Monday, December 31, 2007

The Meaning Of Life is Really a Granny Square!

I belong to an online Yarn of the Month Club. Every month, I get 4 or 5 mini skeins of different yarns in colorways that are all coordinated to work well together. I have been a member for a couple of years, so you know I have lots of mini skeins of yarn around. Recently, I had to swatch some granny squares, and decided to use some of the yarns I received. This is a picture of the two squares I made.

Then, I started to think about Granny Squares, and how much I love them! I have written about them ( Hooked! A Crocheter's Stash of Wit and Wisdom, edited by Kari Cornell) designed with them (many, many projects - both published and not-yet published - more info on that later as the patterns get published) and always try out new yarns by making granny squares! My first encounter with the GS was in 8th grade, when my teacher taught her class how to make them. I already knew how to crochet, so I picked up the GS pattern quickly. We made squares, and put them together in afghans to donate to veterans. When I told my mother what I learned that day, she sat me down and asked me to teach her. (She crocheted, but didn't know the GS pattern.) I taught her, and she took off running - making GS afghans for everyone in the family, all our friends, all the new babies, and anyone else she could think of. She was a fast crocheter (that's where I probably got my speed!) and was able to finish one afghan of 140 squares in 2 weeks, working at night, after working all day at her job!

When I took over as the provider of baby afghans to our family, of course I made a GS afghan. And I haven't stopped making GS afghans and other GS designs since. I often use GSs to work out a pattern, because I can finish one quickly. After the GS version of the design is finished, I can decide whether I want to work the design using another stitch pattern. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. :-)

I am protective of the GS! The pattern I use for the basic square is simple to do, and easy to remember. And, it is the very same pattern that I taught my mother - I can see it in some of the GS afghans and sweaters that she made for me (and that I still have, of course!) I know it shouldn't bother me, but when I see square motifs called Granny Squares, I don't like it! They are motifs that happen to be square and may be worked in rounds, but they are NOT Granny Squares. At least, they are not the Granny Square that I learned oh so long ago!

So, here is the technique I use for the GS. The basic pattern usually consists of groups of 3 dc stitches separated by one chain stitch, except at the corners, where there are 2 or 3 chain stitches. This is supposedly to make a "square" corner. (When you work a corner, you usually put 3 stitches in one, to make it square!) Now, if you are familiar with my designs, you would know that I like to keep things simple and easy to remember. I like non-complicated patterns. So, in the corners of my GSs, I just work one chain. Each group of 3 double crochet stitches is now separated from the next group of 3 double crochet stitches by one chain, and you don't have to remember to add that second chain at the corner. So you can get into your "zen" crochet, and just crochet! Now, what about that rule of "3 stitches at the corner to make a square corner"? Well, you HAVE three "stitches", or groups of stitches. 1. a group of dc stitches. 2. one chain. 3. a group of dc stitches. That is three "things" - so that makes a square corner.

Another benefit of chaining only one at each corner - the granny square you make will be more "together".

Stay tuned for another discussion on how to join the ends of rounds!


snarflemarfle said...

Looking forward to the directions on how to join rounds.

And can I look forward to a post on how to join the little suckers? I don't like the methods I've found for joining...

Vashti Braha said...

A "together" granny square! Yes! I'm bookmarking this post, Marty. Thanks!

Jenn said...

I was wondering what 'yarn of the month' club you were with. I've seen a couple, but been hesitant to join since I could never find anyone who had dealt with them.

Marty Miller said...

Hi Jenn,
I belong to the yarn of the month club at I like it because not only do I get yarn samples each month, but I get credit when I purchase yarn from elann. It works out that the credit equals the subscription price, so the yarn samples are essentially free when you order from elann. :-)

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