Thursday, May 29, 2014

Granny Squares for Summer Projects - A "Sorta Color Tutorial"

The official start of summer is beginning. I know many of you get out in your gardens and put away the wool and the needles. Summer is actually one of my most favorite times to stitch - although I look for smaller projects that aren't heavy and hot since I HATE the heat. I'm always looking for something to bring along to a picnic so that I can stitch while visiting by a lake or someone's pool. 

My granny blanket "instagramized"

One of those favorite summer projects is crochet Granny Squares. I began an afghan while on vacation in Maine a few years ago. Here are the squares. You can see that I used multiple colors for the 3 inner layers of the squares. 

When I am making grannies, I alternate the color families so that they colors bounce against each other and "pop". You can see by the squares above what I mean. 
Of course it is okay to deviate but that is my rule of thumb. 
I also make sure that the colors in each stripe have enough difference is color value (darkness and lightness).  See No. 5 below for more info.

Recently a reader wrote to me telling me she wanted to order some of my Color By Kristin for her own afghan while it is still on sale at Webs (sale ends on May 31st). She wanted to know how much yarn to buy.

My finished afghan weighs 1400 grams - or 28 balls of Color By Kristin. This is an heirloom afghan. It is so luxurious - made of 25% alpaca/25% mohair/50% wool. It would make a lovely wedding present or a special gift to send off to college with your child.

Here's what you should know when ordering yarn.
1. My afghan is 10 squares by 10 squares. It weighs 28 balls worth of yarn.
2. My afghan finished measurement is approximately 56" x 56". 
3. My afghan does not have a border. If you plan to add a border (which is a very good idea - I never got to it) then add a bit more for a border - I'd say 3 extra skeins of a border color should do it). 
4. When ordering yarn, purchase 1/4 of the weight in your border color - mine was French Roast 3276. For this size afghan 7 or 8 balls should be enough. If you are adding a border, see #1 and add 3 more balls. 
5. Mix up the other colors. Split them half and half in both warm shades (reds, oranges, yellows) and cool shades (blues, greens, purples, pinks). You'll need at least 21 balls of the "colors." You can read more about warm and cool colors here.
6. Know that as an afghan is used, it will stretch out some. This is a very popular blanket at our house and sees heavy use in the winter. 

Here is the link to my Granny Square Afghan Pattern on the Knit and Crochet Now website. You will need to sign in and register to download it. It is a basic pattern that you can find in many books, magazines and websites. Here is a link to a tutorial with good photos.

Below I've added some photos to illustrate how the colors play with each other. This first photo shows the grannies with 3 layers of color. Note that I must have used a different hook size on the top left granny - it is much bigger than the others. I don't worry about that - I'll add the border and sew it all together and it will even out with blocking.


This next photo shows the grannies with their French Roast border added. Note the white space of the studio table.

This photo shows the grannies butted up against each other. See how the appearance changes as the dark brown makes a visual border and begins forming the pattern element that holds the entire design together. It think it gives a look of stained glass.

Here is a strip of grannies. I hand sew my grannies together with the dark color and a tapestry needle because I like to sew. Other people crochet them together. It is up to you. I usually sew the grannies together into panels and then at the end sew the panels together using a table as a base.

Hope this helps and inspires some of you to try some grannies. If you are a Pinterest user, there are many beautiful granny afghans there. Lucy from Attic 24 is also a great crochet inspiration. 

Don't forget - the Webs sale on Color By Kristin ends May 31st - that's 2 days from now.


Mariah said...

Hi Kristin! I'm a follower of yours in Maine and fellow RISD graduate. Reading your description of how you select color combinations reminds me of the color class taught at RISD by Sy Sillman. By any chance, did you also take his class?

Kristin Nicholas said...

Hi Mariah. I didn't go to Risd. Would have loved to but didn't. So I did not take the class from your prof.

I actually have never taken a class on color. I figured it out by myself. Gee, I never thought about that.

Have a great weekend.

Lizy Tish said...

Such pretty colors - and wonderful info about choosing colors. makes me want to crochet some granny squares! (Haven't done so in some time...) Looks wonderfully cozy!

Yola's Lamb and Zucchini Koftas (Meatballs) with Za'atar Yogurt Sauce

It's been a while since I've shared any new lamb recipes. A couple of weeks ago, our friends Yola and George visited and she shared ...