Recently I was asked to write a blog post about “Granny Squares” – apparently they are the subject of much debate in the crochet world – I must admit I hadn’t noticed!
It seems that you’re either “for ‘em or against ‘em”. I really can’t understand why these pretty little motifs are the subject of so much debate. It’s an exciting time to be a crochet designer, the pace of change moves so quickly, with innovative construction techniques, seamless crochet becoming more popular and the most amazing crochet installations by talented artists such as Olek and Shauna Richardson. With so much happening in the world of crochet I’m surprised that Granny Square love / hate still hogs the limelight.
Every time I teach a Learn to Crochet class, the first thing everyone asks is “Can I do a Granny Square”? The second question is usually “Is it hard”? “Can anyone do it”? The answers of course are yes, no and yes. The beauty of the Granny Square lies in its simplicity. Anyone can grab a few balls of yarn and learn the simple pattern of chains and yarn over hook.
Although I’ve been crocheting for many decades, I only began to crochet “grannies” a couple of years ago. Inspired by the beautiful blankets my boss (Riana at Fibre and Clay) was making with her mother. I saw the shared joy in choosing colours, the calming influence of yarn over hook and the looks of amazement on customer’s faces when they saw how something beautiful could be made using only one stitch. Those blankets inspired many ladies to take up crochet. Many of them, their confidence boosted by the simplicity of the granny attempted more complicated motifs, triangles, stars, flowers and different joining techniques. Starting with the granny square they embarked on a crochet adventure which will hopefully last a lifetime.
In the same way that knitters fall into many camps (circular vs flat, toe up vs cuff down for example), so crocheters have their favourite stitches and techniques. So, rather than a for or against debate let’s open up the world of crochet and share our knowledge and expertise. Accept our differences of opinion and experiment with new stitches and combinations of familiar favourites.
Enjoy your crochet, and if like me, you find yourself at the end of a busy week, drinking a glass of wine, watching “rubbish tv” and crocheting grannies don’t beat yourself up for failing to challenge yourself. Remember that in years to come it will be those simple cuddly blankets your family will treasure. Like the blanket I still have, made by my Dad in the 1970′s. It’s garish and the colours don’t match, it’s made with cast off acrylic yarns in varying degrees of quality. Yet, it’s full of memories, a dress he made, a waistcoat, a baby blanket made for a friend. While the dresses, jumpers and waistcoats are long lost, that blanket endures and so will the granny square.