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The Granny Square Has Come 'Round

A staple in many a crocheter's basket, the granny square has inspired countless stitchers for decades, but it rose to great popularity in the 1970s. Did you experience the surge of boxy garments, hardly flattering to the female figure, during that era too? Did you love granny squares or hate them? Whatever your opinion, you must admit that crocheting the dependable technique is a great learning tool, whether you are a novice or seasoned crocheter.

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Styles from the Christopher Kane runway
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Cate Blanchett
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Romance Was Born, 2009 (photo left); Paul Smith, 2010 (photo middle); Henry Holland, 2011 (photo right)
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Roseanne's couch
These little squares can be a study in color or a design challenge as you figure out how to make a reasonable-looking finished product out of your scrap heap. The myriad of variations on the granny square are, indeed, a fabulous way to try out new stitches.

During London Fashion Week in February, the Internet fashion bloggers were all abuzz over the granny square yet again! It seems the granny square has been making a comeback (did it ever go away?) since 2009. This latest incarnation of the humble granny is stirring up a bit of controversy and maybe some inspiration for all of us. A technique that crocheters have known forever, the granny square is being touted as a bright new idea by high fashion designers. Some are even accusing others of copying!

Christopher Kane won the British Fashion Award for his unique collection, and the Wall Street Journal's blog reported, "This season, the Scottish designer took the grandma out of crochet, creating embossed, painted leather tops in [crochet] ... patterns and ... [crocheted] skirts that, showing some skin, added a sex appeal you would never associate with an afghan throw."

"Henry Holland is the Latest Romance Was Born crochet copycat," according to

"Last year, a whole lot of crochet started popping up around the place. But not just any crochet -- a very particular pattern of squares in loud colours on a black background. It began with Romance Was Born, who delivered two versions of the look -- one a legit, hand done crochet, and the other a digitally printed take on the style," according to article.

"Cate Blanchet[t] rocked the real thing on the red carpet to fanfare from some and sneers of 'Cate Blanket' by others, but it didn't stop there. In June, English design powerhouse Paul Smith sent out a take on the look that felt awfully familiar, a sloppy, off the shoulder dress that looked beyond coincidentally similar to the Romance version."

... "Well, it seems that crochet copying isn't out of style yet -- Henry Holland was the latest designer to show a very close-to-copy of the print two days ago [February 19, 2011] at London Fashion Week."

... "Of course, that particular print as been so significantly copied, Holland could be referencing the Paul Smith look, without ever having laid eyes on the Romance original."

Are any of these items stirring recollections of the afghan on Roseanne Barr's couch?

What's old is new again. If you've never tried crocheting a granny square or been inspired to create something from this classic configuration as unique as these high-fashion designers, then the pattern Not Your Granny's Sweater #1 is for you. It uses an elegant and quick approach to the traditional. 101 Granny Squares by Darla Sims will give you lots of inspiration as well.