Thursday, April 18, 2013

She's Come Undone! How to Repair a Granny Square

One of my recent repair jobs was a crocheted blanket.  The lady who brought it to me had bought it some time ago in New Zealand for a future grandchild.  Finally the grandchild arrived, the blanket was gifted, and everyone lived happily ever after... until the wash cycle.


The main body of the blanket was a standard granny square, done in a delicate, soft, sport weight yarn, while the border was a celebration of arches and picots.

Who knows, maybe the yarn was good old Plymouth Dreambaby or some such perfectly suitable stuff, but I imagined it was an exotic New Zealand yarn.  I hear they have a lot of sheep there.  Hence they must have wonderful yarn.  My logic is unassailable, my imagination unbridled.

It looked like at least two or three rounds of double crochet were missing, but a closer look showed me it was really only the center.  An excellent prognosis for recovery!

So here's a pictorial tutorial, or pictutorial, if you will.  I'll start with the blanket saved, and then show the whole procedure again with a swatch I made, which shows the technique more clearly.


First, to save the loose stitches:

With a tapestry needle, I threaded a scrap of contrasting color sock yarn through the loops at the bottom of each dangling double crochet in the round above the missing section.  I tied a little bow and I was ready for the next step.








Because the tear was in the center of the blanket, the loose partial stitches of the "lost round" had to be pulled open/unknotted/untwisted by hand.  This took quite awhile.  I'm just warning you, in case you have a chance to do this some day.



Once that was done, it was time to re-crochet.

I wanted to use as much of the original yarn as possible, but I was going to need something on which to latch the round of double crochets I was going to create.

I found a strand of yarn in my stash that matched the color, miracle of miracles.  It was actually 2 strands of fiber unwound from some 3 ply Plymouth Encore.

So I chained four from my matching yarn, joined it with a slip stitch to the first chain, and I had a little loop which is blurry in the picture due to the limitations of my camera and my skills as a photographer.

Then I took the original yarn, which was still attached to the innards of the blanket, and did 3 double crochets into the loop I had made from my yarn.

Then I chained 4, dropped the loop from my crochet hook, stuck my hook into the bottom loops of the 3 double crochets in the round above, grabbed the loop I had dropped, pulled it through, then undid a couple of the chains, because you only need two chains in each corner of the granny square.

Then I did 3 more double crochets into the beginning loop I had made from my yarn.

And so on until I got back to the first 3-double-crochet group.  Slip stitch to join, finish off, weave in ends, and like new!


Here's the beautiful edging:




I suggested to my happy client that in future, putting the blanket in a mesh lingerie bag and washing it on a delicate cycle would be the way to go.











Now for the swatch I made, and some basic directions repeated.  I'm not using abbreviations here since some people have trouble reading those, and I am feeling merciful.



Insert tapestry needle with scrap yarn into bottoms of double crochets in round above "problem area."





Here I undid the center section of the swatch, as in the blanket above.




Thread the scrap yarn all the way around, in the round above the missing section.

Notice, on the lovely ebony crochet hook below, 4 stitches chained.





Join with slip stitch to beginning chain to form a ring, then chain 3, which counts as a double crochet, and do 2 double crochet into the ring.  (Equals 3 double crochet.)

Then chain 4, to make this section easier to pull through the saved stitches.





Drop loop from hook, and poke hook through saved stitches, from left to right, or clockwise.

Special note which I hope doesn't sound too complicated:  In this case, since it's the center round we are fixing, we will only need 4 groups of 3 double crochets each.  These will go in between the 6 double crochets that make up the corners of the round above.  That is why my hook has picked up the bottom loops of 6 double crochets in this picture.  If you had a repair in a different round, you would pick up the bottom loops of 3 double crochets at a time in each section along the sides.  Also, you would only need 1 chain in between those 3 double crochet groups.


Anyhoo, grab your dropped loop:


Pull through the bottoms of the saved stitches.

Then drop the loop, and undo 2 of the 4 chains--it's very easy to do that part.

Now do 3 double crochet into your center ring.  Chain 4 as above, and continue these steps until you have finished the round and you are back to the beginning.  Join with slip stitch to beginning double crochet.


That's all there is to it!  It's easy!

I can just picture my mom rolling her eyes heavenward.

"Easy for you, maybe!" she would say.

And I would say, "Well, once you get the hang of it," and then we would both roll our eyes heavenward.


Anyway, the blanket is dear to a family's heart, and I was happy to get the chance to repair it.





32 comments:

  1. Amazing. And how generous of you to take the time to explain to us how you did it. I have no doubt that even with your excellent instructions, my repair attempt would not be as perfect as yours, but I am grateful for the tutorial.

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  2. Fantastic! It is so easy to understand the process you've used here. I did wonder what would hapoen if it snapped, now I know. What a splendidly neat job too. Thank you.

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  3. Can you explain how to start a granny square so that this doesn't happen. My granny squares always come undone in the middle like that. It looks fine for a while and then, without washing,or warning, it will unravel in the center. I figure it must be how I am starting the granny or knotting? Thanks for any help here. I would love to crochet more, but don't want to waste time if it comes undone. Always. urgh.

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  4. Hi, Darlene,
    Wish I could help! Without seeing exactly what you're doing, it's difficult to know why your squares would unravel. When you change colors, do you cut the old color and then draw the yarn end through the loop and tighten? Then weave in the ends? Do you leave a long enough end, or tail? Three inches would be plenty.

    Some people tie knots to join yarn, but I never do, and I haven't had any trouble. I just weave in the tails and it seems to work fine. If you have a local yarn shop (not a multi-hobby chain), it's worth spending a little extra on good yarn. You get nice yarn, and the shop people usually will help you. Or maybe take a class or two? Good luck! Don't give up!

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  5. This post is so helpful but it doesn't help me solve the problem I've created for myself. I hope you can help me. Yesterday I ripped out a couple of rows of the afghan I've been working on so that I could correct an error. Today, when I picked my work up, I held it upside down and thought that I had another row to rip out. Without thinking it through, I started to rip out part of the base row and the first row of my work! Yikes!!! I realized my mistake quite quickly, but I don't know how to repair the section I pulled out. Is there anything I can do to save my work (65 rows of a queen-sized blanket) or will I just have to rip it all out and start again?

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    1. Hard to say without seeing your project. In some cases, you might be able to add the stitches back, just start crocheting and redo. Have you taken it to your LYS to see if they can help? (Not a chain store, but a local shop that specializes in knitting and crochet.). I feel for you and wish you luck!

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  6. Working on a very old crocheted tablecloth; made from 2 ply wool. A stunning piece which my nieces and nephews really enjoyed watching unravel when they (as very young children) snipped a thread. A precious piece well worth repairing. Very different to the scenario you have described but THANK YOU, your directions are so wonderfully clear we can easily adapt them to our purposes. Thanks.

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  7. Although I am not repairing a granny square, per say, I need to repair the center of a flower. I think your principles will apply. Thanks for doing this picture tutorial for us who wish to save our work when things come apart.

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  8. Thank You. My granddaughter left a granny square afghan on the sofa and my puppy must have chewed the center out of several of the squares. My mind went numb. I was wishing my grandmother was still around to call, so I did the next best thing and called my daughter. She found your site and sent me the link. Thank You so much for the help. Best wishes, Yvonne

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  9. Thanks for this post. Ive just been given a multiple granny square blanket made by my great-grandmother for my grandmother over 100 years ago. My Aunty found it in her buried treasures, hand washed it and it started to disintegrate. I'm not sure if it's just too much to repair - have been thinking of sewing it into a piece of wool or linen fabric and sort of darning the unravelling bits to the fabric ? Kate

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    1. Hi, Kate. How wonderful to find a family treasure like this! Sorry to hear the blanket is falling apart. Sentimental value cannot be quantified! So, only you know how much work you want to put into it. I would at least take some really good photos as a keepsake. If there are a few squares intact, maybe you could find a way to undo them from the rest of the blanket and save them as a remembrance? That could be tricky, though. I haven't tried darning unravelling bits to fabric; if you decide to try it, let us know how it goes! The problem I've found with very old heirlooms like this is, even if you repair your heart out, the fibers are so old that other parts will likely disintegrate as well. I wish you luck and wish I could be more help; let us know what happens!

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  10. i have a question. I can get as far as the part where I pull the chain through the saved round's loops, Once I've done that, I don't get where the yarn for the double crochet stitches comes from. The rest of the strand is still on the other side of the loops I pulled my chain through. I've read other tutorials that said to pull the loop extra big and crochet with that but I don't understand how to do that either. Any help you can give would be great. Thank you!

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    1. Hi, Jessica, thanks for your question. I understand your dilemma! It's been awhile since I've done this, but I seem to recall that even though the working yarn--the rest of the strand--is still on the other side of the loops, you can pull more of that strand through to where you need it to continue crocheting. Just keep pulling more yarn through as needed. When you are done with the repair, you will be able to cut the strand (leaving a nice tail) and pull the tail through to where you need it to finish off. Hope this helps. Let us know!

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    2. Thanks for your reply! I guess where I'm confused is that if I keep pulling yarn through, I end up with a huge loop and there isn't a loop left on the hook to start with. Does that make any sense? Thank you!

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    3. Okay, let me see if I can explain this better. Try putting your hook into the loop first and snug up the yarn as usual. Then grasp the tail of the yarn, in other words, the yarn that is coming off the skein, and pull that through until you have a few inches to work with. You aren't creating a great big loop, you are just pulling more working yarn through. Does that make sense?

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  11. No, but that's ok! I'm just very confused! I appreciate you trying to help! :)

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    2. Sorry I can't help. Have you tried taking your project and this tutorial to your local yarn shop? Not a chain store, but a local shop. I bet they can help.

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  12. No, I haven't as there are only chain stores here. It's all right; I am grateful for your help! Maybe one day I'll understand! :)

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  13. I am attempting to repair a ripple/chevron blanket that is splitting in two. The split has happened where two yarns were joined in a color change. It looks like the knot gave way and the stitches have begun to separate. Any tips or tricks on how to repair this? It is done in half double crochet if that makes any difference. Thank you so much!

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    1. Hi, Marinna. You can probably use the basic ideas as described above for repairing a granny square. Use as much of the original yarn as possible, unless it is too frayed. You may need to use your crochet hook to pull your repair yarn through the bottom loops of stitches in the row above, if that's where it's coming apart. Also, I don't knot my yarn together, I usually leave long tails to weave in: there's less chance of things coming undone. It's hard for me to tell you exactly what to do without being able to see the project, but I hope this helps. Good luck! Let us know what happens! And thanks for coming to my blog.

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  14. Thanks for this great tutorial. I repaired an afghan made for my grandmother by my godmother. Took a few attempts but eventually got the hang of it. All I have left to repair is the shell border.

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    1. Hooray! Success! Thanks for letting us know!

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  15. Hi Captainhook! I'm hoping that you can help me fix a Never Ending Granny Square blanket that I'm making for a friend. I washed it, as I always do when I finish an item, and a hole appeared. I probably did more damage than good when I ended up taking 2 rows out, because now I have 2 pieces of the blanket. Is it possible for me to rejoin the 2 parts? Your help would be greatly appreciated. ~Michelle

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    1. Hi, Michelle! Without seeing the blanket, it's difficult to see what's going on and tell you how to rejoin the parts, but here are my ideas. If I understand correctly, this is meant to be one big Granny Square. One of your parts--let's call it Piece #2--now has double crochets with dangling bottom stitches that aren't attached anywhere. You could use the basic ideas in the tutorial above as follows: pull working yarn through the bottoms of the first set of dangling double crochets in Piece #2, then crochet a set of double crochets into Piece #1, then pull working yarn through the bottoms of the next set of dangling double crochets in Piece #2, then crochet into Piece #1. I hope that makes sense. Do you have an LYS in your neighborhood where they can help you? Are you on Ravelry? If yes, and you want to post a pic on Ravelry and send me a message, maybe I can take a look. I'm captainhook on Rav. Good luck! Let us know what happens!

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  17. I made my first granny square afghan in December and gave it to my mother-in-law as a lap blanket. She brought it back to me yesterday as one of the squares' center round had begun unraveling. I figured out how to repair it and looked closer at all the other squares and found several that were close to unraveling! Yikes!!! I read above that you don't knot, instead you like to weave the ends in. I thought knotting and weaving in the short ends would be better, but it doesn't seem to be. How long of a tail do you leave on each end to weave in?

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    1. I usually leave a three to four inch tail, and weave it in copying the stitches that are there as much as possible. It's good to go a couple inches in one direction and then weave the tail back in another direction, as that helps keep it from unraveling. Hope this helps!

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  18. I found this very helpful as I today had this happen to me with squares in a blanket that I washed and the centers came undone on. I want to say a Big Thank You!

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  19. I have a granny square quilt that needs to be repaired! Would you let me know if you still do repairs and also about cost of doing so? Thanks!

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    1. Sorry, I don't do repairs anymore. Hope you can find help.

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I love getting your comments. Thanks for sharing!