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Updated: Sep 4, 2023

Originally written in Spanish.

August 15th is International Granny Square Day, and in celebration we're going to talk a little about this beloved pattern.

The history of the granny square

The origin of the granny square is unclear. In 1885, in Illinois, USA, a newspaper about agriculture and rural life called Prairie Farmer, published the first known granny square pattern. At that time, patchwork blankets with black edges called Crazy Work were very common. The article's author, Mrs. Phelps, discusses a crochet square with a black border she had made following the trend.

If you're curious, check out the first written granny square pattern.

First article about granny squares in the "Prairie Farmer".
First article about granny squares in the "Prairie Farmer".

In 1891, granny squares appeared in the book, The Art of Crochet, published by the Butterick Publishing Co. in London. While the book didn't include any granny square patterns, it did talk about making granny squares in different colors. Since then, granny squares have been adapted for all kinds of pieces. In the 70s, they became very popular for jackets, dresses, and bags.

Granny Square Bomber Jacket by Marta Ovelha
Granny Square Bomber Jacket by Marta Ovelha | © Rosários 4

Granny squares as a trendy pattern

Some purists believe that only "classic" design granny squares are true granny squares, but the truth is that they can be made by combining different types of stitches and not just double crochet and chain stitch. There are also triangular and hexagonal variations.

Many books and designs include granny squares. During my visit to H+H Cologne, I talked to some wool manufacturers about crochet, and they all said the same thing: granny squares are in style and super trendy among their younger audiences.

Bohemian Garden Cushion by Ana Morais Soares
Bohemian Garden Cushion by Ana Morais Soares | © Rosários 4

A versatile and unique piece

Granny squares are versatile because you can use yarn scraps and try out different color combinations. And they're unique because they can only be made by hand since no machine is capable of replicating a granny square. I must admit, I myself am a huge fan of granny squares!

If you're interested in fiber history, why not read about Scottish knitting traditions?



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