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Origin of the Granny Square Afghan

Have you ever wondered why it’s called a granny square? Or why we call the blanket an Afghan as opposed to a Brit or a Frenchmen?

AFGHAN first appeared in English usage in the late 1700′s as a name for the Pashtuns of eastern and southern Afghanistan.  The country is known for its distinctive textiles, colorful carpets, and famous karakul wool. 

According to a 1946 article attributed to the Oregon Worsted Company, the thrifty women of early America would carefully save scraps of yarn and fiber unraveled from old sweaters and socks.  As these scraps accumulated, they were crocheted into small squares; the colors combined on the whim of the craftsman.  The squares were then sewn together to make a blanket which was both functional and colorful.  Because grandma was no longer up for manual labor, she was often the one to sew the squares together, thus they became GRANNY SQUARES.

This colorful GRANNY SQUARE blanket was though to resemble a Colonial-era rug, which was brought over from England, by way of the Middle East.   By the early 1800’s, the name GRANNY SQUARE AFGHAN was commonly used to describe these blankets made from multi-colored yarn.

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10 responses »

  1. Interesting. Thanks for the info.

    Reply
  2. Lovely site! I am loving it!! Will be back later to read some more. I am taking your feeds also

    Reply
  3. Pingback: Couverture Granny Square | À la mode Montréal

  4. What a fascinating (and funny!) article! I hope you don’t mind if we link to it in our shop newsletter.
    -Wendy (the newsletter typer-upper at Yarnivore in San Antonio, TX)

    http://yarnivoresa.com/

    Reply
  5. Pingback: Episode 83: Granny Squares Are Actually Pretty Awesome | twoartsygals

  6. I love this kind of thing I have reams of it as I used to give talks on the history of knitting and crochet. I have patterns dating back to the 1830s when they were very first printed and examples I have made that are copies of pictures of items found in digs that date back to Roman times. I particularly love the history of Aran knitting. I find it all fascinating but have so little time to make the items now as I am tied up doing modern day things to sell.

    Reply
  7. These pictures are amazing to see. What talent in this crocheters world.

    Reply
  8. Reblogged this on Shelly's Stitches.

    Reply

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