Friday, 9 May 2014

How to Make and Join Granny Squares


granny square pattern tutorial image of granny squares
Love them or loathe them, granny squares have been and still are the popular choice for most people when learning the basics of crochet. This is how I started to crochet many years ago as a young girl. They're so very easy to make, fun to produce and so versatile in creating a colourful variety of items, such as, blankets, cushion covers, clothing, bags and accessories, etc. In my case it was my dolls who benefited from my crochet creations ranging from ponchos, shawls, hats and blankets. When my love for crochet was rekindled a few years ago I really wasn't that keen on going back to producing them, however, I was amazed to see the variety of the granny square projects which were out there in such colourful abundance. I knew it wouldn't be long before I would be sucked back in to the wonderful world of the crochet granny square again...and I'm now on my fourth granny project - you can see my most bonkers recent project on this post - addicted again...I think so!!

Even though these squares look very similar to those I produced many years ago, I now make them using different techniques which I think give a more aesthetically pleasing result, and the skills involved are invaluable for the beginner to learn. It is these techniques which I am very excited about and would love to share and pass on to you today.

If you are changing to a different colour on every round I will show you how to begin with a chainless start. This is really easy to do and enhances the uniformity and continuity of your granny square...so no chain 3 starts on every row - which are really easy to pick out especially if you're using cotton yarn. This is a great technique to learn especially if you're wanting to produce a circular piece of crochet work like mandalas for example. If you are making a one coloured square you will have to use the ch 3 method at the beginning of every round.
First I will show you how to make the basic three treble cluster/shell granny square followed by the join-as-you-go-technique of crocheting the squares together on the final round. I'll share my handy hints and tips with you throughout the pattern.
(Hints and tips shown in red italics) 

Keep those Yarn Bands!
It's essential that if you're using a lot of colours for your granny squares then you must keep a record of the yarn information just in case you need more of the same colour in the future. I know that feeling when you're so eager to start crocheting that you rip the yarn band off to get straight to work, only to find that you need more of it and haven't a clue what shade it is when it comes to re-order. Very frustrating!

I've found the simplest and quickest way to document your yarn is to snip a little bit of yarn off and tie it around the yarn band and pop it in a plastic wallet. The yarn band has all the information on there from hook size, colour name or number, dye lot number to the wash and care instructions. Believe me you'll be thankful you took that small amount of time to do this!
Granny square pattern tutorial image of yarn bands with yarn attached This pattern is written in U.K. crochet terms. I'll be using four different colours in the first four rounds then I'll be joining them on the fifth round using the same grey colour for the border. You can use any type of yarn so there is no gauge for this pattern.

Basic Crochet Granny Square Pattern
(written in U.K. crochet terms).
Abbreviations:   
ch - chain.
st - stitch
sl st - slip stitch
tr - treble crochet (U.S. terms dc - double crochet)
(yarn over hook, insert hook into st or space and pull up a loop, yarn over pull through two loops on hook, yarn over pull through last two loops on hook)
tr stan st - treble standing stitch
(attach yarn to hook with a slip knot, yarn over hook, insert hook into st or space pull up a loop, yarn over pull through two loops, yarn over pull through last two loops on hook)

 Round 1
Attach yarn to hook with a slip knot. Ch 4
Granny square pattern tutorial: image of chain 4 start

Right side - V shape
Turn the ch over so the wrong side is facing you and sl st into the 4th bump from hook to form a ring. This will make it easier for you, especially for beginners, to find the centre of the ring without the need to pull the chains apart - handy for when you are using finer yarn which makes finding the centre of the ring  just that bit more difficult.
Granny square pattern tutorial: image of making a slip stitch to form a ring
Granny square pattern tutorial: image of crochet ring
You can see by the photo above just how clear it is to see the centre of the ring.
Ch 3 (counts as 1 tr), (make sure you crochet over the tail end as you work the round) and make 2 tr's into the centre of the ring (first shell cluster made), ch 2 - these make the corners spaces.

Granny square pattern tutorial: image of crochet cluster made
 *Make 3 tr's then ch 2*. Work *to* another 2 times until you have 4 shell clusters. 

The picture below shows how the tail end of yarn has been crocheted over, so that when pulled at the end of the round it will close up the centre hole.
Granny square pattern tutorial: image of working over tail end of yarn
(The wrong side)
Sl st into the top of the 3rd ch (put hook under the two loops of the ch - see photo below) to close round. If you are continuing on with the same colour you will need to sl st into the next 2 sts until you get to the next corner space, then ch 3 to start your next corner cluster.
 Always check your round to make sure you have the correct number of stitches and chain spaces before snipping your yarn.
If you using a different colour then fasten off by snipping the yarn to leave just a short tail end of about two inches/5 cms, and pull the tail end to tighten the centre hole. 

Granny square pattern tutorial: image of slip stitch to close round

Round 2
Choose a different corner to the one you finished on the previous round, and always start on a corner space when starting a new round. This will give you room to crochet over the tail ends from the previous round. 
Granny square pattern tutorial: image of treble crochet standing stitch
Work a tr stan st (make sure you keep a firm grip on the yarn on your hook which will want to loosen itself and spin around).You can pull on the tail end to tighten the loop on your hook if it's a little loose.

Granny square pattern tutorial: image of treble crochet standing stitch complete
You'll find your slip knot now sits at the top of the st. 
Work another 2 tr's, ch 1 (always ch 1 along the sides of your square), *in the next ch 2 space work 3 tr, ch2, 3 tr, ch 1.* Work *to* two more times then work one more treble shell/cluster, ch 2, to complete the last corner. Sl st into the top of the tr stan st. (Remember to crochet over those tail ends from the previous round)
Granny square pattern tutorial: image of round 2 complete

Round 3
Starting in a ch 2 corner space (not the one you finished on in Round 2) make a tr stan st, 2 tr's, *ch 1. 3 tr in ch 1 space, ch 1, in next corner space 3 tr, ch 2, 3 tr, .* Work * to * two more times, ch 1, 3 tr, ch 1, then work the last 3 tr into corner space, ch 2, sl st into top of  tr stan st. Fasten off.
Granny square pattern tutorial: image of round 3 complete

Round 4
Work this round in exactly the same way for Round 3, but you will have an extra ch 1, tr shell/cluster, ch 1 to make on the side or your square.
Granny square pattern tutorial: image of round 4 complete

Round 5 - the join-as-you-go-technique
The very first square you make you will need to crochet Round 5 on all four sides using the same method as in Round 4, but with an extra ch 1, 3 tr shell/cluster, ch 1 on each side of the square. I'm using the same grey colour for the border.
 If you would like a little more space between squares then just make a double crochet (dc) (U.S. single crochet (sc) instead of the sl sts into the ch 1 spaces, and ch 2 corner spaces. 
You can see an example of this on the photo below of my cushion cover which I crocheted a while back. Over time the yarn has stretched and the gaps have become a little too wide which I really don't want to happen with my new granny project as I want my squares to lie very close to one another....
Granny square pattern tutorial: image of double crochet joined squares
Granny square pattern tutorial: image of slip stitch joined squares

Work the first two sides first before attaching the remaining two sides to the adjacent squares.
Granny square pattern tutorial: image of attaching squares
If you are right handed it's a good idea to work your squares in rows from right to left, and to keep the main body of your work to the right when attaching the next square. You'll obviously be working in the opposite direction if you're left handed. This will ensure you will always be attaching no more than two sides in one go.
 Make the first cluster of 3 tr's on the corner you are about to join, then sl st into the corner space of the adjacent square you are attaching to, ch 1, continue to make the 2nd 3tr cluster into the attaching square to finish off that corner...
Granny square pattern tutorial: image of first corner attachedAttaching square (left), adjacent square (right) 

Sl st into the ch 1 space of adjacent square, make 3 tr cluster into your attaching square. Carry on in this way till you get to the next corner space.
Granny square pattern tutorial: image of joining squares
Work with reverse sides facing each other, and place hook under ch 1 space.
Work the 1st corner 3 tr cluster in your attaching square, then work a sl st, ch 1 into the ch 2 corner space of the adjacent square like you did for the 1st corner. You will be doing the same into the next adjacent square lying on the other side - sl st, ch 1...
Granny square pattern tutorial: image of joining squares

Granny square pattern tutorial: image of joining squares
Make a 3 tr cluster into the attaching square to complete that corner. Carry on working along the row till you get to the last corner. Make a 3 tr cluster into attaching square corner ch 2 space, sl st into adjacent square corner ch 2 space, ch 1, sl st into top of tr stan st. Fasten off.
Granny square pattern tutorial: image of squares joined together

I've had to stretch the squares a little to open up the work so you can see the joins a little clearer...
Granny square pattern tutorial: image of 4 squares joined together
 You can use a tapestry needle to weave in the ends, but I prefer to use a small hook (1.5mm) to do this - don't forget you have crocheted over them on each round so you don't need to snip 6-8 inches off and waste all that precious yarn. Make sure you weave the tail end both horizontally and vertically, and then back on itself to secure it well.

 I have made lots of different granny squares in the past, and I will be definitely sticking to this method, and I hope that you will too! Even if you never make a granny square again I'm sure you will use this method of making your chain ring, and will want to use the treble standing stitch chainless start in your future projects.

Like I've mentioned before in my previous posts this granny square project of mine is not a blanket or cushion cover, so I'm really looking forward to having a Ta-Dah! moment with you very soon to reveal what it is. I'll also be doing a follow up tutorial on how to add the finishing touches.

Yes! - I think it's fair to say I have rekindled my LOVE of granny squares
Enjoy your weekend.
X

Edit to add: You can see the finished item in all it's 'Fab' glory on this post.

www.deramores.com/blog-awards: This blog entry is my submission to the Deramores Blog Awards 2014. Deramores is the UK’s number one online retailer of knitting and crochet supplies.

10 comments:

  1. Thanks Amanda, this is a lovely tutorial to file. I am teaching my daughter to crochet and this is just what she needs to refer to, when mama is not around! I am a great fan of standing crochet stitches to start rows,I like the look it produces :)
    Pat xx.

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    1. Thanks Pat I'm so glad my tutorial will be put to good use! I just wish I'd learned standing stitches all those years ago...I agree they make all the difference to your work.
      I love all your recent mandala creations which you've crocheted recently for Yarndale- such lovely colours. X

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  2. Thank you for this tute - I have been wanting to try try this method for a while.

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  3. Lovely tutorial, I'm making grannies this weekend, too! Chrissie x

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    1. Thanks Chrissie. I'm really looking forward to seeing your granny creation. X

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  4. I love the grey edging. Nice tutorial.

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  5. Funnily enough I have gone back to crochet after a wicked romance with knitting (now a spell of punishment of study and impending exams) but this weekend I was at a wool festival and while demonstrating crochet to beginners made me realise what I was missing and I have picked up the hook and made a square or two for instant gratification!

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    Replies
    1. Ha - funnily enough I always want to pick up my knitting needles when I see your lovely knitted projects. Glad to hear you're loving the grannies too! X

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