Take Your Granny Squares from Drab to Fab: 8 Fun Ways to Make Borders with Style

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Granny squares are totally adorbs, but let's be honest: They could use an extra shot of style.

The good news is, all it takes is an eye-catching border to take a crochet granny square from ho-hum to oh-yeah! Here are a few to try or to use as inspiration for your own granny squares edging ideas.

The crochet edgings we'll be talking about here all have flat edges, which allow you to easily join one motif to the next . Use these when you're working with small granny squares that you want to connect to each other to create a new project.

1. Slip Stitch Edging

Before we get into the more decorative granny square border options, let's talk about the simplest way to finish off a granny square, which is to give it a slip stitch border.

This is usually done with the same color you used to crochet the final round. Begin in the same corner where you left off that last round, and simply slip stitch into each stitch all the way around.

If the stitch feels too tight, try using two slip stitches in the corners instead of just one. Slip stitch into the first stitch to close the round. Then finish it off and weave in the ends. Easy, right?

2. Single Crochet Edging

The single crochet stitch makes a bold statement, and it's actually one of the simplest options for a granny square border. A single round of single crochet gives the square a finished look. To make your design really pop, pick a color that complements the colors in the granny square. The tutorial below walks you through the super-easy steps, using basic stitch abbreviations.

Making a One-Round Single Crochet Border

1. Join the yarn in any corner.

2. Make one chain stitch.

3. Single crochet in each stitch across, until you reach the corner.

4. Work into the corner: Sc, Ch 2, Sc

5. Continue working around the entire square, making a Sc into each stitch and working the corners as described above. When you get back around to the starting corner, Sc in corner, Ch 1, and then Sl st to first Ch to close the round.

Adding Rounds to a Single Crochet Border

Single crochet edging is an excellent way to create a quick, one-round border for a project — but you can also play around by adding extra rounds.

You can work the additional rounds in the same color or a different color, which gives you the versatility to create all kinds of border effects using just this one basic stitch.

You'll work each round of the border using the same instructions as in the first round.

Experiment with any color combo you like, and create standout edgings around granny squares using just this basic crochet stitch.

3. Half-Double, Treble and Other Tall Crochet Stitches

Single crochet isn't the only basic stitch that works well as a flat border for granny squares. All of the other basic stitches create their own unique effects when worked as granny square edgings.

  • Half double crochet is just a wee bit taller than single crochet, and it provides a nice thickness for a single round border.
  • Treble crochet (as shown in the photo above) is taller than the stitches used in the granny square, so it stands out with its attention-getting openwork design. A single round of treble crochet creates a wide, pretty border on your granny square. 
  • If you want to try something really unique, use even taller crochet stitches like the quadruple treble crochet.

The instructions for these basic stitches are essentially the same as for single crochet, with the exception of the height of the starting chain. With a single crochet border, you begin with a Ch 1 in the corner. Increase this chain by the appropriate number for your stitch (2 for Hdc, 4 for treble crochet, and so on).

4. V-Stitch Borders

The V-stitch makes one of the most head-turning borders for a granny square. It uses the same stitch as the classic granny square (double crochet), but creates a beautiful, subtle contrast between the 3-dc groups of the granny square and the 2-dc V shapes of the border.

Creating a V-Stitch Edge

1. Begin by joining your yarn in any corner. Chain 4 (counts as first double crochet and Ch 1). Dc in the same corner.

2. V-stitch (one V-stitch is Dc, Ch 1, Dc) in each space across the row, until you reach the corner. 

3. When you get to the corner, work: V-stitch, Ch 1, V-stitch. In other words, work the following into that corner: Dc, Ch 1, Dc, Ch 1, Dc, Ch 1, Dc.

4. Continue working around the square, crocheting a V-stitch into each space and working the corners as described above. When you reach the starting corner, make one V-stitch, Ch 1, and slip stitch to the third Ch of the starting chain to close the round.

If you're ready to add even more flair to your granny squares, try one of the decorative borders below.

Heads-up: With these borders, you won't wind up with a flat edge, so it will be more challenging to join your granny squares together. It's best to save these ideas for when you want a crochet square to stand on its own, whether it's a small project like a coaster or a large one like a single granny square blanket.

1. Crab Stitch Borders

The twisty design of the crab stitch, also known as reverse single crochet, is a fun way to edge a crochet granny square.

Making a Crab Stitch Border

1. Join the yarn in any corner.

2. Insert your crochet hook into the stitch to the right of that corner. Yarn over and pull through.

3. Repeat that crab stitch across the row.

4. When you reach the corner, work two crab stitches into the corner. Continue around the square in the same way, working one crab stitch in each stitch, with two in the corners. When you get back to the starting corner, work one crab stitch then Sl st to the first stitch to close.

2. Shell Stitch Edging

The crochet shell stitch has lots of variations, and any of them can make a striking border for a granny square. The wavy, organic-looking style of the shell stitch creates an appealing contrast with the geometric shape of the square.

Let's look at two options for a shell stitch edging (but keep in mind that you can play around with many more).

Making a Shell Stitch Edge: Option 1

1. Join the yarn in any corner. Ch 3 (counts as first Dc).

2. Work 2 Dc into the same corner.

3. Sl st into the second stitch of the next 3-Dc group of the previous round.

4. 5 Dc in the next space, and Sl st into the second stitch of the next 3-Dc group of the previous round.

5. Repeat across the row until you get to the corner. In the corner, work: 3 Dc, Ch 2, 3 Dc. Continue around the square in the same pattern. When you get back to the starting corner, work 3 Dc, Ch 2, and then Sl st into the top of Ch-3 to close the round.

Making a Shell Stitch Edge: Option 2

Here's another way to make a shell stitch crochet edging. This one creates a subtler effect than Option 1 above.

1. Join the yarn in any corner. Ch 3 (counts as first Dc).

2. Work into the same corner space: Hdc, Sc.

3. Sl st in next St.

4. Sc, Hdc, Dc, Hdc, Sc, Sl st (one St in each St of the previous row).

5. Repeat the previous step across the row, until you get to the corner. In the corner, work: Dc, Hdc, Sc.

6. Repeat this pattern around the entire square. Sl to the top of the first Dc to close the square.

3. Double V-Stitch Edging

The traditional V-stitch creates a pretty and flat border, as we saw above. This double V-stitch is a more angular-looking variation on the shell stitch.

Making a Double V-Stitch Border

Joining the yarn in any corner, Ch 4, Dc in the same space. In each space around, work: V-stitch, Ch 1, V-stitch.

Note: In this square, you work the same stitch in corners as you do in each space, so even the corners will be V-stitch, Ch 1, V-stitch. When you get back to the starting corner, make a V-stitch, Ch 1 and Sl st to the third chain of the starting chain to close the round.

4. Ruffle Edging

The basic technique of hyperbolic crochet (adding lots of stitches into each stitch from the round below) creates a beautiful ruffled edge that definitely stands out around a granny square.

When you add a ruffled edge, your crochet item won't sit flat on a surface, so this isn't necessarily an ideal choice for a placemat or anything that rests on a table. But a ruffled edge can be perfect for a project like a washcloth.

Creating a Ruffled Edge

1. Begin in any corner and chain 3. Make 5 more Dc in the same corner.

2. Work 3 Dc into each stitch across. Note that you're working into each stitch, not just into the spaces.

3. When you get to the corner, work 6 Dc in the corner space. Proceed around the square in the same pattern, with 3 Dc stitches in each St and 6 Dc stitches in each corner.

At the end, Sl st to the top of the first Ch 3 to close the round.

Feeling excited to try out all the border techniques in these tutorials? Go for it: Now it's your turn to transform all of your granny squares from drab to fab!

Photos by Kathryn Vercillo of Crochet Concupiscence

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Take Your Granny Squares from Drab to Fab: 8 Fun Ways to Make Borders with Style