Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Granny Squares


Two weeks ago my lovely mum and dad came to visit. They pottered about, drank lots of coffee, did puzzles with the children, took everyone out for giant ice creams, hummed a lot (my dad), and crocheted without cease (my mum). And this (the crocheting) was what I had been waiting for. You see, a year ago, my lovely parents came to visit, at which time my mum taught me how to crochet granny squares.

Living in such a chilly locality, winter is much more bearable with throw rugs on the sofa to snuggle into. A couple of years ago I bought throw rugs from Target The Department Store Which Shall Not Be Named, and these rugs, which I don't even really like, are falling apart, unravelling, and resisting all attempts to mend them. So last year I pulled out the crate with all the wool in it that I have saved for/from various projects over the years, and chose some lovely, natural real wool in calm and warming neutral hues, and mum taught me how to make granny squares. I made five. Then mum left. I then proceeded to not crochet a single stitch over the next year.

So when mum came back, we had a refresher course, and all the girls sat around, crocheting feverishly, because it turns out that granny squares are kind of addictive. I even turned out another two over the course of two hockey games on Saturday morning. And here is a thing I discovered about craft. It is a great conversation starter. A couple of hockey mums who I knew only to say hello to were intrigued enough at what we were doing to increase our acquaintance status to friendly conversation status. Nice. Thank you nana craft. See, those nanas know what they're doing when they knit on buses. Networking.

What I love about granny squares so far:

They are small and portable. Unlike knitting a throw rug, these little honeys fit in a handbag.
They provide a sense of accomplishment. I can finish one in an hour. I know I need to make about 500 more, but it's like crossing items off a list, which we all know is very satisfying.
They only require tiny amounts of wool. Each round, or square is a different shade of brown, grey or cream. This means I can buy any tiny little ball of wool at op shops, or find half balls or bits and pieces at garage sales or left overs from friends' projects and it will all look like it is part of The Plan. In fact most of the wool I have so far is from one of those huge, hand-knitted jumpers made of hand-spun wool that make you look like an actual llama when you wear one. I found this one at an op-shop years ago, and unravelled it and rolled it into balls, because I had convinced myself I was going to knit a whole farm-yard of animals for the children. I knitted some chickens then got inexplicably tired. I now have lots of cream and light brown balls, but have run out of grey and dark brown, so will have to go prospecting for more.
They are addictive. 'Just one more round,' I tell myself at bedtime, time to cook dinner, time to clean the bathroom etc. This is possibly the only way I can actually finish this project, because I am not naturally a 'finisher'. I am generally more of a 'starter' and then a 'languisher'.

So I need back-up here. Do you think that maybe you could gently nag me every couple of weeks to keep me on track? Perhaps I could keep a running 'square tally'.  So far there are 17 squares, a knitted headband and a duck feather in my basket.





Wish me 'duck'.

11 comments:

Linda said...

I love Granny squares. I made a little blanket in white, lemon and blue when our daughter was pregnant. It was useful. Haven't done any crocheting since but funnily enough I saw a poster advertising a Crotchet Class at our local sewing shop and yesterday I enrolled! Just a 21/2 hour class for Intermediates. As there are only 5 people allowed in the class I am hoping the teacher will give me a quick reminder of the basic stitches first. I have a ripple blanket in mind (from the pattern on attic24 blog) but I need someone to talk me through it/ help me when I get stuck! Will try to remind you to keep on with your Granny Squares!

Jo said...

Thanks Linda! I greatly admire your craftiness and ability to finish what you start! I have some lovely blankets my mum made for my babies, and I do treasure them. Have a lot of fun at your crochet class. Someone to talk you through a pattern is an enormous boost. Also there is the moral support factor!

missmaudy said...

I've made one knee rug - tiny bit small for all but the smallest child - I managed that in one winter. So I decided to make a rug for each of the kids. That was six years ago. I have made half of two rugs. Oops. I'm also making a granny square throw and I've made about 30 squares in two years... I'll get there eventually!

Jo said...

Well so far your progress is way better than mine. On the upside, now I have someone to chase. If you were very sporting, you could let me beat you:)

rabidlittlehippy said...

I had 1 knitting nanna and a crochetting one (called Marmie). Marmie was a master! Allo her grandkids have a crochetted tartan rug. Basically, a frame with chains in all colours woven through. I'm the eldest grandchild and very blessed that my Pa (he died a few months after my 21st when I was given my blanket) crochetted many of the single chains in my rug. Those with children of their own received a tartan styled cot rug each too (we have 2) and those with spouses at the time did too. Marmie passed about 4 years ago now so her rugs are a wonderful reminder. She taught me to crochet once but refused to teach me again as I'd forgotten so I must learn how to again too. I've been nervous about granny squares but I think you've inspired me. :) I LOVE the colours in yours too. Au naturale is so beautiful. :)

Jo said...

Jessie, my granny made those exact same rugs. She made dozens, but only ever made them in acrylic yarn, which made them a bit unpleasant to snuggle under, also not very warm. I have chosen to inherit many other of her craft works, but not those tartan rugs! I'm afraid my granny embraced the brave new world of post-war artificial fibres with a passion:)
I'm glad you like my granny squares. Maybe we can all have a go and all have lovely snuggle rugs next winter (I am ever optimistic!)

lucindasans said...

I'm happy to nag, as long as you are happy for a do as I say, not do as I do nag. I have UFO (Unfinished Objects) around my home, stuffed in drawers, tucked in the back of cupboards. They are waiting for my retirement. Or some mythical time when I have time.

My mother is a crochet- queen too. I have a throw she made crochet pieces the size of pot holders. So toasty and comfy on the lounge.

Heather said...

I have tried so hard how to learn how to make granny squares over the internet. Somehow my mind cannot compute the instructions. I'm envious that you were able to learn from your mother. Just think, if you follow through, you can pass these finished rugs to your children as they move out. I have 2 crocheted afghans that my aunt made for me when I was just a child, and my children and I fight (playfully) over who gets to snuggle under them in the winter months. They have held up better than any store-bought blanket that I have ever had before. It's a plus that they were made by loving hands and not a machine.

Jo said...

Lucinda, the craft story of my life is unfinished objects, hence my cry for naggy help.
Heather, surely there must be a granny-type person around who could show you how to make granny squares? I think all the groups visiting nursing homes are missing a trick. Instead of going there with a class of kids to sing at them, we should take our kids to learn vital nana crafts.
"Made by loving hands and not a machine" Exactly. That's what I'm after. Except the story of this rug will be, 'Children, this rug was completed by me after extreme nagging by my friends..' :)

Bek said...

That sounds like my kinda craft. Little bits and pieces eventually making a substantial piece.
Maybe a gold coin/other reward to self each time you make one? Short term rewards can be a good way to get going on a long term project...

theroadtoserendipity said...

(Can't nag...cupboard FULL to the brim of failed craft objects and don't want to feel like an UBER hypocrite ;) ) I did a bit of crocheting this year and made a knee rug that got pinched by the boys in the loungeroom and finished off a granny square gone feral that is now big enough to cover a queen sized bed (until Earl decides that he likes it...) I love to crochet because unlike knitting, you can lose a stitch and you don't have to go to the mental ward at the hospital because "IT'S RUINED!" Never got the gist of picking up stitches and 2 needles mean double the chance of getting them tangled up and removing someone's eye...what if I run with them?! A hook is so innocuous, those pointy needles... not so much! Kudos on starting over and you are right about squares being like ticking of list items. Very satisfying in a slow craft (linked to slow food) way. Maybe I can be a snail in my next life and learn the value of slow (right up until our duck swallows me whole!) "GOOD DUCK"! Ms Jo. Reminds me. The duck is laying eggs again...time to drag out cake recipes and make the most of them :)

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