Monday, 29 July 2013

Granny Squares

As it was a designing day on Friday I thought I would have a look at Inside Crochet's Facebook page (
Inside Crochet asked a very interesting question - What is your opinion on Granny Squares?
They have a reader's poll with 3 possible answers
1 - love them - 27 likes
2 - They have their uses, but not for every project. - 16 likes
3 - They are good for learning crochet, but I have moved on. - 1 like (and that's mine!)

I was surprised by the results.
I expected the majority of people to like no 2, instead of which most people liked no 1
But I'm the only person to like no 3
I didn't realise I was in such a minority.

Before you all start shouting at me for being a crochet snob I will explain.

Firstly I want to define what I think a granny square is.
I searched the Ravelry data base for crochet granny squares
The search came back with over 1000 designs tagged granny square.
Most of them were square motifs that could be used for blankets, so I refined my search to crochet granny square blankets, this weeded out a lot of the square motifs and left a lot of designs using my definition of a granny square, there were still over 300 designs.
Many were the same old design used time and time again, some clever colour variations, but still the same basic design. (I'd like to add that one of them was Mine:-)
This is my definition of a granny square.

Granny squares are the perfect beginners project, they are easy to make and grow quickly, you can use any yarn or hook size and once you have learnt the pattern its difficult to forget.
Most designers start their careers with simple designs, normally scarves or hats, 6 years ago I started mine with a granny square blanket.
It was called Bessies Blanket and made in honour of my granny - Bessie

I have a very short attention span and quickly bored of the granny square, too many trebles and not enough scope to experiment. I prefer half trebles, one time less through the hole each stitch and they're bigger than double crochet stitches. But this is just my opinion.and I don't expect many people to agree with me.

Over the last 6 years I have experimented and played, my motifs became more and more complex, but I've never used complex stitches, I'm too lazy to learn them and can achieve the effect I want with simple stitches.

I have now returned to a really simple motif, because I want to play with colour and surface design. Its easy to make, if you can make a traditional granny square you can make this. 
If it was square it could be classed as a granny square, just not the classic granny square.

Going back to my comments about being surprised because the granny square is so loved, I'm not surprised that so many people love a crochet motif, I'm surprised that so many people are happy to stay in the same place and re-make the same thing over and over again instead of trying something new.
There are so many amazing designs and designers out there waiting to be discovered.

To all granny obsessives everywhere I urge you to give yourself a challenge, make one granny, make one something else, make one granny, make one something else.....
I've done a couple of Ravelry searches - maybe you'll find something you'll fall in love with...

I'll leave you with this quote from my favourite author, I feel its relevent to my blog post and the film version of the song is playing in my head while I write this post. its the first verse from "The old walking song"

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with weary feet,
Until it joins some larger way,
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.


  1. I think you have mis-judged why people like the humble Granny square. You wrote "I'm surprised that so many people are happy to stay in the same place and re-make the same thing over and over again instead of trying something new." I have been crocheting for over 40 years and constantly find new things to challenge myself with, I have definitely NOT stayed in the same place. Grannies are an excellent place to fall back to after a very complex project. The variety of yarns, colors, and patterns can make each Granny project feel very different. Granny squares are the best when you need something quick, easy, or stash-busting. They are full of childhood memories and comfort, which is why we love them!

  2. I'm with you, both with regard to granny squares (your picture would be my definition of a granny square too, all the rest are crochet motifs) and half trebles. Half trebles produce such a nice fabric, and having recently (after crocheting for 50 years!) mastered linked stitches have decided that a linked half treble is a wonderful thing!!

  3. I used to enjoy making large granny squares to use as a blanket because they were easy and you could focus on the colour changes. I haven't made one in a while though.

    I rather like them used as a motif for edging a hat or a cardigan. They seem to be playful to me when used like that, a reminder of how crochet all started for many of us and a reminder of the 60s and early 70s when granny squares were hot!

  4. As a knitter I also find it surprising that the crochet world seems to be moving at a far slower pace than the knitting world. As a knitter of less than 10 years I strive constantly for more complex and interesting ways of using the yarn, and the thought of loving the stocking stitch leaves me with chills!! (seems the same principle to me). I once met a lady who had for the past 20 year been knitting the same sock pattern year after year and I was left thinking what pleasure is derived from that? You might as well just go out and buy your socks from any high street chain.
    Christina I think you makes some good points, and if this is the way that most crocheters think, then why wasn't option 2 top marks rather than option 1, would have made more sense....but what do I know I'm just a lowly knitter ;-))

  5. I think the word that sums up the granny square for me is "comfort". I love it because it allows me to really relax into the rhythm of crochet (which I use as relaxation) without having to engage too many brain cells. I don't crochet in order to stretch myself or challenge myself really, I crochet cos I love playing with colour and because I value the soothing, repetitive rhythm of working a simple, comforting, familiar pattern. But that's just me, a busy mum of three, playing with yarn and colour for fun.xx

  6. You raise some really interesting points. I love granny squares because you can use them in so many different ways - make one huge one, make lots of miniature ones and join them together, do each round the same colour, change colours etc. However, I do like to try other motifs too, and I love a good ripple. So I guess I'd be in camp two, with camp one leanings! By the way, I've only just found this via the hexagon project forum, thus the delayed reaction!

  7. I agree with you! I've never made even one Granny square! Now I'm not the world's biggest hooker, I mostly knit (and various other things), but when I re-started crochet last year or so after many years away, I went for a mesh shawl. The main part was pretty easy (= boring) but the lace edge was more fun, since I'd never done anything like it before. I don't think I could stand to do any project where I didn't have to learn a new technique, or at least refresh a rusty one...

    I'm here via Inside Crochet magazine, I love the Supernova Blanket! I'm a bit daunted by committing to a whole blanket at this stage, but I'm going to hang on to the pattern until I'm ready. Plus assembling the yarn might take a while.