I’ve been there. When I just started crocheting, I had no clue how to make granny squares. They looked quite complex and I figured I was better off doing something easy, like crocheting rows. If only I knew how easy it was! Granny squares are a basic type of block, but because of the versatile nature of the stitch and the flowing, easing rhythm of the clusters it lends itself to all types of projects.
Like the Vintage sweet shawl!
Or the Colourful Rainbow Granny blanket!
What is a granny square?
A granny square is the name for a motif that’s worked in granny clusters. A granny cluster is a special type of stitch that consists of a cluster of 3 double crochets (or UK trebles) that are worked in one stitch or space, separated by one or more chains from other clusters. In every row, you crochet granny clusters around the chains that separate clusters of the previous row. Clusters can be worked in the round, or in rows. If you work in the round, you will increase the number of granny clusters in each round to accommodate for the growing circumference of your crocheted piece.
If this all sounds complicated, don’t worry. It’s all best explained in pictures, so I’ve made a photo tutorial for you below!
What yarn do I need to crochet a granny square?
You can use any type of yarn! My advice to you would be to use a non-splitting yarn though, especially if this is your first time crocheting a granny square. You want to see your stitches clearly, and splitting yarn doesn’t help with that. I would absolutely recommend a 100% cotton yarn such as Scheepjes Catona, which is tightly plied and mercerised to help prevent splitting and, also importantly, available in over 100 colours. If you use Scheepjes Catona, also use a 3.5mm hook (US size E/4). Otherise, check out the label
Where can you buy yarn for Granny Squares?
I recommend a non-splitty, 100% cotton such as Scheepjes Catona if you first start out with crocheting Granny Squares. You can purchase Catona via the following webshops:
Granny square tutorial (US terms)
A Granny square is traditionally worked in the round. So that’s what we’ll go with! The tutorial is written in US terms. If you prefer UK terms, simply substitute every double crochet (dc) with a treble (tr). This tutorial is made for absolute beginners and contains a lot of photos and extra explanations. If you’re just looking for the written pattern, scroll to the bottom of this tutorial.
Getting started (photo 1)
Chain 4, then slip stitch the last chain to the first one (photo 1). This will create a circle for you to crochet your granny clusters in. Alternatively, if you’ve mastered the magic loop you can use that one too as a substitution for this step.
Round 1 (photos 2-6)
Chain 3. These 3 chains will count as your first double crochet, which I will abbreviate with dc from now on. Do you see the space you’ve created by chaining the first and last ch together? It’s indicated by the arrow in photo 2. That’s where you are going to crochet your first round in.
Crochet 2dc in the space indicated by the arrow in photo 2. You just made your first granny cluster (photo 3)! Chain 2, those two chains will form your first corner. Crochet 3dc in the same space again. You now have made two granny clusters and one corner, all in the same space (photo 4).
Now repeat the instructions *chain 2, 2dc in circle* 2 more times to create two extra granny clusters and corners. Next, make another 2 chains for your final corner. Your work will now look as in photo 5.
Now you will need to close your round. Do this by slip stitching the last chain into the 3rd chain of the chains you’ve started your round with (photo 6).
As you might have noticed, I crocheted over the loose end of my yarn. I do this because it saves me an end to weave in later.
You just made the very first round of your Granny square. Of course it’s just the first round, but from now on it’s almost the same as what we just did. You can stop here, or change colours if you like, but I’ll continue with the same colour for this tutorial. You see, I hate to weave in all those ends. So I plan to only have two yarn ends in this square, one of which I crocheted over so that only leaves me one to weave in!
Round 2 (photo 7-11)
You’re now going to start your next round. Your first cluster will be a special one: normally, you work your clusters in the chain spaces that you created between clusters in the previous row (in the case of round 2, those are the corners). However, because you crochet from right to left there is no space for your other stitches in this round because your cluster from the previous round is in the way! That’s why we’re breaking up this cluster a little bit, and finish it in the final stitches of this round. Simply follow the steps below, and it will make sense!
Chain 3. This will count as your starting dc again (photo 7).
Chain 1 more. You have now made a dc (your first 3 chains) and an extra chain for a chain space. Remember, you only need 1 chain in between clusters on the same side, and 2 chains if you’re crocheting a corner.
In the corner space of the previous row, crochet 3dc (photo 8). Do you see what’s happening? You’re going to make a new corner, in the corner space of the previous row.
Chain 2, and then make another 3dc in the same corner space (photo 9).
You’re going to continue like this around your square. Chain 1 to create a chain space. Next, crochet 3dc, 2 chains and 3dc in the same corner space. Repeat this until you end up on the side where you started. In your final corner, be sure to crochet 2dc instead of 3dc (photo 10). Why? Because we started the round with our special ‘broken up’ cluster. We made 3 chains, and those counted as our first dc. So now we add 2 at the end of the round to complete the granny cluster. Does it make sense to you now?
Slip stitch your last dc to the 3rd chain of your first 3 chains and you’re done with this round as well (photo 11)! It’s starting to look like a proper granny square, doesn’t it?
Round 3 (photos 12-13)
Chain 3, those will count as your starting dc. As you can see, this time you’re on the ‘right’ side of the previous’ round cluster. So there’s no need to break up your first cluster like you had to do in the previous round. Crochet 2 more dc in the chain-space (photo 12).
You’re now ready to crochet a corner again, so repeat what you did last round. Make 3dc, 2 chains and 3dc in the same corner space. Chain 1 to create a chain-space, and crochet 3dc in the next chain-space of the previous round. Now you’re ready to make your next corner again! Continue like before, making corners and granny clusters in between. Finally, close the round with a slip stitch in the 3rd chain of your starting 3 chains (photo 13)
Do you see a pattern emerging? Because you make 2 granny clusters in each corner space, you increase the number of chain spaces per round. That means that each round you can make one extra granny cluster in between, to help you grow your granny square larger and larger!
I hope you have seen that the granny square holds no mysteries to those who’ve followed a step-by-step tutorial! I’ve also written this pattern down in the ‘regular’, condensed form.
Granny Square written pattern
abbreviations (US terms)
- beg: beginning
- ch: chain
- ch-sp: chain-space
- dc: double crochet
- ss: slip stitch
Ch4, join with ss in first ch.
Round 1 Ch3 (counts as first dc), 2dc in ch-sp, (ch2, 3dc in ch-sp) 3 times, ch2, join with ss in 3rd ch of beg-ch.
Round 2 Ch4 (counts as first dc + ch1), *[3dc, ch2, 3dc] in corner ch-sp, ch1; repeat from * 2 more times, [3dc, ch2, 2dc] in corner ch-sp, join with ss in 3rd ch of beg-ch.
Round 3 Ch3 (counts as first dc), 2dc in ch-sp, ch1, *[3dc, ch2, 3dc] in corner ch-sp, ch1, 3dc in next ch-sp, ch1; repeat from * 2 more times, [3dc, ch2, 3dc] in corner ch-sp, ch1, join with ss in 3rd ch of beg-ch.
Continue like in Round 3, but crochet 3dc and ch1 in each ch-sp in between corner spaces. This will grow your granny square.
Don’t forget, if you’re ready for the real work, my Rainbow Granny Square Blanket is perfect for if you want to practice your Granny squares!