Back to Basics

GrannySquare1974Please tell me that I am not the only woman of a certain age who shudders and pales as she remembers the 1970s women’s GrannySquare4fashions utilizing granny squares!

Oy vei!  

Yet at the time, it was ever so fashionable to look as though you had turned the family afghan into an article of clothing.

And sometimes the similarities were remarkable.  πŸ™‚

GrannySquare5 (2)Now imagine this eye-catching poncho draped on a nearly 6 foot tall skinny teenager.  It is really embarrassing to meet friends at a party and have one of them say loudly, “Why are you wearing the afghan from your mother’s couch?!”   As all eyes turn toward you, try responding to that one!  (“No, it is not the afghan from my mother’s couch.  That one is a different color.”)

GrannySquare2 (2)It is no small wonder that my boyfriend loved it when I wore halter tops such as those to the right (pic source).

I also crocheted a bikini remarkably GrannySquarebikini (2)similar to this one.  After I finished it, my mother cut it up and threw it away (much to grannysquare6my boyfriend’s disappointment!).

Of course, I don’t remember him wearing granny square based clothing.  And, yes, granny squares were used for men’s clothing as well.  GrannySquare7And, no, the granny square male ensemble wasn’t sported just by musicians.

There were many young men GrannySquareChild (2)whose girlfriends crocheted them garments.  If a young man wanted to keep his girlfriend happy, he sort of had to wear the crocheted gifts.

Nor were children immune, poor little tykes, as can be seen of this picture of a child stoically wearing his granny square vest!

For reasons that seem obvious (to me at least), I hadn’t crocheted a granny square in many years (okay, decades).  Yet recently, the thought of crocheting a pile of granny squares seemed, well, comforting.  So out came my crochet hooks and yarn, and I started to crochet squares for Granddaughter F’s Christmas present – an afghan.

GrannySquarePileI had forgotten how fast crocheting granny squares out of worsted weight yarn can be!  No surprise to Thor, I got a bit carried away. After crocheting 12 squares (2 of each of these) in 2 days, the arthritis sleeping in my right wrist woke up.

I haven’t been able to knit or crochet for a week!  😦

Lesson learned:  Moderation in all things crocheted – well, at least granny squares!

Two questions:

  1. When was the last time you crocheted granny squares?
  2. When was the last time you turned granny squares into a garment or accessory and wore it?!
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About sweatyknitter

Fiber art devotee, author, and amateur artisan bread baker.
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44 Responses to Back to Basics

  1. I had not realized how taxing it can be on wrists! I had always seen so many older crocheters so I guess I assumed it was easy on the hands! Those crocheters must have had great muscle tone in their hands and wrists! >

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  2. Rebecca says:

    I have never worn granny squares but did own a blue stripey crochet poncho in the seventies. Unlikely i would ever wear granny squares but fully support afgans. Crochet is a severe mistress so be careful with those hands.

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  3. And maybe, bedecked in granny squares, appear en masse somewhere to enlighten the (torment?) the eye-rollers! πŸ™‚ >

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We’ll still stand proud though despite the eye rolls!

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  5. Yup – knitting/crocheting injuries don’t sound as impressive as, for instance, an injury sustained while ice climbing or running a marathon! >

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  6. I bought a book to try out the granny squares this year. I don’t think I’ll be making clothes though! πŸ™‚ I hope your wrists feel better. I have to be careful with knitting. Sad we can get knitting and crocheting “injuries”.

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  7. salpal1 says:

    It worked well with the sock knit along – I had lots of bits left. I doubt I will ever again knit so many socks all in a row, but if I do, I will make another blanket. It is perfect for cool evenings indoors and out.

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  8. I feel as though I could knit but don’t want to risk it! :(. The GS square surrounded by a circle sounds fun! >

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  9. writeknit says:

    I absolutely remember those items of clothing – never made or wore them! The last time I made a granny square was last month! I have a great pattern for a dog baby afghan that is a circle around a regular granny square made as large as you want the finished blanket to be.They are also a great way to use scrapes.

    My wrist screams when I crochet a lot, but not when I knit. I got a wrist brace (less than $20.00) when mine gets sore. It doesn’t affect my stitching, but keeps me from pain. Give it a try!

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  10. A built in game – what a marvelous idea! I’ll borrow it but like Sesame Street: one of these is not like the other! πŸ™‚ >

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  11. You are most welcome. They triggered memories for me too! >

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  12. So they are coming back in fashion? I am not sure I would wear them again but think made into blankets they are quite homey! πŸ˜€ >

    Liked by 1 person

  13. You then escaped mockery from your children and grandchildren! πŸ™‚ >

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  14. Of course hexagon shaped GS county’s! I guess GSs are like potato chips: You can’t eat/crochet just one! >

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Anita says:

    That was a fun (and enlightening πŸ˜‰ ) post! Do granny hexagons count? πŸ™‚ I made a placemat-turned-telephone-cover from them a few months ago, and we love it. As for accessories, I made two identical rectangular pieces from small granny squares, and they’re still waiting to be made into a clutch…
    But you’re right, the speed at which they turn out makes one overindulge. πŸ˜€ Hope your wrist gets better soon!

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  16. slippedstitches says:

    Loved the old pictures. Last I crocheted granny squares was many moons ago. Probably in the 1970s. I’ve never had the opportunity to make a garment from them.

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  17. Vix says:

    I made myself a lovely granny square jumper a couple of years ago. It’s got nine multi-coloured squares on the front, a plain back and some lovely ribbing on the cuffs and neck. My craft group are actually quite taken with granny square clothes and there are some lovely patterns out there… Modern patterns of course πŸ™‚

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  18. tgonzales says:

    I crocheted a granny square a couple of days ago. I made it for a class model and will be teaching a class on how to read patterns. The granny square will be one that the students can learn. I first learned to make a granny square when I was a Senior in high school. I made lots of small granny squares to make a baby aghan for my (still) best friend for her first baby. It was made from a Simplicity pattern that had the blanket, a sweater, bonnet, and booties made out of granny squares. I think I just made the afghan, but you never know. That was 1974 and look at me I am still making granny squares. I loved all of your photos of the 70’s, thanks for the memories. πŸ™‚

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  19. rthepotter says:

    Enjoyed this post πŸ™‚ and yes I remember, though don’t think I wore one! I did a mega-granny-square thing some years back – blankets for some small children, with built in game – no two squares alike except for one pair which had to be found. I must say it was fun to make them.

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  20. Of course! While your daughter may/may not love the sweater, your granddaughter just might! Years ago I knit my daughter – then about 8 – a sweater I thought turned out awful. She loved it and wore it (much to my horror) constantly. πŸ™‚ >

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I LOVE this post. Very timely. I hope you don’t mind but I have linked to this post from my post. You will see why. (BTW, my post is tongue in cheek.) I hope you don’t mind me referring to your very funny post. Let me know if you would prefer me to remove reference to your blog. πŸ™‚ You gave me inspiration for a fun post.
    https://knanaknits.wordpress.com/2015/04/19/granny-squares-sweater-and-a-poor-little-tyke/

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  22. Pingback: Granny squares sweater and a poor little tyke | Knanaknits

  23. Never too late! (Hmmm, now that you mention it, I can’t remember ever seeing a cotton granny square vest or afghan. πŸ˜„) >

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  24. kiwiyarns says:

    So funny! Loved the story of your teenaged afghan. πŸ˜€ I escaped the granny square 70’s because I was growing up in Malaysia, where it is to hot for granny squares. They can look amazing though. Hope your wrist feels better soon!

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  25. Ahh, neon green! No orange trim?! πŸ™‚

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  26. What a great way to use up yarn! And I don’t think any of us looked good in granny squares! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Scrapghan – a great term. And yes of course, a granny square afghan “counts”! πŸ™‚

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  28. Anita Jayne says:

    1) I am currently in the process of making a few granny squares out of my scrap yarn, in the hopes of completing a scrapghan to donate, or possibly keep.
    2) Not sure if it counts, but my recent poncho is essentially one large granny square!

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  29. 1marylou says:

    Recently while shopping, I noticed a Prada window display with a vest of crochet. I found it attractive. Of course, I will never forget the neon green skirt and vest my mother crocheted for me to wear to middle school.

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  30. salpal1 says:

    lol Oh, I remember all those things, my grandmother made me vests. πŸ™‚
    1.) all last year – using sock yarn scraps to make an afghan for the couch. It is bright and cheerful and I love it – it is just the right weight (and always matches my sock, which are knit.)
    2.) around 1972 when my friend and I made many hats using 5 granny squares – not very flattering, but quick to make!

    Liked by 1 person

  31. darthmummy says:

    Doctor also recommended ham and Tylenol.

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  32. I feel as though I could knit but I don’t want to risk it. So I am taking a month off knitting and crocheting, switching to sewing and weaving. (Just ordered some replacement parts for my floor loom.)

    >

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  33. LOL. Looking at all those 70s granny square fashions, I can’t help but think,”What in the world were we thinking?!”

    >

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  34. darthmummy says:

    I took a couple of weeks off and then got back to work very slowly. I could still knit though.

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  35. Ouch … 2 in 3 weeks!?! How long before you could crochet again? πŸ™‚

    >

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  36. Oh that will be so nice and colorful on someone’s bed or couch! Thanks for sharing the picture!

    >

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  37. darthmummy says:

    I did that last year when I crocheted two cardigans for myself in three weeks. Holy tennis elbow, Batman!

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  38. gossycrafts says:

    1. This morning.
    2. Never. :p Although the granny squares I was working on this morning are intended for a hilarious garment for a friend.

    I love the humble granny square, just not as a wearable!

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  39. I was having so much fun with the squares – which is why I overdid things and now have to give my wrist a break. 😦 Do post a picture of the finished blanket out of one big square! Is it sold or multiple colors?!

    >

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  40. I probably should have lined the bikini before I showed it to my mother? πŸ™‚

    >

    Liked by 2 people

  41. whatzitknitz says:

    last year I tried once again to learn to crochet. I know the stitches but it is confusing to me as to where to insert the hook for the next stitch with knitting all my sts are on the needles.
    this time it must have finally made sense. my sisters and I have begun a family blanket out if Mom’s stash. I went home and continued my new skills by crocheting granny blankets out of my stash. one is a large never ending granny square of worsted weight yarn. and the other two are sock weight blankets with a variety of brightly colored yarns and an assortment of different sized squares.
    I haven’t made a garment but I am contemplating one.

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  42. darthmummy says:

    I crochet granny squares all the time! I love them. For blankets. Not bikinis.

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