Classroom Corner

Beginners guide to Granny Squares

How about making use of all the oddments of wool that you have been stashing and meaning to crochet, and turn it in a beautiful warm blanket ready for you to snuggle under in the Winter months

This blanket is made up with basic granny squares and then joined with a dc stitch. I have finished it off with an easy edging of trebles.

Once you have mastered the basic stitches in crochet, you can create a granny square.

These can be used in a variety of projects - one on its own could be a coaster, you can make several and join them together to make a scarf, or lots and lots together can make a gorgeous blanket

Below is the instructions for a basic granny square

The first thing you need to do is create the centre of your square - I have used the chain method below but in my blanket above I have used the magic ring method - this simply means that you have control on how small you make the centre hole - I have pulled the wool tight so there is no hole in the middle - but this is purely down to personal choice

Top tip - when practising making granny squares use a bigger hook than needed - this will allow you to see your stitches more easily. Once you are confident that you know what you are doing you can then use the correct size hook for the weight of yarn you are using, so for example, if I was working with DK (usually a 4mm hook), I would work with a 5mm or even a 6mm hook

Make a chain of 5 or 6 - The more you do the bigger the centre hole will be, and join with a slip stitch in the first chain (the one furthest away from the hook)

Top tip - make the chain slightly longer if you are practising, as it will be easier to work the trebles into a larger hole - a 10 chain would give you a large enough hole to do this

We now need to create our first row, which will consist of four sides and four corners that we will make as below

Work a 3ch - when working with rows or rounds of trebles you always need to do a 3 chain first - this will give the height to your round so that the first stitch doesn't look all bunched up - no-one will know that it is a chain and not a treble as once the first set of trebles are done, it simply blends in.
You do count it as your first treble though
Right as this is a square, we now need to create our four corners, the sides on this row will create themselves by the 3 trebles that we will work and the corners will be created by a 3 chain

So, as you have just made a 3 chain (as we mentioned, this will count as our 1st treble), work a further 2 more trebles into the centre hole
That's the first side completed
Now work a 3 chain - that's the first corner and then work 3 more trebles into the ring
As below, you will see that you now have 2 sides and 1 corner of your square

Next comes a 3 chain (2nd corner) 3 trebles into the ring (3rd side) a 3 chain (3rd corner), 3 trebles into ring (4th side) and a 3 chain. To make the 4th corner simply join this chain to the 3rd (top) chain in the first 3 chain that we made in this row
Below I am joining them into this stitch

You should now have a square as below

We now want to make the next row and you will see that this is when our sides lengthen - this is because we are going to be working 2 sets of trebles into each corner and this will create another space down each side - this is how granny squares grow

Top tip - I personaly like to do a stitch into the corner first so I put my hook through the corner, yarn over and pull the loops over - it just makes it neater when you do your first 3 chain, but again this is my preference and not essential

Work a 3 chain - it is the same principal as before (this will be your 1st treble) and work a further 2 trebles into the same space
We now have to make this row bigger than the previous one, otherwise it would just grow into a cylinder shape and we want it to lay flat - This is done in the corners of each row so we need to work a 3 chain and then 3 more trebles into the same space as the first 3 trebles we worked
So you will see below we we now have the first corner

Now work a 1 chain - we do this so that when we do the next row we will have room for our 3 trebles to lay nice and even in. This 1chain is creating a space down the side of our square
We finish the other sides by working 3 trebles, 3 chain and 3 trebles into same space (2nd corner completed) then a 1chain (to make our side space) 3 trebles, 3 chain and 3 trebles into same space  (3rd corner completed) then a 1chain (to make our side space) 3 trebles, 3 chain and 3 trebles into same space (4th corner completed) then a 1 chain and as before we join this row by a slip stitch into the top of the 3rd chain of the first one worked in the row
You can now see, that by working into the corner twice we create a space and our sides grow

As you will see by the picture above, the last stitch worked is awkwardly placed just to the left of the space, to get a nice smooth transition from one row to the next work a slip stitch in each of the trebles to the left and then work a single stitch in the corner by inserting hook, yarn over and pull through loops

So above I have worked a slip stitch in the top of the three trebles and worked a stitch in the corner, I can now carry on as per previous round starting the row as always with a 3 chain

On the row just worked you now have the four corners and this time two spaces along each side, each row that you complete will create another space down each side - this is one way that you can count to make sure that each square you do has the same number of rows in it

And that's about it really for creating a Granny square - the rest is up to you - you can make them as big or as small as you like

Top tip - if you want to create a big blanket, but like me, don't relish the thought of joining lots and lots and lots of squares, make each square bigger, that way you won't have so many to join

You can also change the look of your squares too
In the picture below, all the squares have the same amount of rows in, but if you change the number of chains you do in the round then you can create a different effect

The purple square was made using the method I have just shown above

With the blue square, instead of 3 chains to create the corners, I only did a 1 chain and I didn't do a 1 chain to create the space, I simply worked the 3 trebles into each space - This gives a much closer weave to the square

With the yellow square, I still did the 3 chains into each corner, but I also did 3 chains in between to create a larger space and the weave is much more open and it grows quicker too

Top tip
When you first start out making granny squares, you may find that you struggle with your tension - this will come with lots and lots of practise, but if you find that your tension is really tight, try doing an extra chain, or if the opposite is happening and your work is all baggy and mis-shapen, try doing fewer chains - at first it really is all about tension but I promise that it will come with practise

Happy Crocheting and as ever if you need any help just let me know


Repairing a missed or damaged stitch


Have you ever been crocheting a HUGE round of your blanket and realised that on the previous row you have made a mistake - Big sigh !
If you're anything like me, I sit there pondering, thinking "no-one will know" and then try and carry on but something niggles away in the back of my mind and try as I might, I just can't carry on.
So many times I have spent ages and ages unpicking it and re-doing it, until I suddenly had a brainwave and came up with a solution
So if that has happened to you, next time you may just want to give this a go

On the blue row I have noticed that I only did 1 treble in the space - not too bad if my square was still relatively small and easy to unpick, but I need to repair it without unpicking it

The first thing you need to do is to unpick the row that you are currently working on, making sure that you go back far enough to be able to comfortably work on the mistake

 Now this is the scary bit - you need to cut to the left of the mistake. 

Unpick the stitches to the left and make sure that you secure the stitch so that it doesn't come undone.
You also need to unpick to the right making sure that you have enough yarn to be able to re-join a new bit of yarn to it

 The yarn on the right hand side is long enough to join a new piece on to it

Starting with the joined yarn on the right hand side, crochet the right amount of stitches in each space- In the picture previous to the one above, you will see that the left hand stitches only has two trebles in it so when I reached this part I only needed to work one treble (so there were 3 in total in the space) and join the work with a slip stitch to the top of the row

All you need to do now is continue working on your project and once you have sewn the ends in, no-one will ever know that you had gone wrong

I hope this will help you, if you find like me that you can't carry on your project 

Happy Crocheting


Magic Ring Tutorial

I met a lovely fellow crafter in a shop the other day and we got chatting about crochet - she is fairly new to it and we happened to stumble upon the topic of the magic ring - she was saying that although she had tried it several times, she just couldn't quite get to grips with it. I have used this method for years and have to admit that it is a little tricky at first, but once you have got the knack, this is a great trick to know for when you want a solid middle to your squares

A lot of tutorials make them hard to follow, by instructing you to wind the yarn around several times to make the initial ring - and yes this may make the centre stronger, but if you don't pull the yarns in the right order or pull it too tight too quickly, it simply snags up and gets you all in a pickle

As I mentioned, I have been doing it as below for years and have never had a centre unravel or break on me yet so I have put together a simple guide on how I do it

First of all lay your yarn loosely over the palm of your hand with the end of the wool to the front at the bottom

Reach behind and pull the wool back over your palm starting from the bottom and then laying it over the top of your hand

Next, make a fist with your hand and trap the wool between your thumb and first finger - this is just to secure the yarn and stop it moving about

With your other hand, take the strand of wool that is attached to the ball and pull a loop under the other strand

The next steps are the tricky ones and it becomes a bit of a balancing act - do persevere though as it does get easier the more that you practise
Above is the stitch that will secure the start of the magic ring and it's done by inserting your hook through the loop (that you have just created), yarn over and pull hook back through to create a chain stitch - pull this one fairly taut, but not over tight

Keeping your work in your right hand work a further 3 chain - this will become the first treble of this round - If you are working double crochets in the ring then you only need to do a 1 or 2 chain here

Top Tip - Until you have mastered the magic ring, it may be easier for you to work double crochets into the centre when you are practising - the beauty of this method is, it doesn't really matter how many stitches you do in the centre as you will be pulling the yarn tight to close the hole

Lay your work down and tease the loose end out to the side as above, so that once you have finished your stitches, it will be easier to pull the hole closed

This is the bit that takes some juggling - you need to transfer the loop to your left hand now and keeping the ring open, you need to work your required amount of stitches in the centre of the ring - you may need to grasp the loose end with your right hand  - it sounds tricky but I promise it will get easier the more you do it

So - if you are working trebles, yarn over your hook, insert your hook into the ring, yarn over again and pull hook back, yarn over and pull hook back through first two loops, yarn over and pull hook back through remaining two loops 

I need 12 trebles for this pattern so have completed 12 into the ring as above - you will see that the ring doesn't much resemble a ring shape, but that's ok as long as you have worked the stitches around the yarn and through the centre

To close the ring, gently pull on the end of your yarn and you will see the stitches forming a circle shape

To close to circle and finish off your magic ring, work a slip stitch in the 3rd stitch of the chain you made at the beginning

Then just carry on with your pattern, but remember, that unless your secure the loose end, it will come undone. I always thread the loose end on a wool darning needle , catch it at the back through a couple of stitches, then wrap the yarn around my needle and pull it through to form a knot -  then I weave the yarn in and out of the stitches to neaten and cut close to my work so the end becomes hidden

I hope you have fun trying, although at first I'm sure the air may be a little blue and remember I'm always here to answer any questions that you may have

Happy Crocheting

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