Learn how to crochet a granny square! Just exactly what is a Granny Square, and how do I crochet one? A Granny Square is a classic crochet design that is easy to learn. The name given to these lovely little motifs seems to come from the fact that the grannies have the time to sit and crochet! If one looks up the history of granny squares, it seems that this is not too far from the truth. Long ago, when a person could not just order yarn on the Internet, thrifty women unravel old sweaters, socks, and other yarn-based items. This resulted in small scraps of various colored yarns. They used this recycled yarn to crochet small squares, which they then sewed together to form larger items such as blankets. This is the perfect combination of crochet and patchwork!
Granny Square – History
Because it was usually the granny who was left indoors, because she was too old for manual labor, she was the one who made these reclaimed blankets. These blankets are also known as Afghan rugs because they are bright, colorful, and warm, named after the Pashtuns from Afghanistan. Nowadays, Afghan rugs are not always made of granny squares. Instead, they can be made in a wonderful array of different designs.
Granny squares are traditionally made by hand and are, in fact, a very coarse form of lacework. There is no hard and fast rule about the size of a granny square. You can keep crocheting in rounds until your blanket is large enough to cover a bed – but they are usually made of many small squares stitched together. Each of these squares is called a motif. These motifs also vary greatly in pattern, but we will make up a truly traditional granny square.
How to Crochet a Granny Square – Supplies
- Crochet hook (Read about crochet hook sizes)
- Yarn, a suitable thickness for the hook. (Read about types of yarn for crochet)
Granny Square – Stitch Abbreviations
We will be working with USA terminology for these samples.
- ch – chain stitch
- dc – double crochet
- sl st – slip stitch
- Granny cluster – is the name given to a group of 3 double crochet all worked into the same space.
How to Crochet a Granny Square
Step 1 – Starting A Granny Square
There are 2 methods for starting a granny square. Method 1 is the easiest.
Method 1 – Chain Stitch Foundation Ring
This method is my personal favorite. This is the quickest and easiest method to start your granny square, but it does leave a small visible hole in the center of your square.
- Start with a slip knot
- Chain 4 stitches
- Use a slip stitch to join them into a circle
Method 2 – Start in a Single Chain.
This is quick and simple and leaves a smaller central hole than the foundation ring. But it can be a really tight squeeze fitting all 4 clusters into one chain loop.
- Chain 3. This acts as your first double crochet stitch (dc).
- Put the hook into the first chain.
- Follow the instructions for round 1 below.
- All of the granny clusters in your first round are worked into your first chain stitch.
Basic Granny Square Pattern
Decide which of the starting methods listed above that you prefer. For this pattern, I will use the chain ring start (method 1).
Crochet 4 chain stitches. Join with a slip stitch in the 4th chain from the hook. You will now have a circle.
- Chain 3. This acts as one double crochet stitch.
- Into the foundation ring, work 2 double crochet
- Then chain 3.
- Now work 3 double crochet.
- Chain 3 into the ring.
- Repeat 3 more times. You will be back to where you started and your piece will be starting to look square.
- Join with a slip stitch into the 3rd chain of your starting chain. Your work should look like the one below.
- There are 4 clusters of double crochet, with 3 chains between each cluster.
We are now ready for the second round of stitches.
- Chain 4. (This counts as 1 dc +1 ch and creates height for our second row.)
- Into this same corner space (made up of 3ch), work another 2 double crochet.
- 1 chain stitch (this creates a small gap).
- 3 double crochet into the next corner space.
- 3 chain stitch (this will be the next corner).
- Another 3 double crochet into same space. This forms the next corner.
- Repeat the last 3 steps 2 more times.
- In the last corner space, work 3 double crochet and 3 chains.
- Join with a slip stitch into the 3rd chain of your starting stitches. This forms the last corner.
- Round 2 is now complete.
Round 3 is done much the same as round 2 except the work is getting a little larger. To make the instructions a little shorter, I will start using abbreviations. Refer to the abbreviation section if you need to. Ch means chain stitch and dc means double crochet.
- Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc.)
- Into same space, work 2 dc 1 ch. This makes the first cluster of round 3.
- Into the next ch1 space, work 3 dc.
- 1 ch.
- Into next 3ch space, work 3 dc, 3 ch 3 dc. This forms a corner again.
- 1 ch
- Repeat these steps all the way around to your starting ch. End with 3 ch and join with a sl st into 3rd ch of the starting ch.
- Ch 3. This acts as 1 dc.
- Into same ch space, work 2 dc.
- 1 ch
- Into next ch space work 3 dc.
- 1 ch
- Into next ch space work 3 dc.
- 1 ch
- Make a corner cluster of 3 dc, 3 ch, 3 dc.
- Repeat these steps all the way around.
- In the last 1 ch space, work 2 dc.
- Join with a sl st into the 3rd chain.
Continue working around your square until you have reached the desired size for your granny square.
How to Crochet a Granny Square – The Formula
As you work, you will see how the pattern forms and repeats. You have 1 granny cluster worked into each 1 ch space. The corners have 2 granny clusters in each corner, with 3 chains in between them. Those 3 ch used for the corner form a sharper, more defined corner than if you only worked 1 ch in between the clusters. Be certain that all your corners are lined up perfectly. If you work a corner too early or too late, your square will not be square!
When your granny square is large enough, complete that round, finish with your sl st, then cut your yarn leaving a tail of about 3 “(8 cm). Pull the yarn through your last stitch to tie it off and prevent your square from unraveling.
How to Crochet a Granny Square – Tips
- When working a granny square, you don’t turn your work around. The right side must always face you.
- Skip all the dc stitches. The next round, every time, is only worked into the chain spaces.
Right! Now you know the basics!
How to Crochet A Granny Square – Multicolored
How about trying a multicolored granny square this time?
Step 1 – Foundation
Work your foundation chain and round 1 in one color.
Step 2 – Joining
To join in your new color yarn:
- It is best not to just tie a knot, as these knots have a way of working themselves to the front of your work and spoiling the final appearance of the granny square.
- When finished with round 1, slip stitch along the work to the next ch space.
- Pull the yarn through the last loop, to finish it off and prevent unraveling.
- Add a new slip knot in your new color to the crochet hook.
- Insert the hook into that chain space where the previous color ended.
- Pull up a loop from behind and pull it through the slip knot on the hook. This is 1 chain.
- Ch 2 more, to make the 3 ch, which is equal to the first dc stitch.
- Continue making your rounds in the granny square sequence of stitches. You can change colors as often as you like, usually every one or two rounds.
Step 3 – Loose Ends
To cover up your loose ends when changing colors, you can enclose them with your next cluster of dc, or if you prefer, you can sew them into the crochet stitches with a yarn needle.
Whichever method you choose, it is better to finish off loose ends as you go. It is really tedious to have to sew them all in at the end of a whole blanket!
Step 4 – Last Round
Many crocheters like to complete their last round of every square in black yarn. This forms a brightly contrasting frame for each square.
How to Crochet a Granny Square – Variations
Granny squares don’t have to be square! Your shape just depends on how many 3 ch corners you create. You can make Granny Mandalas (work in circles, don’t make any corners); granny triangles, (3 corners); granny pentagons, hexagons, or octagons. You could even make a granny rectangle.
What Can I Make With My Granny Squares?
Now you have the building blocks to make whatever you fancy with these lovely little motifs.
If you look back to fashion in the ’70s, you will see that you can make absolutely anything with granny squares. Back then they made vests (waistcoats), skirts, bell-bottom trousers, ponchos, bags, anything at all with granny squares. Now they are more likely to be used for scarves, cowls, tea cozies, coasters, pot holders, tote bags, and of course the old favorite, Afghan blankets.
How to Crochet a Granny Square – In Conclusion
Whatever you choose to do with your granny squares, you are sure to find them easy, fun, and addictive to make. They are perfect to have as a take-a-long project when waiting for children, or for an appointment. They can be packed in a small bag, you don’t have to lug a huge craft bag along with you. Get creative with your colors, and get creative making your granny square crochet projects. You are sure to enjoy them!
More Crochet Articles
- Slip Stitch Crochet – Simplified for Beginners
- How to Single Crochet – Easiest Way for Beginners
- Double Crochet – Easiest Way for Beginners
- Treble Crochet – Easiest Way for Beginners
- Crochet Hook Sizes & Types – Conversion Charts
- Types Of Yarn – For Crochet and Knitting
- How to Crochet for Beginners – Step by Step
- How to Crochet a Granny Square