Carolina Springtime and the History of the Humble Granny Square
Confession time! I have always wanted to be a quilter. There, I said it. Many years ago I even took classes, bought a bunch of expensive fabric, and attempted to make one. But here’s the thing, I despise measuring and sewing machines hate my guts. So for years I just believed that I had no ability to make beautiful blankets, that is until I discovered the humble granny square!
For me granny squares fall into the category of old fashioned goodness. They conjure up images of mountain cabins, churned butter, and home baked bread. While I neither churn butter nor bake bread, I love the thought of them. When I was a little girl I wanted to be Laura Ingalls and wear calico dresses and wear ribbons in my braided hair. I wanted to beat up Nelly Olson and listen to Pa play the fiddle. My love of all things homemade and old fashioned unite perfectly into the beautiful granny square.
History of the Humble Granny Square
Granny squares are timeless. They have the ability to be old fashioned and modern all at the same time. Some falsely believe the granny square was only popular in the 1970s but that is far from the truth. The first published record we have of the granny square is from the Butterick Publishing Co. from 1891. A description for how to make them was described in wonderful detail but with no written pattern, only a small engraving.
Although no one knows when the granny square was invented it definitely gained popularity in the Depression Era as a way for women to use up scraps of yarn. There are even descriptions of American frontier women who took sweaters and socks that were no longer useful and carefully unraveled them to crochet small squares. They were then given to the older women of the house, or grannies, as they were called, to sew them together.
If you are interested in reading more about granny squares here are two resources that I found while rummaging for information:
I have been toying with the idea of a new granny square blanket project for several months, but I could not settle on a color palette or a design. One day while scrolling though Instagram and Pinterest I came across a beautiful blanket made by The Patchwork Heart and knew those were the colors I wanted to use. The beautiful pinks, grays, and pop of mustard combined to create such a pleasing combination that I ordered yarn that day! I then stumbled upon the gorgeous Harmony Blanket design by Lucy from Attic 24. I knew in an instant that this was the project I wanted to make.
If you would like to learn more please visit my blog post: How to Read a Crochet Pattern
I’m using Stylecraft Special DK and I have been quite impressed by its quality and affordability. The colors are absolutely brilliant and it feels so good in my hands. They come in nice, big 3.5 oz skeins and there are 84 different shades to choose from!! It’s 100% acrylic so it will wash and wear well over time.
The Harmony Blanket combines five different colors to form each granny square, which means there are tons of ends! Lucy recommends not procrastinating and weaving them in after each round. I am taking her advice and tackling them with a religious passion. I would have no motivation to finish the blanket if I waited until the end to weave in over 1000 ends!
The squares are combined with the join-as-you-go method which is my very favorite! There are eight rounds of border that pull all the colors together for a very satisfying conclusion.
I am using Lucy’s template for color combination and placement of each square, but I’m applying my own color choices. It is a really nice system to decide which colors to combine and how to join them together beforehand. Lucy’s pattern calls for fourteen different combinations and she includes a table for where to place each square.
I am calling my new blanket, Carolina Springtime, which I decided on during a walk with our dog, Jersey-boy. Check out my YouTube video above to see our gorgeous springtime in technicolor!
You can read more about how he came to join our family here: Transformation of a Dog: Jersey-Boy
Walking through our neighborhood I couldn’t help but notice how all the blooming trees and flowers were the exact colors found in my new blanket! Springtime in North Carolina is incredibly beautiful and I love that I found a way to honor this season for our family to enjoy all year long!
I am still in the early stages of the project, but I have to say I am absolutely in love with it. The colors are so gorgeous and they currently mirror my view of the outdoors. I am totally gaga over the pattern and enjoy working on it every chance I get!