If you’re new to the art of crochet, you might be eager to create a unique, handcrafted blanket, purse, or cardigan. But many of those crocheted projects actually begin with something much simpler: a granny square.
Granny squares, which are square pieces of crocheted fabric, are fun and easy to make. But what can you do with such a small, basic square? In crochet, pretty much anything. Once you master a basic granny square pattern, you have nearly limitless possibilities for what you can create.
Below, learn to crochet granny squares of all kinds—and before you know it, you’ll have everything you need to assemble impressive and complex crocheted creations.
What Is a Granny Square?
A granny square is a basic piece of square, crocheted fabric. Surprisingly, it is created by working in rounds from the center outward, rather than in rows. It usually has a lace-like appearance, with fairly large gaps between the stitches.
This type of project was first termed a granny square because it was made with a series of three double crochet stitches in the same space, referred to as granny clusters. However, the definition has since loosened, and granny squares can be structured in a wide range of ways—with or without granny clusters.
Basic granny square patterns are ideal projects for beginners because they are quick to make and use a small amount of yarn. However, they’re not only for beginners; crocheters of all skill levels make granny squares because they can be used to assemble more complex projects, like blankets and sweaters.
What Are Granny Squares Used For?
On its own, a single granny square may not seem like a functional piece of fabric. However, crocheters typically make several granny squares, which they assemble together into blankets, scarves, sweaters, purses, and other larger projects.
Making granny squares is also commonly used for “stashbusting”—that is, using up all the leftover yarn odds and ends from previous projects, rather than letting it go to waste.
What Do You Need to Learn How to Crochet a Granny Square?
To learn to crochet granny squares, you just need a few basic supplies—which, if you’ve already started crocheting, you may already have.
- Crochet hooks: To crochet, you need a single hook (unlike knitting, which requires two needles). To select the right size hook, check the label on your yarn for a recommendation—or try purchasing a variety pack of hooks, so you can easily try out a few different sizes.
- Yarn: If you’ve ever been to the yarn aisle of a craft store, you know that yarn is available in a wide variety of colors, weights, and textures. For a granny square, try a worsted yarn, which is medium weight and perfect for most beginner patterns.
- Stitch markers: Stitch markers can be useful to track locations in your granny squares, like the start of each round. This can help ensure your project ends up as a neat square, rather than slanted or circular.
- Pattern: Especially if you’re new to the craft, it’s helpful to base your project on a pattern. Fortunately, there are plenty of free, easy granny square patterns for beginners.
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Granny Square Crochet Patterns
Not all granny squares are the same. You can find granny square patterns that range from simple to complex (we’re talking flower- and cat-themed granny squares!). As a beginner, aim to find an easy granny square crochet pattern that involves just one or two types of basic stitches. As you get more comfortable, you can move on to more complex pieces.
If you’re ready to learn how to crochet a granny square, here are a few basic granny square patterns to get you started.
Easy Granny Squares for Beginners
A basic granny square can be created in just three rounds, using a few types of foundational stitches: chain, double crochet, and slip stitch.
Use this tri-color granny square pattern to create a traditional square using granny clusters, which are made up of three double crochets each. The pattern is easy enough for beginners, but it also gives you the option to incorporate three different colors (and explains the technique for switching yarn colors mid-square), so you can give your creations some variety. For a slightly larger square, try this pattern, which also involves a color change.
If you’d rather start with a single-color project, this classic granny square pattern is perfect. Once you understand the basic, repeating stitch pattern, you can complete the square very quickly—or, you can continue the pattern outward to create a larger square.
Solid Granny Squares
A solid granny square doesn’t mean that it’s created with a single, solid color—although you can certainly make it that way! Rather, a solid granny square doesn’t have the gaps that you see in a more traditional, lace-like square.
True to its name, this solid granny square pattern has absolutely no gaps. The step-by-step tutorial explains how to successfully avoid the spaces that you would usually see in a granny square (hint: it has to do with eliminating the chain spaces and using triple crochet stitches to turn the corners).
This solid granny square pattern does feature a few small gaps in each corner, but that is a stylistic preference—the holes simply add character.
Single Crochet Granny Squares
Because traditional granny squares look like lace, they’re not suitable for containing items—in other words, they’re not ideal for making things like purses or pencil cases. However, single crochet granny squares, similar to solid granny squares, don’t have gaps or holes. More specifically, however, single crochet granny squares are created using single rather than double crochets.
With this pattern, you can create a square with virtually no gaps—so solid, in fact, that it can be used to create a small box! The tutorial also provides some helpful tips in case your square starts curling or takes on a more circular shape, rather than a square.
Double Crochet Granny Squares
As you may have guessed from its name, a double crochet granny square is one that is made with double crochet stitches. In a pattern, you will see this type of stitch abbreviated as “dc.” At first glance, these are very similar to single crochet or solid granny squares, but if you look closely, you will see that the double crochet stitch is taller than a single crochet stitch, giving the square a slightly different look.
In this pattern, double crochet stitches come together to form a fairly solid granny square—featuring just a few holes in each of the corners. These squares provide great warmth and coverage, so they’re an ideal choice for a blanket.
Put It All Together
Once you master these easy granny squares for beginners, you can move on to more complex patterns. For example, this lotus bloom pattern features a textural, floral motif, and this rainbow granny square is decorated with fun, pom-pom-like accents. Or, try your hand at these cute monkey granny squares—which could be stitched together to make an adorable baby blanket.
And once you amass several granny squares, you have a ton of options for new projects to create—like a cardigan, pullover sweater, beanie, scarf, or tote bag.
No matter how simple or complex of a pattern you choose, granny squares are fun to make, a great way to use up your yarn, and a beautiful foundation for all sorts of other crochet projects.
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