I've been making granny squares for eighteen months now and in that time I've made a great many for blankets and cushions, all of which have been joined together after the squares themselves have been made.
Then a few weeks ago when I had an idea to make a throw out of small three-round granny squares, I decided to test out a join-as-you go method. Quite honestly, the thought of sitting down with a huuuuuuuuge stack of small squares and attempting to crochet them all together actually filled me with alarm. So I was really THRILLED when this joining-on-the-go method did indeed work out. It has really made a big difference to the way I feel about tackling a project composed of many small parts, because lets face it, the joining procedure is the least favourite part of blanket-making, and if that can be eliminated, well then, thats what I would call a REsUlt. Big time.
This method is not difficult my friends, but it helps if at first you can sit quietly with no distractions and concentrate hard on how you are forming the round. It would help if you are already familiar with making granny squares, familiar with the pattern of side clusters and corner clusters. Because all you are doing is replacing chain-spaces with what I call Joining Slipstitches, the rest is exactly the same.
So if you'd like to learn how to do it (and it's eeeaaaasy!) then read on.....
I'm showing you my current project, which as I say is made up of small three-round squares. But this method can equally be applied to large squares.
The first stage is to complete one side of the round first. So in this case, as you can see above, I have chained 4, then made 3 tr's into the first corner space of the green circle followed by a chain-1 space. Then 3 more tr's into the next space on the green circle (a side cluster), chain 1 to space. Then 3 tr's into the next space of the green circle (the first part of the second corner cluster) and chain 1...you are now at the point where you will make your first join.
If your squares are bigger than mine, simply work as many side clusters as necessary, stopping at the point where you are mid-way through your second corner cluster, as above.
Now when you are making a corner, you would normally separate the two lots of treble clusters with a chain-2 space right? Well all you do when joining-on-the-go is replace those chain spaces with one or two slip stitches. I'm calling these Joining Slipstitches.
So to make your first Joining Slipstitch, insert your hook through the corner space of the ajoining square (in the above photo look, it's the pink coloured square)....
....yarn over, then bring the yarn/hook back through the corner space.....
....and through the loop on your hook. That's your Joining Slipstitch (see above pic)
Now complete the next bit of your corner cluster by working 3 trebles into the same space as the previous cluster. Remember you are basically working exactly the same granny square pattern as usual, so the formation of the treble clusters (sides and corners) will be the same, as described here.
When that corner is complete, in a normal square you would now be making a chain-1 space, right? So instead of chaining a space, simply replace this with a Joining Slipstitch into the next space of the pink square....see in the above pic, I've inserted the hook into the space? So yarn over, then pull the yarn back through the space and through the loop on the hook. That's your second Joining Slipstitch made.
Now you'll need to make a side cluster, so work 3 trebles into the next space along on the green circle. Then make another Joining Slipstitch into the next space along on the pink square.
And now you will be working the next corner cluster, so first make 3 trebles into the next space along on the green circle, then in place of your chain-2 corner space, you'll be making another Joining Slipstitch into the corner space of the pink square (as in pic above), followed by a chain-1.
And that my lovelies is your first side joined, huzzaaahhhh!!! See, told you it was easy!
So continue onwards, remembering to finish off your corner cluster there by making three tr's into that same space, then chain 1.
Now move around to make the third side cluster (see above pic) and so on....you just now need to continue finishing the round as you normally would do (fourth corner, fourth side, then finally a group of 2tr's back in the first space you started out from, to join with your initial chain-3 and completing the first corner cluster).
See.......not so hard :o)
Now if you've got all that, I'm just going to quickly show you how to join a square in when there is a corner involved, when you will need to join two sides instead of just one.
Start out in exactly the same way as described above....work your first side up to the point where you are half way through the corner cluster, then make your first joining slip stitch as pictured above.
Work the second half of the corner cluster into the same space....
....then continue along that side making 2 more joining slipstitches on either side of the side cluster.
And now you will be working the next corner cluster, so first make 3 trebles into the next space along on the red circle first, then in place of your chain-2 corner space, you'll be making 2 Joining Slipstitches look....
....in above picture you can see I made the first Joining Slipstitch into the corner of the teal blue square, then the second Joining Slipstitch is being made into the corner of the red square.....are you still with me? Can you see how it's working?
Continue making the third side of your granny square, remembering to make a Joining Slipstitch between each treble cluster where you would normally be making a chain-space. Your last Joining Slipstitch will be in the middle of your last corner cluster (above pic). You then need to chain 1 before continuing to finish the corner with another treble cluster in the same space, and working your way down around the last side.
As with a normal granny square, you should end the round by making 2 trebles into the very first space you worked out of, joining with the initial chain-3 to complete that corner cluster.
And that's IT. Pretty cool huh??
As ever, if you need any further help, please leave me a comment and I'll do my best to help out.
Oh, and happy hooking too!!!!!!
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xx Thank you xx