Have you ever bought a ball of wool because you fell in love with the colour or texture but had no idea what to do with it? Well today I am going to pay tribute to the humble crochet granny square.
The ubiquitous granny square blanket, or ‘afghan’ as it is otherwise known, is traditionally a great way to utilize scraps of wool left over from other projects. The recent popularity of crocheting has seen the granny square blanket elevated to a project in it’s own right.
Made up of individually crocheted granny squares, joined together to form a blanket, afghans are fast and easy to make. One of the best granny square video tutorials I have come across is at Meet me at Mikes, by Pip Lincolne, crafting extraordinaire from Melbourne.
I have been repeatedly sick with the flu this winter, so I have found a ready-made excuse to stay indoors finishing old crochet projects and other UFO’s (unfinished objects). Crocheting gives me permission to pause, without feeling guilty about doing nothing. It’s great for people like me who have restless hands, and I know of an ex-smoker who crocheted every time she craved a cigarette.
Repetitive crafts such as crochet can be a kind of meditation. Studies have shown that it can even lower your blood pressure, as the peaceful state lasts long after we have put down the project. There is pleasure in the process. You can even crochet topless while drinking wine if that is what relaxes you. Not that I ever do that. Because I don’t.
I recently inherited a box of crochet and knitting magazines from the 1960’s and 70’s. I soon discovered that granny squares are not limited to blankets and ponchos.
I also found an old photo of me as a baby in 1973, with my mother wearing a granny square poncho. It has intensified my nostalgia for an era where everything was handmade, fuzzy and smelt of casserole.
Inspired by this photo, and the box-full of magazine awesome, I came up with the crazy idea of turning a granny square blanket into a jacket. I blame the flu medication. Mr Fartypants refused to be seen with me wearing my rug-jacket. As usual, I ignored him and purchased a few more vintage afghans.
Granny-square garments: uber-chic or crimes against fashion? It’s a fine line. I was gob-smacked to witness a recent ebay auction of an original handmade granny-square dress from the 1970’s sell for $1,500. Amazeballs.
Remember Cate Blanchett’s controversial choice of dress for the opening of the Screen Worlds exhibition in Melbourne? The designer: Romance Was Born. Is that apricot chicken casserole I can smell?
I decided to list a few granny-square jackets in our Kitsch Bitsch store and was astonished to watch them promptly sell. If you are desperate for one of these delicious rarities, I am now taking orders. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for details. I will be making only another five more.
Each jacket is carefully reconstructed by me, but still carries the imprint of its original creator. As I make each jacket, I feel the energy of its journey, each crocheted square, imbued with love from somebody’s granny, perhaps long passed. A jacket with a soul and a story to tell.
The pattern for the hooded granny square jacket is available for purchase in our store here: