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#Crochet #TipsTuesday: How to design a beautiful blanket using granny square patterns from multiple sources

#HowTo design a beautiful blanket using granny square patterns from multiple sources on #Crochet #TipsTuesday with Underground CrafterIf you’re participating in the Mystery Lapghan Crochet-a-long (with 36 crochet patterns by 30 designers), or if you’re just a granny square lover like me, you’ve probably spent lots of time thinking about how to piece together a blanket using squares by different designers.

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One option is to make a folky, scrappy blanket. These “stash buster” blankets are often pieced together at random, or squares are joined to the larger project as they are finished.

But what if you want to use many different squares to create a blanket that looks more cohesive and planned? I’m sharing 5 tips for designing a blanket that has the look that you want while combining granny square patterns from different sources.

1) Start by selecting colors

For a scrappy look, follow the quilters’ adage and use 7 or more colors. Surprisingly, with this many colors, you don’t have to worry much about whether they all “match” as long as colors placed side by side look harmonious.

I used this approach with my Temperature Scarf. I started with seven yarns (and added an additional color later when I ran out of one).

I used this approach with my Temperature Scarf. I started with seven yarns (and added an additional color later when I ran out of one). You can find the free crochet pattern here.

For a planned blanket, choose a more limited color palette of 3-4 colors for the squares and 1 additional color for borders and joins. If you feel anxious about choosing colors, stick with one brand and one line of yarn since these colors usually work well together. Or, read this great post on color theory for crocheters on FreshStitches.

ILC October 2015 square

2) Pick patterns that connect easily

Your blanket will have a more uniform look if each row is the same size. The simplest way to do this is to select square patterns of the same size. 4”, 6”, 8”, 12”, and 20” square patterns are common options.

Another option is to choose sizes that can easily be combined. For example, the diagram below shows how you can connect nine 4″ squares (at right) to one 12″ square (at center) and four 6″ squares (at left).

#HowTo design a beautiful blanket using granny square patterns from multiple sources on #Crochet #TipsTuesday with Underground CrafterOf course, when you are working with patterns from multiple designers, you will may find that designs that are supposed to result in squares of the same sizes don’t always end up the same size due to differences in your tension, yarn choice, hook, and so on. You might choose to “square up” the smaller squares by working a border of stitches around the square (including 3 stitches in each of the four corners to keep the corners from puckering).

Craftsy3) Lay out the final blanket before joining

A blanket will look most cohesive if you lay it out and choose your favorite arrangement before joining squares together. You can lay out motifs on a large flat surface (like your bed), or you take a picture of each square and sample your virtual layout using PicMonkey collages. Moogly has a great tutorial on using PicMonkey to plan a blanket here.

4) Choose a join to create the right look

There are three major ways to join granny squares.

An invisible join on the wrong (back) side of the blanket is best if you don’t want the seams to be part of the blanket’s design. I have several tutorials for invisible seams available:

On the other hand, a more visible join, like using single crochet join on the right (front) side to create a dimensional sashing, or using a lacy join to create a more delicate look, might be the right fit for your project. You can find my tutorial for a single crochet join here.

A third option is to “join-as-you-go.” Unless you plan your layout before starting your squares (or if you are going for a scrappy look), this technique is more difficult to use when working with squares from multiple designers.

5) Unify the blanket with a border

Finally, pull all of the squares and colors of the project together with a border. Choose a solid color for a classic look, find a variegated yarn that includes colors like those in the blanket, or use multiple colors. My favorite book of crochet border patterns is Around the Corner Crochet Borders by Edie Eckman.

I hope you found these tips helpful. What are your favorite ways to combine granny squares from different designers into one project?

Hispanic Heritage Month 2012 Interview Series: Ana BC from Lanas & Hilos

This post is part of my 2012 Hispanic Heritage Month interview series.

Today, I’m interviewing Guatemalan crocheter Ana Contreras, the bilingual blogger behind Lanas & Hilos.  I’m a big fan of Ana’s blog and the great pictures she shares of her projects.  Ana, also known online as AnaBC on Ravelry, is also a crochet (and, occasionally, knitting) designer.    Her patterns can be found online here.  All pictures are used with Ana’s permission.

Ana BC.

Underground Crafter (UC): How did you learn to crochet?

Ana: My mom taught me how to crochet and knit when I was a teenager. I continued learning through books and magazines.  The funny thing is that now my mom calls me “teacher,” because I am sharing with her new techniques that I have been learning through my reading and internet research, which is mostly in English (and my mom is not so fluent in it).

Lately I have been crocheting more than knitting, maybe because I find it easier and faster.  But I actually love both.  Each has its own charm.


Ana’s Circles and Stripes Blanket. (Click for blog post.)

UC: What inspired you to start designing?

Ana: I would define my inspiration in two words: easy and modern.

EASY.  I confess I don’t like “difficult” when it comes my yarn crafts.  It has to pleasurable for me…it is a hobby, not torture.  Therefore, I am always looking for ways to make things easier and likable.

MODERN.  I am always looking for modern options of classic or old-fashioned styles.  Yarn pieces don’t have to be boring.

Both goals have kept my mind in a creative mode.


Ana’s Wave Blanket pattern. (Click for free download.)

UC: Tell us about the crochet scene in Guatemala. 

Ana: In general, here in Guatemala, crocheting and knitting are considered crafts for grandmothers and older people.  But I think things are changing.  Younger people are wanting to learn to knit or crochet, because nowadays there are more modern patterns and options in the yarn crafts.  The yarn stores are now offering classes.

The problem that we have here in my country is that there are not many yarn stores; and the variety of yarn available is very poor.  But we learn to work with what we have, and make the most of it.  Personally, when I have the chance to travel, I love to make a stop at a yarn store and buy something special.  (But, how much yarn can you bring in a suitcase?  Not much!)   (UC comment: I love visiting yarn shops when I travel, too!  You can find shop reviews from my last trip here and here, and my Visitor’s Guide to New York City Yarn Shops here.)


Detail from Ana’s Circle in a Granny project, along with her inspiration. (Click for blog post.)

UC: Tell us about your blog. Why did you decide on blogging in English and Spanish, and what are some of the challenges associated with bilingual blogging?

Ana: I started my blog a few years ago.  I named it “Lanas & Hilos” which is Spanish for “Yarn and Thread.”  I started blogging in Spanish, my native language. But later I started to connect and follow other bloggers in the world (from England, Germany, Holland, U.S., Canada, Israel, and Greece).  Then I thought of adding an English version to connect and share with them.

I kept the Spanish version because I know many of my Latin friends don´t speak English.  But adding English opened up the world for me.


Ana’s Plaid Granny pattern. (Click for blog post with pattern & tutorial.)

UC: You have some great photos on your blog, and your own style of watermarking them that doesn’t look tacky. Do you have any advice for aspiring bloggers, especially on photography for those who struggle with capturing those perfect pictures?

Ana: From experience, I have a few tips for new bloggers:

  1. Keep it clean and simple.
  2. Show big pictures and keep the text short.  Most people don’t have the time to read long posts.
  3. Take your photos with lots of light, but not direct light.  Later, you can always PhotoShop them.  If you don´t have a computer program, there are a few free photo editors online, such as FotoFlexer, LunaPic, and PicMonkey (this last one is the one I usually use, and I love it).   (UC comment: I use PicMonkey a lot too, and it is really fun!)
  4. Watermark your photos (with the photo editor), preferably with a fading effect in order not to spoil the picture.  Believe it or not, people “steal” photos in the internet, and the watermarks is a deterrent.
  5. Share details of the pieces you are showing that might be interesting to readers, such as the pattern you used, and where you can get it, as well as yarn type, hook number, colors, etc.


Ana’s Baby Boy Booties project. (Click for blog post.)

UC: Do you have any favorite Spanish or English language crochet or craft blogs to share?

Ana: There are too many to even mention.  Among my favorites are the ones I have on the sidebar of my blog.

I highly recommend searching blogs beyond “your circle of friends,” because there are a lot of new and interesting blogs opening every day.  Side bars are very useful in this way.  When you visit blogs, leave a comment.  Many of them will visit your blog in turn, and that is a great way to meet new bloggers and make new friends.  (UC comment: I completely agree.  It’s actually through a German blogger, Barbara from Made in K-Town, that I discovered Ana’s blog.  Barbara hosts a great monthly link party on The Crochet Boulevard and it is a great way to find crochet bloggers from all over the world.)


Ana’s Baby Blanket Nina knit pattern. (Click for free download.)

UC: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Ana: Probably most people think of me as a crocheter, but I love knitting as well.  Actually I have been working on a knit scarf pattern, and I will share it with all of you soon!

Thanks for stopping by, Ana, and we’re looking forward to seeing that new knitting pattern soon!

I’m  blogging daily throughout October.  Visit I Saw You Dancing for more Blogtoberfest bloggers and CurlyPops for Blogtoberfest giveaways.  Search #blogtoberfest12 on Twitter.