After months of crocheting, I have finally finished the 336 granny squares blanket. First of all, before I am able to share the blanket’s pattern, I would like to share with you how many non-repetitive granny square color combinations you can obtain out of a number of yarn colors. I used this blanket’s granny square as an example to explain, but you can easily adapt the method for your design. The crochet blanket uses 8 colors and 1 white to crochet.
If you have studied statistics and algebra in mathematics, you probably came across some formulas of the probability in Permutations (nPr) and Combinations (nCr) of a set of numbers. Don’t worry about the formulas, I am not going to be the mathematics teacher today, and I am not going to teach you how to apply the formulas to get the number of colors combination and sequence for your granny squares. Instead, I will show you a few charts and how to adapt your number of yarn colors to make your own granny square color combination. You can see the answer immediately of how many unique squares you will get based on the numbers of the color of your choice. After that, you will see how to combine your colors to make up the numbers as shown in the chart.
I have spent many hours figuring out how to make this technique straightforward to tailor to your project. I hope this could save up your time so that you can do more crochet instead of cracking the numbers.
Granny Square Color Combination
[Update: the pattern of the completed blanket is here]
As introduced on the first page, I am going to use this tricolor granny square to explain how many unique squares you will get out of 8 different yarn colors. These squares are crocheted in a white border with a tricolor circle in it. Since white appears in all squares, it is not counted as one of the colors. In order to make it easy to understand, I have prepared some charts for you to refer to while I explain how to use them. Please read through the instruction, understand it, and you will be able to apply your number to the technique.
Click here if you wish to download all the charts listed here in pdf format.
Total Granny Squares – Quick Reference Chart
This chart shows you the total number of unique color granny squares you can crochet based on the number of yarn colors used (peach color bar) versus the amount of color that appears in 1 granny square (blue color bar).
An example: If you have 8 yarn colors and you want to use 3 colors for 1 square, the chart says you will get 336 unique squares. You have 56 different color combinations, and each color combination will give 6 different sets of sequence in the color order, 56 x 6 = 336, this is how it makes up to 336 unique squares, none of which are identical.
This is a quick reference chart so that you can quickly know how many colors you will need to use to make the number of unique squares for your project. After knowing the number, next, you will need to know how to get the sets of colors.
How To Build Your Granny Square Color Combination
Before you start to combine the color, mark the numbers on your yarn label with 1,2,3,4,…. this will make it easy for reference when you read the charts below.
Based on the example above where you have 8 color yarns and use only 3 colors in 1 square, follow the chart’s color number to systematically pick up all the 56 color combinations.
Start from the top right and going down, the first one is color 123. Change 1 color at a time to obtain the new color combination, i.e. change the last color to 4, this will give you 124 as the second color combination. Change again to 5 to get 125 for your 3rd color combination. Repeat until you have exhausted all the color for the last color.
Change the middle color to the next color, e.g from 2 to 3, and begin the last color from 4 to get 134, repeat to change the last color until 8, and so on…
If you only have 7 yarn colors, just delete the combination number that contains an “8”. Follow the chart to crochet your tricolor granny with only 7 yarn colors.
This chart is for 8 yarn colors and 2-color in each square.
This chart is for 8 yarn colors and 4-color in each square.
For each color combination, you can alter the sequence of colors to make them different.
A 2-color square will have 2 color sequence. A 3-color square will have 6 different color sequences. A 4-color square will have 24 different color sequences.
An example of a 3-color square with a different color sequence.
Crochet Granny Square
After you have marked your yarn color with the number and understand how the chart works, you may begin to crochet the granny square.
Prepare some boxes or containers to keep the work-in-progress squares as you will need some time to finish the whole project.
This is how I did my granny square but you may follow your own preference in the crochet order. From the chart of 8 color tri-color squares, we have 21 squares in the color 1 (rightmost column), so crochet 21 pieces of round 1 with color 1.
Crochet 6 pieces of round 2 with color 2 (set A), 5 pieces of round 2 with color 3 (set B), 4 pieces of round 2 with color 4 (set C), 3 pieces of round 2 with color 5 (set D), 2 pieces of round 2 with color 6 (set E), 1 piece of round 2 with color 7 (set F). Align them into a triangle as shown in the picture where set A is on the vertical right and set F is on the left.
Crochet round 3 in the following manner: color 3 in set A; color 4 in set A,B; color 5 in set A,B,C; color 6 in set A,B,C,D; color 7 in A,B,C,D,E; color 8 in A,B,C,D,E,F.
Stack up and keep them in a box and label color 1.
Repeat the method to crochet with color 2 as round 1, 15 pieces of them.
Crochet 5 pieces of round 2 with color 3 (set G), 4 pieces of round 2 with color 4 (set H), 3 pieces of round 2 with color 5 (set I), 2 pieces of round 2 with color 6 (set J), 1 piece of round 2 with color 7 (set K). Align them into a triangle as shown in the picture where set G is on the vertical right and set K is on the left.
Crochet round 3 in the following manner: color 4 in set G; color 5 in set G,H; color 6 in set G,H,I; color 7 in G,H,I,J; color 8 in G,H,I,J,K.
Stack up and keep them in a box and label color 2.
Repeat the method to crochet with color 3 as round 1, 10 pieces of them.
Crochet 4 pieces of round 2 with color 4 (set L), 3 pieces of round 2 with color 5 (set M), 2 pieces of round 2 with color 6 (set N), 1 piece of round 2 with color 7 (set O). Align them into a triangle as shown in the picture where set L is on the vertical right and set O is on the left.
Crochet round 3 in the following manner: color 5 in set L; color 6 in set L,M; color 7 in set L,M,N; color 8 in L,M,N,O.
Stack up and keep them in a box and label color 3.
Repeat the method to crochet with color 4 as round 1, 6 pieces of them.
Crochet 3 pieces of round 2 with color 5 (set P), 2 pieces of round 2 with color 6 (set Q), 1 piece of round 2 with color 7 (set R). Align them into a triangle as shown in the picture where set P is on the vertical right and set R is on the left.
Crochet round 3 in the following manner: color 6 in set P; color 7 in set P,Q; color 8 in set P,Q,R.
Stack up and keep them in a box and label color 4.
Repeat the method to crochet with color 5 as round 1, 3 pieces of them.
Crochet 2 pieces of round 2 with color 6 (set S), 1 piece of round 2 with color 7 (set T). Align them into a triangle as shown in the picture where set S is on the vertical right and set T is on the left.
Crochet round 3 in the following manner: color 7 in set S; color 8 in set S,T.
Stack up and keep them into a box and label color 5.
Crochet the last piece with color 6 as round 1.
Crochet round 2 with color 7.
Crochet round 3 with color 8.
You have complete all 56 tri-color combination.
Take out 1 granny and it’s 3 yarn colors to crochet another 5 pieces in different color sequence.
Stack them back to the container and bring out another piece of granny to repeat the color sequence until you have finished all of them.
Crochet the white border to complete the squares. The squares are now ready to join up to make a blanket.
Monday 2nd of November 2020
Hi! Love your blankets and patterns! This is so helpful but I’m still a little confused as trying to work out 16 different colours of yarn into four row (non-repeat colours) in each square - is there a way to calculate this at all? Thanks!
Friday 2nd of October 2020
This is brilliant. I am doing a pillow with just 16 squares and sat up half the night trying to get the combinations. Ack! I think I got close--just luck I think--by replacing the numbers as you describe. I will tweak it now to see how I did.
Although a very good student overall, I was maths-challenged--to put it charitably.
Friday 14th of February 2020
Hello, I love this blanket so much !! I am having trouble with the 336 no repeat colors. Any chance you have a chart listing the 336 ? I'm not very good at math. Thank you for all the work you put into this and all the information. Thanks in Advance
Thursday 13th of February 2020
Thank you so much for the time you put into this beautiful blanket. You have so much information that I feel it is doable for me !! I love your blanket :-) Many, many thanks for all your hard work.
Monday 21st of January 2019
How come you don't use color 1 or 2 in a 3 color sequence as the final round? Or colors 1,2,3 in a 4 color combo? You can get quite a few more unique combinations if you backtrack the numbers in excel!!
Wednesday 6th of March 2019
Good morning, I write from Italy congratulations for the beautiful blanket, and very pretty in the explanations, unfortunately not well understood the scheme for the combination of colors thank you
Monday 21st of January 2019
Maria, can you further elaborate on which one are you referring to? I would think that your idea could be a repetitive combination since I have done it with a formula to find out the exact numbers of combination before putting them into pictures for easy understanding. I would be happy to know if there are any possible extra blocks of color to make. Thanks.