Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Granny versus Granny

Traditional Granny Square Afghan with Lacy Border

I've been crocheting granny squares for decades. I love them. I've been quoted as saying that "granny squares are the building blocks to fashion." Yes they are. Modular garments are perfect for granny squares. You can construct ANYTHING from squares: Afghans, sweaters, jackets, trousers, upholstery, lacy tops...the possibilities are infinite.

Crochet Chart for Traditional Granny Square

Illustration from Eastern European Crochet Site detailing modular crochet square patterns
I just cannot stop making granny squares. They are so satisfying. You can make solid squares with one color yarn or mix it up and change colors every round. The results can be stunning. Contrary to their name, granny squares do not have to look like something your granny made during the last century. They can look modern and hip like this bulls-eye pillow:
Modern Bulls-Eye Granny Pillow
Recently, I've been experimenting with what is known as the Chocolate Box granny square. This is also referred to as the block stitch, brick stitch or mosaic stitch.  Rather than going round and round with groups of 3 double crochets in the spaces like a traditional granny square, this Chocolate Box stitch alternates rounds of chains with the 3 double crochet rounds. The 3 dc stitches are stacked on top of each other like a box of chocolates. I was aware of this stitch, but became reacquainted with it by my friend and crochet protégé, Gail Zucker. Gale is a professional photographer, excellent knitter and has taken to crochet with her own beautiful style. Here is one of Gale's Chocolate Box Afghans:

Afghan and photo by Gale Zucker
Gale used a different color yarn on each round/row of her afghan. Notice how the crochet chain rows frame the little boxes? I just love this look!

Photo and Chart for the Chocolate Box Granny Stitch
Another example of the Chocolate Box/Brick/Mosaic/Block Stitch
I started making a simple boxy top to use up all of my skeins of brown-toned sock yarn. I crocheted a few traditional granny squares with a size "G" hook, a much larger hook than would usually be used with this weight yarn. Even though my hook was big, the square just wasn't that flexible. I wanted a good drape for this sweater. I tried the Chocolate Box stitch and my square was WAY more flexible and draped beautifully. This is due to the row of chainy lace stitches every other row!  LOVE it. The front of my sweater is made up of many different squares. The back will be one big, solid chocolate box in a single color.

Flexible Chocolate Box Square, Sock Yarn, Size "G" Hook
Next up, a chocolate box sweater in worsted weight yarn!  Woo Hoo, I'm livin' it up!

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At 9:58 PM PST, Blogger betty said...

I love the chart for the basic granny square. I don't crochet much, but I'm thinking of making a bag with some linen yarn I have sitting around and I might try the chocolate box stitch. What's the "X" mean on those chain stitch rows?

At 10:06 PM PST, Blogger Ellen Bloom said...

The "X" means SLIP STITCH, Betty!


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