Carolina Springtime and the History of the Humble Granny Square

Colorful granny squares and beautiful yarn arranged in a rustic box.

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.

Granny squares and Little House on the Prairie books.
Little House on the Prairie

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:

New Project

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

Materials

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.

Little House on the Prairie books and stacked granny squares.
Granny Squares and Little House books

Delicious Details

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.

Carolina Springtime

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!


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My Top Four Crochet Tutorials on YouTube

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YouTube has become the go-to for tutorials of all types. You can find anything from lawn care to makeup to DIY home projects. The problem is finding the time to weed through all the junk to unearth high quality content. These are my four favorite YouTube crochet channels!

  1. B.hooked: Brittany is my number one YouTuber for many reasons. Every video is professionally produced and technically perfect. She takes her role as educator very seriously and brings the very best content to her viewers. Brittany not only has a successful YouTube channel but a website and podcast as well. All of her patterns and tutorials are free for viewers. Check her out at: B.Hooked Crochet
  2. Bella Coco is another one of my favorite YouTubers. Her tutorials are wonderful and her sweet personality shines through each one. I used her Sunburst Granny Square Tutorial Series to make the blanket in the above photo. The only caution I have is she is from Great Britain and she uses UK crochet terms. She generally lets American viewers know which stitches those are in US terms, but it is something to be aware of. Find Bella Coco at: Bella Coco 
  3. WoolyWondersCrochet is such a wonderful resource for crocheters who are interested in making garments for babies and toddlers. She has dozens of free crochet tutorial videos for sweaters, dresses, and headbands, just to name a few. She also has tutorials in beginning amigurumi. I have made several of her projects and appreciate her approachable videos aimed at beginners. Find her at: WoolyWondersCrochet 
  4. Jayda In Stitches is a quirky but prolific YouTuber with tons of crochet tutorials. Her clear explanations of how to make a granny square were invaluable to me when I was a beginner crocheter. Her whimsical projects and fun personality make her videos delightful as well as educational. Find her at: Jayda InStitches

Book Review: Vintage Style Crochet Projects

IMG_1986 They say you should never judge a book by its cover, but I did, and I’m so glad I did! Vintage Style Crochet Projects: 32 Crochet Projects by Agnieszka Strycharska was the very first crochet pattern book that I bought. The cover drew me in immediately with the vibrant colors and homespun feel.

I love chippy, rustic furniture and decor and apparently the author of this book does as well. The photos in the book are numerous and feature not just Agnieszka’s designs but her personal decor. Her homey style is charming but accessible.

The projects range from blankets to aprons to garland. She has patterns for dishcloths, hangers, and shawls to mention only a few. Agnieszka’s color choices are funky and colorful which make the projects stand out so beautifully!

Above is a scarf I made from her pattern for a pillow which I adapted. The patterns are written very clearly and aren’t complicated at all. I was an intermediate beginner when I bought the book and was able to start crocheting right away.

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This colorful blanket was made exactly from her pattern, Sunburst Granny Baby Blanket. I used the exact yarn, hook, and colors as she recommends and it turned out beautifully!

Disclosure: Please note that the link above is an affiliate link, and at no cost to you, I will earn a teeny, tiny commission if you decide to purchase the book from Amazon. This is a  book that I know, love, and trust. I have and will continue to recommend products regardless of my affiliate relationship with Amazon. Thank you for supporting Le Petit Saint Crochet!