How to Upcycle a Granny Square Blanket into a Cardigan Sweater

Two of my favorite things are thrifting and items that look like they belong in your grandma’s attic. So, when I stumbled upon a crochet granny square blanket for only $5 at my local thrift store, I knew I had to have it! It was a beautiful handmade blanket with dozens of different colors and large – nearly 14” x 14” granny squares. Once I got home, I realized I didn’t really have a good use for yet another blanket… However, since working from home I am a big fan of clothing items that can work as a blanket. Thus, my DIY thrifted granny square cardigan came to be.  

This DIY is SUPER simple but looks impressive!  

Step 1: Measure or drape the blanket over you to figure out the size of your cardigan. Since we want to keep as much of the original blanket intact as possible round up to the nearest square. Because I had large granny squares, I measured that I would need 2 squares wide (from side to side) and 2 squares long (from neck to hips). In total that was a section of the blanket of 2 by 4 granny squares for the front and back. Also, measure the sleeve length. I was able to get away with just using 1 granny square for each sleeve.  

Step 2: Frog the main rectangle that will be used for the torso of your sweater away from the rest of the blanket. Find the piece of yarn that is connecting the neighboring squares and carefully cut the yarn. You should be able to just pull the yarn and have the joining squares come apart. Then frog the sleeves into individual sections as well. If you have trim around the blanket, you may want to frog that away as well depending on the style you are looking for and the symmetry of the cardigan. In my case I was now left with a 2 by 4 rectangle and 2 individual squares.  

Frog along the dotted lines.
These are now your working blocks.

Step 3: To make the front of your cardigan open you will need to frog the middle of the bottom half of your rectangle. This will create an open flap.  

Frog along the dotted line.

Step 4: Next, you will fold your sweater, so the front and back are even. Also, fold your sleeves in half. Now you can try on the torso of your sweater to ensure that it fits properly, and you can start to see the shape of it come together. 

Fold along the solid lines.

Step 5: Now comes the fun crochet part! For each sleeve using a single crochet you will crochet along the bottom of your sleeve, so you end up with a tube shape that is open on both ends. One end will connect to your torso and the other will be towards your wrist. Do this for both sleeves.

Crochet along the dotted line to make a tube.

Step 6: Next, align and pin the top fold of your sleeve to the fold of your torso (where the sweater will lay on your shoulder). Pin the sides of your torso closed until it meets the bottom (armpit) of the sleeve. You want to make sure you don’t pin your sleeve closed. Then starting at the armpit of your sleeve, you will use the same single crochet to connect the sleeve to the torso. If you want to do the whole side of your sweater with one go, I recommend starting at the armpit and crochet toward the shoulder on one side, then continue down the past the shoulder on the other side of the sleeve until you meet the arm pit where you started. Then continue down the side seam of the cardigan toward the hip of the sweater now crocheting the sides of the torso piece together. Repeat on the other side.  

Crochet along the dotted line to attach the sleves to the torso and close up the side seam.

Step 7: Now you should have a cardigan! Try it on and make sure it fits. You can stop here if you would like, or if you want to add a more finished look you can add edging to the front flap and hems of your sleeve. You can choose which side you want to wear your cardigan. One side will have the single crochet visible, and the other side will look similar to a sewn garment. I prefer to have the single crochet visible, but it is entirely up to you!

If you want to make your own granny squares check out this tutorial: 

Celebratory bathroom selfie!