Sunday, August 07, 2011

Granny Squares (and Stripes and Hexagons)... by Barbara Ruth

It occured to me the other day that I have quite a few homemade afghans. Ten actually, if you count the ones at the cottage.

I'm perfectly aware that today one says "throw" vs "afghan" (even though all throws are technically afghans). And I know that cashmere and chenille "throws" are much more chic and elegant, and (because I watch real estate television) more likely to be what is draped casually across the back of a sofa in a beautifully staged Manhattan condo.

I also know, however, that you can't have as satisfying a nap with a "throw" as with an afghan. Specifically, a Granny Square afghan. And I know whereof I speak (see previous post on sleep.) You see, each of my afghans is made with a hug in every stitch. Cheesy,  but absolutely true.

In our family, these priceless blankets are called Grammy Afghans, thanks to my niece Jennifer, or so the story goes. Apparently several years ago when the smallest things could make life complete, her brother opened a parcel to find his very own afghan made by my mother. Jennifer, already possessing this magical sleep-inducing treasure, was thrilled for her brother, exclaiming "David! You finally have your very own Grammy Afghan!"

My Mum is an amazing knitter/crocheter/seamstress (a talent that mysteriously missed my DNA, although each of my sisters got the gift). She is also a child of the Depression years, and as such it goes against every fibre of her being to throw out leftover yarn. Enter Granny Square afghans such as these:

Eventually she began to make patterns that called for specific colours. My favourite is this one, which is in her room at the cottage: 

She even took orders once in a while, making afghans to whatever colour scheme specified by the intended recipient. These ones are mine:

And this one... this one was made in the 70s, as you can tell by the colour scheme. I have the pink one, Elizabeth's is blue, Janet's is yellow, and Joan's is green. I'm not sure if they still have theirs, but I sure do... 

How's that for pink?!?! And yes, it's on my bed right now, clashing with everything I own. But it is the coziest thing, and it helped me nap away a headache this afternoon. And every single time I use it, I feel my Mum giving me a great big hug. And I feel comforted. And I sleep.

Take that you fancy shmancy chenille "throws".


  1. Yes, I still have the green one. Although the weather here in San Diego doesn't necessitate the need for an extra blanket too often, I like to put it on the's so pretty. After all these years, I just have to repair part of the black wool, that's come apart a bit, between a couple of the flowers...should be easy enough to do though...