How to Figure How Many Granny Squares You Need For an Afghan

There are a number of things you need to keep in mind when figuring how many squares you'll need to make an afghan or blanket.

1. Make several squares in the pattern you've chosen.

2. Block and measure the squares. Blocking is especially important when assembling a blanket out of squares. It's one of the few times I actually block my work. The time and headache saved in assembly more than makes up for what you spend blocking. I have photos and written instructions on the process I follow here.

3. Decide how you're going to assemble your squares. The assembly method you choose will affect the finished size of your blanket. Whipstitching or single crocheting the blocks together won't afect the size much. But joining with a decorative stitch can affect the outcome. Even just a 1/4" added on a join can add 4 - 5" to the overall size of a king blanket using 4" squares. So if you're choosing something fancy like that you're going to have to piece a few together to figure out what the size is of your blocked, assembled square.

4. Divide the length and width of the blanket you want  (I've compiled a list of standard blanket & bedding sizes here) to make by the size of your finished squares (including whatever you added for assembly).
This probably won't be a round number, so you'll have to decide whether you want to round up and make a slightly larger blanket, or round down and make a slightly smaller blanket. (Keep in mind that if you round down you can add a decorative border.) Then multiply the number of squares you need across by the number of squares you need for the length and you'll have the total number of squares you'll need to make.

As a formula it would look like this for a 48" x 60" throw made out of 5" squares:
48"/5"=9.6" so round up to 10.
10 x 12=120.
So you'd end up making 120 squares and your blanket would be done in rows of 10 squares. And you'd have 12 rows.
Final finished size would be 50" x 50".

My 3 favorite books filled with Granny Square Patterns:

I've spent a lot of time poking around the web looking for free granny square patterns. Keeping track of them is sort of a nightmare. Not only are the patterns written in each persons own "shorthand", but the photos are uneven & it's a hassle to print them out & keep them in any sort of organized fashion that allows me to find what I want when I want it. While browsing in the bookstore I bought just about every book I could find on the subject. Here are my favorites. I highly recommend them to your library!


Free Granny Square Pattern

Four Rounds of Bobble Granny Square


Starting with a round of bobbles, this square begins as a circle for the first two rounds. The third round squares it up. Rounds continue in the same way until desired size.

sl st: Slipstitch
dc: Double crochet
Bobble: wrap the yarn around the hook, insert the hook into next spot, pull a loop through, wrap the yarn around the hook, pull through the first 2 loops. Repeat 2 more times into the same spot. Wrap yarn around the hook all pull through all (4) loops. Work 1 ch to close.
For instructions on basic crochet stitches see:

Keep a smaller hook nearby to use when weaving in ends and attaching new colors to your work. Seems to be easier, especially through the many stitches around the ring.
Work your ends in as you go. It seems like an almost insurmountable task if you wait until all your squares are finished. And it's just nicer to work on neat tidy squares without all sorts of strings dangling.

Start with a sliding ring. (go to for instuctions.)

Round 1: 3 ch, 2 dc into the ring(this will count as your first bobble), chain 1.
*Work 1 bobble stitch (see above) into the ring, 1 ch.*
Repeat between ** 6 more times (8 total bobbles.)
Sl st in 3rd of 3 ch at the beginning of the round. Fasten off. Tighten sliding ring and weave that end in.

Round 2: Join yarn in ch space, 3 ch, [2dc, ch1] in same space. [3dc, ch1 in next ch space] 7 times. Sl st in 3rd of 3 ch at the beginning of the round. Fasten off.

Round 3: Join yarn in ch space, 3 ch, [2dc, ch1] in same space. *[3dc, 2 ch, 3 dc, 1 ch] in next space. [3dc, ch1] in next space. Repeat from * 3 times. [3dc, 2 ch, 3 dc, 1 ch] in next space. Sl st in 3rd of 3 ch at the beginning of the round.

Round 4 and all subsequent rounds: Continue as in round 3, with 2ch between clusters on corners and 1 ch between clusters on sides. Each round will have more clusters on the side. 

 (v1)tested: 8/20 CC.


How to Make Your Own Hand Painted Shoes

The retro style of Dr. Scholl's sandals somehow never goes out of style. The wood base provides a perfect base for easy DIY painting. Designs can be retro, modern, streamlined, simple or intricate. Pick a favorite dress from your closet and paint shoes to match. Scroll through our designs for inspiration and see the step by step instructions on how to paint your shoes at the end of the post.

Pucci inspired paisley in hot colors
Just a little bit country

Inspired by a bandana, but in a modern color.

Indian inspired

shades of the same color

combining patterns from 2 dresses

Use clothes from your closet to inspire your design.

Asian inpired

a simple repeating pattern works best on the sides

The same pattern can be painted in different colorways

Soft pink tones coordinate with the clean white straps

Hawaiian inspired. Swarovski crystals on the sides add a bit of sparkle

Bright florals

The sides can be completely different

Tattoo inspired


The same pattern works with different colored strips

bold florals in bright colors

patterns can be simple and bold

soft toned florals

flowers look great with stripes

Inspired by french toile de jouy fabrics

lavendar straps with pake yellow and green design

dots are easy to paint

bright colored dots and stripes

hawaiian print

easy to paint dots on the sides

abstract zebras

zebra stripes flow onto the sides

What You Need:
A pair of Dr. Scholl's sandals
Painter's tape
100-grit sand paper
Wood primer
Acrylic or craft paints
Water based clear coat finish

Step by Step Instructions:
1. Open the clasp on the straps. Using painter's easy-to-remove tape cover the edges and top of the straps& fold them back & tape them to the bottom of the shoes to protect them during painting.
2.  Remove the Dr.Scholl's label & lightly sand the wood.
3. Prime the wood using Primer for wood. Let dry as directed on can. Sand lightly.
4. Lightly sketch your design onto the wood. To plan your design you can trace the shoe and play around with your pattern until you come up with something you like.
5. Paint your design. Acrylic or craft paints will both work. Allow to dry completely.
6. When completely dry apply at least 3 coats of clear coat, allowing to dry between coats. You need a good strong finish to protect the shoes from wear.

Dr Scholls Logo


How to turn your unused Babette Blanket Squares (or any other crocheted granny square) into a Scarf

Babette Squares Scarf - flip side
Babette Squares Scarf

My Babette Blanket squares had been sitting in a knitting bag for a really, really long time (April 2008!) My initial excitement about the project was long gone. I really didn't like the yarn, Plymouth Encore DK, because it was just to acryllic-y. And when I blocked the squares to get them to a place where they could actually be sew together the fabric seemed way too thin for a blanket or afghan.

Fortunately, at just about that time the Shanghai Guild, a group of devoted knitters and crocheters who meet weekly in Shanghai to make items for a variety of charities had a call for scarves for a local senior center. I gathered up the squares I had and made a scarf.

If you want the original pattern for the Babette Blanket it was in the Interweave Crochet Spring 2006 edition. You can download it here.

Upload an instruction sheet with a diagram of how to lay out the squares.

See tips on making Babette squares and a link to a pattern for a square. 

Babette Blanket: Techniques to Make Your Squares More Uniform

Babette Blanket: 6 Techniques to Improve Your Work

Buying Handwoven Indigo Fabric and Making a Slipcovered Headboard (With DIY Instructions)

Weaving Shop in Zhouzhuang. The spinning wheel is used to spin cotton into the thread used in the weaving.

On my last trip to Zhouzhuang, a small water town a short trip outside of Shanghai, I stumbled upon a weaving shop and immediately fell in love with the indigo dyed striped fabric and the delightful couple who owned the shop. They spoke no English, and my Mandarin is very basic, but as usual, I managed to successfully make a few purchases.

I wish I could have spoken with the couple and learned their story. At the front of the shop is a spinning wheel where a very elderly (and camera shy) lady, who I suspect is one of the owner's mother's, spins the threads. The wife does the weaving and the husband measures and cuts the fabric.

Shopping and making purchases in China can often be something of a chore, and not a terribly pleasant experience.  You end up haggling with a shop owner who is selling something far removed from the people who actually made it.  Not so here. It was so refreshing to see true artisans, living simply and happily, making products on the spot. The cloth they make is beautiful, they take pride in what they make and were joyful that someone was appreciating what they made. The prices were quite reasonable and when I didn't haggle they gave me a discount! My one regret is not buying more.
cutting the fabric - the loom is in the background

Still cutting -better view of the loom.

The three pieces I bought.

Upholstered headboard ready to be slipcovered

My upholstered headboard, while in remarkably good condition after almost 15 years, was looking a bit outdated. The indigo stripes seemed to be the perfect weight to make a slipcover.

The handwoven fabric was only 22 1/2" wide. I cut two pieces 87" (80" for width + 6" for depth + 1" seam allowance) long & pieced them together. (I ran the fabric lengthwise across the headboard so there wouldn't be any vertical seams.)

folded fabric ready to mark for sewing

I mitered the corners to cover the 3" depth. I folded the the top and side edges together and marked a stitching line at the point where it was 3 1/2" (3" for the depth of the headboard + 1/2" seam allowance.) I stitched from the fold up to the 3" mark. I only stitched it up to (but not through) the seam allowance point so that it would be easier to stitch the backing piece on.

mitered corner

Et voila.

I bought a piece of navy blue cotton broadcloth (from the quilting section of my local fabric shop) for the backing and cut it 81" long. I then sewed the two pieces together up one side, over the top and down the other side. Having left the mitered corners unstitched at the seam allowance made this a very easy thing. A quick press and it was ready to go.  Slipped it over the headboard and had the whole thing done in under an hour. Seemed like it was going to be a whole lot more difficult than it actually was.

slipcovered headboard in handwoven indigo stripe fabric

If you don't already have a headboard, and don't want to go to the trouble of building one, here's an easy, reasonably affordable solution:

The EE Headboard is the ideal bedroom furniture solution. This patent-pending modular headboard is easy to carry and easy to change. Each headboard is made of durable, furniture grade materials and includes a custom slipcover for a tailored, upholstered look. With a wide variety of custom slipcovers, you can update your room decor without the need to purchase new furniture. This product is reusable for years to come. 
  • Patent-pending headboard-in-a-box is easy to carry and easy to change
  • Simple, 3-step assembly completes in minutes
  • Made with durable, furniture-grade pine and plywood
  • Includes a custom slipcover with fasteners to provide a tailored, upholstered look
  • Fits any standard metal bed frame