So, I’ve got all these squares that my grandmother made, and I’m turning them into finished objects for several of us… you can get the back story here.
I sorted and counted them all on Friday: 123 squares, the vast majority of which had five rounds and three colors. There is also a respectable number of five-round one-color squares, and four-round two-color squares, plus small amounts of other combinations between 2 and 6 rounds, and 1 and 4 colors. By my calculations, everyone gets roughly 20 squares. Twenty squares can make a pretty decent-sized project. Not a blanket, or anything, but certainly a couple of throw pillows, a large tote bag, or a table runner.
I thought it would be fun to share the details of these finished items here, so I’m starting a new series called Project :: Granny Square. I’ll show you the squares I started with, any additions or changes I made to the squares themselves, how I arranged them, and what the finished product looks like. I’ll share any resources I used along the way, and maybe you can use the information in your own projects at some point.
Keep in mind, I’ve been crocheting only about 2 weeks, so these really aren’t going to be particularly tricky projects!
Project #1: Coffee Table Mat
Squares used: 10 (7 five-round three-color, 3 four-round 2 color)
Step 1: Modify and/or supplement the squares
If it were just me doing whatever the heck I wanted with these squares, I’d have just chosen the ten five-round squares that most perfectly matched my living room and been done with it. But, I am sharing these squares with several other people and I wanted to be conscious of not taking only the very best ones for myself. To that end, I included three of the four-round squares and added a fifth round to them myself with some green from my stash.
I neglected to take a picture of the squares before I made those changes, but if you are curious, the modified squares are the middle one in the top row, and the second + fourth ones in the bottom row.
I wanted my mat to be 3×4, so I made two new squares from scratch, using a combination of stashed dark red, light brown, and some of Granny’s yarn that was in the box with the squares. The new squares are at the top and bottom of the first column. (I’d already begun connecting the squares in this photo.)
Step 2: Join the squares
One of the things that made me choose to make a coffee table mat was realizing how well the square motif echoed the squares in the living room rug. In order to keep that going, I decided that the squares should all be outlined in one unifying color (just like the carpet squares). I crocheted another round of dark red on each square, joining them to one another as I went.
I then treated the entire mat like one big granny square and crocheted two more rounds of dark red around the outside.
Step 3: Finish and enjoy
At this point, all that remained were to weave in the ends and block. Weaving in ends can be rather tedious, so I recommend putting on a little Miss Marple, brewing yourself a cup of tea, and settling in on the couch for a while. (Try to ignore any good-natured ribbing about what an old lady you’ve turned into.)
I don’t have a proper blocking board or pins yet, but the puckers and unevenness in this project definitely needed to be dealt with. I used a twice-folded towel on the carpeted floor and sewing pins this time, and it worked alright, but I do see the edges starting to curl as I sit here, and so I may do it again once I’ve got the right equipment, and I will be sure to wet the yarn more thoroughly as well.
Here it is complete.
And here it is in its natural environment.
Project #1, used ten of Granny’s squares (three of which were modified by me), two of my own squares, and about 200 yards of yarn I grabbed from my stash.
The original blocks were most likely made from worsted weight acrylic yarn, or some kind of acrylic/wool blend. All of the additional stash yarn I used was a washable worsted weight acrylic/wool/nylon blend (Berroco Vintage).
I used a G (4mm) hook.
I originally got the basics of granny square construction from watching this series of videos, but I also picked up some handy tips from this illustrated tutorial.
I used this video to see how to join the squares.
Before and after.
Next on the list? Most likely a larger table runner for my mother. Stay tuned 🙂
20 thoughts on “Project :: Granny Square : Coffee Table Mat”
A couple of things:
Weaving in ends: I have found that the best way to deal with that is to do it as I go along — so if I’m doing something with squares or motifs, each time I finish one, I weave in the ends right then. This way I’m not confronted with a finished project that has a zillion ends to deal with.
If I have ends in the middle of a project and the pattern allows, I usually “work over” them rather than weave them in — basically just lay the end over the previous row of stitches and pick it up along with the normal stitch loops when I am doing the next row, so that the end is hidden. Works pretty well as long as your pattern doesn’t have a lot of open spaces.
Also – though I realize it isn’t as relevant here, since you’re using squares that are already made, I approach joining things together the same way as I deal with weaving in ends, by doing it as I go: when I finish the first two squares, I join them together — and if I have to sew them (though I will always crochet things together if I possibly can…but sometimes you can’t avoid having to sew), I will leave an extra long “tail” of yarn and use that to do the sewing, thus eliminating the need to weave in a couple of extra ends. Then, as I finish each square, I’ll sew it on to the others immediately — that way once all the squares are done, the project is also done but for the border, and I’m not left with a huge pile of squares and zero desire to do the work of putting them all together. And joining one square at a time is somewhat less overwhelming than doing them all at once.
Thanks for the tips, Tina. I agree about doing as much as possible as you go. Is there really a way to work over ends when you are doing Granny squares, though? I can only seem to do that when I make the initial center ring. All of the other spots are too “open” for it to work all that well. For my next project, I have been weaving in the ends on each square as I work with it. Good advice.
I like the idea of joining squares as I go, too, although I also like to lay everything out first and re-arrange the squares until I am happy and that will probably always take precedence in projects where I don’t plan out every last color detail in advance of starting it.
I’m not a huge fan of granny squares generally, so I don’t do them often, but when I do make them, the way I deal with the open spaces is to work over them in the chain spaces, and use my crochet hook to weave the end back and forth through the tops of the skipped stitches. So, I work over the end in the chain space, then insert the hook in the next stitch like I’m going to crochet it, but just pull the end through; then I turn the piece and insert the hook into the next stitch from the other side and pull the end through that, and then pull it back through from the right side again. Then I work over it in the next chain space, and repeat until it’s hidden. (I really hate weaving in ends the normal way, or couldn’t you tell?)
With really lacy patterns, of course, this is impossible — the project I’m working on right now, for example (Midsummer Night’s Shawl – http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/midsummer-nights-shawl). I am weaving in the ends as I go, but I can’t work over them, as the pattern is just too open for that. My wedding dress was the same way: really lacy motifs in size-40 thread, so the ends were completely impossible to work over, and difficult even to weave in since there was so little substance to each motif. And the motifs were maybe 2-2.5 inches wide by 1.5 inches tall, so there were a LOT of them, which made dealing with the ends as I went absolutely essential to preserving my sanity. (I will never, ever do something like that again if I can help it, though I’m glad I did it once!)
God knows my mother tried to teach me how to crochet and she was very good at crochet. I wish I had listened/watched better than my surly 14 year old attitude would allow me. I’m so jealous. I love the look of crochet and embroidery (which I did teach myself). May have to crack open some books… Very nice work, girl.
Thanks! Books have always been useless to me, in terms of learning to stitch. Try YouTube, if you decide to give it a go!
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@madeinlowell Thanks for RTing my Granny Square project 🙂 http://t.co/972ll69
Good job! My mom taught me to crochet when I was nine, and I’m now 57, so I’ve been “hooking” all most all my life, LOL!
You are doing a tremendous job, keep it up!
PS Love the piggy toes in the pics. I do all my crafting in bare feet during the summer. I can’t sew with sandals on and they automatically get kicked off when I knit or crochet.
Thank you. I wish I had learned when I was younger, but I guess it’s never too late!
Bare feet are a must for me in summer. These toes refuse to be caged in by socks! 🙂
As far as a blocking board goes, I use those jigsaw-together floor mats that they sell for use in garages or gyms. Work like a charm, and are easy to store. Just make sure that whatever you use for blocking pins are stainless or plastic – rust isn’t a great design element.
Good point about the rust 🙂 I actually planned on borrowing one of those floor tiles from my mother a few days ago (she actually has a floor that uses them) but I forgot. I should probably just get my own if I’m going to make a habit of this!
Love the project. Pinned it. I have rugs like those in the kitchen and could totally see doing a table mat or square topper to coordinate. Thanks for adding another project to my ever-growing list!!
My pleasure. Being an enabler is a part time job for me 😀
these are going to be so sweet. such a nice remembrance. Lisa, did Nonna (Grandma) or your Granny ever try teaching you to crochet? i remember a day sitting next to Nonna, watching her, and then across from her (i think she wanted left-handed me to mirror her movements) but it never stuck, and i don’t remember ever trying again, which i regret.
years later, i mostly taught myself to knit. i took a free beginners crochet tutorial at one of my LYS, and started to get the hang of it, then got home and promptly lost it all.
One of my grandmothers taught me either to knit or crochet, but I can’t remember which grandmother or which craft! It didn’t stick, at any rate. I am pretty sure it was Grandma and that it was crochet she taught me (I have a vague recollection of stitching something up the mountains). I made a really wonky belt out of awful peachy-pink yarn, and it didn’t exactly whet my appetite for more, I’m afraid. After that I stuck to finger-knitting and spool knitting – both things that a monkey could do 🙂
I think maybe Grandma tried to teach us crochet together, didn’t she? Even if we weren’t both there at the same time, I do remember there being an awful lot of conversation about the fact that it was a challenge to be left-handed and learn from a right-handed teacher.
I taught myself to knit, too. Just a year or two ago, The first few times I tried, I didn’t get it at all, but after a year of loom-knitting (which is really just spool knitting on a grander scale) I guess I was ripe for the learning, and an afternoon with knittinghelp.com did the trick 🙂 And now that I’ve been knitting for a while, crochet is a breeze. You should try it again – maybe YouTube has someone demonstrating lefty crochet…
ps love how the gs echo your rug pattern.
Hi! I love the cute squares! Only thing that I hate to be the bearer of bad news is, if it is acrylic, it will not block totally flat if it is curling no matter how you block it. It doesnt block like wool 🙁 The carpet and pin method is really just fine and you don’t need special equipment, it is the fiber content of the yarn that is really the issue. Sometimes you can steam it a little to help but be careful not to melt the fibers, and then embrace the puckers and curling b/c well, it was made by hand and not machine and that is wonderful! 🙂
Thanks for the tips! The edges aren’t really curling too much. Not so much that it bothers me 🙂 This isn’t the last project I do, though, so I will keep your tips in mind if I come across something that I just *have* to fix!
[…] This is the second project I’ve made using my grandmother’s granny squares. (The first was here.) […]
[…] this, I’d been using my first Project::Granny Square piece in the living room. It has sentimental value, and it practically matches the rug, but I was […]