Beyond the Granny – Part 2

Hi folks

So how many bordered grannies did you do? Lots I hope.  Did you do your homework? Good!

btg part 2 header

How you’ll go Beyond the Granny this month

1. You’ll read a pattern

2. You’ll learn a new stitch (htr UK, hdc US)

3. You’ll alter the pattern by changing the type of stitches you use.

4. You’ll learn a trick or two to fix things if they aren’t working out.  Good lessons to learn, and you can use them throughout the project.

Cool huh?

Before we start, let’s have a look at what a crochet pattern typically looks like and what some things mean.  This is the way I write my patterns. There is a bit of variation out there, but most things are much the same in any pattern you’ll find.

Most patterns start out with a list of the stitches you’ll need to know and their abbreviations. Pretty self explanatory.

Example of stitches used in a pattern

Usually, patterns provide a guide on what kind and thickness of yarn and hook you’ll need, as well as a gauge guide.  I usually do provide this, but for Beyond the Granny, I wont be as you have all chosen your own yarn and hooks and are playing about with all the patterns. No rules remember?

Next you usually get into the pattern.  Let’s look at a round from the middle of this month’s pattern, as it’s got everything you normally see.

It’s not as scary as it looks. Ignore the stitches, lets just look at the format and punctuation.

round of instructions
Example of a typical Round from a pattern

A comma means that’s the end of a stitch instruction. So you work your way, left to right doing each stitch or stitches between the commas, as instructed.

Now the normal type of brackets you can see like this () with instructions in the middle –  (2 tr, 2 ch, 2 tr) – are borrowed from your school maths class.  You do those bits as as one, usually in one space or stitch.

Asterisks and repeats can be scary but if we look at them slowly, logically, its all good.

*tr in next 10 sts**, (2 tr, ch 2, 2 tr) in 2 ch space*,
  repeat from * to * 2 times and from * to ** once

This is the hardest bit when you start. Ignore the asterisks until you get to a “repeat from” instruction because that’s where you need them.  What helped me when I started, was to think of my work as 4 sides, separated by 4 corners.  Once you can wrap your head around that seemingly easy fact, things go a lot smoother.  So, you’ll find that the bits between 2 single asterisks are one side and one corner- USUALLY. I say usually, because some patterns you’ll find start in the middle of a side which can make things a bit harder to understand.

All the double asterisk ** means, is that’s the end of the side bit.  That’s where you stop on last repeat (repeat from * to ** once)  and then the pattern will tell you how to do the last bit of the corner to finish.  It works for my brain.  I hope it will soon work for yours too.

At the end, see those bits in the curly brackets?

 {14 tr along each side, 4 x 2 ch spaces}

This is a really helpful part of a pattern.  It tells you how many stitches you should have after you finish the round.  Look, I’ll admit now that I am not great at counting, but spelling it out like this really does help me. Getting into the habit of checking your work when you finish a round will help you keep on track. Some patterns you’ll see only have a total stitch count for the whole round like {78 sts}. I find that too hard to keep track of, so I do the count as each side and each corner.

Don’t worry if all this is still making you go “what the…”, I’ll ease you in.

I have provided 2 versions of the pattern that you can choose depending on your skill level.

In the Extended version, I have written out every stitch and provided lots of pics – no confusing repeats and asterisks! The other version is as I would normally write a pattern.

Solid Granny PDF Patterns

So, if you’re a novice pattern reader, choose the extended version and get out a pen.  I want you to cross off each stitch instruction between commas as you go.  Go on – you can do it!

Solid Square Extended Written Pattern UK Terms By Shelley Husband 2014[]

Solid Square Written Pattern UK Terms By Shelley Husband 2014[]

Solid Square Extended Written Pattern US Terms By Shelley Husband 2014[]

Solid Square Written Pattern US Terms By Shelley Husband 2014[]

Ok so go have a go at a solid granny doing as many rounds as you need to get to your size, ending with the border round, then come back and we’ll play some more.

Right.  Got a solid granny done using the pattern?  Excellent! Let’s change the pattern a bit.

First, try changing every second round to a round of dc (sc US). All you do is change the name of the stitch, everything else is the same. It’s a good look – especially in multi-colours. You will do a different number of rounds – just keep going until it is at your size, ending with the border round of dc (sc US).

Solid Granny with dc (sc (us) used in alternate rounds
Solid Granny with dc (sc (us) used in alternate rounds

OK, now let’s learn a new stitch.

How to do a htr UK terms (hdc US terms)

This stitch is bigger than our border stitch of dc (sc US) and smaller than a tr (dc US).  You start as if you are going to to tr (dc US), but when you have 3 loops on your hook, you yo & pull through all 3 loops.

Here’s my lil video showing how :

Now how about we make a solid granny using this new stitch instead of tr (dc US folks).

Solid Granny using htr (hdc US)
Solid Granny using htr (hdc US)

You’d think it would be a simple matter of changing the name of the stitch as you hook it wouldn’t you?  I did.  It’s not quite that simple though. Here’s where you will learn a lesson you can take with you and apply it in the future.  It’s important to know you can change things if they aren’t working out.

I’m going to suggest something you might not want to do.  Undo your work if it’s not right. Don’t be scared.  As long as you haven’t split your yarn, its easy to pull out. I really struggled with this when I first started. It does hurt when you’ve just started because it took time, effort and brain power to get as far as you did.  I get that.  But, think of re-doing it as a chance to learn more.  The more you do something the better you get at it.

This is called "frogging" because you rip it, rip it, rip it out.  Ribbit ribbit like a frog. :)
This is called “frogging” because you rip it, rip it, rip it out. Ribbit ribbit like a frog. πŸ™‚

When I tried the solid granny with the htr (hdc US), I found my block wasn’t sitting flat. There are a couple of things you can do to fix this issue, depending on what is happening.

If you square is flappy and twisted like the following pic, you need to reduce the number of stitches along each side. I found changing the corner to (2 tr, 2 ch, 1 tr) was enough to fix mine. ie I reduced the number of stitches along each side by 1 stitch. You need to do whatever you do consistently on each side.  Write it down!


If your square is going out more along the sides like the following pic, you need to increase the number of stitches along each side.  Just try by one stitch in the same spot each side in a corner and see what happens. Be prepared to try again and again if you need to.

Corners not visible, sides go out more than corners.
Corners not visible, sides go out more than corners.

Another option that doesn’t involve undoing your work is “blocking”.  This is a method of straightening your work.  It works a treat if things aren’t too out of whack.  You do need a couple of things like a steam iron and something to pin your work too. I explain all in this post.   I’ll be recommending you do this at some stage in the CAL. It really does make a difference and improves the look of everything – even squares you think are pretty good already.

An example of before and after blocking.

This Month’s Homework

OK so to summarise, this is what I’d like you to do this month :

  1. Hook up at least 1 solid granny according to the pattern – it’d be great if you made more, try a different sized hook, play with colour to see how just changing a round or 2’s colour can really make a difference – it’s up to you how you change it πŸ™‚
  2. Hook up at least 1 solid granny, adding in a round of dc (sc US) every second round – again – doing more would be great – have a play πŸ™‚
  3. Hook up at least 1 solid granny by using htr (hdc US) for the entire block (except last border round – keep that as dc (sc US)) – adjust your stitch numbers if you need to correct warping
  4. Play some more using any combination of the 3 stitches you now know – UK – dc, htr, tr.  US – sc, hdc, dc – and try different hook sizes if you have them
  5. Optional homework  –  check out  an alternative to starting each round with 3 ch and joining with a dc (sc US). You’ll find it in the “Alternatives PDF” in the How to Crochet a Granny Square post.  Don’t worry if you run out of time.  We’ll be looking at some of this in more detail next month.

But I need help…

I understand this can be tricky and I want to help you get it.  There are a few ways you can get help.

Instagram is where I am most often, so sending me a direct pic or tagging a pic with #beyondthegrannyhelp will get my attention.   Just be aware that if you have a private profile, I wont be able to see a tagged pic.

Another option is Ravelry.  Since last month, I’ve set up the Beyond the Granny Ravelry Group if you are a Ravelry person, feel free to drop in to ask for help, share and connect with others taking part.  πŸ™‚

Otherwise, if you’d like to ask a question, go to my Facebook Page and ask by the direct message system.  Also if you want to share your work with others, send me a pic by the message system and I’ll add it to the album of everyone’s work there.

Next time, we’ll be learning about skipping stitches. Β It’s a simple thing that can really give a great look πŸ™‚

xx Shelley


  1. Virginia

    How do you change colors in the granny squares that you want us to make?


  2. Noreen Oliver

    Your work is beautiful Shelley and your directions are so detailed…thank you for the time/ work you have put into this. I have crocheted for awhile but never attempted a granny square. I now have several squares done from last month. The first one I ripped out several times but now I can make one without even looking at the pattern.
    I will post when I figure out how to do that. Just wanted to thank you and let you now how much I am enjoying this.

    • Shelley Husband

      That’s great to hear Noreen πŸ™‚ Well done you! If you’d like to share you work, you can either do it via the Ravelry group or by sending me a pic on my facebook page.

      • Samantha Ricketts

        Im really enjoying the solid granny squares just I just have a question with the alternate dc and sc rows (American terms)
        Im having trouble with the corners on the sc row, do I do them as I would a border with 3sc in each corner or do I do them as the dc row with 2sc,2ch,2sc?

        • Shelley Husband

          Good to hear you are enjoying it Sam. You do the 2sc 2ch 2sc. The 3 sc corners are just for the border. πŸ™‚

  3. Jenny

    Hi there,

    Thank you for this detailed post! Do you happen to remember the colors you used? I love the combination.

    • Shelley Husband

      Hi Jenny πŸ™‚

      I’m afraid I don’t I’m sorry. I think I was just using up odds and ends of stash.



  1. Beyond the Granny Part 4 | spincushions - […] ch. Β US – sc, hdc, dc & ch. Β If you need a refresher on htr (hdc US), head back…

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