Introduction: Fastest and Easiest Granny Square Pixels
You've seen them all over the internet: beautiful, giant granny square blankets of all your favorite 8-bit characters. Mario! Link! Sonic! And they're all just squares, right? "I can learn to crochet," you tell yourself. "I can make a simple square," you tell yourself.
Yes, crochet granny squares are easy. But making 200+ of them? Filling up boxes and boxes of carefully counted squares? And, the most important part that nobody tells you about, SEWING 200 SQUARES TOGETHER? You will spend dozens of hours making squares. You will spend MORE hours piecing the whole thing together. It will be your nightmare.
Friends, it doesn't have to be this way. I recently had a good friend of mine announce a pregnancy, and knew immediately that I needed to make her a Kirby blanket. I, like the rest of humanity, am LAZY by nature so I set out to make a simple no-nonsense blanket that would actually get done before the baby was born. Thus! I present to you: a granny square blanket with only ONE round per square, is attached together as you go, and only has one tail per square to tie off. It takes me less than three minutes to make a square... and so with Kirby's 204 total pixels, I had it done in less than 10 hours.
Step 1: Picking Your Pattern
The sky's the limit for this one, but for your own sanity I recommend NES sprites. Not only are they smaller (generally 15x15), but they involve a much more limited color palette and you won't waste your money buying tons of random shades of yarn that you'll never use again.
We will discuss our Gauge on the next page, but you can assume that each crochet square will be almost 2x2 inches. So if this Kirby is 16x16 pixels, he will end up being about 32x32 inches... perfect for a baby blanket! Or, if you add a non-skid rug backing to the back of it, a great floor rug! If you'd like something bigger or twin/queen/etc bed sized, add a background, a border, more sprites, a bigger sprite, etc.
(In the end my gauge was closer to 1.75 inches square because the rows do overlap a tiny bit, so my blanket turned out 28x28 inches.)
Step 2: Materials
Worsted weight yarn-- the cheap stuff works fine and comes in a whole bunch of colors. I recommend Red Heart... or if you'll need a lot of one color and/or prefer something slightly softer, Caron One Pound is my go-to choice.
A size K crochet hook Scissors
Gauge (how loose/tight you crochet) is not super important to this project, but one granny square should be about 2x2 inches. If you are way off from that, try switching to a larger or smaller hook. If you want the squares to be bigger, a chunkier yarn or bigger hook is the way to go!
You will need to know how to chain stitch, slip stitch, and double-crochet for this project. If you are new to crochet, browse YouTube! There are tons of helpful beginner videos there!
Step 3: Pattern - the First Square
Start with a slip knot. Chain 6 and then join to the first stitch to form a ring.
Chain three (this counts as a double crochet), and double crochet in the ring twice. Make sure you are crocheting over the ring AND the tail from your slipknot-- this hides the tail and means you won't have to weave it in later! Bonus!
Chain three, and double crochet three times in the ring. Chain another three, another three double crochet... chain three, another three double crochet... and end with a last chain three. Join with a slip stitch to the first stitch (the chain three from the very start of the round which acts like a double crochet), and end off. You should have four double crochet clusters and four chain 3 spaces.
That's all there is! Only one tiny round! Again for your own sanity, I recommend tying off this little tail now. It only takes a second, and it's easier to see when the square is not attached on all sides... and you will HATE YOURSELF at the end if you have a full 204 of these to sew in! I just tie one knot around the post and a second knot on itself. Also if the tail from your initial ring is sticking out, cut it down close to the stitches to hide it.
Step 4: Pattern - the Second Square
We're going to start the same way for this: a slip knot, chain 6, and join to form a ring. Chain three, and double crochet twice.
To join, we're going to attach the middle stitch of our chain three space to a chain three space from the first square. So chain 1.... Slip your hook into a chain three space of the first square... Yarn over like so and make a slip stitch. Ta-daaah! Now they're joined! Chain once more (to complete this chain 3 space), and double crochet three in the ring.
Now we repeat this for our second corner: chain 1, put hook in the first square's space, slip to join, and chain one. Done! Now you can finish out the round, double crocheting three and chaining three two more times. Chain a final three, join it to the beginning of the round, and end/tie off your tail.
Step 5: Pattern - the Second Row/middle Squares
For the first row, all you had to do is attach two corners together. The first square of the second row is the same: only two corners. But the rest of the second/subsequent rows... oh dear, now our squares need to get attached at three points! Don't worry, it's not hard.
Start the same as before: a slipknot, chain six, slip stitch to form a ring, chain three, and double crochet two. Chain one, join to the bottom corner of the previous square just like before, chain 1, and double crochet three more in the ring.
Now we're at a junction: We have two corners to attach and three chains to do it in. So! Put your hook through the right space and slip to join, then chain one, then put your hook through the top space and join. Done!
Double crochet another three in the ring, and then do a single-side join... chain 1, slip in the other top corner, chain 1... and finish out the round with two more sets of double crochet three, chain three. Join to the start of the round and end/tie off your tail.
**PLEASE note in the video, I called the final chain 3 "double crochet 3". Got a little caught up in threes, but there should be four chain 3 spaces and four double crochet 3 clusters**
Step 6: RINSE AND REPEAT
Keep making squares until you're done! I personally find joining-as-you-go to be a HUGE motivator, because you see the final product forming right before your eyes... and when you finish that last square-- boom! You're done! No sewing, loose ends, weaving, cutting... the blanket is right there!
Thanks everyone! I hope this tutorial helps you speed up all your nerdy crochet endeavors. Please post a picture in the comment if you make something, I would love to see it! And maybe vote for me in the All Things Yarn Contest? ;)