Knit and Crochet Away!

Granny Square Madness

This is a follow up to my blog post Making My Own Granny Square Afghan, in which I discuss how I taught myself via YouTube videos to crochet granny square blocks.

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.


Postscript

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.

Knit and Crochet Away!

Making My Own Granny Square Afghan

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:

2020-08-15_07-39-14_4692020-08-15_07-39-28_5712020-08-15_07-40-09_965And 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.

Rescued Granny Square Afghans - all safe and loved in my homeA 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!

2020-08-15_07-35-16_5262020-08-15_17-33-02_767I 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.

2020-08-15_17-32-56_112Now 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!!!

2020-08-16_12-31-20_605This 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…


Postscript

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:

2020-08-15_14-46-33_8352020-08-15_16-35-17_7922020-08-16_12-32-30_5402020-08-16_12-32-52_530So we were both pretty proud of ourselves!

A Crafter's Life, Thrift Shop Adventures

Granny Square Rescue!

It all began 6 years ago when I attended a neighborhood garage sale and spotted a granny square afghan for $2. I picked it up and studied the amount of work, effort and love that went into making that crocheted blanket. Before I could stop myself, I exclaimed to the seller “Wow, someone put a lot of work into this and you are selling it for only $2? I hope someone does not sell a quilt I made for them for $2!”

The seller/home owner looked at me like I had lost my mind and replied “Well you can pay me more for it if it makes you feel better!”  I gave her the $2 and quickly left the garage sale (before my foot reentered my mouth), but this began my obsession with “rescuing” granny square afghans.

I only daydream someday of making a granny square afghan. I have several craft books about making them (does that count?) but I have yet to make one. I so appreciate the work and craft that goes into making one.

The ones in the photo below are from garage sales and thrift stores. My most recent one (in the upper right hand corner) was a gift from a friend that got it for $1 at a thrift store.

Rescued Granny Square Afghans - all safe and loved in my home
Rescued Granny Square Afghans – all safe and loved in my home
I shudder at the thought that maybe one day one of my quilts that I spent months making (as I am sure these granny square afghans took to make) will be on sale for $1 – $2 at a thrift store or garage sale. Of course all crafters have to remember: Once you give someone a handmade item as a gift, you have to let it release it emotionally – you have no control over what happens to it next.  (It took me awhile to learn this lesson).

As long as they do not become clutter in my home (just how many granny square afghans would be considered “clutter”?), I will keep “rescuing” beautiful granny square afghans and giving them the love and appreciation they deserve!