Granny squares by the books

Yesterday when I had gotten done some of the things that needed doing, I settled in with my 4.0 mm hook and a pile of yarn and prepared to make granny squares. But before I was able to make any progress, I got it into my head to consult one of my many crochet books and read the directions for how to make a granny square.

After looking over my options, I settled on America’s Crochet Book by Gertrude Taylor. I selected her book from all the others on my shelf because my recollection was that she had very particular ideas about crochet (all left-handers, she asserts, should learn to crochet right handed) and I figured that the directions would be straight forward and without a whole lot of room for alternate interpretations.

I was not disappointed, and after six rounds, here is what I had:

A very tidy granny square
A very tidy granny square

As I was working on the square, I noticed that it seemed very tidy (and firm) as compared to the granny squares I have crocheted, and at my mother’s suggestion, I decided to do a bit of test run on different sets of directions to see what the variations looked and felt like.

After looking over the options on my bookcase, I settled on America’s Crochet Book by Gertrude Taylor, The Adventurous Crocheter by Delia Brock and Lorraine Bodger, The Woman’s Day Book of Granny Squares and Carry-Along Crochet, and Crochet Workshop by James Walters.

Using a 5.0 mm hook and drawing from my vast yarn stash, here are the books with the resulting squares:

four crochet books
Four approaches to granny squares

and here is an overview of them:

Four granny squares made by the books
Four granny squares made by the books

The variations included the number of chains per corner (the directions I used had either one or two chains per corner, and if I had not been pressed for time, I would have included a third that had three chains per corner), as well as whether the “shell” part of the stitch was composed of the traditional 3 double crochet or a rather irreverent 2 double crochet, and lastly whether or not the shells were worked with or without a chain-one in between them.

When all was said and done, I was surprised to find that I liked the chain-one corner a lot better than I thought I would, and that while I have an appreciation for what the chain-one between shells does for the overall square, I found that omitting that chain-one had the effect of creating a more stable fabric — a feature I think would benefit any purses I might try to make.

So the next time you pick up your hook to make a granny square, grab the nearest stitch dictionary or peruse the online offerings to see if there is something that you haven’t tired yet. You just might like what you find.

7 thoughts on “Granny squares by the books

  1. Thank you for taking the time to research this topic. I have been crocheting 30+ years and have often wondered why there were so many different versions of the granny square but never took time to find out. I do agree the version with no chain in the corner is firmer, but it may be me, they draw up a bit. Thank you again Cassandra

  2. Speaking strictly as a non-crocheter, I can see that each granny square has something to recommend it. While one might be preferred for a rug, another might drape more readily and make a softer Afghan, scarf, or other item of clothing. This was worth doing for future reference.

  3. I am a lefty and was taught to crochet right-handed by one of my students in Home Ec class. I have never regretted that teaching! I am trying to find a good crochet box stitch afghan pattern and am still looking.

  4. Thank you for this information, Leslie!
    Not so long ago I crocheted a granny shopper that consist of two big grannies. I was very annoyed by the fact that the grannies have a twist and have no idea what causes this.
    I have seen big granny squares that look perfectly right.
    So what am I doing wrong?

  5. love your Granny Squares. My squares show where they are joined and where I slip stitch. How can I make mine better.
    Thank you,Diane

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