It’s hip to be square with crochet technique

This week’s Craft Corner focuses on a crochet staple that’s been around for ages: granny squares.

Making granny squares is a wonderful skill to have, as it can get you through periods of being snowed or rained in, needing a stress-reducing activity, feeling under the weather – or those terrible times when all of the above hit you at once.

We were reminded of the beauty of granny squares while browsing through a nifty little book we found at Pacific Fabrics &Crafts in Everett.

“Hippie Crafts: Creating a Hip New Look Using Groovy ’60s Crafts” by Joanne O’Sullivan (Lark Books, $12.95, paperback) contains suggestions and instructions for such Summer of Love skills as macrame, leather work, tie-dye, weaving, candlemaking and, of course, crocheting granny squares.

Even before completing our first square, something deep in our brain took over and we were able to make subsequent squares without even glancing at the instructions.

Like riding a bicycle, once the granny square technique is mastered, it’s yours for life.

And the possibilities for using the squares are limited only by your imagination. For our photo, we made a table runner, a six-square ball (for babies or pets) and a panel showing how the squares can be joined to form a cozy afghan.

We also made a hippie-type yarn bag by joining nine small squares for each side of the purse, and a set of potholders using only one color yarn and several different size crochet hooks, but these items are not shown in the photograph.

To begin with, here are the instructions for making the basic granny square. We’ll talk about how to assemble the squares into our sample items later.

To make a granny square, you’ll need to know a few basic crochet stitches: Slip stitch (SS), chain stitch (Ch), single crochet (SC) and double crochet (DC). These are easy stitches to learn and instructions can be found online, in beginning crochet books, or staff at your local yarn or craft store can likely demonstrate them for you in a few minutes.

You’ll also need three or four compatible colors of yarn and a hook the size of your choice. We generally use size H, I, J and K hooks for our projects.

Row 1: Ch 4, 2 DC in 4th Ch from hook, Ch 2, 3 DC in same space, Ch 2; then 3 DC, Ch 2 in same space 2 more times. You will have four clusters of 3 DC with a Ch 2 between each cluster (to form four corners) for your first row. Finish with SS in top of Ch 3 in first cluster, cut yarn and work in end.

Row 2: Add new color yarn with SS in Ch 2 space (corner), Ch 3, 2 DC, Ch 2, then 3 DC in same space, Ch 1. Next, 3 DC, Ch 2, 3 DC in next Ch 2 space, Ch 1 and repeat for final two Ch 2 spaces. Finish with SS in top of first Ch 3, cut yarn and work in end.

Row 3: Add new color yarn with SS in Ch 2 space (corner), Ch 3, 2 DC, Ch 2, then 3 DC in same space, Ch 1, 3 DC in next Ch 1 space, Ch 1. Next, 3 DC, Ch 2, 3 DC in Ch 2 space, Ch 1, 3 DC in Ch 1 space, Ch 1 and repeat for remaining corners and Ch 1 spaces. Finish with SS in top of first Ch 3, cut yarn and work in end.

Row 4: Add new color yarn with SS in Ch 2 space (corner), Ch 3, 2 DC, Ch 2, then 3 DC in same space, Ch 1, *3 DC in next Ch 1 space, Ch 1, 3 DC in next Ch 1 space, Ch 1, 3 DC in next Ch 2 corner space, Ch 2, 3 DC, Ch 1 and repeat from * to complete row. Finish with SS in top of first Ch 3, cut yarn and work in end.

Note: If using only one color yarn, simply SS over to Ch 2 corner space after joining and follow the same instructions to complete the square.

And here are additional instructions for making our sample projects:

Six-square ball: Make six granny squares and join them together (a four-square strip plus two side squares) with a large darning needle and yarn; fill tightly with polyester fiberfill. You can make a fabric cover for the fiberfill if you choose, then stuff the covered ball inside the granny squares.

Table runner and afghan: Make enough granny squares to give you the desired length and width and join them together with slip stitches, single crochets or other methods of choice. Check crochet books or online for options for joining squares and finished outside edges.

Potholders (not shown): Make one granny square for each potholder, using larger, different sized hooks to make several sizes of holders.

Hippie bag (not shown): Make 18 3-row granny squares, single- or multi-colored, and join nine squares (3 rows long and wide per side) for each side of bag. Join sides with single crochet around three sides, leaving one side open. Insert fabric liner to keep bag from stretching and secure around top with needle and thread, using blanket stitch. Crochet handle strap by chain stitching length desired, then two rows of double crochet and single row of single crochet; attach with needle and thread.

Using your imagination and the basic granny square design, see what original items you can come up with for holiday gift items or home decorating.

Talk to us

More in Life

FILE - In this Aug. 29, 2013 file photo, Elvin Bishop performs at the Harley-Davidson 110th Anniversary celebration in Milwaukee, Wis. Bishop, Eddy Clearwater, Jimmy Johnson, John Mayall and the Memphis Jug Band were inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in Memphis, Tenn., on Wednesday, May 4, 2016. (Photo by Barry Brecheisen/Invision for Invision/AP, File)
Music, theater and more: What’s happening in Snohomish County

Elvin Bishop will join fellow bluesman Charlie Musselwhite on stage in Edmonds on May 25.

789_speller: Olive Ostrovsky (played Abby Price) concentrates on her spelling word while her competitors, played by (from left) Amanda Petrowski, Alexa Soriano, Haylie Conchelos, and (back row) Jackson Zimmerman try to distract her in “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” running May 26-June 11 at Red Curtain Arts Center in Marysville.(Kenny Randall)
‘Spelling Bee’ wraps up Marysville theater’s 2022-23 season

“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” will run May 26-June 11 at Red Curtain Arts Center.

Just outside Kraków, the Wieliczka Salt Mine is filled with salt sculptures – and tourists.
Rick Steves’ Europe: Kraków weaves a vibrant cultural tapestry

It’s Poland’s cultural and intellectual center, and easily the nation’s best destination.

Do I express my feelings or keep them to myself?

It might be difficult, but communicating uneasy feelings is an important part of taking care of yourself.

American Queen Voyages takes five months to process refund

May Youngclaus has been waiting months for a refund from American Queen Voyages. Is her money lost at sea?

The all-new 2023 Nissan Ariya has seating for five passengers, and nearly 23 cubic feet of rear cargo room. (Nissan)
2023 Ariya compact is Nissan’s first all-electric SUV

The lineup gives buyers a lot of leeway, with front- or all-wheel drive, and two battery options.

Gary Fontes uprights a tree that fell over in front of The Fontes Manor — a miniature handmade bed and breakfast — on Friday, May 12, 2023, at his home near Silver Lake in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Everett’s mini-Frank Lloyd Wright builds neighborhood of extra tiny homes

A tiny lighthouse, a spooky mansion and more: Gary Fontes’ miniature world of architectural wonders is one-twelfth the size of real life.

Thousands walk the streets of downtown Everett with cameras in hand for return of Cruzin’ to Colby Monday afternoon in Everett, Washington on May 28, 2022. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Everett’s Cruzin’ to Colby car show is ‘place to play on Memorial Day’

And it’s free! Last year’s event drew 50,000 people downtown to see hundreds of gleaming hot rods and cool cars.

“The Tree Frame Cabin” at the site of the Index Cabins, also known as The Pietsch Pit, in Index, Washington on Friday, March 31, 2023.  (Annie Barker / The Herald)
The Index Cabins showcase Sky Valley beauty — and millions of years of history

Nick and Nassim Pietsch’s property offers six ways to see your surroundings in a new light.

Firearm discovered by TSA officers at Paine Field Thursday morning, May 11, 2023, during routine X-ray screening at the security checkpoint. (Transportation Security Administration)
3 guns caught by TSA at Paine Field this month — all loaded

Simple travel advice: Unpack before you pack to make sure there’s not a gun in your carry-on.

The delicate pink flowers of Soapwort are just one part of the tapestry of blooming ground covers in Steve Smith’s garden right now. (Getty Images)
Lament slow growth no longer: Our gardens they are a-changin’

What a difference a few weeks can make! A late-spring surge never fails to keep things interesting.

Eagles are a powerful symbol in American designs from the Great Seal to everyday decorative arts. A carved eagle holds up this table’s faux marble top.
Colonial Revival pieces celebrate American history with classic symbols

Stars and stripes, Uncle Sam, Lady Liberty and, of course, eagles often appear in works from this period.