Once again it’s hip to be square as the humble granny square is the height of fashion
Granny squares will always be a favourite with us, no matter what the fashion forecasts say, but we can’t help noticing how they’re currently popping up everywhere from the catwalk to Instagram – they've even been seen on The Great British Bake Off! To celebrate this revival, here’s a round-up of recent sightings to inspire you to get in on the act. Discover some eye-popping inspiration, top accounts to follow and, for granny square newbies, grab a hook and learn how to actually make one with our collection of free crochet patterns!
Why are they called granny squares?
As legend has it, the first granny squares came about when yarn scraps and unravelled fibres were carefully saved so that they could be crocheted into small squares that could be reused in something useful like a warm crochet blanket. It was typically grandmothers who would the ones to do the crocheting, since they were no longer able to do manual labour tasks. The first granny square pattern was published in 1897 – amazing how over 100 years later they still look super-modern!
Why are granny squares so popular?
You might think the very name ‘granny square’ would be enough to put off a younger generation of crafters, but these iconic motifs are popping up all over Etsy and Instagram, with hip young makers incorporating them into everything from make-up bags to dresses. So what is it that makes them so popular? “I love creating granny squares as they are so versatile and unique with so much creative opportunity to design and shape different styles and garments,” says Grace Forster from handmade crochet clothing brand Rainbowdropscrochet. Grace’s beautiful creations such as her summer dress made up entirely of granny squares have even been worn by fashion influencers such as Brighton’s Sara Louise Thomas. “The endless bold colour combinations and layers that granny squares allow me to build within my pieces makes every piece custom and individually unique.”
Other designers agree. “I think everyone loves a traditional granny square and without doubt they are one of my favourites, as you can see from the ever-growing granny-inspired patterns in my Etsy shop!” says Fiona from the mum and daughter crochet team SewHappyCreative. “There are so many different variations and styles to choose from that there is a method to suit everyone. Although I love making traditional granny square blankets, designing bags and other accessories that include a granny square is what I enjoy the most. I love to find new and innovative ways to combine celebrating the traditional granny, with new and exciting colour combinations.”
Spotted! Celebrities wearing crochet granny squares
It’s a look that definitely appeals to a younger demographic. 19-year old The Great British Bake Off contestant Freya Cox wowed viewers with more than just her vegan cupcakes – she drew compliments for her crocheted wardrobe too! Her cute pink granny-square tank top was apparently made from upcycled blankets, which is a great sustainable idea.
More recently, the UK’s 2022 Eurovision contestant – who earned himself second place in this year’s competition – has been rocking the granny square look in his music videos, including this fabulous crochet cardigan.
Meanwhile the nation’s favourite poolside crafter and Olympic diver Tom Daley has been sharing his love for knitting and crochet with the world, and has even launched his own collections of knitting and crochet patterns and kits, with a new book set to launch at the end of October.
Make your own granny square projects
But why buy off the shelf when you can make your own? Over the summer we saw heritage brand Sirdar combine festival fashion and colourful crochet in their Insta-friendly pattern collection, Sirdar Stories, featuring numerous granny square-based designs in bold colours.
And the trend is still going strong, with many of our go-to pattern houses releasing granny-square garments and accessories in their autumn and winter launches too. We’re loving King Cole’s new colourful cardies, hooked in Merino Blend DK , and if you prefer more neutral shades, Rowan has got your back with this tan crochet sweater pattern with monochrome details.
The versatility of the granny square
One of the big plus points of granny squares is their versatility. Once you have a framework for your chosen make, it’s easy to substitute one square design for another, which is where fantastic source books like A Modern Girl’s Guide To Granny Squares by Celine Semaan and Leonie Morgan (£10.99, Search Press) come in handy. The possibilities are endless! Fiona from SewHappyCreative again: “There are so many different variations and styles to choose from that there is a method to suit everyone. I often receive questions about how I make mine and am happy to share my inspiration. SewHappyCreative is all about colour and granny squares offer a great opportunity to include as little or as much colour as you want. But don't forget, where there's colour, there are yarn ends, so be prepared to sew them in!”
Author of another great source book, 20 To Crochet: Granny Squares (£4.99, Search Press), Val Pierce reveals she is currently working on a second volume to be published next year, featuring more challenging designs. “I love making granny squares because they are, for the most, quick and easy to create and can be made into numerous projects, both large and small,” says Val. “They use up quite small amounts of yarn so are the perfect stash busters.” Seems there’s no end to their benefits!
How to make a granny square: step-by-step tutorial
New to granny squares? Take a look at our simple tutorial from the wonderful Corinne Bradd to discover how to make a granny square – you'll be amazed how easy it is, and how much fun. Plus you’ll be bang on trend!
Free granny square pattern for beginners
Now you’ve drooled over the inspiration and learned the basics, it's time to go granny square mad! Be warned, once you start you won’t want to stop. First, try our simple granny square pattern below, which is a great pattern for beginners. Visit our abbreviations page to discover the crochet terminology if you’re not sure! Then keep scrolling for even more granny square goodness…
- Using your first colour make 6ch, join with a sl st to first ch to form a ring
- Note: first 3ch of each rnd counts as 1tr
- Rnd 1: 3ch, 2tr, 3ch, (3tr, 3ch) three times, join with a sl st to third ch. 12 sts
- Fasten off your first colour and join your second colour to any 3ch corner sp
- Rnd 2: 3ch, 2tr in same 3ch sp, 1ch, * (3tr, 3ch, 3tr) in next 3ch sp, 1ch, rep from * twice, 3tr in next 3ch sp, 3ch, join with a sl st to third of first 3ch. 24 sts
- Fasten off second colour and join your third colour to any 3ch corner sp
- Rnd 3: 3ch, 2tr in same 3ch sp, 1ch, * 3tr in next 2ch sp, 1ch, (3tr, 3ch, 3tr) in next 3tr sp, 1ch, rep from * twice, 3tr in next 3ch sp, 1ch, 3tr in next 3ch sp, 3ch, join with a sl st to third of first 3ch. 36 sts
- Fasten off your third colour, join your final colour to any 3ch corner sp
- Rnd 4: 3ch, 2tr in same 3ch sp, * 3tr in each of next two 3ch sp, (3tr, 2ch, 3tr) in next 3ch sp, rep from * twice, 3tr in each of next two 3ch sp, 3tr in next 3ch sp, 2ch, join with a sl st to third of first 3ch. 48 sts
- Fasten off, sew in ends
Free granny square pattern downloads
You didn’t think we’d leave you with just one free granny square pattern did you? We’ve got you! If you want more, check out these fab freebies and get hooking crochet granny squares to your heart’s content!