What I learned from Granny Squares:  Want to elevate your crochet skills?  

Although I have been crocheting for many years, I'm not particularly eager to count.  It's the same when I exercise.  Somehow, I have difficulty keeping the numbers straight, and I quickly give up. 

I knit and crochet, and I have always made things that do not require much counting: scarves, hats, bags, or anything where size does not matter.  So I avoided counting like it was going to hurt me. 

I can read patterns, and I wanted to elevate my crochet skills.  So I thought that I could get lots of practice stitches if I made some granny squares. 

Granny squares never appealed to me because I also do not like to have to stitch things together.  However, seeing the lovely new kinds of granny squares made me want to try it anyway. 

The first issue I encountered was that I needed to settle on a granny pattern or a few that looked well together. 

After doing the first few pieces, the next major issue surfaced.  I quickly realized that I would not be able to "wing it" because they needed to be the same size if I wanted a proper-looking blanket. 

The only way to get this to happen is to count consistently.  So not only did I need to count stitches, but I also needed to count the pieces as I made them. 

I had 5 different patterns, and to get a pattern to the finished fabric, I couldn't just make any random number of squares.  I needed a precise plan, and it involved counting. 

While crocheting, I would get lazy and revert to my old way of not counting, thinking I could get away with it. But then, I would get to the last row of my granny square and realize that I had made an error on a foundation row and not discover it until the very last row.  Too much frogging and rework.  It was much better to keep count. 

I discovered that I could count as I made the stitches, but sometimes I lost count. 

When I lost count while making the side, I would count the finished side before moving on to the next side of the work.  This helped me to stay on track.   

I also discovered that there were many different gadgets to help keep count.  I especially like this one from clover because you can hang it around your neck and have it within easy reach. 

If you are not accurately counting your crochet stitches and getting away with it now, you will not be able to make those beautiful patterns or produce excellent work. 

Learning to count is an essential skill for crocheters.