your second, insert your hook in the first loop of the base chain or third loop from your hook. Pull up a loop, yarn over, pull through 2 loops, yarn over, pull through remaining 2 loops:

Voila!! Your first and second double crochet stitches. Ok, add 10 more and call me.....

When you're done you'll notice that your circle has a gape in it, you need to add a slip stitch to close the circle. To do this, insert your hook in the top of the turning chain (the one you started with) and pull up a loop:

Don't stop! Pull that loop of yarn through the loop on your hook. You've made a Slip Stitch!

Your circle is now closed. Doesn't look much like a square does it? The first circle is more like a starter row. It's in the second row that you really make it look like a shape. For our granny square we're going to be adding four corners, but we won't be working in the double crochet stitches, we'll be working in between them.... follow along to see how:

Insert your hook between the two double crochet stitches to the left of your loop and draw up a loop.

Pull that loop through the one on your hook to make another slip stitch. Chain 2.

Add two more double crochet stitches to the same space (the chain 2 = your first dc). You've now completed your first shell stitch.

[check my previous post on shell stitches]

Here's where it gets interesting. Skip the next 3 double crochet stitches from the previous row and add 3 double crochet stitches to the next space. See below how you've 'captured' a shell in the previous row?

See how you've 'captured' a shell in the previous row?

Now you need to make your first corner. Chain 2 - This will make the bend for your corner. THEN add 3 more double crochet stitches to the same space.

See the corner??! You're on a roll now. 
Skip the next 3 double crochet stitches from the previous row and add three double crochet stitches to the next space, chain 2, crochet 3 double crochet stitches in the same space:

You made another corner!! Ok, do it again...

When you reach the end you'll notice that the second part of your corner is already made, that the first shell that you crocheted for this row. To complete the row add 3 double crochet stitches to the same space as your chain 2 turning chain.

Great! Now you have your first full square. To finish off, chain 2 for the corner, insert your hook in the top loop of your 2 chain turning chain, yarn over and pull through to complete a slip stitch. 

To start your next row, slip stitch into the chain 2 space, chain 2 for the first double crochet and add 3 double crochet, 2 chains, and 3 double crochet. 

For each subsequant row the piece must get larger. To do this you need to add a shell to each side of the square. The granny square makes this easy on you by showing your where to put the additional shell:

For each new row, add a shell to each space along the sides of the square and (3dc, ch2, 3dc) to each corner. 

Now, you can do as I did when I first made a granny square, just keep going. Your finished piece will be square and will be as big as you want it to be. 

Other things you can do is alternate colors. If you take a look at the first row- the one that was a circle - it now looks like a four petal flower. You can crochet the first row in purple or yellow and switch to green for the subsequent rows. This will make it look like a flower surrounded by leaves.

Ok, so tomorrow we're going to cover how to sew these bad boys together. After that I'll show you how to crochet them together. And *hopefully* by Thursday or Friday some of my loyal readers will have provided me with pictures to post. If not, I may have to get creative ....don.....DOn...DON!!!

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