Crochet handmade Hello

:: How To Crochet a Granny Square – Even If You’ve Never Crocheted Before!

July 9, 2008

As you know, I’m stuck on Hooking! I can’t stop, in fact! And I’ve been getting a heap of emails asking HOW DO YOU CROCHET….? WHAT BOOK SHOULD I BUY…? WHAT TUTORIALS SHOULD I READ..? and things like that… So I’m doing a bit of legwork for you – to help get you started! Don’t get me wrong, I’m NOT a teacher… I’m more of a Learner… and if I can do it, you can too!

My Nanna and Mum were always crochet-ing when I was a child, and there were never a set of legs on our sofa without a granny rug strewn over them! Apparently I was too busy adjusting Sindy’s tutu, polishing my patent clogs or practicing my Abba moves to learn from Mum or Nanna, however! I learnt to crochet only very recently via Brown Owls, my lovely friends, you tube and this blog ! But even if you don’t have a real live teacher like I did, you can still learn! I know you can!

So a few things before you get started: allow yourself lots of attempts at this. And perhaps be prepared with a swear jar. (Just for those cross times when ‘darn it’ doesn’t cut it – there will be a few, I promise, but perservere.) Have your computer nearby if possible so you can refer back to helpful links in times of need.

For a quick rundown on what granny squares are all about, there is an excellent US photo tutorial here by the lovely Purl Bee! You can see how to get started, and how the rounds of stitching are built up to form a square. And also how to do the corners – which some people find tricky. I suggest you use that pattern once you have worked out HOW to crochet. Also check out Flickr – click here for Granny Square inspiration!

Now, keep in mind that, as with learning any new skill, it might take a bit of fishing around to find the diagrams/podcasts/tutorials that will work for you. I find video is easier to learn from. Perhaps you will too! You may find it helpful to turn the sound off when watching any videos – and just do as they do. Sometimes the audio can be a little grating, ya know?!

Also it’s important to note that the US crochet terminology differs from the Australian and UK terms. So if you start off learning the US way – stick to US patterns and terminology whilst you are learning – then you can branch out once you’ve got the techniques and stitches sorted! Got it?! Above all – don’t give up! You can do this! It took me many ,many trys to ‘get it’ and now I’m hooked… I know.. I keep saying that!

This post is full of heaps of links – you really don’t have to look at them all!!! Just start off with the Purl Bee Tutorial – and refer to the links as you might need them. If you get stuck – start clicking around a bit – the links are purely for back up!

How to Crochet a Granny Square!
1. Buy your yarn and hook
2. Learn to do a Slip Knot
3. Learn how to hold the Hook and Yarn – tension is very important
4. Practice Chain Stitch until you feel confident
5. Learn to Make a Chain ‘Ring’ to form the centre of your square
6. Learn how to do Treble Crochet
7. Find a Granny Square How To that you find easy to follow – lots of photos or video is perfect
8. Start Grannying!

Basic abbreviations you’ll need to know
ch – chain
dc – double crochet – US
tr – treble – UK and AUS
sl st – slip stitch

1. Buy Your Yarn and Hook
You’ll need some yarn and a crochet hook. A larger hook is good for beginners – and the one Kirsty gave me is a nice metal one – so it’s good and slippery – it’s a 5.50mm hook and it works great for me! The yarn slips on and off easily, which is what you want, as you might be all fingers and thumbs when you start off.

As for the yarn, the nature of granny squares is scrappy – they are designed to use up all those odd bits of yarn you have lying around, or might find at the op shop. If you’re a beginner, then you probably won’t have lots of yarn lying around, right?! Unless you’ve unravelled your jumper accidentally or something like that. Assuming that’s not the case, you’ll need to buy a few different yarny colours – I’ve been using regular old 8 ply and that’s been great for me. A light colour is good for beginners, as it’s easier to see when you’re trying to work out what to do! Choose colours you love – but keep it cheap and cheerful at this early stage. And DO keep on the look out for scrappy bits at your local op shop – because recycling is good, isn’t it?!

When you get going on bigger projects the ply and the dye lot become more important, but we’re just grannying along – so let’s keep it simple for now!

2. Learn To Do A Slip Knot
To begin any crochet (or knitting) project, you need to make a slip knot. Perhaps you already know how to do this – but if you don’t there seem to be a zillion ways to do it! I do it like this guy, but you might like to try this or this or this. The slip knot is where you start to make your chain stitches from.

3. Learn How to Hold the Yarn and Hook
Alyssa will show you – it’s really very important to do this correctly as tension is paramount!!!! Keep practicing until you get it right!

4. Learn To Crochet Chain Stitch
Chain stitch is the building blocks of all crochet. Practice chain stitching a lovely long chain until you feel you’ve got it licked. Then move on to the next step.

5. Learn to Make a Chain ‘Ring’ to form the centre of your square
You’ll need to refer to your pattern to find out how many chain stitches to start with, but basically when you start a granny square, you start with chain stitch.

You make 4 or 6 chain stitches (or less or more!) and then you loop them together to form the ‘ring’ centre of your granny square. And you use chain stitch to join all the little granny square clusters up too. There is a very good video on youtube here<
/a> Another video I watched suggests putting your finger into the ring to stretch it out a little – for easier hooking into. I like to do this.

(Note that there are many ways to start a granny square – sometimes you start with a chain of four stitches and some instructions will ask you to start with a chain of six. or eight Don’t let that confuse you. Stick with one set of instructions (or one pattern) when you are learning – or you may end up with a granny rhombus and not a square at all!)

6. Learn how to do Treble Crochet
Australian Instructions here or follow the Youtube tutes for US double crochet

7. Find a Granny Square How To that you find easy to follow
A granny square is basically a pattern of clusters of stitches joined together with chain stitches – and a little trickery at the corners, with some extra chains and clusters to keep it square. The cluster stitches are called treble crochet in Australia and the UK (and double crochet in the US!!! Go figure!). Google ‘beginners granny square pattern’ or similar to find other patterns you might like to use.

Refer to your pattern for exact stitch counts. But basically what you’re doing is starting with your chain stitches – which you make into a loop – and then you chain up from the loop the required number of stitches – and then you treble stitch INTO the loop you just made. This creates your first cluster of stitches. Then you chain across and repeat. Look here and here and here for further useful video how-tos – including how to do TREBLE (double!).

8. Start Grannying!
I would at this stage like to thank Kirsty, Lara, Jess and my Mum and Nan and Kirst’s Aunty Pat for their help, extreme patience, kindess, skill and inspiration. And also YouTube. One of my favourite Craft Reference sites. Truly.

How To Crochet a Granny Square – by Craft Stylish
Learn to Crochet – by Crafty Daisy
Beginner Crochet – Out of Focus video – but really informative
How to Change Colours
How to Sew Your Squares Together
Reversible Granny Square
WhipUp – Crochet Archives
YouTube – search for Granny Square
Craftzine Crochet Archives

Ravelry – fabulous resource for yarn lovers

More Granny Squares on the Mikes Blog:
What to do with a FEW granny squares
Banned from Hooking
Granny Squares – Work in Progress

xx Mikes


  • Reply Kristilee February 8, 2020 at 10:16 PM

    Leaving a comment because its been 12 years and im reading this article! I just stumbled on it as im trying (as failing so far haha) to make my own granny square

  • Reply prada outlet November 12, 2013 at 12:47 PM

    prada outlet…

    welcomes tomoncler 2013…

  • Reply Anonymous April 21, 2009 at 6:28 PM

    I lived in Melbourne 35 years ago and loved it. Now I’m enjoying reading blogs from the same area and you have inspired me to dig out a little box of “hooks” that belonged to my grandma. I also have a few pillow cases with beautiful crochet work. So thanks for the inspiration.

  • Reply joanie April 18, 2009 at 9:33 PM

    Must learn to crochet beyond a chain! Really want to join this one, thanks for the incentive!

  • Reply paintergirl July 10, 2008 at 11:16 AM

    yeahhh – awesomely put together! i’m lovin’ grannysquare action – and i love it even more knowing that there is a new wave of grannysquarers out there right now!

  • Reply edward and lilly July 10, 2008 at 1:24 AM

    This is great. I attempted crochet a few years ago and gave up but all of this information and encouragement is really motivating. Thank you!

  • Reply Fibo July 9, 2008 at 3:03 PM

    look what you’ve done Pip, you’ve gone and got me all interested in crochet by making it look relatively easy! *wanders off in search of hook and yarn*

  • Reply nerida July 9, 2008 at 12:42 PM

    Wow – thanks so much for all the crochet help! I have only just started to learn to crochet in the last few weeks and proudly completed my first ‘granny square’ on the weekend! Your links are very helpful.

  • Reply boobook July 9, 2008 at 12:10 PM

    so very helpful and good!!

    WEll done on you great how to!!

  • Reply Frances Baker July 9, 2008 at 11:42 AM

    This is such a comprehensive post! You really do make it all seem so much less scary. Thank you so much for your hard work in putting this together, and for the inspiration!

  • Reply jesska July 9, 2008 at 10:57 AM

    I’ve been meaning to try these! I had a quick lesson from a friend a few nights ago, then just saw your post which has inspired me to give it a go tonight. Thanks for the helpful links!

  • Reply Emma July 9, 2008 at 9:42 AM

    Put your finger into the ring eh? Wish I’d known about this intimate technique earlier!

  • Reply CurlyPops July 9, 2008 at 7:12 AM

    Thanks for all the fresh links Pip. Even after 2 lessons at Brown Owls, my crochet skills are still crappy….I need all the help I can get!

  • Reply Mc Cranky! July 9, 2008 at 4:58 AM

    pip, this is so great. just this morning i was going trough my knitting bag, re-winding odd balls of wool and dreaming of making something lovely with them. i had my mum’s old crochet blanket over my knees to keep warm (melbourne has definately hit winter)and couldn’ help but wonder how much fun it would be to make my own. tonight i will begin, thanks for all your hard work and tip giving.

    ps. i hope that mug arrived to you safely

  • Reply JustJess July 9, 2008 at 4:34 AM

    Thanks Pip!! I have been wanting to get started on these since my first meeting with Aunty Pat. I have book marked it for future reference. x

  • Reply Hoppo Bumpo July 9, 2008 at 4:04 AM

    You’ve been luring the non-crochet set in for days with the beautiful posts. Some of the projects have been amazing. So, I’m sold! Off to Lincraft now …

  • Leave a Reply