Posted on 6 Comments

Vintage-Inspired Granny Square Neckwarmer

Me Wearing My Vintage-Inspired Granny Square Scarf

A few years ago, I was involved in a project that has turned into one of those gifts that keeps on giving.

Here’s the TL;DR

Sometime in the 1960’s my great grandmother crocheted a granny square sweater for my mother. Fifty years later, Mom took apart the sweater, and asked me to recombine the pieces into a blanket. I did so, and gave the blanket back to her.

Then, I used a photo I took of the blanket, turned it into a repeating digital pattern, and had it printed on a mug, which I use all the time. It’s a favorite. I also used the colors in the blanket to inspire a polymer clay retro cane that I used to make jewelry, pens, and the like. I also turned that into a mug as well.

So, there’s the history, but there’s more to this story.

Mom wearing granny square sweater and me dressed as Mickey Mouse in 1973
Mom wearing her sweater, and me dressed as Mickey Mouse in 1973
The sweater, turned into a blanket and thrown artistically over a chair in 2015
Vintage Granny Square Mug
The mug that I had made, hanging out with me in the kitchen at work in 2018

Granny Square Neckwarmer

I recently decided that it would be fun to make myself a scarf or a cowl that was reminiscent of the blanket. As I mentioned when I first worked on the original blanket, I think my great-grandmother must have had a keen color sense. Or, at the very least, an above-average affinity for distributing colors without clumping any of them together anywhere. I wanted to copy her design as closely as possible, but on a smaller, neck-sized scale.

Granny Squares With Two Rounds

Granny Squares With Three Rounds

Granny Squares on a Black Background

Using a photo of the blanket as a reference, I counted how many times she used each color in a square, and in which position. For example, I learned that in a blanket with X squares, red appeared X times in the first round of a square, X times in the second round, and X times in the third. (I had planned to actually give you the numbers there, and not leave X’s, but I’ve lost my notes 😬)

I then converted these numbers into percentages and applied the resulting color ratios to my own smaller project. The result was a collection of squares, connected by a field of black, that had the same feel as the original blanket.

Vintage-Inspired Granny Square Scarf

Vintage-Inspired Granny Square Neckwarmer

There are differences, of course. Most notably, I used all new yarn, but I imagine my great-grandmother made use of plenty of leftovers. Thrifty use of scraps was kind of the purpose of granny squares back then. So, the scrappy old piece has significantly more color depth and character than the brand new piece does. Still, it’s pretty close 😜

Neckwarmer or Scarf?

I think this is a fun and funky design, but in practice it’s been a little difficult to wear. It’s quite stiff. I’m considering disassembling and re-arranging the neckwarmer a bit, to make it longer and skinnier. And maybe I’ll add a few more squares so that it’s a proper scarf length. What do you think?

Vintage Inspired Granny Square Neckwarmer and Polymer Clay Button

P.S. I made a polymer clay button as a closure, using that millefiori cane I mentioned earlier. It’s handy to have coordinating clay patterns on hand!


Sign up for occasional Polka Dot Cottage news and get a coupon for 10% off your next order!

Don't worry, we won't bother you more than once or twice a month!

Posted on 6 Comments

6 thoughts on “Vintage-Inspired Granny Square Neckwarmer

  1. What a beautiful history! I like the neck warmer but if not comfortable it will be more fun to wear as a longer scarf. Very nice work. Now we know where you get your inspiration. Happy Valentine’s Day!💖

    1. I think you are probably right 😀
      Happy Valentine’s Day to you, too!

  2. Super long scarves are in! I think that with a lot of fringe would be awesome

    1. Ooh, fringe could be fun 🙂

  3. When I was a kid, Grandma carried her wool and needles everywhere she went. Her fingers were constantly going. I love that you were able to to turn those squares into a beautiful, memory-stirring blanket. Thanks so much. Mom

    1. That blanket is one of my favorite things that I’ve worked on ♥♥♥

Leave a comment!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.