Saturday Night Hooking: Granny Squares For Any Age

As the year flipped over to 2015, I wondered about my upcoming crafting resolutions.  Would this be the year I finally made a pair of socks?  Would I tackle challenging and delicate lace-weight shawls?  Or would I dip my toes further into crochet and try my hand at granny square blankets?

Well, my student teaching started and I did exactly none of that.  Any time I would have spent with yarn I spent with grading pens and textbooks instead.  But, as the year wound to a close and there were fewer things to grade, I started to discuss fiber crafts with the teacher who taught next door.  She’s a veteran crocheter and, when she found out I had an interest in granny squares, she had no problem finding a pattern for us to follow.

This is how it starts!

This is how it starts!

Now, if you’re like me, the name may have felt a little off-putting.  “Granny squares?”  Excuse me, I only make hip, young things like pumpkin hats, Sherlock dolls, and Harry Potter inspired hats.  But if you have a keen eye, you may have noticed these blankets show up in television shows over and over again, always draped across the back of the couch belonging to either the artsy character or the one who is especially invested in his or her family.  Granny squares evoke a certain feeling because they’re calling back to a different time.  Maybe we grew up watching our own grannies crochet these clever little squares into something greater, or maybe we just really like Mad Men.  Either way, there’s something nostalgic about these patches of yarn, whether we lived it or not.

Making my own granny square blanket felt like a rite of passage.  There isn’t an official master list of yarn creations for growing knitters and crocheters to check off as they advance their skills, but I have my own mental running list.  The more I vary my projects, the more skills there are to pick-up.  No one says you can’t knit hats and only hats for your entire life, but for me?  I need to keep expanding (and not my waistline, thanks — maybe my next goal could involve learning to combine knitting and jogging).


Why are granny squares awesome?  Well:

  • They are portable.  I know I talk about portability a lot on here, but the truth is hauling a full-sized blanket around, plus the skeins of yarn, can be a pain.  I like to have a purse project lurking somewhere beneath my wallet at all times.  I never know if I’m going to be stuck somewhere without anything to read or do, and waiting is just so much more satisfying if I’m being productive.  So, with granny squares, you don’t have to take every square with you.  Leave the bulk of the blanket at home and only bring what you need.
  • For being such an iconic design, they can be so very different.  There are thousands of ways to create a granny square and even changing the yarn type and color creates a thousand more permutations.  They can be all the same, identical squares, or every square can tell a different story.  You can make the design pop with the squares themselves, or you can let those stay uniform and leave the pizzazz to the borders.
  • They are stash busters!  As long as you keep the yarn weight about the same (or string two thinner yarns to match the weight of the other yarn), you can create a brilliant multicolored and multi-textured blanket with all that yarn that’s just hanging around, waiting for its turn.
  • They can be fast.  Now, you can of course use a tiny hook and make intricate squares that take hours, but you can also breeze through your squares using a larger hook.
  • They make for bite-sized crocheting.  Finish a few squares while re-watching The X-Files and watch the pile grow higher.  Any task feels less daunting when you can approach it in smaller chunks (especially while Scully is asking Mulder, again, if he’s making absurd and insane suggestions regarding their case, which turn out to be totally right).
My laziness shows in pictures like these.  "Ugh, I could get off the couch and show this off better, or I could just angle my body and hope it turns out.  Yeah, that's better."

My laziness shows in pictures like these. “Ugh, I could get off the couch and show this off better, or I could just angle my body and hope it turns out. Yeah, that’s better.”

Connecting the squares can be a task, but once they’re loosely together, that’s an easy thing to do while chatting or listening to an audio book.

This is the finished product of a blanket I made in about two solid days.  I was panicking over my very first teaching interview and I was viewing this blanket as a distraction, but also something to accomplish that would somehow get me the job.  I was likening it to the story of the girl who folds all those paper cranes and, when she gets to 1,000, her wish comes true.  I did not get that particular job, so either the magic only happens with cranes or I needed to make 1,000 granny squares.  Oh well.


As with most things I make, once I finish I think, wow, I learned a lot, I could do another one and make it better.  So, with a couple of friends having moved into a new place and a housewarming party on the horizon, I thought Granny Square v.2 would be a perfect gift.  Change up the colors, tighten the stitches, and now we have an entirely different-feeling blanket.  The dreamy subdued colors of the first blanket are much more style, but when I think of these girls I think of poppy, bright colors.  Also, there may be a purposeful sprinkling of Chargers colors in there, too.


I often lay the blanket out just as I’m finishing the last squares so I can get a feel for what it’s going to look like.

Now, my pattern came to me as a xeroxed copy of something my co-teacher found hanging at Jo-Ann’s, but through the magic of technology, it’s available for free on their website.  This is a great starter pattern because it creates a manageable-sized project.  It’s a lap blanket, so you’ll be finished long before you ever start feeling stitch-weary.


I guess the fun part of this that I didn’t realize until right this second is that we have matching blankets in different colors. This may be the yarn equivalent to elementary school friendship necklaces.

Going forward?  I got my mother a book on granny squares for Mother’s Day.  The idea is to make a mother/daughter blanket where we both make our own squares and then stitch them together.  I took a small break from granny squares to go back to knitting for a bit, but I’m looking forward to busting my yarn stash and making an incredible blanket (or Frankenblanket, I guess we’ll see!).


Tuesday Tip Day: Don’t Be Afraid!


I’m leading with this, because I actually spun something. I spun something that’s semi-consistent and it’s getting easier!  Craft-fear, begone!

I would think this tip would be unnecessary to even discuss if I hadn’t been experiencing my own “craft fear” for the last four years.  But, maybe you’re like me.  Maybe you’re the type who doesn’t open her books all the way for fear of creasing the spine.  Maybe you’re hesitant to use a fresh pack of colored pencils because they all have perfectly sharpened tips.  Maybe you have a cabinet full of the “good china” you received as a wedding gift and have never actually used it to eat.  Maybe you collect blank journals, only to shelve them and never, ever consider actually writing in them because that would be desecration or some such nonsense.

That’s right: nonsense!

I do this.  You should not.

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Saturday Night Hooking: San Diego Knit & Crochet Show!

This post comes to you a single day late, because instead of writing about yarn yesterday, I was walking among aisles of it.  The Knit & Crochet Show ran from Wednesday until Saturday, with the first days devoted entirely to classes.  Despite the fact that I am officially on summer break (I recently landed my first teaching job, which now makes my summer a “break” instead of “unemployment”), I decided to forgo the classes and simply attend the marketplace yesterday with my friend Kathy.

Knit & Crochet 01

I hastily snapped this photo after waiting at a red light for a while. I promise it -just- turned green. This is about when I started getting really excited. A convention FULL of yarn!

Now, back in October of 2011, I attended Vogue Knitting Live, which is held in Los Angeles.  I’m going to be honest when I say I expected the marketplace floor to be as big as my previous experience.  The Knit & Crochet Show is cozier, and to be fair I didn’t take advantage of any of the classes that were offered (and that list was extensive!).  So, all I can go by are the three aisles of knitting shops, which were each dense with their yarn and roving offerings (as well as beads and bags and notions).  What I will say is, though Vogue Knitting Live is a bigger show, it didn’t give me nearly the one-on-one attention I received yesterday.

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Tuesday Tip Day: My Go-To Crochet Pattern

The very spirit of this blog is about trying something new: new patterns, new recipes, new substitutes for ingredients, and so on.  My personal desire to bring this back was to encourage myself to get back into the kitchen and to search for challenging patterns to try.  That said, I’m going to backtrack on all of that and give you a tip: find an easy, quick pattern you love and keep it handy.

Someone’s post on Facebook popped up in my feed yesterday and, beside a goofy cartoon character, it read: “There are 20 Fridays until Christmas.”  Without bothering to validate that claim, I felt the panic crawl across my shoulders.  Right now I’m practically made of time.  My cells are composed of free time, which bounce around and multiply into even more free time.  If I get a teaching job, school begins mid-August and my body will instead be replaced with anxiety, excitement, and ideas, but no time to do anything else.  What does this have to do with my tip?  If you’re like me, you favor handmade gifts.  There’s something extra magical about choosing the right yarn (whether for the charming name, the hand-dyed colors, or the pleasing texture) and pairing it with the perfect pattern.  In the past I have purchased skeins of yarn with no idea what to do with them.  This has led to an overflow in my yarn cabinet, as this yarn has simply been stashed away and labeled with invisible tags that read “someday.”  I read a lot about “stash-busting,” but I can’t just throw my yarn at any pattern.

Except this one.  Allow me to introduce you to this thoughtful Christmas gift I received Christmas 2014.


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Saturday Night Hooking: The Game is On!

I think the closest I’ve ever come to time travel was re-reading my “about me” page for this site.  I was twenty-nine when we started, working with Monique at a concrete company in Temecula, and now, at almost-thirty-three, I’ve started and stopped a completely different job, finished my bachelor’s degree and completed a semester of student teaching.  Monique one-upped me, though: she created life!  A life that is a little over a year old now, with beautiful dark hair and eyelashes, just like her mother.

It was never my intention for this site to go dark.  It’s just somewhere in the middle of commuting, schooling, and marrying people (that was my job, everyone!), I stopped keeping up payments on the hosting.  But now that my world has calmed, I wanted to bring this back.  I didn’t realize how much keeping this blog encouraged my creative growth and challenged me to try new things.  Without this accountability I tend to stop branching out and instead stick with the tried and true.

So, hey, we’re back!  And without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to my little friend:


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