Monday, 13 January 2014

Planning your Granny

Hi and welcome to the Wool Nest. I hope you've had a good weekend. Mine was a busy one - cleaning, washing, visiting family and enjoying a nice meal on Saturday evening. I also made a start on my new year resolution to "Use it or Lose it". This means that I will be working my way through the "STUFF" that is in my Wool Nest and using it, otherwise it goes to friends, charity or a yarn swap. Brutal I know - but entirely necessary I'm afraid.

First on the agenda is my granny square blanket. I bought the yarn for this blanket some 2 years ago - can you believe that I've had a large quantity of unused Debbie Bliss Donegal Luxury Tweed Aran hidden away in a bag for 2 years? It's a crime, I know. So I'm now on a mission to finish this long awaited blanket. The problem with storing yarn for so long is that the shades are no longer available. So I'll have to work with what I have.

One of the main questions I'm asked when teaching granny squares is  "How much yarn do I need to make a large blanket?" Well - it basically depends on the yarn you use, the size of your blanket and your tension. But I thought I'd try to help and provide a solution, just in case you're thinking of making a granny square blanket yourself. They're super popular at the moment thanks to Lucy at Attic 24, who is now the columnist for Simply Crochet (Congratulations Lucy!!). Her first post is about her love of blankets. If you've looked at them with longing but don't know where to start and feel slightly overwhelmed then here are some steps to follow in Planning your Granny. You may need a cuppa and a biscuit at this point:

1. Firstly, decide on the type of granny square that you want to make (e.g. basic square or more decorative). There is a board on Pinterest here which is a growing collection of free granny square tutorials and patterns, so you should find something you like for free. The board is a result of Kat Goldin's fabulous Crochet Camp.
2. Decide on the weight of yarn you'd like to use (e.g. double knitting, aran, chunky etc.).
3. Have a mooch in your yarn stash and find a ball of yarn of that weight along with an appropriate sized crochet hook (look on the ball band and it should tell you which needle/hook size is recommended).
4. Make up one granny square of your choice with your yarn and hook (don't worry if it's all in one colour - it's just a test square).
5. Measure the sides of the square and make a note.
6. Weigh the square and make a note.

So at this point you now know which granny square pattern you are using, the weight of yarn you are using, approximately how big each square will be and approximately how much yarn each square will take. 

For my blanket, I chose a basic granny square with 5 rounds. Little Tin Bird has a great tutorial here.
I'm using Aran weight yarn with a 6mm hook so my 5-round squares measure 15cm along each side. I chose aran weight and a 6mm hook purposely so that my squares worked up a little more quickly than double-knitting.  Each square weighs 11g.

We're well on our way..... now for the maths.

Armed with this important information you can now work out roughly how much yarn you need for the whole blanket, following the steps below. You may find a calculator useful at this point:

7. Decide how big you would like your blanket to be, e.g. this could be 140cm square (54 inches square) or slightly smaller at 115cm square (45 inches square) or you could make a rectangular blanket at 140cm x 115 cm (54 inches x 45 inches) or even a smaller pram blanket at 90cm square (36 inches). Remember you're in charge so it's entirely up to you. BUT the larger the blanket the more yarn you will need.
8. Divide the desired width of your blanket by the width of one square - for me this is:

140cm (my blanket width) divided by 15cm (my granny square width), which is 9.3. This tells me that I need to make 9.3 square to achieve my desired width of 140cm.

Round your answer up or down to the nearest even number. I rounded 9.3 up to 10. So now I know that my blanket needs to be 10 squares wide to achieve my required width.

9. Next, divide the desired length of your blanket by the length of a square - for me this is 115cm (my blanket depth) divided by 15cm (my granny square depth), which is 7.7.  This tells me that I need 7.7 granny squares to achieve my desired depth of 115cm.

Round your answer up or down to the nearest even number. I rounded 7.7 up to 8. I now know that my blanket needs to be 8 square deep  to achieve my required depth.

10. Times the number of squares needed for the width (step  8) by the number of squares needed for the length or depth (Step 9)  - for me this is 10 x 8 = 80 squares.

11. Times the number of squares by the weight of yarn needed for each square (step 6). For me this is 11g x 80 = 880g. Round this up to the nearest 100g to account for all the yarn ends = 900g.

Now I know that to make 80 squares for a rectangular blanket of 140cm x 115cm using Debbie Bliss Luxury Donegal Tweed and a 6mm hook I need approximately 900g of yarn.

 There are just a few more things to consider:

12. The squares will need to be joined and this also requires quite a lot of yarn so I'd add an extra 100g of yarn in a joining colour.

13. Your chosen squares may use more yarn of one colour. So, for example if 2/3 of your squares are one colour, make sure you buy 2/3 of total yarn in that colour.

14. I would recommend buying an extra ball of each colour, just to be on the safe side. Remember, you can always make a matching cushion with left over yarns.  Alternatively, if you run out of yarn, just re-jig your blanket and make it smaller.

So now you have all of the important information that you need to make  a start on your granny square blanket. Now you just need to decide how much you want to spend. If you need say 1200g of yarn and each 50g ball is £5, then you'll need 24 balls and your blanket will cost £120.00. Alternatively if you only spend £3 on a 50g ball your blanket will cost £72 which is a big difference. Remember, if you're on a strict budget you could use acrylic yarn, or acrylic with wool. These often come in 100g balls and can cost as little as £2-£3 which means you can make a large blanket for approximately £24-36.

Of course, if like me you have a huge yarn stash, you could raid your stash for similar weight yarns in bright or subtle shades and make your blanket for free.

I really hope that these steps help you plan your Granny. I'd love to hear what you think or if it's been useful, or if you have any questions.

I'll be keeping you posted on my granny blanket and will share links showing you how to join your squares.

Happy Crafting, Lynne x

1 comment:

  1. This is super information Lynne - thanks for sharing. I will post a link to here from my blog if you don't mind. Ali x