I began to crochet just a few years ago. Having come from a background of knitting, I did not find it too difficult to master the basics of this yarn craft rather quickly. I wanted to learn crochet after seeing some amazing cushion designs and being inspired. I realized that I could make my own instead of spending a lot to buy them.
Using a traditional technique of crocheting two matching Granny Squares gives you a really easy way of creating a cushion cover. Once you've made your squares, you are then left with a front and a back to stitch together. It's one of the easier projects that you can do. It is also very enjoyable because you get to create something special for your home at the same time.
I still think of myself as a beginner when it comes to crochet. I have long since mastered all the basic stitches but I am still new at this wonderful and exciting yarn craft. A simple square pillow or cushion cover is an ideal starter project. You do not need to learn too many stitches or techniques to make this. You also do not need to worry about complicated shaping and stitching together as you might do when making clothes. Once made, you can really enjoy your finished design in the home. As soon as I made my first cushion cover and realized just how simple it was, I got straight to work on a second matching design.
This traditional Granny Square pattern and project are achievable for a beginner to crochet. I know this is possible because this was exactly how I started out myself. I knew how to make squares long before I could crochet in rows.
Pattern, Materials and Equipment
The square cover I made used a simple and traditional Granny Square pattern. The reason why I choose this pattern was because you only need to know how to cast on with a slip knot and then a few stitches. Use chain stitch (ch) slip stitch (ss) and double (dc) in US terms or chain (ch) slip stitch (ss) and treble (tr) in UK terminology. It is easy for a beginner because of the simple stitches. Since the pattern is naturally square as you work it, you can just keep going until it makes a large enough size to cover the front of your pillow insert. Then you need to make a matching second piece for the back and stitch them together.
I have provided the same video that I watched and used to create this pattern. You can also find written patterns and instructions on crochet Granny Squares. I watched the videos over and over until I really understood exactly how the pattern formed. 
I chose to use different colors of yarn in my project but that was only after getting comfortable with practicing how to add in new colors. You can also make the same project with a single color of yarn if you wish. Buy at least a couple of balls or skeins to practice with. You'll need 2-3 in the same color if you're using a solid color throughout your cushion cover. Or choose 5-6 balls in different shades if you want to make a more colorful design. You need darning needles to sew up the project and a set of good crochet needles is really worth investing in. 
Materials and Tools Needed:
- Worsted weight yarn
- Square cushion or pillow insert
- Darning needles
- Crochet hook in a size ranging from 4 - 5.5 mm
1: Practice Making Granny Squares
Before I even thought about starting a cushion cover, I practiced the traditional Granny Square pattern until I knew it off by heart. I made many small squares to start with so I could gain confidence with the stitches, the pattern and the tension. It was also about finding the correct combination of yarn and hook that worked best for me.
I made lots of mistakes to start with and this was fine because they were all practice pieces. From all my practice, I found that I preferred a size 4mm G/6 hook. You may prefer to use a slightly bigger or smaller hook depending on your yarn and tension. I also discovered that using a standing double crochet stitch was a neater way to start a new row.
How to Crochet a Traditional Granny Square
2: Making the Cushion Cover Pieces
Once you know the pattern well, you need to make two Granny Squares in the same size. Make each piece large enough to work with your pillow insert. I chose to use different colored yarns because I like colorful patterns. Make sure that you are comfortable with changing colors in crochet. Note that it can also take a lot of time to sew in loose threads at the back from using different colors with your design.
Keep working at your first piece until it is almost big enough to cover the front of your pillow insert. The crochet square should stretch a little. If you make it the same size as the front, the finished cover will be too loose. I found it best to make each piece slightly smaller.
3: Sew the Cover Pieces Together
When you have finished the front and back pieces for the cover, you need to sew them together. You stitch these pieces around three sides, leaving the last side open to slip the cushion or pillow insert inside. You can secure the opening with ribbon ties or button fastenings. I chose to sew just around the corners of the last opening on either side. This meant that I could still slip the pad or insert in and out as needed but it helped to keep the opening looking neat.
You will need some darning needles or knitter's needles to sew the cover up with. These have eyes that the thicker yarn will pass through. Choose the same color yarn that you used around the edges so that your stitches are not too obvious. Place each piece so that the backs match up on the inside. Have the fronts facing out, then carefully do a simple running or straight sewing stitch just underneath the very top crochet stitches that are around the edging. You can make a really neat job of this if you keep any knots on the inside of the design and use small stitches.
Although I used the traditional Granny Square pattern, there are many different ones that you could pick from to make cushion covers. This book has 75 different square motif patterns to enjoy.
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A Good Beginner Project
This was my very first finished crochet project. I was really pleased with the cushion covers that I made with this technique. It was such an easy pattern to use that once I finished the first cushion, I made another using the same technique. You can make your design look quite fancy if you add a ruffled border or perhaps some yarn tassels instead.
You can use these traditional squares in lots of projects. You can use the same technique to make many other items such as blankets, throws, bags and even simple pieces of clothing. Even as a beginner, you can make something good with crochet.
Image Credits: The introductory image belongs to the author, Marie Williams Johnstone. All other images (unless watermarked with the author’s name) are product photos from Amazon.