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365 Days of Granny Squares with Nadia Fuad

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Nadia Fuad of YARNutopia is one of our newer Joy Creators. When we found out she was making a granny square for each day in 2016 -- 365 Days of Granny Squares -- we had to find out more! Below is a Q&A we did with Nadia.

Nadia posts a new granny square pattern each day. The square has written instructions and a video showing how it is made. Some of the squares she designed herself, while others came from contributing bloggers. Answers have been lightly edited for length.

1. What inspired you to share a granny square for each day of the year?
For the past 8 years, I have been battling severe illness. By the end of 2015, I had spent a good portion of another year hospitalized and having surgeries. I was determined to go into a new year with hopes for better health. I wanted to start 2016 with a project that could chronicle the days I could stay healthy and out of the hospital. I decided to take on a daily small project of a single granny square with the help of my dad who filmed each square tutorial, and every day that I was able to stay out of the hospital was another day that I felt healthier. I was able to make it nearly 8 months before I ended up in the hospital again, but even then, I was able to continue filming my tutorials from my hospital room. It's been good medicine and a journey that has helped me move forward toward wellness.

heartwillleadyouhome2. For the squares you design, what is your design process?
My own designs that I have added to the collection, I use a program to draw the designs, and once the design is drawn out, I try to take it from the graphic into a series of stitches. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. It's a lot of trial and error, a lot of counting, and trying to see what works.

3. For the squares from other designers, what is your selection process?
I search online for free patterns from other designers, and if their written patterns are easy to follow, then I contact them and ask them permission to use their design. There are amazing designers that have lent their patterns to this project. It's an incredible tool for those who are participating in the 365 Days of Granny Squares project to have the written patterns to assist them. It has helped tremendously for those that have wanted to learn how to read a pattern, as well as those who prefer the written instructions over a video tutorial. Without the help of these designers I could not have made it through this project.

4. Why do you use Super Saver for the squares?
This entire project is made using all Red Heart Super Saver scrap yarns that I have collected over time from previous projects that I have made. Due to the size of this project, it's economical, there is no waste when I can use scraps of yarn, and it keeps everything consistent by using the same fiber and brand for each square. It helps when using these squares to make my blanket projects.

5. Do you do the squares in batches, several squares and videos at a time? Or work on one every day? How do you put together the series?
It all depends on what is happening in my life. Sometimes I film every single day, and sometimes I film a few a day to bank up some videos in case I am travelling or am unable to be in the studio. Whether I film one a day, or film a few in a day to take some time off, I do add the daily square to the blog, and I post the new square to my social media sites every single morning. There have been no late squares, but I have had to change a few squares in the year, and there have been some technical difficulties here and there with sound and editing issues, but it's all a learning experience for me.

6. What is your favorite square so far?
This is a difficult question because there isn't just ONE square! Like I said earlier, every single square has represented a day on this journey, and that has made each one very special and personal. One thing I have marveled over, is that I have looked at a square and expected it to be very complicated, and upon completion, I found it to be easier than I thought, and some seem very easy by the look of it, and end up being very complex. I love ones that teach new stitches, because I, too, am learning through this process. I am very humbled by the designers' willingness to allow me to use their patterns, and every single one is fun to share with those who follow this project so they can share their enthusiasm along with me!

7. Which other designers have contributed?

There have been numerous designers that have contributed their patterns to this project. In my video tutorials, I mention the designer and their pattern name, I link the written instructions in the description of each video tutorial on YouTube, and I share a link to the written pattern and the designers' websites in my blog post for the 365 Days of Granny Squares. I also share a link to their written pattern on social media when I share the square of the day every morning. There are too many contributors to name individually, but I encourage everybody to recognize their contribution and visit their websites. There is amazing talent in each of these squares. I'm so grateful to each and every one of them for their assistance in this project. It is hard to put into words what this has meant to me.

8. What has feedback from fans been like? What is the most popular square so far?
The feedback is indescribable. It's been nothing short of extraordinary. When I started this, I wasn't sure if anybody would participate in a year long project along side of me, and although it started out as a personal journey, it took on a life of its own and took a different turn as the momentum for this project grew. It has appealed to so many! I look forward to everyone's post every single day. I love to see their photos of the same square using different colors and their thoughts about the daily square. It has really built an online camaraderie with all that participate. It has been such a source of positivity and encouragement! There are quite a few popular squares this year. The 3D designs and the more intricate stitches have really gotten people excited to try something new. Overall, this entire project has been very well received and each square has been a favorite for someone!

9. Anything else to share?
In this project I demonstrate how to make each granny square in a video tutorial. Participants then make whatever they want using their squares. Some, have participated from the beginning of the year making each square, and some jump in on occasion to make a square that stands out to them.The creativity that we're sharing has been fabulous! Throughout the year, as I have collected the squares, I have been using them in blanket projects. From the start, I planned to pay it forward and make these blankets for people in need. So far, I have managed to make 3 blankets using a variety of the squares, and I am working on attaching squares for my 4th blanket. Each blanket finds its way to a very special home. This entire journey has been very rewarding in ways that I never anticipated. It will be hard to imagine waking up on January 1st, 2017 and not having a granny square to post!

10. Where can fans find you online?
365 Days of Granny Squares page:
Snapchat Handle: YARNutopia