Granny Hullabaloo?

baby blanket for tashRecently 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.

gtannies collage

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.

2012-07-26 13.56.47

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.

knit and crochet ref pics 115

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.

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  1. A lovely blog Tracey! Thank you x


  2. It’s the same in the quilting world – traditional quilts, art quilts, sewn by hand, sewn by machine. I really can’t be bothered with all the nonsense – why can’t we just do what makes us happy! And don’t get me started on the knitters who sneer at those who like to knit toys and tea cosies!!


  3. I love the therapeutic calming rhythm of going round in circles without counting stitches! Its also fun thinking up creative uses for the classic humble granny. What a great reminder of our 70s childhood too! Ali x


  4. Just found your blog through the hexagon project forum and I’m very much with you on this… if you enjoy the soothing rhythm of trebles while watching tv or travelling then grannies are perfect. And they’re so versatile!


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  • I’m Tracey Todhunter. I’m a freelance writer. specialising in green / ethical living – with a “sideline” in craft!

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  • A throwback to when @andreaellisonphoto & I visited the guys from  @nine_meals_from_anarchy in 2014. So much has changed since then, but I'm still wearing that granny square cowl, coat & wellies combo for gardening! Oh and I lust after a greenhouse this big - think of the possibilities!!! I'm still not comfortable in front of the camera, but Andrea always brings out the best in me. I ♥ all the photos she's taken of me and my crochet!
#grannycoolcrochet #grannysquaresrock #grannysquare #instacrochet #crochetgirlgang #30wears #girlgardener #permaculture #organicgardener #ninemealsfromanarchy All the rhubarb!  My neighbour's crop is showing promise! I'm thinking gin, crumble, maybe some rose petal and rhubarb cordial, rhubarb and ginger jam ... more gin.......I do love rhubarb!!!! My creative space. Today I had a bit of a spring clean & tidied my desk . I took this photo to remind myself how tidy I can be! By Friday it will be a chaotic mess again. You can also see some of my "must haves". Flowers (from a gorgeous posy bought last week in a beautiful posy bottle made by Victoria at Little Wren,  handcream, lip balm and a scented candle - this is a new @willowandhoneyuk candle  bought today from @thelittlecraftcompany it smells divine and the wooden wick crackles in a very satisfying way! I'm working on a new commission for Inside Crochet using super bright shades of cotton, using a lovely wooden hook bought from Beyond Measure at Woolfest last year. On the notice board, a few favourite photos, some paperwork & the ladybird pattern that came free with issue 99 of @insidecrochet . I've put it there to remind me that once this book is finished I can have some fun! There are lots of people tagged in this post - too many to mention - but I love buying lovely things from real people & my workspace reflects that admiration for women who run their own businesses & do it well! Explore the tags and you might discover some new favourites! Flowers everywhere! Bunches of cut flowers in my kitchen, blooms in the bathroom and a desk covered in crochet florals. This spring my designs have been influenced by love of the outdoors.  This is a sneaky peek of a new design, commissioned for issue 100 of @insidecrochet , believe me, this is an issue you will not want to miss!!! #instacrochet #crochetflower #girlgardener #knittersofinstagram #grannycoolcrochet #haaktechniekenbijbel #uncinetto #horgolás Goodbye winter, hello spring! I spent most of the weekend in the garden, tidying and prepping the greenhouse, pricking out seedlings & watching the first Gardener's World of the new season. The greenfinches are skirmishing, the sap is rising, buds are forming and it's light enough to step outside when I wake up. Happy days!
#girlgardener #badbirdwatcher #instagarden #morningslikethese #littlestoriesofmylife #slowliving Happy Mother's day! My Mum (in the headscarf), my Granny, my Auntie. All no longer here, but every mother's day I think of them with love and admiration. And that photo - you can't beat a cheesy 1960's beach holiday photo booth!
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