THE PROBLEM – GRANNY SQUARE “LEANS TO THE RIGHT”
I received a comment the other day on my post about the granny square blanket I crocheted for a friend’s one-year-old son.
The comment was from Brenda, the co-moderator along with Joan, of the popular Yahoo Group, Angel Wings Crocheting. Joan was having problems crocheting a granny square afghan, explaining that the granny square “leans to the right.” She asked me to help her figure out why, and I agreed.
Joan sent me a link to the YouTube video and a photo of her afghan. The photo below shows how the center section of the afghan is “learning to the right” or “tilted.” The problem seems to correct itself the wider the afghan gets, but it’s really obvious as you move toward the center.
As the photo shows, the upper right-hand corner dips down, “tilts,” or “leans to the right.”
HOW TO CROCHET A GRANNY SQUARE
I watched the YouTube video Joan sent and thought I knew what the problem was. But in order to see if I was right, I decided to crochet a granny square, more or less following the YouTube video (I changed how I end and begin each row), to see if I could make my granny square “lean to the right.”
The instructions I used to crochet a four-round granny square are provided below.
To start my granny squares (or crocheting anything in the round), I prefer what’s called the magic adjustable ring or magic circle method because it creates a less bulky first round; you’re crocheting over two strands of yarn instead of chain stitches.
The following crochet abbreviations (US terminology) are used in the pattern:
- chain (ch)
- double crochet (dc)
- round (rnd)
- slip stitch (sl st)
- stitch(es) (st(s)).
And I’m assuming you know how to read a crochet pattern.
Granny Square Written Instructions
Make a magic ring (or ch 4 and sl st to 1st ch)
Rnd 1: Ch 3 (serves as 1st dc), 2 dc inside the ring, [ch 2, 3 dc] 3 more times, ch 2, sl st to top of the beginning ch-3. You should have four 3-dc groups in the ring, each one separated by a ch 2 (do not turn at end of rounds).
Rnd 2: Sl st to the first ch-2 space, (ch 3, 2 dc, ch 2, 3dc) in the ch-2 space (one corner made), [ch 1, (3 dc, ch 2, 3 dc) in next ch-2 sp] 3 more times, ch 1, sl st to top of beginning ch-3.
Rnd 3: Sl st to first ch-2 corner, (ch 3, 2 dc, ch 2, 3dc) in the ch-2 corner space, [ch 1, 3 dc in next ch-1 space, ch 1, (3 dc, ch 2, 3 dc) in next ch-2 corner space] 3 more times, ending with ch 1, 3 dc in last ch-1 space, ch 1, sl st to the top of beginning ch 3.
Rnd 4: Sl st to first ch-2 corner, (ch 3, 2 dc, ch 2, 3dc) in the ch-2 corner space, [ch 1, 3 dc in next ch-1 space, ch 1, 3 dc in next ch-1 space, ch 1 (3 dc, ch 2, 3 dc) in next ch-2 corner space] 3 more times, ending with [ch 1, 3 dc ] 2 more times, ch 1, sl st to the top of beginning ch 3.
**Note: I found several errors in the instructions since I first wrote them (what happens when you try to edit you own work). I believe I’ve corrected them all, but if you try the pattern and find more errors, please let me know. Thanks in advance!
Granny Square Symbol Chart Instructions
If the written instructions are confusing, I’ve tried my inexperienced hand at creating a symbol chart diagram which I hope will give you a better idea of how to crochet this granny square.
I know this is a lousy photo, but my printer died, and I have to take photos with my unsophisticated camera of stuff I would normally scan. This granny square isn’t that square, but I hope it’s clear enough to use along with the written instructions.
And if you have never seen a symbol chart before, Craftyminx has an excellent lesson on how to read crochet symbol charts. Just note that she ends each round of her granny square in order to attach a new color to complete the next round.
MY “ON-PURPOISE” MISTAKES
I crocheted the above granny square by forgetting to do some ch-1’s between a few 3-dc groups on the top and bottom sides of the granny square. In effect, I’ve created two sides that are shorter than the left and right sides, and this is what’s causing the lean. But as you can see, this granny square is leaning to the LEFT (upper left corner dips down), so I haven’t really duplicated the problem.
Something else that I thought might be causing a lean is that some granny square patterns have you crochet a ch-2 between the 3-dc groups along the sides of the granny square. I find that this makes for a wobbly, loose granny square. The only time I chain 2 is at the corners because you’re fitting six dc stitches in the corner space but only three dc stitches along the sides, in the ch-1 spaces. So you really don’t need to ch-2 on the sides because the three dc stitches don’t need all that room, and doing so might cause the granny square to lean one way or the other.
It could also be that the crocheter is being inconsistent with those ch-1 and ch-2 stitches, doing some ch-1’s in the corner space and some ch-2’s along the side. Or perhaps her tension is too tight (can you tell I’m guessing at this point?).
If all else fails, there’s “finger blocking” which is a matter of tugging on the corners where the square is leaning the most.
THE REAL SOLUTION
To make a long story short, none of the above solutions helped Joan fix the problem. In fact, she discovered a solution on her own. She found a set of videos on how to crochet a traditional granny square that instructs you to turn at the end of each round. A simple solution, indeed.
Joan crocheted the lovely “baby girl” granny square afghan above, using the “turn your work” method. As you can see, the exaggerated lean to the right has been eliminated.
The video below is the first of the five that she watched to learn this method. View it on YouTube to see the other four videos in the set.
Two good things came out of this assignment: (1) Joan found a solution to her problem (Yeah!) and (2) as a result of all the research I had to do, I was inspired to write an article about the various ways one can end and begin granny square rounds.
Thanks to Joan for providing the photos of her afghans so that I could show the “before” and “after” afghans and also because I’ve had the hardest time trying to use words to explain what was going on.
UPDATE; 4-5-12 – SOURCE OF “THE LEAN”
A member of the Crochet Guild of American (CGOA} Member Yahoo Group reported having the same problem as Joan. Another member, Amanda Pace, gave an excellent explanation of why the “tilting” or “leaning” occurs.
It has to do with the fact that crochet stitches don’t stand perfectly upright. There’s a little lean to them which gets accentuated when you crochet in the round (the lean is in the opposite direction for left-handed crocheters.). Furthermore, crochet stitches don’t exactly stack one on top of the other like they do in knitting, so that causes even more “lean.”
This is why the “turn your work” method works well; the stitches on one row will lean in the opposite direction of the stitches on the preceding and following rows, cancelling out the lean.