I was going to write a post about my 2022 travel next (my excuse for the lack of completed projects in 2022 as I discovered when I wrote my previous post 2022 in Review: Crafting Projects Completed) but I decided to write about a project I am working on completing – a granny square afghan in Autumn colors.
Those are a lot of posts for a blanket that is still not completed. Luckily some of the previous posts included cute photos of Mike the Miniature Schnauzer with the blanket in progress to distract you – ha!
Searched through those posts to see when I started working on it – and the answer is January 2022 (whew it is barely a year old, ha!)
Part of my New Years Resolutions are to complete the projects I have uncompleted. I want 2023 to be a “Year of Completions”. So a couple of days ago I pulled out this dusty project and made a lot of progress (seven out of ten rows now done!!!):
I was laughing to myself as my original plan was to have this afghan completed by Autumn since it has Autumnal colors but then I realize the colors are all season as far as my house as they coordinate with my living room decor:
I have 7 rows completed and 3 more rows to go and then the border.
In previous posts about this blanket I discussed putting several rows of borders on using several of the colors in the individual granny squares.
I thought more about that and I think that will be too busy. I am just going to border it with one row of the brown I am using to attach the granny squares together.
Plan = focus on completing this project, work on it every evening while watching TV and get it done!
During our wanders, we came across an awesome yarn shop called Fibre Space and I thought those of you who love yarn might enjoy a virtual tour.
I knew it was going to be a cool place when we were approaching the shop. They have outside seating surrounded by sheep sculptures!
Plus the front door looked inviting, so I just had to go in (smile):
My photos do not fully capture the experience but when you fit walk in your get hit with a very visually appealing and delicious looking yarn experience:
Upstairs they have their classroom, more yarn (because I guess there just wasn’t enough on the first floor), and a sitting area for non fiber art aficionados (I put John there and he had a relaxing wait while I browsed):
The shop was wonderful as the friendly and helpful staff were wonderful also. I behaved myself and didn’t bring any new yarn home (there is enough yarn currently living at my house) but I did pick up so cute stitch markers and a cedar needle case.
If you happen to find yourself in Old Town Alexandria and you are into yarn, I recommend a visit to this shop.
I’ve completed crocheting a 100 granny square blocks! Here they are in piles based on yarn combinations:
You will notice I do not have an even distribution of color combinations. That is because the blanket is very “scrappy” as it is made from a collection of coordinating thrift store yarns. I had similar but not exact colors and varying amounts of each color.
After sorting piles it was time to do the daunting task of laying it out on the “design carpet” of my living room.
My eyes were crossing as I tried to find a way not to have the same (or similar) squares touch each other but after a while I gave up and said “good enough” and settled on the layout above.
Mike the Miniature Schnauzer tried to distract me while I was sorting and laying out the squares, with his cuteness:
So I decided it was time for him to try on a granny square hat:
I am going to join the granny squares with brown yarn to make a lattice between the squares and then finish off the blanket with a green border, and perhaps a rust border too. We’ll see how it evolves, but first I have to put on a YouTube video on how to join the granny square blocks again (I forgot what I did on my first granny square blanket – Attack of the Giant Granny Square Blanket).
But before I work on joining the squares, I had to organize them into the layout I decided in someway, as I could not just leave them out on the “design carpet”.
So I figured out putting them in piles, with the top of the pile being the first square on the left for each row; and then numbering the rows. Here are the piles laid out:
As you can see in the images above, I ran a piece of yarn through each pile, so they did not get separated/out of order if a pile accidentally got knocked over.
I’ve been traveling a lot lately with my partner John going on his business trips with him and since I actually finished these 100 blocks a couple weeks ago now (so behind on blogging) and I can’t take all of them with me when traveling to start joining them into a blanket, I’ve started another granny square block series to work on while traveling!
I seem to be a little obsessed with making granny squares, they are the perfect portable travel project!
Here is an update on the second granny square blanket I am working on (the first post on it was in January – Granny Squaring Again!).
The weather has been weird in the Denver Metro area. We get teased with Spring with 60 degree Celsius days, and then the next day it is 20 degrees Celsius and a blizzard! I’ve been spending some of those blizzard days staying warm with a cup of tea and crocheting granny squares for my second granny square blanket.
I completed 63 granny square squares so it was time to lay out what I’ve made so far on the “Design Carpet” so I could decide how many more I need to make for a decent sized blanket:
I decided to make the blanket 10 x 10, which is a 100 blocks, so I needed 37 more blocks.
I also realized I need some additional combinations to keep the blanket visually interesting. It is made from thrifted acrylic yarn (I paid one dollar or less for each skein) and I worked with what I had so it is very “scrappy”.
Here are the combinations I have so far:
Since taking these photos, I’ve started working on new combinations and here are some of the centers I’ve made:
I still haven’t decided what color I am going to set the blocks in (like a sashing crocheted between them) but I am still leaning towards brown. I made sure not to make the outer color of any blocks brown so they will not blend into the setting yarn color and look smaller than the other blocks.
I just love working on these little crochet squares and it is mindless perfect crafting for in front of the TV in the evening or even sitting around visiting with friends.
I had another skein of the yarn remaining so I thought Michele might need a scarf to match her hat.
At first I knitted a partial scarf but I was not enjoying the process for some reason. I had it as WIP at the same time I began my first granny square blanket, rediscovering the joy of crocheting. I decided to rip out the knit stitches and start over and crochet the scarf instead.
Here I am working on the scarf with Mike the Miniature Schnauzer supervising:
Is he supervising or is he trying to get pet? I suspect he wants the project out of my hands so I can lay my hands on him!
And here is the scarf completed – I added fringe to the edges to jazz it up a bit:
Michele loves to read and since this scarf was also her birthday gift I decided to wrap it in a stack of used books I gathered for her while thrifting and building my home library (see post Curating a Home Library):
She’s already received her gift in the mail so I can now share this project in a post (smile).
Yes, of course my miniature schnauzer knows how to write blog posts, why are you asking?
Well Mike no longer has to be impatient as I’ve finished my first granny square blanket. I used the word “finished” loosely as I have many yarn strands hanging about it waiting to be woven in.
I wove in the ends as I finished each block but I got lazy when I was joining the 90 blocks into ten (10) rows of nine (9) blocks.
It measures approximately 70 inches by 74 inches (178 cm x 188 cm) and it is much bigger than I thought it would be.
Here is Mike stretched out on it as I tried to photograph it for this post:
Here it is once I removed the miniature schnauzer from it:
After joining the blocks with a dark grey yarn, I added a single border around the whole piece.
I am pretty pleased with myself now that I’ve taught myself via YouTube videos how to crochet granny square blocks and to join them into a blanket. Here are all the posts if you really need something to fill your day (smile, wink) of my first granny square blanket journey. Some of these posts include links to the YouTube videos I used to learn.
Now that I’ve finished the blanket (except for the weeks and weeks of weaving in ends..ha..ahead of me), it is time to finish up hand sewing my quilt Seattle Scrappy (see most recent post on this scrappy quilt – An Update on “Seattle Scrappy” – Haphazard Stitching… ).
I notice a pattern – I seem to be really into grey lately (or is it “gray” I can never decided which one to use).
I want to start my next granny square blanket (I’ve been watching more granny square YouTube videos) but I should not start a new project when there are old ones awaiting some love!
How about that pandemic thing going around. Oh yes it still sucks and I have complete “pandemic fatigue” at this point (I know you are thinking: “join the club”).
A couple of my friends were recently diagnosed with COVID (I was not exposed) and have been on quarantine for a couple weeks. I did drop someone homemade chocolate chip cookies on their porch. They are doing okay and their worse symptom was not being able to smell.
But I will keep on crafting my way through and I might have some news in the next couple of weeks.
This is Mike the Miniature Schnauzer who lives with Tierney of tierneycreates. I am guest blogging on this post as you may have noticed Tierney has not blogged in a while and someone has to keep you updated…at least on my frustration.
If you saw this post like 3 weeks ago (maybe less, Schnauzers are not great with their perception of time) Update on the “Granny Square Madness”, she has been working on (like forever…or “fur-ever” as we say in canine) on a granny square afghan after teaching herself to make one via videos on YouTube.
Well I’ve been waiting a long time for it to be finished and I am getting very impatient!
(First I need to tell you that afghans and other cozy blankets are the “natural habitat” of Miniature Schnauzers)
I first fell in love with the afghan when it was just a couple of square she had made:
Then she made more squares and my love of this afghan kept growing and I would sneak in to lay on them whenever I could:
A Partial Afghan Will Do…I Guess…
Now that she finished 90 granny square blocks, she is SLOWLY (at least in the Schnauzer-Time-Space-Continuum perception) putting the afghan together.
And I cannot wait.
I’ve begun nesting in it, while it is in assembly, any time she steps away from it:
I’ve even begun nesting in it while she is working on attaching the blocks together (note the crochet hook on the lower left):
She’s tried to appease me by wrapping me in it, but I am not fooled:
Do I look “appeased”?!?!? Nope. I want a finished afghan.
Unfortunately she only has 3 rows together and has 7 more rows to add:
She has a system on the guest room bed where she has stacked the individual blocks for each granny square row (so I won’t topple over the rows and mess up her order like I was doing when they were laid out on the living room floor):
She says she is working on it as fast as she can but has this full-time job thing going on and other life activities (poor excuses).
Absolutely Not Appeased
I know I mentioned somewhere in this post that a partial afghan might do but on further thought it does not. I want to nap in the full completed thing!
Here are some photos of me “not appeased” to close out this post:
I thought I would share an update to this post from a couple weeks ago Granny Square Madness, and let you where I am on making my first granny square afghan.
At the previous update I was here in my progress – 46 blocks completed:
And here is where I am as of today – 63 blocks done:
Since I am making the afghan 9 x 10 (90 blocks), I have 27 more to go!
After laying out the completed blocks, I checked my remaining blocks in various stages of progress to make sure I had 27:
And yay – I have 27 in progress! This was important to check as I am getting low on yarn. I’ve already exhausted the magenta and most recently the oatmeal colored yarn; and now I only have 1 skein each of the dark gray and of the light gray.
So I really need to conserve my remaining yarn to complete the rest of the blocks. That was once a full basket of yarn! It does feel good to use up 15 – 20 year old yarn I’ve had in my stash.
I did find a YouTube tutorial that I think I am going to use to attached my blocks:
I like the join in this one. I have not made my final decision yet and plan to check out some more videos before deciding.
But as I mentioned earlier in this post I am running low on yarn, so what yarn will I use to join the blocks? Well – a couple weeks ago I found a giant skein of dark gray yarn (darker than the gray I am already using) at a thrift shop that I think I will use to join the blocks. Today I auditioned it with a couple blocks:
I plan to try joining a couple blocks as a test with the dark. dark gray yarn and see how I like it. I did take a look around the yarn department of Joann’s Fabrics, the same national chain where I bought the original Lions Brand yarn in Seattle, Washington in the early 2000s, and they did not carry any of the exact yarns I am using. Too bad I think it would have been cool to join the blocks with the magenta color!
Once again Mike the Mini Schnauzer tried out the afghan after I laid it out on the carpet:
He continues to grow impatient with me as he wants to snuggle in and fall asleep in the finished afghan.
When he got up from lying on the blocks one of the block got stuck on his foot and he “rearranged” the blocks a little…
Well that is an update for now, back to working on finishing the last 27 blocks!
I am already thinking about my next granny square afghan (not sure when my first one is complete that I can stop the “madness”) and I realized a couple weeks ago I do not have much acrylic or wool-acrylic blend yarn in my stash. I mainly have wool yarns for knitting.
So on my visits to thrift stores to build my home library (future blog post), I’ve also been on the look out for yarn that will work for granny square afghans (acrylic and blends) and slowly building my stash (quite inexpensively):
Recently I’ve took a little hiatus from blogging and social media as I was struggling with an intense bout of grief related to widowhood and things going on in the world (grief sucks as a hobby, I do not recommend it).
One thing I did to distract myself from spiraling into the pit of despair was to keep crafting, specifically working on making granny square blocks for an eventual granny square blanket.
I became a little obsessed with crocheting these blocks and my living room became “Granny Square Central”:
Note – the granny square blankets you see on my sofa above were “rescued” from thrift shops and are part of my “Rescued Granny Square Afghan” collection I mentioned in the previous post (see the Postscript section of this post for my exciting latest acquisition in my “rescue” activities…)
I also began taking a little kit with me when I left the home so I could work on granny squares while riding in the car (while someone else was driving), when waiting at an appointment, when traveling, etc. I did not want to be away from my yarn and crochet hook!
Working on granny squares has been a wonderful distraction and feels very peaceful and grounding. Thank goodness for handwork!
I used a stash of old Lion Brand Wool Ease yarn I’ve had for 20 years in grays, magenta and oatmeal, which is blended wool and acrylic yarns:
And with all this granny square crocheting my collection of completed squares began to build. In the image below I have my completed blocks in a large plastic bag:
At first I designed a block with 4 rows but then added a 5th row to make it bigger, which looked like this:
Then I decided to experiment with a variety of other combinations and below is a slide show of many of the different type of blocks I’ve made (47 to date):
I’ve completed 47 blocks and after laying them out I’ve decided to make the blanket 9 blocks by 10 blocks (90 blocks), so I have another 43 blocks to make.
Here is my latest version of laying out my completed blocks (I had 46 done at the time I took this image):
And here is an image from the first time I laid out the blocks to see what they looked like (I had 15 blocks completed). Mike my Miniature Schnauzer thought the blanket was ready for him to use!
I am currently making 43 centers for the next round of blocks and I decided to have less color changes (a lot of color changes means a lot of weaving in ends) so I am only doing three colors for the rest of the blocks.
Limiting the rest of the blocks to three color combinations works well as I am nearly out of the magenta and the oatmeal but I have lots of the light and dark gray (which will also be the lattice and border when I join the blocks together). So most of the remaining blocks will have a magenta or oatmeal center and then the light gray and dark gray for the remaining color combinations.
I think the centers are so cute, it always pleases me when I finish a center and get the ends weaved in:
I’ve begun working on other projects besides obsessively making granny squares but that is for another post. Now I have to find some YouTube videos on options for joining together my granny squares.
As I mentioned earlier in my post, recently I “rescued” another granny square afghan from the thrift store – a very lovely one. I cannot believe the amount of work that went into this blanket – it must have taken many months to finish. I know the cost of the yarn/materials and then time and effort were more than the $7 that it cost me to buy it from the thrift shop!
This new afghan has given me a lot of comfort. When I was feeling particularly sad I would wrap myself up in it as I knew a lot of love went into making it. I felt I could feel that love when I was snuggled in it and it comforted and calmed me.
I nicknamed it the “full of love afghan”. I do not know how it ended up in a thrift shop but I send a thank you out into the Universe to whoever made it whether they are still living or have passed.
Experienced crocheters – try not to roll your eyes too much while reading this post, ha!
I love Granny Square Afghans. I know how to do basic crochet (I’ve made simple crocheted afghans and scarves in the past) but I always thought Granny Square Afghans were something extremely magical and way beyond my skill level.
I’ve collected them over the years from thrift shops and garage sales. Here are examples of those in my collection:
And here is the link to a post I wrote in 2015 called Granny Square Rescue! about my obsession and an image of my collection circa 2015.
A couple days ago I randomly decided that it was time I learned how to make Granny Squares and a Granny Square afghan.
I’ve looked at patterns in the past but quickly grew intimidated since I am not that experienced a crocheter. Then I remembered my trusty friend YouTube and found a whole bunch of videos on making Granny Squares!
First I followed this video by Jayda InStitches
And made this block!
I cannot tell you how pleased and excited I was to have completed my first Granny Square!
I did not feel like my stitches were not tight enough and so I looked for another instructional video just to get a different perspective on how to make a Granny Square.
So then I watched this video by Hooked by Robin:
The pattern/instruction was slightly different and she used a smaller crochet hook (the first video used an “I”/5.5 mm needle and the second video used a “G”/4 mm) and that seemed to make the difference for tighter stitches.
In the image below, the square on the left is the first one I made with slightly looser stitches (size I crochet hook) and the one of the right is the second one I made with the size G crochet hook.
Now I plan to make up a bunch of centers and get started on “production line” crochet.
I want to be more efficient with the color changes (work on one color of yarn at once instead of constant color changes) as I create enough blocks to make a GRANNY SQUARE AFGHAN!!!
This is going to be a lot of work but I am so excited to make my very own!
I will update you on my progress…
Speaking of making things for the first time, my partner John recently made his first piece of actual furniture in his new workshop in our daylight basement. In the previous post on my blog, Guest Blog Post: A Whole Lot of Remodeling Going On , Mike the dog (giggle) shared that we recently turned part of the basement into his craft room.
Well this weekend he put the room to use and made two redwood side tables for our front porch which matched the style of the existing coffee table on the porch: