How to Crochet a Granny Square Throw. Part I
Granny squares; not just a scrap-craft!
The granny square has lost some of it's appeal possibly by its name alone. These squares were THE "scrap-craft" of our ancestors. In years gone by there was no such thing as throwaways. Outgrown clothes became parts of patchwork quilts or rag rugs, Yarn scraps became granny squares. Frugality (even the word is not much used now-a-day) made for ingenuity and yesteryear's techniques and samples are displayed in our museums.
The originalgranny squares were a three or four round square(round means a row around the whole item), with each round in a different color and mostly the last "round" was crocheted in black. This last round being the same on all squares was called the "holding color"- one color showing consistently will give the item a feeling of unity or continuity. (More on color assembly later).
If you know how to crochet you know how to granny square. If you don't crochet yet, you'll soon master it by following Stacie's excellent HUB here http://hubpages.com/hub/How-to-Crochet
To make it easier, here is a short list of crochet abbreviations used for the squares.
dc double crochet
rnd round ( a row around the whole item )
sl slip stitch
( ) Brackets show that a group of stitches which are enclosed are to be repeated the number of times stated, in the same location.
* *Asterisks show that the segment enclosed is to be repeated the number of times stated.
The basic square is easy enough for all beginners
-even the ones that are all thumbs. How about
making a practice square with me right now;
(I follow instructions best by doing
them step by step) work it as follows:
- Ch4, join with a slip stitch to form a ring.
- Rnd 1: Ch3 for the first dc, 2dc in ring,
ch2 for corner, (3dc in ring, ch2) 3 times;
join by slip stitch to top of starting ch.
at this point if you pull at the corners
slightly you should see the square
- Rnd 2: Ch3 for first dc, turn work around,
in same sp work 2dc, ch2, 3dc [starting corner], ch1,
(in next ch-2 sp work 3dc, ch2 , 3dc, ch1) 3 times;
join by slip stitch to top of starting ch.
you can see the square is now totally
shaped and from now on it should be
easy to see what to work in which space.
- Rnd 3: Ch3 for first dc, turn work around,
in same space work 2dc, ch1 , *in corner sp work 3dc,
2ch, 3 dc, ch1, in next 1ch sp work 3dc, ch1,* repeat
from * 3 times more; ch1, join by slip stitch to the top starting chain.
Guess what, you have just made a
For larger squares, continue to work around the
piece in the established pattern. Remember as
you continue, each round will have one more 3dc
group between the corners.
At this point there is nothing stopping you from working on and on until you run out of your yarn, join on another ball and so on. This would give you a square monochromatic coverlet. This will save time not having to sew your individual granny squares together. Or you could make one colored smaller squares in different shades etc. Only your imagination will limit the combinations and possibilities.
Tricks, time savers and points to consider:
-When changing color at the end of each round after the finishing slip stitch break off yarn and restart with new color in the 2chain corner space by making a slipknot on the hook, slip stitching into the 2chain corner space, chain 3 for the first double crochet. Continue on as before.
-Finishing; the squares can either be sewn or crochet together. If you have chosen for the colors to make a certain pattern you should lay it out as it needs to be on a large clear area. Once you're satisfied with the look, gather up your squares row by row, keeping them in order. Most likely you won't have enough time to assemble the whole throw in one go; so that you will keep things organized collect each stacked up row and tie them together with a twist tie or such and add a numbered label. (many years ago, my first assembly went wrong when I mixed up row number 9 with 6;since then I've been careful to dot my 6.'s and 9.'s)
Following are 5 different color suggestions while working the same crochet pattern they will give totally different looking throws or afghans each time. The color combination and placement of them is what will give these throws their simple or complex design.
- The traditional granny square; using all just remnant yarn, naturally of same thickness, using every color under the sun with the black as the last round of a three or four round square . This one can be quite nice as a lap coverlet or in a child's room.
- The traditional granny square; each of the three or four rounds a different color starting with light going out to dark, or vice versa. Using the dark to light and light to dark, alternatively when assembling will look quite striking. Again a favorite in a child room.
- Several different colors or shades can give an interesting 3-dimensional effect when finished(i.e. a color range from yellow to orange to red back to orange then yellow again [I'd sure hate to see this flame thrower in my house finished] but once assembled this type of color-play could be quite dramatic)
- One of my favorite; the two tone. Large 15 to 18 round squares in off white alternating with a light caramel crochet together in either shade. This looks quite elegant draped over the edge of a leather bound couch. This really works great if one takes the time to pick out a couple of the colors in the décor that one would like to emphasise. Maybe favorite shades from the throw cushion or drapes.
- I call it the 'quick throw' because the main body is made out of one big square in one color then to make the throw into a rectangle add a strip of small granny square to each end. This saves a lot of time on assembly. You'll need to make enough small squares to cover the width of the centre square twice (a strip per end). These small squares can be of many or as few shades as will fit in with your taste and décor. Here again your imagination is the only limit. To finish the throw once all is assembled it's nice to crochet a couple of rounds all around the whole cover. Perfect for a cuddly afternoon snooze or as a bedspread for the cottage too.
One more thing that needs a bit of discussion is the type of material to use. Here is when you will need to think and decide where and for what purpose your project is going to be made. If your going to be using up your remnants you have to take a quick inventory and determine; are they all the same type of yarn? (important for washing)Are they the same weight or thickness? (important as the squares have to be the same size for assembly)Are the colors wash-fast? (important if using light and dark).
As in all crochet project any type of yarn can be used it is ones preference really. For a beginner crocheter I usually suggest a smooth type of yarn such as "Knitting Worsted" or the finner "Fingering".But my all time favorite is the "Chuncky" it makes for a heavier blanket, works up quick, therefore shows faster progress, which also is a push towards finishing a project. Although a throw made of the fuzzy types of yarn that are so fashionable now (Chenille,Eyelash etc.) I suggest waiting, they are a bit harder to work with,(the fuzzies tangle up easy) they can be more expensive and also are not yet available in as many shades and colors as other types of yarn. If you're so inclined and have patience, you could even make table covers in fine crochet yarn, I'm not much of a the doily person so I have not made any of them. For a friends cottage I was asked to make a really rustic looking bedspread in a neutral shade. My friends had a butcher-shop. A brainstorm, why not use butcher-twine. It looked good and was okay to work with too, and definitely rustic looking. I kept the material choice a secret. I chose the large 20 round granny square; crochet assembled them with home dyed red and navy twine. This thing became such a hit that I've had to make one for each of the beds. (The first one was made more then 15 years ago and is still going strong, although I did have to add a couple of outside rounds to them all, because they all shrunk a couple of inches for the first few washings.) I mention this only to point out that anything can be used and look great.
In the second paragraph I mentioned the original granny square. Now comesthe oxymoron there are some squares that start out as round circles, or the same technique can make a (explain this) a five or six sided granny square. Some have rosette centres, some are very loose and lacy, while others are totally solid. But those, and all other want to be squares, will have to wait to become another HUB.
Remember the old saying "Practice makes perfect" ? I'm positive it was referring to handy-work mostly.
Links to some great hubs!
- How to Crochet a Hat
Did you now that there are several companies that make Buffalo or Bison yarn? It's very warm. You can quickly fashion a crocheted Buffalo yarn hat with simple crochet techniques...
- How to Crochet
A beginners guide to crocheting with pictures and videos. Learn how to make a slip knot, hold a crochet hook, and make a chain. This guide also teaches the four most basic crochet stitches: single crochet, half double crochet, double crochet, and tre
- Teaching Children How To Crochet Or Knit
Crocheting or knitting is not just for little old ladies. Young children, including boys, also love to learn and it gives them a sense of accomplishment just like anyone else. They do however need more...
Links to some of my other hubs
- How to Crochet a Granny Square Throw! Part II
After following 'How to crochet a Granny Square throw part 1' You have become a pro at these Granny Squares. Now to make the
- Truly Hand-made Quilts
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- Save Money: Reupholster Your Furniture Yourself
One of the key words here would be reupholster furniture INEXPENSIVELY therefore save money.... If you have antique furniture that's worth mega bucks, give it the attention it deserves and let a...
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