First Assignment for the Granny Square Sampler Project

Granny Square Sampler
(Find all the week’s assignments for this project on this page.)
As I am working on the master pattern for our granny square a-long (say that to the non-crocheter and watch their face), I thought we could talk about the yarn you’ll need (thanks for asking about it Erin).
You can read about the original idea of the granny square project here.
If you already own a lot of yarn, I would encourage you to use this pattern as a stash buster if possible. That’s what I’m doing. With no shortage of yarn around here (a hem, the above photo is the top of a basket that currently runs very deep), I thought it would be a good challenge to impose some color limitations on myself, maybe mixing in a few I don’t really love with the favorite ones I always grab. Just like I realized in Denyse Schmidt’s Improvisational Patchwork class last summer, taking away a lot of the choice can yield some really fun, unexpected results.
And I figure that emptying my yarn basket is a good excuse to buy more.
The original pattern that inspired the idea for this project uses 12 different colors. That’s a good starting number as you gather your yarn colors for this project. Granny squares use lots of colors, but not a ton of yarn. If you are buying yarn, 1 skein per color is probably sufficient. But there are exceptions! For example, one of the colors I will use often will be cream,  and I will most likely buy 2 or 3 skeins of that color if I don’t have enough.
Now, the yarn size. The original inspiration pattern specified worsted weight yarn, and our pattern will use worsted as well. This is considered a Category 4, Medium weight yarn. Cotton, Acrylic, Wool… you choose the content, but hopefully you have some stash yarn that falls into the worsted weight category. I will use Cascade 220 and Cascade 220 Superwash, both 100% Wool and available in a rainbow of colors. I have also been using Debbie Stoller’s Stitch Nation “Full O’Sheep” 100% Wool. Available at Joann’s and Michael’s, its per skein price is less than Cascade, but there aren’t as many colors available. If you have a finer yarn you want to mix in, you can still use it! Just be selective about where it goes, spread it around the afghan and know that the effect of that area will be lacier and more open (you will still use the same hook). A thicker yarn, is not going to be fun to crochet with.
Hook size- I use Clover Soft Touch Crochet Hooks. I love them! I learned to make granny squares using a size 5.0mm/H and I now use a smaller size, a 4.00mm/G size because I like my squares to be tight. Its a personal choice what you use, any hook compatible with worsted weight yarn is perfect fine.
One last thing, because this is a sampler afghan, with lots of different granny squares, using lots of different colors, it might feel daunting to choose colors randomly (or not) as you begin. If you, like me, enjoy a few rules, make some for yourself.
Lightest color always starts in the center and gets darker with each round.
Blue and Pink yarns never sit side by side (that’s one of mine)
Always end largest rounds with charcoal heather.
Use cream in every granny square.

It’s is entirely up to you, but something to keep in mind when shopping for yarn.
OK, fellow crocheters! Go forth and choose your yarn rainbow!

  • Sara Downes

    May 10, 2012 at 6:45 am

    Just wondering can you knit granny squares?

  • kat

    May 10, 2012 at 6:53 am

    I can’t wait to get started. I’ve been wanting to get better at crochet so I’m using this as my push! Time to go through the stash.

  • Megan

    May 10, 2012 at 9:42 am

    Wow, I could read this in my Google Reader, but when I came here to comment it is almost all in jibberish. Wait…everything is just shifted over a letter (Facebook = Gbdfcppl). Weird.
    Anywhoo…about yarn. You say you’ll be using Cascade 2020 and Cascade 2020 Superwash. Is it a problem using both in the same project? I have been tempted to do this, but even with handwashing I would think the regular 2020 might shrink up a bit, no?

  • blair/wisecraft

    May 10, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    I’m sure you must be able to, someone somewhere must have figured that out. The instructions I’m writing for this blanket will be only in crochet though. Hope you’ll try it out!

  • blair/wisecraft

    May 10, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    That’s great Kat!

  • blair/wisecraft

    May 10, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    Uh oh, that’s weird. Don’t know what that could be, your end or my end.
    Cascade 220 and Cascade 220 Superwash are no problem to combine in the same project, and you can also throw in any other worsted weight wool as well, they’ll all work together.

  • susaninfrance

    May 10, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    Yipee! Can’t wait!! Should we gather a bit more of the yarn that will be the middle (in between all the squares-hope that makes sense?)….or are we doing something different here? Like the beige or the grey you spoke of. I’ve got several skeins of colors I like (not sure if I have 12 but close), but I’ll need to get extra if we’ll need that anchor color for the edges. I hope this makes sense to you!
    Also, can you start at the very beginning as in how to you get your yarn in the round balls and why do we need to do that from the way they are sold–I can probably figure this out, but I’d like to know all the reasons behind it etc…
    Thank you Blair for doing this!

  • Becky

    May 11, 2012 at 3:04 am

    Thanks for your post and welcome to check:

  • Joey

    May 11, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    Excited to try this. I am an avid knitter not much of a crocheter but loe the look of the granny squares. Ready with yarn:). Thank you for doing this!

  • Dee

    May 13, 2012 at 5:47 am

    I think I’m going to join you!

  • Harriett

    May 13, 2012 at 7:41 am

    I can’t wait! After working on several projects lately to use up some of my stash I am looking forward to going to pick out a whole new pallete for this project.
    Thanks again for doing this project.

  • Raychel

    May 14, 2012 at 7:04 am

    Your idea for the crochet-a-long (along with the gorgeous square in the wallpaper you made) inspired me to pick up crochet again. I’ve been a knitter for 8 years and have learned how to crochet a few times, but I’ve never stuck with it. I’ve been seeing lots of great granny squares out in the blog world and wanted to give it a try. I had just a few giant hooks and all sorts of novelty yarns (we’re talking M and N hooks!), so I got some worsted weight yarn yesterday and more normal sized hooks and learned to granny square! I’m excited to join your crochet-a-long!

  • blair/wisecraft

    May 14, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    Hi Susan, you should definitely have more of any color you will consider a “main color” on hand. There will come a point towards the end of the project we will begin to join everything together, and you main want that all to be the same color.
    I will also start at the very beginning and do the best I can to explain the most basic granny square. We’ll start simple and progress to more challenging, but I will walk you through each type of granny.

  • blair/wisecraft

    May 14, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    Thank you Joey! Planning to officially start next week. Stay tuned.

  • blair/wisecraft

    May 14, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    Oh great Dee, I hope so. Your grannies are looking so good on Instagram!

  • blair/wisecraft

    May 14, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    Awesome, can’t wait to see what colors you choose!

  • blair/wisecraft

    May 14, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    Thank you Raychel, so happy to hear you’re up for joining us! Isn’t it funny what inspires us over the edge to finally jump in and try something. And after those large hooks, this will be a piece of cake! : D

  • Donna

    May 15, 2012 at 7:19 am

    Cant wait, I am teaching a group of local ladies to crochet, This is PERFECT!!
    Do we sign up for emails from you, or just check your blog (which is delightful!)

  • DemetriasCrochet

    May 21, 2012 at 7:27 am

    This is so exciting! It will be my first C-A-L. I made a few stash-buster granny square pillows earlier this year, and i must say I am officially addicted to working with grannys and motifs.

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