Granny Squares Rock!

The Rambler’s Granny Square Scarf

Yesterday was “International Granny Square Day”, you didn’t know granny squares had their own “day”? Well everything has it’s own day in the spot light  these days and so it’s no surprise someone decided to celebrate the humble granny. (Check Suregal27 ‘s Instagram feed for more background and pictures). Even though I learned to crochet as a young child, I didn’t make my first granny square until well into my 40’s. I always thought they were garish, just for blankets and not really my thing at all. Now I love my grannies and wear this tank top “all” the time!

I could easily fill a book (several books) with some of my favourite granny square projects. Luckily I don’t need to write a book, because Sarah London, Susan Pinner and Laura Strutt (among others) have beaten me to it, revealing the multitude of projects you can make using this basic technique. Over the years I’ve been asked to design lots of projects for books and magazine using the granny motif and it’s still the most popular of my workshops. There have been cushions, blankets and stool covers. I’ve tried to show that granny squares can be more than just a way to use up all those garish, clashing scraps in your stash!

Granny square pot holders for Homemaker magazine

Yesterday reminded me that it’s time we celebrated the granny again (after all, grannies are cool!) and so I want to start sharing some ideas that go beyond the usual blankets, cushions, hot water bottle covers and tea cosies that you can find online.

I’m going to give you permission to get playful and creative. Think about your favourite colour schemes and design aesthetic (are you boho, Scandi, vintage or just a magpie like me). We’re going to free our  scraps and make lovely things for ourselves and our homes. The gorgeous baby blanket (pictured left) was made using a palette of pale grey, blue and cream. The result is a modern, stylish and practical baby gift.

You can already find some of my designs online and in my books (shameless plug: “Crochet: Learn it, Love It” * has a whole section of step by step photos and instructions for making granny squares, hexagons and triangles). There are some fabulous tutorials and videos showing you how to make a granny square online, or find a local class. I’ll be running a few granny square classes in the autumn, here in Cheshire.

Find the instructions for this super bright cushion here on Granny Cool

Right, let’s get started. Dive into your stash, find some pretty colours. The next few weeks are going to be all about the grannies! To get you started, I’ve put together a Pinterest board, called Granny Squares Rock. It’s full of photos and links to some amazing granny square projects, and you can also find some of my patterns on Ravelry and Love Knitting.

let’s start with the  instructions for making a basic granny square cushion . You’ll need to be able to crochet a granny square, so if you don’t know how to make one and don’t have access to a book or magazine with instructions, you might want to look at this step by step guide to crocheting a granny square on Helen Free’s blog. The instructions are for a cushion made using chunky wool. You can use any weight of yarn and an appropriate size hook – you’ll just need to work more rounds to fit your cushion pad. Once you’ve made a cushion, you can make a blanket, just by working more rounds. Next week I’ll show you how to make smaller motifs and join them as you work to make a snuggly scarf, a wrap or a blanket.

Happy crafting x

 

  • Also published in the UK with the title “The Woman’s Weekly Guide to Crochet”).

 

 

New Trend – “Granny Hobbies”

20151012_102844According to Grazia, this is the year when grannies get cool. Apparently all the bright young things will be dusting off their jam pans or  signing up for pottery classes.  Of course, knitting and crochet get a mention – despite the elegant, modern and stylish designs which regularly appear in print – the media insist on perpetuating the myth that crochet is all about 70’s  waistcoats, blankets in migraine inducing colour combos and cute toys.

wendy ramsdale scarfFor some of us, crochet (and knitting) have always been cool, enjoyed by young and old, men and women. It really doesn’t matter what the media think, most of us will carry on making and being inspired by the new generation of designers. Our crafts continue to push boundaries, old techniques are re-imagined in modern yarns and colour palettes.

So why is the term “granny craft” often used as a pejorative term? A way to generate humour or to poke fun? The “old ways”, dressmaking, home preserving and  growing our own food never went out of fashion, they were never forgotten. It just seemed, that for a little while at least the media preferred to sell us the myth of the new – the ready made, instant gratification lifestyle – and some of them maybe believed that was reality. To fill column inches by writing about the rise “granny crafts” is to miss the point, it’s lazy journalism. I for one am grateful to Franklin Habit, who hit the nail squarely on the head this week in his piece: “A Friendly Three Point Message to Journalists Who Seek to Write About Knitting and Crochet” This absolutely the best thing I’ve read in ages.20151017_104637Sorry Grazia, Grannies have always been cool, the backbone of society. Providing support to their families, inspiring new generations, passing on their wisdom while holding down jobs, running homes, making and mending in all manner of ways. Grannies, like the ubiquitous granny square, have style, the ability to adapt and remain relevant in a changing society – that why we all love our grannies – in every shape and form.

 

 

%d bloggers like this: