ANYONE CAN DO THE GRANNY SQUARE
Making colorful afghans and bedspreads and blankets by joining small squares of the same size is one of the most traditional forms of crochet. It remains as popular today as it was when your greatgrandmother did it—and for the very same reasons: it is portable—you can keep small amounts of yarn tucked in your purse and whip up a few units between bus stops or at the hairdresser’s; it is piecemeal work, convenient to start and stop; it is economical—leftover yarns can be put to good use in a collection of multicolor squares; it is repetitive enough to keep your hands happily occupied while you’re thinking about— or watching—something else; and still, the variety of granny squares possible, the yarn and color changes you can make prevent a granny square project from turning into a bore.
WHAT IS A GRANNY SQUARE?
It’s a unit of crochet, traditionally made up of only two stitches, chain and double crochet. It always starts at the center with chain stitches slip-stitched into a ring. Then it grows, round by round, combining groups of double crochet stitches, which form shells, with chain stitches to separate the shells and make the corners. The traditional granny square is made of five such rounds and ends up, of course, a square. But nowadays one can make as many or as few rounds as one likes, and one can vary the way one combines chains and double crochets, one can, indeed, add or substitute other stitches. One can even turn the old granny square into a rectangle, a triangle, or a five-, six- or eight-sided unit.
YARNS AND COLORS
Consider anything you can wrap around a hook as a candidate for a project. The fuzzy yarns, particularly angora and mohair, make delightful sweaters. If the cost is prohibitive, use expensive yarn for only one round of each granny and a less expensive knitting worsted or synthetic yarn for the other rounds.
Common hardware-store string is a charming, inexpensive way to work granny square projects, as is its varietystore counterpart, Coats & Clark’s Speed- Cro-Sheen. Perhaps you have some rattail left over from a macrame project or other novelty material like soutache, chenille or 3- or 4-line braid. Metallic yarn used alone or in combination with knitting worsted could make a smashing evening jacket. Don’t forget rug yarn. Use it not only in a rug, as we did (directions in a future post), but try it in a floppy-brim hat.
As you crochet new yarn combinations, coordinate your ideas with color experiments. A classic granny square module can take on a whole variety of appearances simply through the placement of color.
The colorful cotton-yarn spread (directions in a future post) demonstrates these changes admirably. The
actual crocheting is the same in every unit, but the arrangement of colors changes the appearance of each square.