Hello, from Ashley Zhong! Reigning queen of Snapdragon Brand and famed Granny Square Obsessive. I'm here today, not because the world needs another pattern for the classic granny square, but because I'd like to share my personal way of making them. I've taken years to experiment, study others and obsess, working to make what I consider the easiest, most attractive, squarest granny square and I'm ready to show the world!
Join me! My way is obviously just one iteration of the classic pattern (I remind myself and others all the time that there are NO rules to crochet), but I think if you give it a try, you might like some of my time-saving methods and proven techniques. Share your thoughts in the comments, or give me some tips to make this tutorial even better!
*Note, this tutorial is best enjoyed if you have some understanding of a basic granny square. If you're a beginner, my instructions may seem a little convoluted. Sorry in advance :p
- A few colors of yarn, medium weight
- An 'I-9' or 5.5 mm Crochet Hook (this is negotiable, it's about how smushy you want it)
Round 1: think SQUARE
Using the color you want the center of your square to be, make a slip knot and chain 4. Use a slip stitch to connect to the end of your chain, forming a loop. It's okay if it doesn't look like a loop (yay! I made a blob!). Chain 2: this counts as your first double crochet. DC 2 into the 'hole' of your loop and chain 1. You have now made your first cluster and are ready to make your next!
To complete your first round, DC 3 into the hole and chain 1 three more times. You should now have 4 clusters with a chain between each, making the corners of the 'square'. Slip stitch into your first cluster to seal the row, cut your yarn and pull it through your loop to tie-off.
Round 2: Saving time!
Make a slip knot with the color you want to use for your 2nd row. Now, I'm about to throw some tricks at you, so be ready!
With your new color, wrap your hook like you would normally do for a DC and make a DC right into one of the little openings between your row 1 clusters. Most patterns would have you slip stitch and chain 2, but I prefer the look of a regular DC.
DC 2 more to make a cluster, chain 1 and make another DC cluster in the same opening (there should now be 6 DCs in the opening, divided by 1 chain).
Next, WITHOUT chaining again, move to the next opening and repeat 3DC, 1Ch, 3DC. Do not chain between corners. This is different from most patterns that would have to put a chain between each cluster. I only chain 1 between the corner clusters to make them nice and square (and nowhere else! This way your square should lay flat no matter how big you make it).
When putting your clusters in the opening that you tied off on the previous row, be careful to crochet OVER the yarn tail, tucking it in against the chain and anchoring/hiding it under your current row. If you did it right, you should have crocheted right on top of it, essentially 'weaving it in' automatically. This shocks people sometimes, but I have found it to be a MAJOR time saver and approve of this method 100%. Slip stitch into your first cluster (of row 2) to seal the row, cut your yarn and pull it through your loop to tie-off.
Row 3: Rinse and repeat
With the color you want to use for the 3rd row, make a slip knot, and DC directly into one of the interior/side openings of row 2. Do not start on a corner, they receive more physical stress and are more likely to come undone down the road.
Complete your cluster and work your way around the square, using 3DC, 1Ch, 3DC for corners and a single cluster in the side openings (no chains in-between). Be sure to crochet over the tails from row 2, tucking them in so you don't have to do it later (I started row 3 with the tails in the picture, but you can tuck them when you get to them, no matter where you start). Slip stitch into the first DC of row 3, cut your yarn and pull it through your loop to tie-off.
Well, once you know how to do row 3, you can repeat the steps forever and watch your square grow, grow, grow. You can even make an afghan out of 1 single giant granny square. The world is your oyster, so get to slurpin'!
Trim your ends with confidence. Each row is knotted onto itself and will not unravel. I frequently wear garments made of granny squares and I have never had anything come apart as long as I crochet over my ends. It's weirdly controversial in the crochet world, but I say there's no such thing as 'cheating' when it comes to making things. If you find a shortcut that doesn't negatively affect your finished product? Go for it! I didn't mention it at the beginning of the tutorial (didn't want to confuse people), but I even tucked in the end when I made the initial loop for row 1.
Things to consider and troubleshooting:
- To flip, or not to flip? Some patterns tell you to flip your work every row. I flip if I feel like it, I don't flip if I don't feel like it. It doesn't matter. I just try to be consistent within a project.
- Is your square slowly twisting from the center? Take time between each row to tug it into an even square. If that doesn't work, flipping your square every row might help.
- Do I need to block? I find that my method doesn't really require blocking. If your squares are not geometric enough for your liking though, just block. No one is judging.
- Is the side where you connect your finished rows getting longer/wider than the other sides of your square? Vary where you connect so that your shaped doesn't distort. I always find the side I connect on is just a little longer, so changing every row keeps the shape even.
- Will my granny square come unraveled? It shouldn't. Just stitch tightly over the tails to make sure they are secure and won't poke out. That way, they're basically double knotted.