Saturday, July 2, 2022

The World of Granny Squares – a Craft Review

 Granny Squares are a popular crochet motif worked in rounds from the center outward.

Granny Square afghan in crochet

Each motif is created separately, then joined together to make a finished item. Traditionally, granny squares were used to make afghans, but they also make great patchwork scarves, purses, shawls and a wide variety of items.

The traditional granny square was designed by a Mrs. Phelps in 1885. It was published in the Prairie Farmer, which is the oldest magazine publication in America. Based in Chicago, it has served the Illinois farmer for over 175 years. 

The Traditional Granny Square

This square motif has many variations. The traditional one is a double-crochet square made by using a series of chains and double-crocheted blocks. The most familiar granny square is, of course, square. But by using different stitch types, other geometric shapes, such as hexagons, can be produced. Crocheting granny squares are also a fun and quick way to try out different crochet stitches.

Dozens of books, articles and YouTube videos are available to teach you the variations of this familiar motif.

Examples of Granny Square Garments:

The most well known granny square example is the traditional afghan. I can well remember the one my grandmother had (made by HER mother; my 'Banny').  The granny squares were joined together with black yarn, which was the traditional way originally. That afghan sat on the back of my grandmother's couch for my entire childhood. I can recall many a visit where I would curl up on the couch with that afghan. An example is shown below:

Granny square afghan

A retro granny square afghan

This retro Granny Square afghan is a 1970s crochet pattern featured by Pearl in her Etsy Shop PearlShoreCat. This vintage pattern is available as an instant digital download. Give your home décor a vintage look-from-grandma's-time with this classic blanket throw.

Purses are a popular way to use granny squares. ….

Shoulder Bag created in crochet in a granny square pattern

Lauren of MoonageCrochet on Etsy used the hexagonal style of granny squares to create this gorgeous shoulder bag

Shawls are also a well known way to use the granny square motifs.


Granny square winter scarf

Granny squares were used to create this colorful long patchwork-look winter scarf. It is featured in the Etsy Shop MyCottonAccessories


As you can see in the featured items above, you can create just about anything using crocheted Granny Squares. A time-honored technique that is always stylish.

The World of Granny Squares Craft Review was written by Wednesday Elf

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Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


  1. Looks like a relaxing hobby.

    1. Any kind of crochet is relaxing. Granny squares are fun to make.

  2. Oh I still love granny squares. I made a bedspread for my sister and her husband as a wedding shower gift in her favorite colors (blues). It turned out so nice and 48 years later is still in use. For myself I made a vest with granny squares and I still have it. Glad to know that they are making a fashion comeback! Thanks for this educational and functional Tutorial on Granny Squares!

    1. Glad to hear you enjoyed making some special creations with granny squares, Olivia. It's funny how the trend lately has been for 'what's old is the new new'. Retro is really 'IN" these days. :)

  3. I learned to crochet with granny squares. They are perfect small projects for beginners. If you don't like one, you don't feel like you are destroying a major project by pulling it all out and starting over. I have a fondness for granny squares because of our history together. btw, I love that shoulder bag you featured. I've never made a crochet bag myself. Never was quite sure how to line one and won't want to mess up the crochet work with machine stitching. Now that I think about it, it is rather surprising that I never challenged myself with that.

    1. I am the same way, Mouse. Never quite dared making a bag in crochet that needed to be lined. Probably isn't that hard to do if we just 'did' it. :)

  4. Ms. Elf, I remember these! we had ponchos, and pot holders, and afghans back in the 1970's - brings me back. I've never personally crocheted these, but so many in my family have! Nice memory trigger too :)

    1. Granny Squares were the 'in' thing back in the 70s, Barbara, but they weren't new then - going back to the late 1800s. I think their 70s popularity was a fad at the time, but it's a standard crochet technique that will never go out of style.

  5. I remember learning to crochet from my grandmother by making granny squares, too! My husband’s grandmother crocheted a very large, cream and safe green granny square afghan that was joined with sage green yarn rather than black - apparently she was ahead of her time!

    1. Margaret, when Mrs. Phelps first came up with the pattern for the 'Granny Square' back in the late 1800s, she called it "crazy work". She was referring to 'crazy quilting, which was a popular trend at the time. During this era, it was traditional for women to use black ribbon on the borders between crazy quilt squares - much like the black borders of a traditional granny square.
      Even though the black edging is 'traditional', today crochet crafters use any and all colors and the use of cream and sage green in a granny square afghan by your hubby's grandmother would indeed have been modern and beautiful. Lovely.

  6. What a beautiful craft! I always admire people who can master crafts like these and make such gorgeous individual items. I really love the scarf and the Granny square afghan. Thank you for sharing the history and beauty of this lovely craft!

    1. Glad you enjoyed my review of Granny Squares crochet motifs, Raintree Annie. I enjoyed your visit.

  7. My maternal grandmother always had Granny Square afghans around her home. I was gifted one to use in my college dorm room. Wish I still had it. Not sure what happened to it (perhaps lost during one of my many moves). This retro look seems popular again. Sure has staying power... this pattern and style of crochet. Seems like a great project for a beginner. I would love to learn to crochet.

    1. Took me until my 30s to learn to crochet, Diana. I am left-handed and no one knew how to teach me at that time. Today there are all sorts of YouTube videos, etc. with instructions. Didn't have that when I began to learn to crochet. ;)


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