Sunday, August 14, 2011

Meeting Highlights: Granny Squares and More

We had an excellent turnout for our August meeting.  Of course, some of us were still coasting off the high of the CGOA Chain Link Conference.  Gail and Carol taught us the basics of granny squares, triangles, hexagons and rectangles.  Three (Kathy, Shelly and Jean) were attending their first Crochet Twin Cities meeting—welcome to all!

As mentioned in the blog post on the CGOA Chain Link Conference, Gail won a $250 gift certificate
by crocheting the most hats for the Northern Illinois Chapter hat challenge.  She agreed to bring in the five skeins she purchased with her winnings.  The skein on the top right is a silk/mohair blend and feels absolutely wonderful--you have to touch this one to believe it.  The middle skein has teeny tiny beads every few inches (click on the image to blow it up and see those little beads). The skein on the bottom left is alpaca, harvested and spun right here in Minnesota.  We all look forward to seeing what Gail will do with these yarns. 

On to the business of the meeting: grannies.

Granny squares are frequently made of groups of three double crochets (dc), with a shell (3dc, ch3, 3dc) in the corner.  You can work from one side only, so that there is a right and a wrong side, or you can turn after every row, resulting in no right or wrong side.  Some things to remember:
  • There are many, many variations on the basic granny.  To see some of them, consult a book of crochet motifs, such as Edie Eckman's Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs.
  • If you choose to have a right side and use a single color for several rows, you likely will slip stitch across two dc after joining a round. 
  • The number of chains between groups of 3 dc can depend upon the weight of the yarn used.  When using a cotton worsted weight (like Sugar ‘n Cream), you might want to use three chains (or more) in the corners and two chains on the sides.
  • Grannies do not have to be square, and they don't all have to be the same size.   Different sized motifs can be used together.  Search Ravelry patterns for granny and you will see many different uses.
  • Hexagonal grannies can be made to that they lay flat (check out a motif book for examples).  They can also be constructed similarly to squares.  Use the same proportions as for as square, but instead of four groups of three dc in the first row, use six groups of three dc and proceed as for a square.  The result is a motif that will not lay flat, but it will fold up into a flat L-shaped motif.  This flat L motif can be used as the basis for a sweater for babies or adults.  Check out Ravely for examples for an adult shrug or a baby sweater.
Rectangular grannies can be any length you desire.  Carol’s granny did not start with a basic chain, but with a series of connected loops (ch3, dc into first ch, and repeat to desired length).  This is the same method that Red Heart yarn distributed in a recent email.  Click this link to see a YouTube tutorial.  Carol's method of joining rounds used double crochet (where two chains were used in corners) or half double crochet (where single chains were used, as on the sides of rectangles).  This method of joining is familiar to those who make doilies and need to join rounds in areas that use large numbers of chains.   Carol used this method of joining with heavier yarns, such as cotton worsted; using slip stitches across double crochet can result in noticeably denser areas when using heavier yarns.  On Ravelry, you can link to a free jacket pattern by Caron that uses various sized grannies in one garment.

If you want more ideas for using granny squares, check out Interweave Crochet’s free eBook, which contains 8 different project patterns.

According to our survey, many of you are interested in entering the Minnesota State Fair and other fairs.  For show and tell, Kathy brought a wool crocheted hat and scarf [picture on the Gallery post] that won a blue ribbon at the Dakota County Fair.  Carla brought along the booklet outlining what you need to do to enter your crochet project in the Minnesota State Fair.  You can also view the entry booklet online.  Apparently, not all judges are created equal, with some giving more points to projects in white or ecru (meaning, projects in other colors are downgraded).  If you do enter the state fair, you will receive a document outlining how your project was judged.  There is still time for you to enter the Minnesota State Fair.  Get those entries in!

We had a good number of show-and-tells at this meeting, including Jeanne wearing the dress she had been working on several meetings ago.  Check out the project gallery post for photos.

For the September meeting, Hilary will be presenting a topic that came out at the top of the member survey: reading and understanding crochet patterns and symbols.  The project we will work on is Doris Chan’s Sweet Loraine Lace Throw (or scarf), found in the Fall 2008 issue of Interweave Crochet.  If you don’t have that particular issue, members will share their copies at the meeting.