Expat in Korea · Free Patterns

Aug. 15: Love for Korea and the Humble Granny Square

Today is Korean Liberation Day, a major holiday celebrating Korea’s 1945 emancipation from the Japanese empire. We’re in holiday mode and the Korean taegukgi (태극기, national flag) is flying high.

A much more humble observance underway for us crafters is the yearly commemoration of the granny square, a familiar, homespun classic that’s found on countless sofas, beds, and laps in America.

A granny square is a piece of square fabric produced in crochet by working in rounds from the center outward. It’s been around for more than a century. I was reading that granny square patterns were originally published in Weldon’s Practical Needlework in 1897, but they have been around much longer than that, passed down from American grannies to their progeny. I am one such lucky American woman, to have known her (great) granny, and learned to make these simple squares by watching her. Here’s a primer on the iconic American quadrilateral.

I didn’t remember that it is Granny Square Day, but I just happened to be making a couple of items that are timely. The first one is a reversible pillow to match the Orléans blanket. I just finished it two or three days ago. The pillow uses blanket motifs that were modified to fit a pillow, then stitched together around a 40cm pillow form.

Also, I just started a join-as-you-go granny square scarf, made from a free crochet pattern by the talented Wool Thread Paint. I’m using a 30/70 wool/acrylic yarn by King Cole, called Riot, in color 3440 “Waterways.” It’s a mix of soft blues, grays, and browns. I alternate between two skeins as I work, to ensure there are color contrasts between the squares. I should be done with this fun pattern very soon!

That’s about it for today. It has been drizzling a bit, so I haven’t been able to get outside with my dog for as long as I’d like, but I will share more of late summer Korean flora and fauna as soon as I can.

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