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Benny Lea

Beginner needs help with granny square instructions for a blanket pattern!!

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So I’m pretty new to crochet and I’m attempting to make a blanket for my grandma. I’ve fallen in love with this specific pattern, the only issue is the instructions for the granny squares are pretty vague and hard for me to comprehend. Can anyone give me a hand? I’ve pretty much only gotten so far as a slip stitch on my hook...

https://www.michaels.com/caron-simply-soft-on-the-plus-side-afghan-crochet/B_47481.html?productsource=projects

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A granny square is worked in the round, from the center out.

The 'basic anatomy' of  a square is 4 corners, and 4 sides (bear with me, a lot of people have trouble with this on their first granny square, and go wrong right away because they can't 'see' the square, and end up with 3 or 5 corners...).

The anatomy of a side are a series of 3 DCs (US terms), made into 1 space.  I'll call these 'shells' going forward. Shells on a side can have 0, 1, or maybe 2 chains between them, it depends on the pattern and the maker's stitch height tension - more on that later.  The space is either the gap between the shells, or the chain(s) between them; in a granny square you never make a stitch INTO a stitch, except in the process of connecting rounds, and that also depends on the pattern.  You make the granny squares around the space by putting your hook under the space, or into the gap if that makes more sense, instead.

The anatomy of a corner is a shell, some number of chains, and another shell.  The number of chains in the corner is greater than the number of chains between shells on the sides, because you are having to put 6 stitches (2 shells) around them.  

OK, your pattern...First off, I disagree with the way they wrote this pattern, step 1 is stitch definitions, material requirements and measurements, step 2 tells you how many of each color to make, they don't really start the instructions for the first square until step 3.  I mean, it's appropriate to put all this at the beginning, just weird/inappropriate to call them steps.  

Have you ever worked in the round before?   'From the center' requires creating a circle of some sort to work around to get started.  Your circle starts at step 3: "Ch 4. Join with sl st to first ch to form a ring".  Does this make sense?

Round 1 is where a lot of people mess up because they can't see the square.  In round 1 of all granny patterns, each side is just 1 shell, and the corner is just some number of chains.

let's walk thru it: "1st rnd: Ch 5. (3 dc. Ch 2) 3 times in ring. 2 dc in ring. Join with sl st to 3rd ch of ch 5. "  Here, the chain 5 counts as 3 chains for one DC (you've encountered this before, right?  That at the beginning of a row, you make a turning chain of 3 for DC, and the turning chain counts a DC?), and 2 for the corner space.  Next bit: (3dc,ch2) 3 times in ring.  This makes 3 more sides, and 3 more corners.  Let's take inventory before the last step: we started with 1 DC and a corner, then a shell+ corner 3 times.  We are missing the rest of the first shell, because we started with the LAST DC of the first shell.  That's where the next step comes in--2DC in ring, which completes the 4th shell/side.  Then, you join with a slst to the 3rd chain of the original chain 5 - that's the top of the chain3 that counted as the first DC in the round, but now that you've added 2 DCs to the right of it, becomes the 3rd DC of the shell, which is right before a corner (this last part will make more sense in the next round).  So now you have a completed first square - 4 sides and 4 corners.  

In the second round, you have to scoot over to the corner which is what the slip stitch is about, then chain 3 which counts as a DC, then finish the corner - a corner is shell-ch2-shell.  Then chain 1; I sort of lied above, this round doesn't have a shell in the side, just a chain, but all the next  rounds will have shells and chains.  Then into the corner (around the 2 chains), shell, ch2, shell.  And so on.

Then the pattern inexplicably says 'step 4, round 3' where it really should be just round 4.  This round's side has chain-shell-chain between the corners.  

I got briefer at the end because hopefully the pattern should be apparent if you understand the anatomy that I gave above.  Each round will add a shell and a chain on each side.

 

 

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First, thank you so much for replying. And second, I have really only made a scarf and a hat thus far, both with the help of YouTube tutorials. So I have some questions before I can even begin the first round. I’ve literally got no idea what is going on there. I know I’m supposed to make some sort of chain but also use double chains? (Confusing). And I’m not sure if I need to crochet into the existing stiches or if I’m making a separate curcle or perhaps even a plain old chain in an outward direction. I’m a pretty visual learner and I’m very very confused and I’ve only gotten so far as chaining 4 and joining with a slip stitch. I’ve got the circle, but I’ve got no idea what the orientation of the first round should be. Translation: I’m clueless.

image.jpg

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OK, you've given me some clues that might help me to explain this better.  Also...the Granny Square is a VERY classic and common pattern, there must be a jillion YouTubes out there.  Classic granny squares look identical. if you find a video that's made a little differently, you could follow the video for 4 rounds of shells in the color scheme of your pattern it would look the same--I'll try to find one for you.  I know some people are very visual and prefer video patterns, I'm an old fogey that prefers printed patterns, but loves shorter videos that explain a new stitch or technique.  

From your new questions, I'm going to go into detail about working around a chain, and turning chains.

Guess what, you NEVER make a stitch INTO a stitch in a Granny Square, except slip stitches (1) to join the last stitch in a round to the first stitch in the same round (2) to 'scoot over' a stitch or 2 to get you into the right position to start the next round.  Slip stitches are used for this because they are (kinda) invisible.

The next step beyond where you are in the photo (ch 4 and slip stitched closed, right? )  is chain 5 as the pattern says.  It's going to look like an upside down lollypop.  The 5 chains 'stand in for' the last DC of a set of 3 near the corner, and 2 chains that are the center of the corner.  The next thing you need to do is make a DC around the ring.  YO (yarn over), stick the hook under the ring--"under/into/around the ring (or chain space)" is the same as working into the top 2 loops of a stitch -- pull up a loop and complete as you would a normal DC.

I'm not sure what you mean by double chains.  I don't think you mean the DC stitch, I suspect you mean the turning chain.  Turning chains are to bring the yarn and hook up to the level of the next row, they sometimes count as a stitch.  A pattern should tell you if the 'counts as a stitch' is different than the below rules.

SC - turning chain is 1, does not count as a stitch

HDC - turning chain is an odd one, turning ch is either 1 or 2 and may or may not count as a stitch.  Pattern should say, if it doesn't you may have to figure it out by the pattern's stitch counts.

DC - turning chain is 3, counts as a stitch unless a pattern says differently.  Because it  counts, you should skip the first stitch of the row below and make the first 'real' DC into the second stitch (otherwise you will increase your stitch count).  When you come to this chain-3-that-is-a-DC at the end of the next row, you need to make your last stitch into the top stitch of the ch-3.   Some of this doesn't pertain to your pattern, except the 'counts as a stitch' part.

Taller stitches - same as DC, except the number of chains increases - Treble would be 4 chains, etc.

I will try to find some granny square resources for you...I have one in mind that's not a video but a stitch diagram that might help you 'see' the construction.

 

 

 

 

 

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Here is a not-video, but step by step illustrations.  This is a little different than your pattern, but will look identical.  The teeny picture at the top right of each  illustration is the stitch diagram, some patterns aren't in words at all, just diagrams (when designer creates a diagrammed pattern, any language speaker can follow it - the symbols are universal).  Each stitch has it's own symbol - chain is an oval, circle, or dot, SC is an X, DC looks like a capital T with a slash thru the stem.  In this example, the initial ch-3-that-counts-as-a-DC is helpfully in blue to easily find the beginning of the round,  This version starts in a different place, has 3 stitches in the corners and 1 between...This is in both UK and US terms, UK calls the US DC a treble.

Another one, video plus step by step words and photos.

Lots of photos, nice that colors alternate, makes it easier to see

New Stitch a Day - didn't watch this but they are usually pretty good.

Stitch Diagram - not the one I'm remembering, also written

Hopefully one of those clicks for you.  Even just looking at the stitch diagram, which sort of looks like the stitches, might help at the beginning.

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You have been such a great help! Thanks for the resources. I have successfully created the first (of many) squares!! I’m so happy I got this far lol. Thanks again, you’ve been very helpful!!

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