Crochet granny squares have been around for some time. In the 1960s and 1970s, they were very popular, as people were drawn back to making things with their own hands. Granny squares have made a resurgence in the style of today in vests, winter scarves, handbags and more. Once you learn the basics of making a crochet granny square in a single colour, you can use up all your scrap yarns to make them multicoloured.
You can use any thickness of yarn and any size crochet hook to make a granny square. However, stick with the same yarn thickness and hook size for each project to give the end result a consistency in appearance and feel. Granny squares are worked in a round, rather than back and forth as conventional crochet is done.
Start the basic square by making 5 chains, using a medium worsted weight yarn and size H crochet hook. Join your first chain with your last chain with a slip stitch. You now have a little circle. The first round will be worked entirely into this little ring. Chain 3 to act as your first dc (double crochet). Work 2 dc into the circle. Make 3 chains. Repeat this pattern three more times. Attach your last chain to the top chain of your starting chain 3. Chain 3 to act as your first dc of the round. Work a dc in the hole made by the chain 3. Chain 2 and work 2 dc in the same hole. Now work a dc in each of the stitches across until you reach the next chain 3 hole. Work 2 dc in the hole, 2 chains and 3 dc. Follow this pattern until the granny square is the size you prefer. To finish, cut the yarn and pull it through the last yarn loop on your hook. Work the tail into the last row of crochet.
There are many alternate patterns for the crochet granny square. There are even round "granny squares." After you have had a chance to make a project or two with the basic pattern, you may want to try some others. There are whole books devoted to different ways to make granny squares. However, you can experiment on your own, with different stitches and yarns. Consider using only single crochet, rather than double crochet, to make your squares. This will make a tighter-worked granny square. Use different stitches within the same square. Do an alternate row of single crochets at every other double crochet row.
Your yarn colours can also give your granny square a different appearance. Choose three colours of yarn. Make each square the same pattern or make each one different, but using the same three colours.
Afghans are the most common use of granny squares. However, you may want to start with something smaller for your first project. Winter scarves made from these squares have become quite popular. Simply make enough squares for the length you wish your scarf to be. Sew the squares end to end. Add a fringe to each end, if you prefer.
Handbags (purses) and tote bags are another common use for granny squares. Because of the openings in the crochet work, you will need to make a fabric lining for your bag. Hand-sew the lining to the top inside of the bag. Make the crochet part of the bag first, so you can match the lining size to the outside of the bag.