Retro granny stash box tutorial
You should be able to see from these two photos (above the bottom of the box and below the inside viewed from the top) that the two bases of the retro granny stash box are formed from a retro granny square.
- Go straight to the free tutorial if you need to make the retro granny square motif
How the box is constructed
The box is basically a crocheted jacket that fits over a pre-existing box. The ideal thing I found to use is an Ikea box sold in a pack of drawer dividers. These are very cheap – I can’t remember the exact price but I think when I went a couple of years ago, there were several different sized boxes in a pack for about £4. So this one was well under £1. It folds flat but when you open it out into a box, there is a zip in the bottom that holds the box shape when its zipped up.
The box is already covered with fabric and is a nice neutral cream colour. Boring though, and not much to look at.. It looks much better lying around the house or on a shelf when its got a crochet coat.
- A square drawer liner box from Ikea (or a suitable alternative with a base that is exactly square (rectangle based boxes won’t fit the granny square).
- Stylecraft chunky yarn in the colours of your choice. I used Meadow, Cream, Teal and Denim but feel free to put your own scheme together. This would be a perfect project for using up yarn from another project.
- A 6mm crochet hook
- Scissors, darning needle and stitch marker if you need one to mark the start of each round
All instructions in the tutorial are given in UK crochet terms. To convert to US terms, a treble as used in the granny square is a double crochet, a double crochet as used in the box sides is a single crochet. A 6mm hook is a J.
Making the inner lining of the box
Start with a retro granny square – the one I made with chunky Stylecraft yarn fitted snugly into the base of the box, which is nice and square.
The inside of the walls of the box are made using rows of double crochet in different colours to form stripes. Use a 6mm hook as before and choose whatever Stylecraft Chunky yarn you like.
Making a nice corner
Make sure you use the inside of the lining, which will show, as the right side. This side should always face you as you work.
The first row of dc stitches is made into the back loops of the outer round of the retro granny square. This allows the crochet to go forward at 90 degrees to the granny square motif. The photos below are labelled to show which is the back loop of the stitch and which is the front loop and the needle shows where your hook should go.
Round 1 of your dc lining: Make a single dc stitch into the front loop only of every stitch around your granny square motif. Always work from the right side and work in rounds from right to left.
You can immediately see the raised effect:
Round 2: In round 2 you carry on with the dc stitches but put your hook through both loops of the stitches in the previous round. You can choose to change colour and make stripes, wide or narrow or just make a block of colour with two smaller stripes at the top and bottom.
Round 2 is the only round in which you need to make a single decrease at each corner, just to tighten up the box structure. To decrease put the hook through the first dc stitch in the round below, just before the corner. Pull your yarn through but do not pull it through to make a dc stitch. Instead keep two loops on your hook and put your hook into the next stitch. Pull the yarn through and then through all three loops on your hook. This will reduce two dc stitches into just one.
Repeat the decrease at each corner. All other stitches are one dc into each dc in the previous round.
Getting a neat finish
If you are doing stripes you need to make sure they are even all the way round, including at the beginning and end of each round.
The tail ends need to be sewn in carefully, crocheting over them as well if you like, or using discrete knots as I did in the retro granny square motif tutorial.
Rounds 3 to 17: carry on working around doing dc stitches into each round below. Join each round with a slip stitch if you are carrying on with the same colour, or weave in using the finishing technique to make a neat stripe.
Note – the number of rows is just a guide. This make my lining fit my box. If you are using a different box, just keep trying the lining in the box and see how many rows you need. The final row should just come over the rim of the box when it is fitted snugly inside.
Your lining will become more box-shaped but it will still be floppy at this stage. The right side is on the inside – the outer side at the front of the photo, is the wrong side.
Making the outside coat of the box
Your outer coat needs to be slightly larger than the inner lining. To achieve this, make a single round of dc stitches around your retro granny square motif, taking your hook through both loops.
Round 1: Working into each stitch of the outside of the retro granny square motif, make a single dc stitch through both loops.
Round 2: The outside of the box is always the right side as you work this outer coat and should always be facing you. Work in the back loops only of the previous round and make one dc stitch into each of the stitches in the previous round.
Round 3: Make one dc stitch into each stitch of the previous round going through both loops except for at each corner. Make one decrease at each of the corners as you did in Round 2 of the inner lining.
Rounds 4 to Round 17: repeat exactly the same steps as for the inner lining but vary the colour pattern exactly as you want. You don’t have to match the inner lining in terms of colour or width of stripes – just do your own thing! Keep trying the coat on the box to make sure its looking right.
When you fit the inner lining and the outer coat onto your box together at the end of rows 17, your box should look like this:
Joining up the top seam
To join the inner lining to the outer coat, work with the outside of the box as the right side and join the top of both with a row of dc stitching. Go through both loops of both stitches with your hook and work around slowly, matching up stitch for stitch. I used teal, the same colour as the top stripe of the outside of my box coat.
This gives a neat and simple edge to the retro granny stash box
This is a fantastically quick project to make as the Stylecraft Chunky yarn works up very quickly and the colour combinations are almost endless. You can use any box – as long as it has a perfectly square base to fit a granny square – just make the squares to fit and change the number of rows of dc stitches as needed.
You can also embellish with flowers, put a fancy border around the top and make the box your own 🙂
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