When I was still pretty small, my Mimmie taught me how to crochet. She was constantly knocking out afghan after afghan if she wasn't quilting and I watched them constantly being made. Being a nosy kind of a kid I wanted to watch what she was doing up close and personal.
She wound up busting out a hook and some variegated yarn (it was red, blue and yellow) and showing me how to chain. I made chain after chain after chain and would wear and gift them as necklaces and bracelets. Later we moved onto single crochets, then double, then triple and finally she taught me how to granny square.
So I guess I have been into crochet off and on since I was about 7 or so. That's a long, long time and a whole bunch of yarn.
I wanted to work on a project that used granny squares and I'll be sharing that tomorrow, but today i thought I would show you the basics of making a granny square. Hopefully you have the basics, like making the loop, what a chain is and all of that down, because I jump right into it. If you don't have this knowledge, youtube has tons and tons of crochet help videos.
Be warned, however... My grandmother taught me and she taught herself and some of the methods may not be text book, but they do work. We've tried to pick up the lingo from pattern books and whatnot but for the most part she just shows me how to do what I've asked and I mimic her. So, if you're a seasoned and well trained crochet artist, please feel free to add any help in the comments!
Chain in between 5 or 10 times (depending on how large or small you want the hole in the center of the square to be). I like a larger size so I always chain 10. Use a slip stitch in the first chain to turn the chain into a circle.
After you've made your circle, chain three.
Then make two double crochets by going through the inside of the hole.
Double crochet three times through the hole and then chain three.
Again, double crochet three times and chain three.
Use a slip stitch into the top your first chain of three to finish the round. (A round is each pass all the way around the granny square).
To start the next round, chain three.
Double crochet twice. Chain one.
Double crochet three times. Chain three.
Double crochet three times and continue the pattern. On the corners you will chain three. When going through a hole that is not on the corner, only chain one before starting your next set of three double crochets.
At any point you can include your tail with your yarn as it comes from the skein to weave it into the square so you have no loose end dangling and don't have to worry about your knots coming apart.
To change colors, use a slip stitch to finish your current round. Clip your yarn so that you have about two inches and make a slip stitch that will become a knot when you pull all of the way through. Weave what is left of the tail through the granny square using your hook to hide the unfinished end.
Start your loop on your crochet hook with your new color. Pull through one of the holes as shown and begin your round all over again.
Double crochet three. Chain one. Double crochet three. Chain three (for the corner). and so on and so forth.
Continue the process using as many rounds and as many colors as you would like.
You can continue on one humongous granny square to make an afghan. Just continue round after round on the one square.
The most common application is to make a whole bunch of squares of the same size (same number of rounds) and attach them together, which I will be showing you tomorrow.
Also, I believe that it is technically correct to alternate the number in your chains for your corners at 3 and 4 but I can't ever keep track of that so I just do 3 to save myself the stress!
If you learn better by video, I'd like to recommend the one below. I've scoured youtube in search of a crochet artist who doesn't seem to like to hear herself speak! (or one that every other step references another video of theirs you need to watch to understand that particular step). This gal gets in there and shows you how to get it done, so check it out!