MillWorks: Granny Square Tutorial

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Granny Square

A granny square is one of the most versatile things you can learn to make. So many patterns that use granny squares go on and on with instructions. But there's a saying about giving a man a fish and he can eat for a day; teach him to fish and he can eat for a lifetime. Thankfully, granny squares aren't as stinky as fish, but they have a similar potential in that once you learn how to make one, you can use the basic premise for a lifetime to create all sorts of fun projects. These instructions guide you through learning how a granny square works, so that you will be off and running and quickly comprehend the process. Everything is just a repeat of what is done before, so no elaborate pattern is needed for a project--and it's even easy to memorize. Be sure to read my notes at the bottom for lots of project ideas!

Beginning: To know what size yarn or crochet cotton and crochet hook to use, choose any yarn (!), and then look on the label of the yarn you have chosen for your project. It will give a recommended hook size. It's generally okay to size up or down a size for the hook if you don't happen to have that size.

Chain 4 stitches. Slip stitch in the very first chain stitch made, creating a ring. It's helpful here to remove the crochet hook temporarily and use it to poke a more obvious hole in the center of the ring. Sometimes they can be a bit tricky to find.

First round: Chain 3 stitches (this counts as a double crochet). Double crochet twice in the ring, creating the "look" of 3 double crochets. Next, chain 2, then 3 double crochet--three times (in other words, place two chains between each grouping of 3 double crochet). Chain two, then join in the third chain (we're back at the beginning) with a slip stitch. If this is done properly, you will have four sets of three double crochets, and these sets are separated by four chain two spaces.

Now we're on to the repeat section, containing what you will need to do for the rest of the granny square. You will always, at the end of each round, slip stitch in the beginning chain 3.

Whenever you make a final connecting slip stitch (when you get back to the beginning chain 3), you have a choice! Either:
1) Fasten off this color completely and then reattach a new color in any corner (corners are chain 2 spaces)
2) Continue on by slip stitching in each double crochet until you reach a corner, and then slip stitch in the corner to begin again. This will be a total of three slip stitches.

Corners: In the first chain 2 space (corner), chain 3, 2 double crochet, chain 2, 3 double crochet, then chain 1. On the other three corners (those other than the beginning one in each round), replace 3 double crochet for "chain 3, 2 double crochet." (The 3 chains at the very beginning of each round are to help you see the beginning and to build up the height of the first stitch. This beginning chain 3 always counts as a double crochet.)

Sides: Along the sides/edges, 3 double crochet in each chain 1 space (don't work into the double crochet stitches), chain 1 to the next space. As you go around, you're creating more and more of these sections, and "magically" making the granny square grow in size!

All of this may sound a bit confusing when you read it, but the best thing to do is grab a crochet hook and some yarn and try it. It's really easy, and in no time at all, you'll be able to make granny squares without using any instructions.

Here's a throw/baby blanket I made using these instructions. You don't need to use an edging, but I followed the instructions for one at:

The granny square throw at the top of the page is about 42" square. For the final round and a thin, solid border, I crocheted into every double crochet and into each space. Each corner has five double crochet in the two-chain space. Lastly, I crocheted a final round of tight single crochet.

Tip: If making one continuous granny square blanket with one color of yarn and using the slip stitch method, you may wish to detach the yarn and reattach it in another corner every once in a while after a round is complete. Otherwise, one of the four diagonals of your blanket will look a bit different in texture due to all the slip stitches that are made in the corner. Reattaching the yarn in a different corner at random will spread those slip stitches throughout the afghan and make them less noticeable overall.


The most basic project you can make is just a coaster, as pictured on this page. I made this custom-jumbo-mug-sized coaster using my instructions that you see here, so you can make one that looks just like it! (It's made with a G hook and size 4 yarn. Omit one round for a normal-sized coaster.) You can make a granny square blanket that is one huge granny square--or many small squares all the same size combined together. But that's just the beginning. You can mix sizes and colors for a lot of variety. How about a scarf? Just sew up a bunch that are all the same size. You can even intersperse some of those with half-size ones sewn side by side to bigger ones so that they are the same width. A throw pillow can be made similarly to a blanket, but be sure to line it with fabric before stuffing (or use a pre-made pillow form). Think of a granny square as fabric. Just about anything you can make with fabric, you can use granny squares to make, too, including ponchos, shawls, and purses. There's really no limit to what you can do once you master making this versatile little friend.

Have fun!

Providing crafts since October 2011. Granny square instructions are from November 2011. Copyright 2011- and all contents by Millie. Resulting products can only be kept or given away as gifts. Always keep safety in mind.