Off the Shelf: Not Your Granny’s

Have you ever noticed that whenever anyone wants to crochet something non-traditional, they always name it “Not Your Granny’s _____”? Not your granny’s afghan. Not your granny’s tissue box cover. Not your granny’s denture case cozy.

The reason for all the defensiveness about crochet being a craft for the wizened and gray-headed boils down to … this book, probably.


Today, I proudly present “The Great Granny Crochet Book.” Copyright 1979 by the American School of Needlework and published by Columbia House.

I picked this up at, of course, a used bookstore a few years ago. Everything in the book is made from granny squares. From blankets to toys to ornaments to kitchen stuff, it’s all made from granny squares. Kind of a neat concept. And judging from the “grandma” that they chose for the front cover, you can tell that they’re trying their best to make granny squares relevant. There are no white-haired people in the book at all. But there are a lot of grandkids.

But the best part about this book are the illustrations. They take me right back to my earliest childhood. I mean, who didn’t have a bedroom in the house that looked like this?


I know this is a bad picture, but doesn’t this kid look like he’s straight from a Nickelodeon show like “Salute Your Shorts” or “Double Dare”? Remember when brick fireplaces were awesome? And check out the recliner in the background.


And who didn’t have a gigantic floor ball? I personally saw my mother leaning on the giant floor ball many a time staring wistfully into space.


The book also has a ton of image blankets. These blankets are made entirely out of one-round granny squares and half grannies. Is it just me or do these blankets represent a weaving-in-ends nightmare? Of course, it couldn’t take longer than quilting, but … seriously a nightmare.


This little number is from a chapter called “The Fashionable Granny.” You go granny.


Now that I’ve totally ripped up this book, there are a few patterns that, crocheted in the right colors and slightly modified, could be very cute. Take this little girl poncho, for example.


Or this chunky tote


And I can’t help it. I really like these moccasins. And they look easy enough that you could make yourself a new pair whenever the color of the moment (it’s emerald green right now, apparently) changes.


Finally, the chapter called “Granny’s Toy Shop” contains a bunch of stuffed animals made entirely of granny squares painstakingly sewn together. I really like this cute giraffe, but the thought of all that work makes me appreciate amigurumi all the more.


Do you have a vintage crochet book that you love?


4 thoughts on “Off the Shelf: Not Your Granny’s

  1. I am almost done with a black trimmed afghan like in the first picture. It was totally inspired by who else…my grandma Ann. I am also currently working on a poncho for my granddaughter and one for myself… I so want to make one of those big balls…just so I can sit and stare off wistfully!

  2. Pingback: Stitch of the Week: Granny Square | Book People Studio

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