We often turn to crochet when we want to relax and unwind. Stitching can be such a soothing, meditative activity.
There are going to be times when you're not in the mood to calculate stitch repeats, change colors every few stitches, or check your pattern every minute. This is a list of crochet patterns you can turn to when you want to kick back, put your brain on autopilot, and let your fingers just go.
The traditional granny square is the ultimate mindless crochet pattern. Once you've got the basic formula down, you'll never need to look at the pattern again.
You'll memorize this stitch pattern in a heartbeat. It might also take you a few rows to catch on to finding the spaces in the work, which is important because you have to crochet into them. You kind of have to go by feel rather than by sight. Once you get the hang of feeling the work, from there on, the project is a total piece o' cake, and I've found that I don't even have to keep my eyes on the project while I'm working on it. One word of advice: just don't watch the news while you're crocheting this, because that's usually anything but relaxing.
Here's a free pattern for a baby afghan square worked in single crochet stitch. My sample is made using several colors of fingering weight yarn. While there are a few color changes in the edging, most of the block is made up of solid-colored rows of single crochet.
This is a great pattern for beginning crocheters, and also for veteran crocheters who like to have a project handy when watching movies or talking on the phone.
Sometimes there's a fine line between relaxing and downright boring. If you want to keep things interesting, using variegated yarn is one creative approach. It allows you to create a multicolored design without doing lots of color changes. You get the best of both worlds - a relaxing pattern that looks interesting but still doesn't require a whole lot of brainpower.
This dishcloth is a good example of a relaxing pattern that incorporates variegated yarn. The dishcloth is square, and doesn't require any complicated shaping.
Here's another example incorporating variegated yarn. These potholders are based on the easy pattern linked above. They are just as easy as the others, although perhaps a bit more interesting to crochet.
This scarf pattern requires slightly more brainpower than some of the other projects listed above, but it's still pretty easy; there's a lot of repetition, allowing you to easily learn the pattern from memory. You don't ever need to change yarns.
Since the yarn is so bulky, the scarf works up pretty quickly.