As I challenged myself a few posts ago, these latest little evening hand-busy crocheted rocks were done using a smaller hook, US9/1.25mm, and smaller thread, size 20. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I actually like using these small components even better.
I nearly finished blocking all my granny squares for the sampler. Ready to start joining tomorrow? You may be as relieved as I am to know that it's not as hard as I thought it would be!
And lastly, here's what's playing in my studio today. I just love Camera Obscura. Enjoy!
I jumped the gun last week when I said let's start joining our squares. Because it we are good crocheters (and we are) we must block them first.
Some of you may be asking what exactly is blocking? Blocking means setting your squares by pinning them into the desired square shape, steaming them, misting them with a spray bottle, adding the heat of an iron, and allowing the squares to "set". I consider it an important step, but one that I always forget until I get to that part of the project. But make no mistake, I block everything I crochet or knit. The reasons? ... the steaming of the pieces allows the stitches to relax and smooth into a nice uniform placement, the stitch pattern is set evenly, the size of the piece is set, my work always look better when I block it, and I'll be honest, I love the smell of wet wool.
Here's a visual of what blocking does for our squares-
I use the same method I learned in my knitting class 12 years ago and it has never failed me. This method works for natural fiber yarns like cotton or wool (not mohair or any furry natural yarns, I'm told). As for acrylic yarns, I did a little research online and it seems like there are folks who say its unnecessary, and others who say you must. I will let those of you using acrylic yarns decide for yourself.
So, before joining squares, I will task you this week with blocking your squares. You may decide not to do this step and that is entirely up to you. Those of you who are old pros at this, carry onward. Those who are learning, here's how I block.
To block granny squares- instructions and supplies are for cotton or wool squares, (acrylic instructions are in parenthesis).
- Your granny squares.
- An ironing board or a stack of towels to pin your squares to.
- An iron with steam (not needed for acrylic squares).
- A spray bottle with water.
- A good supply of rust proof pins that don't have plastic heads (the plastic will melt). I use short T pins, but you can also use glasshead pins.
- (Clean damp towels for acrylic squares only).
To block squares:
1. Start pinning the smallest squares on the smallest end of your ironing board. You will want to pin at each corner first, then add 2-3 pins down each the sides evening. Don't pull or tug the square, you're just straightening and smoothing it out to its correct size.
2. (If you have acrylic squares, skip to Step 4). With your spray bottle or using the spray button on your iron, lightly spray the squares. The goal is not to saturate, but to dampen it evenly.
3. Using your iron (I use a high heat setting with full steam), iron over all the squares without touching them, keep the iron 1" or so from the surface of the squares, just allowing the steam to hit and penetrate the squares. Again, just an even steaming, no need to saturate.
4. (Acrylic squares only. Lay a damp towel over your squares, covering them all completely.)
5. Leave them to dry overnight, and remove them the next morning.
Next week we will begin joining some of our squares. I am playing around with a couple of different methods of joining and will share what I come up with. I realize some of you are still scrambling to catch up and I'm hoping this week will give you time to do that as well.
Whenever we go to the beach (lucky us, its minutes away in several directions), I always look out for smooth stones, pebbles, and beach glass. For fun I thought I would try crocheting a few small stones. They turned out kind of cute, what do you think? Thinking of trying a few more, with a smaller crochet hook, if my eyes can stand it.
I'm hijacking this week's granny square sampler choice in order to satisfy my own selfish desire to do a rectangular granny square. A rectangular square. You read that right. Apparently granny squares don't always have to be square and I am completely okay with that (and it just so happens this one is Ian's favorite so far). I've been wanting to do one of these since starting this project and I just hadn't sat down to figure it out until this week. Which is silly, because these are easy. Using only double crochet (dc) and chain (ch) stitches, which you've by now done a bazillion times for this sampler, the trick is simply getting that first round right. Get that part right, and Bob's your uncle.
Rectangular Granny- Make 2, in any combination of 5 colors you want.
Using your first color, ch 16.
Rnd 1: Into the 4th ch from your hook, work the following stitches all into the same chain [2 dc, ch 2, 3 dc, ch 2, 3 dc]. (This forms one short side of the rectangle). *Ch 1, sk 2 ch; 3 dc in next ch st**. Rep from * 2 more times, ch 1, sk 2 ch. Create opposite corner: Into the last ch [3 dc, ch 2, 3 dc, ch 2, 3 dc]. *Ch 1, sk 2 ch; 3 dc in next ch st**. Rep from * 2 more times, ch 1, sl st in beg 3rd ch. End off yarn.
Rnd 2: Starting in one of the ch 2 corner spaces from the previous rnd, join new color and [ch 3, 2 dc, ch 2, 3 dc] in same sp. In next ch 2 space (3 dc, ch 2, 3 dc). *Ch 1, 3 dc in next ch 1 sp**, rep from * 3 more times, ch 1. In ch 2 sp at corner, *(3 dc, ch 2, 3 dc)**, ch 1, rep from * at next ch 2 sp. *Ch 1, 3 dc in next ch 1 sp**, rep from * 3 more times, ch 1, join with a sl st to top of beginning ch 3. End off.
Rnd 3: Starting in one of the ch 2 corner spaces from the previous rnd, join new color and ch 3, 2 dc, ch 2, 3 dc in same sp. Ch 1, 3 dc in next ch 1 sp, ch 1. In next ch 2 space, (3 dc, ch 2, 3 dc). *Ch 1, 3 dc in next ch 1 sp**, rep from * 4 more times, ch 1. In ch 2 sp at corner, *(3 dc, ch 2, 3 dc)**, ch 1, rep from * at next ch 2 sp. *Ch 1, 3 dc in next ch 1 sp**, rep from * 4 more times, ch 1, join with a sl st to top of beginning ch 3. End off.
Rnd 4: Starting in one of the ch 2 corner spaces from the previous rnd, join new color and ch 3, 2 dc, ch 2, 3 dc in same sp. Ch 1, *3 dc in next ch 1 sp, ch 1**, rep from * in next ch 1 sp. In next ch 2 space, (3 dc, ch 2, 3 dc). *Ch 1, 3 dc in next ch 1 sp**, rep from * 5 more times, ch 1. In ch 2 sp at corner, *(3 dc, ch 2, 3 dc)**, Ch 1, *3 dc in next ch 1 sp, ch 1, rep from * at next ch 2 sp. *Ch 1, 3 dc in next ch 1 sp**, rep from * 5 more times, ch 1, join with a sl st to top of beginning ch 3. End off.
Rnd 5: Starting in one of the ch 2 corner spaces from the previous rnd, join new color and ch 3, 2 dc, ch 2, 3 dc in same sp. *Ch 1, *3 dc in next ch 1 sp, ch 1**, rep from *2 more times. In next ch 2 space (3 dc, ch 2, 3 dc). *Ch 1, 3 dc in next ch 1 sp**, rep from * 6 more times, ch 1. In ch 2 sp at corner, *(3 dc, ch 2, 3 dc)**. *Ch 1, *3 dc in next ch 1 sp, ch 1**, rep from *2 more times. In ch 2 sp, (3 dc, ch 2, 3 dc), ch 1. *Ch 1, 3 dc in next ch 1 sp**, rep from * 6 more times, ch 1, join with a sl st to top of beginning ch 3. End off.
Next week will mark 15 weeks of this sampler. I'm thinking we should start joining some of the squares, what do you guys think?
Thanks to sitting and watching the Olympics with the family, I am almost completely caught up on my granny squares for our sampler. It feels really good to pick up the hook again and work on these after several weeks off.
Week 9- I love this one's 3d effect, an easy square to do.
Week 11- Crocheted popcorn stitches are so satisfying to make for some reason.
Week 13- This one has a little something going on with the cream stitch rows (it was the first one, you know, the one where you work out how to make the square). The square on the right actually uses 2 different shades of gold yarn. The difference is subtle, but it was fun to try a tonal version.
Once I got started in catch up mode, I was able to do these in just a few evenings, so don't worry if you feel like you've fallen behind. I tried Week 12 and my first attempt was a hot mess. That one is tricky because you have 4 strands of yarn (each color you use in the square) all dangling at the same time. I am hoping to try it again tonight.
Look for a new granny square assignment on Friday!
And thank you so much for all the lovely tweets, instagram messages, and comments about Lisa's quilt!
This week's granny square is brought to us by Beth (who is @cookiecat57 on Instagram- remember you can tag your photos on instagram with #grannysquaresampler so we can all see each other's). I like this one because its quite different from the ones we've done over the past few weeks, retro, unusual, and just plain interesting. So let's do it! It is called "The Whirlygig" and needs no introduction other than Beth's photo, which she also kindly sent me.
Make 2 of these this week (you overachievers out there can always make more if you want, but at least 2), each one using just 2 colors of yarn. As with all other squares we've done, this square starts in the center, going outward. Nothing new there. The slight twist with this square is that, from Rnd 2 and onward, you always crochet into the back loop only of each double crochet/dc stitch. Double crochet into the back loop only = dcblo. Here is a video that demonstrates crocheting into the back loop at about 2:12. (It also demos crocheting into the front loop, we will be doing a single crochet into the front loop only, or scflo, which helpful when crocheting with color B, as you'll see below).
The Whirlygig Granny Square
With color A (which is the yellow in the top photo above), chain 4.
Rnd 1- 11 dc in 4th ch from hook. Sl st to top of starting chain to join.
Rnd 2- Ch 3, dcblo into next dc, (5 dcblo into next dc, 1 dcblo in next 2 dc) 3 times; 5 dcblo in next dc, sl st to top of starting ch to join.
Rnd 3-5 Ch 3, dcblo in each dc, making 5 dcblo in center of each 5 dc group from prev rnd. Sl st to top of starting ch to join. End off yarn at end of rnd 5.
Using color B, attach to any free front dc loop on first round, scflo in same space, continue to scflo all the way around, end off yarn after each round. Continue to do this on all 5 rounds (refer to Beth's picture above), doing 3 scflo in center of each 5 dc group.
Post them to instagram.
Find all the week's squares on this page.
don't worry if you are behind! I am! Hoping to catch up this weekend. First we are celebrating Ian's birthday, he's 11 today! My baby is 11!
As always, let me know if there are any questions in the comments.
Enjoy crocheting this week!
I am a little embarrassed to admit that I am still behind on finishing my squares. Didn't touch the crochet hook over the weekend. I fully intend to catch up. This whole week has been a flurry of crazy, which is mostly over now. Sitting down to crochet sounds just about perfect to me.
This week's square-
(Image via crochet me)
The granny square spiral. I love it because its just another version of using those same stitches we've been using all along. I love it because it will add a little wonkiness to our afghan (I'm breaking out of my need for symmetry with this project!). I had a version of this pinned to my crochet board, but the video was not in English. Reader Grace read my mind and sent me a link to this version (thank you Grace!). You can find the written instructions here (sorry, no video). Make 3 of these this week.
As always, all the weeks of the granny square sampler project can be found on this page.
If anyone has any requests for squares as we work through the last weeks of our granny square sampler, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will definitely try to get them in.
I'm glad some of you were able to use last week to play catch up on your squares. I myself still have a few squares to catch up on, so don't dispair if this is you. We've been finishing Emma's room, which I'll be showing you hopefully next week!
I have gotten some emails from folks nominating squares they like around the web. I love this, please send any squares you think would work in this sampler ! I can't promise that I can include every one of them, but will try my best.
This square suggestion was given to me by Jill, a popcorn flower. Erin assigned us a square with some texture from week 9. Let's add more texture this week. This square is from Teresa of Crochet Geek, and she brilliantly provides a YouTube video as well as written instructions AND a diagram. So there you go.
Assignment: Make 3 of these this week. As always, vary your color combinations. If you are using a border color (like cream, for me), make sure one of these has that color as its border color.
I will be making mine over the weekend, and will put a picture up on the post when I finish.
As always, please leave any questions in the comment section.
It has been a busy week here at the wise craft house, so I've decided for sanity's sake to take this week off the granny square sampler.
Or, if like me, you're a few squares behind (4 squares behind, to be exact), this is the perfect time to catch up.
Or, if you're anxious to keep going and are all up to date on your squares, pick a couple of granny squares from weeks 1-9 to repeat a few and add those to your afghan.
I was asked how many more weeks we will be doing this project. It was meant to last the summer, the idea being it could travel in beach bags and on trips away from home without too many supplies. I was looking at the squares we've done and thinking about the overall size we want this afghan to be. After doing a little research, seems a "standard" afghan size (something you would use on the sofa or in a chair) is anywhere from 48"-50" x 60"-70". I would like ours to be about 45" x 65". Towards the end of the project we will begin joining our granny squares and spend some time adding borders around the outsides of groups of granny squares, which is all going to add some length and width to the overall size. At this point, I think we're a litle over halfway done with our squares. Take this into consideration as you look at the stash yarn you are using. I myself have run out of a few colors, but have simple added in other stash colors (seems the stash never runs out in my house). The more I work on this project, the more I like adding in unexpected colors. Let me know what you guys think.
I'll be back next week with a new square for you. In the meantime, enjoy your weekend!
Thanks for crocheting along with me,
P.S.- The photo above was taken on Emma's bedroom floor. I had to laugh when I laid the granny squares out in there, I never thought in a million years that her floor would EVER be clear enough for a photo like that! Makes me so happy! We're almost done in there!