Hello and welcome to my 'Granny Tech' page!
A tutorial on how to make a basic granny square with loads of photos, designed for absolute beginners who are maybe holding a crochet hook for the very first time.
I may have directed you here from one of my workshops, or you may have stumbled across this page whilst searching for tutorials, but either way I'm glad you're here! Settle down with a liquid refreshment of your choice, your tools and materials and let's go...
So first of all you need your hook, yarn, scissors and darning needle (or I've got a knitters needle). I'm using double knit yarn in 3 different colours and a UK size 4mm crochet hook. I like to use different colour yarn when teaching granny squares because it makes it easier to see where to stick your hook :o)
The first thing you need to do is get a loop - called a slip-knot, onto your hook. Make a loop with your yarn as in the photo above and then put your hook through the looped bit and hook the yarn that leads to the ball (called the working yarn). Remember the crochet hook is your tool that you need to angle in certain ways to be able to 'fish' the yarn when you need it.
In the photo below you can see I've hooked the working yarn through the bit that was looped...
The first stitch you need to do is a chain stitch, that is abbreviated to 'ch' in pattern writing. Use your thumb and middle finger to hold the knot and lay the working yarn over the top of your forefinger as shown. You can also wind the working yarn around your little finger as well for better tension but I have gone all these years crocheting without doing that so it's not completely necessary. See how you get on but it's too early at this stage to worry about tension. You need to get to grips with how to work the stitches first, and then as you practice your tension will improve naturally. A note to log in the back of your mind for later: it doesn't matter if your tension is tight or loose as long as it's even. You can switch hook size to get gauge (correct tension) if you need to.
Anyway, back to the chain stitch. Can you see in the picture above I have angled my hook slightly downwards so I can fish the yarn and pull it through the loop that is on the hook? Once pulled through that is the chain stitch done - easy peasy!
So do that motion again - 5 more times and you will end up with a little chain of stitches as below (hence the name I guess)
Ok, so with granny squares you work 'in the round' (rather than back and forth in rows) and to get started with that you need to make your chain stitches into a ring. To do this insert your hook into the first chain stitch you made...
...using the working yarn wrap it around the hook (this is called a yarn over) and fish the yarn back through that first chain stitch - this will result in you having 2 loops on your hook.
Continue to pull that 'fished' yarn through the first loop on your hook, meaning you end up with one loop left.
This is the fiddliest bit I think and it's also difficult to photograph! Remember to get your hook to work for you and angle it down to be able to fish the yarn you need to pull through the loop. You want to end up with a little ring of chain stitches hanging down from your hook.
The next thing to do is another 3 chain stitches, the same as you did to make up the ring. So with the one loop on your hook do a 'yarn over' (wrap yarn around hook from back to front) and angle the hook so you can pull the yarn over through the loop - and do this 3 times.
This chain of 3 stitches represents the first treble stitch of the round, I'll explain a bit more about that later but lets actually do a treble stitch now: yarn over as in above photo, all the while holding the ring of chain stitches that you need to work out of with your thumb and middle finger. Can you see in the photo above how I hold my forefinger up slightly with the working yarn layed over the top of it? This means I can angle the hook by rocking it slightly with my right hand and going up behind the working yarn I can fish it with the hook - and by doing this you have (for the purpose of the crochet) 2 loops on your hook.
So keeping these 2 loops on the hook insert the hook into the centre of the ring of chain stitches - right into the hole in the middle and again using the hook, you need to fish that working yarn and pull it back through to the front - and there is 3 loops on your hook!
Another yarn over please - see 4 loops on the hook in the photo below?
and with that yarn over trapped under the actual hook so it doesn't slip off, pull it through the first 2 loops that are there - leaving you with 2 loops.
Another yarn over please...
...and pull through the remaining 2 loops.
I know it feels really awkward at this stage, it's a case of repeating the same motion over and over to get the feel of it. With crochet, once the stitch is complete you should only ever have one loop left on the hook. If you have more you probably haven't finished the stitch off, or your yarn may have split. Don't be afraid to pull the stitch out and do it again - it's practice!
So you need to do another treble (by the way this is abbreviated to 'tr' in patterns) so repeat the same motion as described. The picture above shows my thumb holding the ring of chain stitches with the first treble represented by 3 chain stitches and then 2 actual treble stitches worked out of the ring.
Now do 2 more chain stitches as shown below...
and work 3 more treble stitches into the ring, and another 2 chain stitches as shown below:
and another 3 trebles, and 2 chains please...
and another set of 3 trebles and 2 more chains. Can you see how the picture below looks like a little square? If your's looks a bit round pull the chain stitches a bit as they are the corners.
Ok so we are nearly finished round 1. You just need to close the round with a 'slip-stitch'. Poke your hook into the top of the 3 chain stitches you made that represent the first treble, do a yarn over and pull that yarn over through the chain stitch and also through the loop on the hook. With one loop left on your hook cut the yarn leaving an end of about 3 inches. Wiggle the hook so that you make the loop a bit bigger, take your hook out and thread the yarn end through the enlarged loop and pull tight.
So we now are ready to start round 2. Grab the second colour yarn, insert your crochet hook from front to back through the spaces in the corners that are formed by doing the 2 chain stitches in round 1, and fish a loop of the new colour yarn through. This is not a proper stitch - if you keep pulling the end would just come through. Use your thumb and middle finger to hold the new yarn end securely whilst holding your work.
The photo below shows a yarn over ready to do the first chain stitch of round 2 - you need to work 3 chains, as you did in round 1.
Once you've done the 3 chain stitches you need to do 2 treble stitches, and 2 chains - this is repeating what you did in round 1, just with your new colour and working out of the corner space instead of the centre ring. Note in the photo below I have the new colour yarn end laid along side the ch2 of the corner space - this is so as I'm working my stitches, going in and out of the corner space, the yarn end is encased at the base of the treble stitches which makes it more secure.
Ok, so in the new colour yarn, you've worked your 3 chain stitches that represent the first treble and also 2 actual trebles and 2 chain stitches - the same as the first round. What you need to do next is work another 3 trebles still into the same corner space.
then do 1 chain stitch. Just one.
You now need to start working out of the next corner space along (working anti-clockwise) You can see below I have worked 1 treble into the second corner space.
and I've continued making the new corner by working another 2 trebles, 2 chain stitches and then a further 3 trebles. In the picture below you can see I'm rotating the work as I go.
So remember to do the 1 chain stitch in between the sets of corner stitches and then work 3 trebles, 2 chain stitches and 3 further trebles into the next corner space along. In a pattern this would be written like: [3tr, 2ch, 3tr] into 2ch space.
Again you can see below I'm rotating the work as I finish each corner.
Work the fourth corner in the same manner, do 1 chain stitch and the close the round by working a slip stitch into the top of the 3 chain stitches made at the start of this second round - just the same as you did on round one.
And there you have 2 rounds done! At this point I will explain about starting the round with 3 chain stitches. In crochet 3 chain stitches works out about the same length as a treble stitch. When making the treble stitches you start and finish at the top of the stitch - you can sort of see what I mean in the photo above - the loop on the hook sits at the top of the finished treble stitch just made. We need to get to that 'height' for want of a better phrase and by making 3 chain stitches it brings the working loop to the right position ready to start an actual treble. This little row of 3 chain stitches then acts or represents a treble for the purpose of stitch counting.
Before we go any further it's a good idea to weave in the yarn ends. Even though we have only a small piece of crochet it's still created 4 ends! I highly recommend weaving in the ends as you go. Believe me, leaving them to the end of your project makes it a daunting and almost insurmountable task!
Flip your work to the wrong side, take your darning or knitters needle and thread it with the yarn end. Insert the needle into the back of your work, through the stitches, but not through to the front of the work and pull the end through. Do this again by moving onto a few stitches further on or even going back in the opposite direction, over the first bit of weaving. Just make sure you catch another stitch on the way back otherwise you will just end up pulling the weaved end back out to where it started!
Work the first 3 ends like this, weaving in on sections that are the same colour as the yarn end. I always leave the last end of the round free to work the next round of stitches over it before I weave it in, by laying it along side the chain 1 space, but that's just my little routine - you can weave all 4 ends in at this stage if you want to.
Above picture shows the back of the work after the first 3 ends have been weaved in.
And so for round 3. With a new colour yarn, and starting in any of the chain 1 spaces that are in actual fact the sides of your granny square, fish a loop of new colour as before, chain 3 and work 2 trebles into the chain 1 space, as below:
Again I've laid the new yarn end along side the chain 1 and worked the 2 trebles over it.
Do a chain 1 and then start working the stitches into the next 2 chain corner space along:
[3tr, 2ch, 3tr]
Continue working around in an anti-clockwise direction. This round you need to work the corners as you did in round 2 but you also need to work a set of 3 trebles into the chain 1 spaces that form the side edges.
The written pattern instructions are: Join yarn in any ch1 space. Ch3, 2 tr into ch1 space, ch1. * [3tr, 2ch,3tr] into next ch2 space, ch1. 3tr into next ch1 space, ch1. Repeat from *3 more times. Ss to top of ch3 to close round.
Weave the remaining 3 ends in and voila! you have a traditional granny square!
Now you can continue to make as many grannies as you need for your project and pile them all up in a satisfying stack to take pretty close up pictures of them - I love doing that :o) But you will no doubt need to join them altogether to finish you project. There are many ways in which you can join your squares - from sewing them to each other to many different techniques of crocheting them together. Here I'm going to show you a popular method of joining your squares as you make them entitled Join-as-you-go or J-A-Y-G.
It's saves oodles of time and it also saves on yarn usage as well.
Complete one granny square as described, you start joining on the second square you make. Do Round 1 and 2 of your second square and start the 3rd round as set in the pattern and work up to the second corner. You need to work only half of the corner which is 3tr and 1ch - can you see above where I have stopped?
|Please don't be confused by my change of crochet hook. I took these next few photos at a different time to the rest and couldn't find the hook I had been using before!|
Replace the second chain stitch of the corner with a joining slip stitch: Insert your hook into the corner space of the square you are joining to...
...and pull the loop through to the front...
...and also through the loop already on the hook.
Now continue to do the 3 trebles into the corner space of the square you are working on, as shown above.
And then do another joining slip stitch into the next ch1 space along.
The picture above shows the side of the square worked as usual, apart from the chain stitches which are replaced by the joining slip-stitch. When you reach the end of that side, you need to work the first 3 trebles of the corner and do a joining slip stitch (so half of the corner stitches have been made). Then do a chain stitch as shown below...
...and continue to work the 3 trebles of the corner and then the rest of the round as described.
So you have joined one square to another, whilst working the final round.
Once you have completed the first row of granny squares on your project and the first one of the second row you will be joining squares on 2 edges at once - as shown.
The photo above shows my working square needs to be joined with the green edged one and also the purple edged one.
Work the round until you reach half way into the second corner and work the joining slip stitch - as before.
Once you reach the corner, do a joining slip-stitch into the ch2 corner space of the green edged square...
...and also one in the ch2 corner space of the purple edged square.
So the picture above shows one joining slip stitch at the green corner and one joining slip stitch at the purple corner.
Continue the side, again replacing the 1 chain stitch with a joining slip stitch in the chain spaces of the purple edged square.
Remember to do a chain stitch after the last joining slip stitch, and finish the square off as described.
Your square is now joined neatly on 2 sides.
Don't forget your ends!!!
Talking of ends here's the knitters needle I like to use to weave my ends in. They are made by Pony and the plastic loop at the top makes it easy to thread.
I also recommend reading the ball band that comes with the yarn. It has loads of information on there including the colour name / number and dye lot. How to wash the yarn and also what size needles are recommended to use with it. This yarn has 2 crossed knitting needles with 4mm written underneath, this also relates to crochet hook size but as I said before you may need to switch to a smaller 3.5mm, or larger 4.5mm hook to get a good gauge. The granny squares made here comes out at 7cm squared made with this double knit yarn and a 4mm hook, but the beauty is that if you're making a blanket it doesn't really matter if your squares are a bit bigger or a bit smaller.
The length of the yarn is also stated - 295 metres (or if you work in imperial 322 yards) and this is helpful when you need to work out quantities of yarn.
So I hope you have found this helpful!
I've tried to explain the process as best I can and I suspect it will make perfect sense to one person and be complete gobble-de-gook to the next!
Good luck with your crochet journey, remember there are loads of tutorials and videos online so go ahead and google! Even if it is a challenge to start with, you will improve with practice and be able to give yourself a pat on the back when you have cracked it!
If you're interested in coming to any of my crochet workshops that I hold in Bedford UK please email me on email@example.com and I will add you to my mailing list. Email me if you have any questions too, or just to say hi!