Classic Crochet: Granny Squares 4

For the record, I do not hate granny squares. I really don’t. I find them just as addictive to crochet as many other crocheters, besides they hold a special place in my heart.

Like many crochet lovers, granny squares were my first projects in yarn. I was eight when I made my first lopsided granny square. It was red and bright purple, and I missed a corner chain so it kinda looked more like a trapezoid. No matter how lumpy or garish that first square was, it was also a gift to my great-grandma and she hung it up prominently in her bedroom as an ornament. So, before you say I am a granny square hater, know that I am not.

But, I need to speak out about these symbols of crochet.

Granny Squares are a traditional motif, often full of holes, which to my mind mean unless you’re gonna line a garment use squares without holes. (At least for winter wear!)

These are quick, easy to make and make up great blankies on the fly. However, not all squares are grannies.  It

This is a Bonnie Pierce pattern that I love!!

just really bugs me that people refer to every square as a granny square, they aren’t! We lose the richness of our crochet culture when we lump these fiber building blocks into just one name. We lose our history, we lose the nomenclature that helps us define and discuss our hobby and yes, our trade.


So, for the next week or so, I want to discuss granny squares AND motifs with you!  I know from our awesome poll that most of us have a fondness for these little fuzzy bits of creative crochet goodness. I think some of you may have the same problem I do, which is that publications and yarn companies don’t always use great artistic judgement in color choices (especially for garments). I don’t mean red versus purple, I mean, some of the more outlandish schemes that might make for great home decor, but not fashion.

I also think that maybe we love the squares, but not love all of the garments made from squares that we see in publications. I know that motifs make FABULOUS fabric for garments, but it’s HOW you do it.  So, let’s chat about this!

Share your pics with me! Share your thoughts! I want to know what you think!

Not all squares are grannies

About Laurie A. Wheeler

Laurie A. Wheeler is a blogger, crochet addict, yarn designer and champion for independant artisans and crafters. She is also known as Fearless Leader of the Crochet Liberation Front.

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4 thoughts on “Classic Crochet: Granny Squares

    • Laurie A. Wheeler Post author

      Nomenclature is important to retaining knowledge, when things are in print repeatedly misnamed then you lose the richness and variety of a language which is a cultural expression. I think it behooves “authorities” and in print folk to use the right names. It’s still part of the human experience to believe that the written word is powerful and true, so when “authorities” print information that is askew or almost true it adds up. It’s why I buy vintage books and magazines, there are stitches, construction techniques in those tomes that we have lost (though people are bringing them back!) over the years due to the “dumbing” down of our craft info. It’s not just crochet that is the victim of this, but other crafts as well, have suffered at the hand of dumbing down.

  • Marie/Underground Crafter

    I hear what you are saying, but see it totally differently way. To me, the granny square is a pattern published by a yarn company in the 1890s to sell yarn – a commercial endeavor, not a rich cultural tradition. I love vintage books, too, and I love bringing back favored projects. I see the use of the term granny square to refer to square motifs as a way of crocheters embracing a pattern, project, and style they love and building on it, not a “dumbing down.”

  • Laurie A. Wheeler Post author

    I think we speak of chocolates and confectionaries :D One could say that the great novels and written works were created to sell books, which are also commercial endeavors, but they help tell the story of culture. Imagine if none of what we do were written down?

    Most of our academic work is done because of commercial endeavors, it doesn’t take away from cultural significance. In fact, one could argue from an anthropological point of view that commercial endeavor is very much part of a culture.

    I’m not speaking about crocheters, I am speaking about the commercial publications. Much as in other forms of publication we often lump terms any more (regardless of the subject) and that makes things less rich, it spoils the vocabulary. That is where I am going with it.

    What individuals choose to call something is up to them, but if you are writing on a subject it’s not difficult to call something by it’s name.