With the sun well and truly popping its head out in the UK this week it makes us all want to chill in the sunshine but once that sun goes behind a cloud or disappears later in the day the chill can really be felt. After all it is still only March but I love being outside so I made myself a granny blanket during the winter ready for this day to arrive.
I wrote a post on this on Afternoon Tea4Two last year and wrote what inspired me to give it a go. “The knitted blanket is a glorious expression of any grandmother’s soul; it is the colours of her dreams woven in delicate and loving hands. She would sit in that old rocking chair, hands moving, brain at peace, and from those delicate fingers would come the blankets.” Reading that paragraph in a book I was reading really inspired me to give it a go.
I decided right from casting on the first stitch that I would knit six squares one after the other in different colours rather than individual squares. All my wool was double knitting and I chose a pair of needles in size 7 for a 9” square using garter stitch ( knitting every row) and casting on 35 stitches. I’m so pleased with the result I’m knitting another in black ( as I had lots of this wool). I then made lots of tassels with other bits of wool I still had.
Knitting or crocheting is such a lovely way to pass some time by and you don’t need to be an expert to copy some of these patterns. I assure you I am not. Wool is accessible online so you have no need to wait until all the shops are open.
Do you know where granny blankets originated from? Well, Interweave wrote that a pattern for what is now called crochet granny square first appeared in print in 1897! Weldon’s Practical Needlework featured a pattern for the “Patchwork Square”, suggesting it is a good way to use up leftover yarn, and the patches can be sewed together into a blanket.
The Woman’s Day Book of Granny Squares (Fawcett, 1975), a collection of granny-based designs, notes that grannies have been around for “as long as anyone can remember… Making colorful afghans by joining small squares,” the book’s introduction states, “is one of the most traditional and American forms of crochet.” So strongly was this style of crochet identified with the United States that in Europe, say the book’s editors, it was called American crochet. They attribute the popularity of grannies to their portability, simplicity, and the fact that they’re excellent vehicles for using up scraps of yarn and for experimenting with color combinations.
And, they were called granny squares because granny’s crocheted them.