The Simple Granny Square


My new pattern (EDIT: First published on the 15th June 2017), the Carrick Crochet Cowl, is made up of granny squares and while I was working on the cowl it made me think about crocheting and the granny square itself.

I have googled the history of the granny square. It intrigues me. Why is it called the granny square? It was ‘the thing’ in the 1970s and I wonder if someone just saw their granny crocheting this square and the name was born.

Like everything to do with fashion especially knitting and crochet, it’s difficult to pinpoint when it was first used because it biogrades so quickly as they only used natural fibres in the past.

I collect vintage knitting and crochet books and I have one that is called The Encyclopedia of Needlework I guess is from the beginning of the 20th century, it doesn’t have a date in it.

In the section titled Crochet Work it starts with:

“Crochet work which takes its name from the hook, French croche or croc, with which it is done, is not merely one of the easiest and pleasantest but also one of the most effective kinds of fancywork, considering the time spent upon it.”

There’s so much more on it in there which I’ll share with you in another blog (and please do share with me anything you know or find!) as today it’s all about the granny square and this isn’t mentioned in my little vintage book.


I was pondering about this blog before I sat down to write it. I always thought I crocheted more in the summer than I do in the winter. I don’t know why. I guess it’s because it feels ‘lighter’ as there is only one hook and one stitch, rather than two needles and lots of stitches. I was pondering this as I was knitting a new design which has 192 stitches on the needle! I also thought I started this crochet design back in November last year, crocheting a square here and there whenever I needed a knitting refresher!

So I guess I don’t just crochet in the summer, in fact I am always knitting or crocheting! However like anyone addicted to yarn, I have so many projects on the go at once that by knitting or crocheting a row or round here and there, there isn’t a chance to get overwhelmed or feel like I am doing too much of one rather than another.

That is what is great about simple designs in gorgeous yarns, you can do a row here and there, it relaxes you and calms your mind and then before you know it you have a finished item!

I try not to rush through any of my designs these days. For example this week I had another design planned, but when it was nearly completed I wanted to do a tiny tweak on it and so took back about 20cm of work. I don’t mind this. To me it is another week or two before it is right but that is better than rushing it and having a garment that I wouldn’t wear or share with you sitting in my wardrobe for a much longer time!

Though that doesn’t mean to say I don’t put the work down and have to take a moment, perhaps make a warm drink (or stiff one depending on the time of day!), before I pull it back.

So in these moments I pick up my crochet hook and make a granny square. There is something satisfying in completing a square in an evening. I then add it to my pile of squares and hopefully realise I have done more than I think!


I call these projects refresher projects, projects that don’t have any time limit and will just be completed when they are completed….and this week the Carrick Cowl is completed.

Article by Jane