Friday, April 11, 2014

Join As You Go (JAYG) - A Miracle Technique for Crocheting Granny Squares

I can't express strongly enough how enamored I am with the JAYG (join as you go) technique that I recently learned to use while working granny squares. As I mentioned on this blog in another post, I have known about this technique's existence for a little while, but I had never tried it out before. I hadn't seen any directions for it and hadn't taken the time to search for them, but then I came across Attic24 (my go-to blog for anything crochet-related) and saw Lucy's wonderful tutorial for the technique. Since that time, I have also watched a you-tube video about it and have read Edie Echman's book, Connecting the Shapes Crochet Motifs. This technique has really changed everything for me when it comes to crochet because I am now really enjoying making granny squares, knowing that I will not face an endless amount of joining when I finish piles of squares.

Here is a brief explanation of how I am joining my squares as I go (note that my method is slightly different from the explanation in the link to the first tutorial above but is the same as the method used by Lucy in the second tutorial; both get very similar results):

  • For the first row, I completed a five-round granny square and then chose a coordinating color for my second square.
  • I completed four rounds of the second square, and then I completed the first edge of the the fifth round, while only completing the first three-dc cluster of the corner. (I begin the rounds by chaining 3 after I slip stitch into the top of the chain 3 from the round below. This makes my first dc. I then dc directly in to the space at the right edge of the corner, which does slightly twist the stitch. Finally, I complete the 3 dc cluster, which is only half of the corner. Then when I come around the to that corner again, I complete it with 3 dc, chain 2, and a slip-stitch join to the original chain 3 I made to begin the round. The slight twist of the first chain 3 stitch does not show at all once the round is completed.)
  • I, then, slip stitched into the corner of the first square I had completed, connecting the top left corner of the second square to the top right corner of the first square.
  • After I slip stitched the two corners together, I then completed my second 3 dc cluster to complete the corner. 
  • From this point on, the JAYG technique continues with slip stitches into spaces on the completed square to connect the sides of the two squares and 3 dc clusters into spaces on the square being worked to create the last round of that square.
  • When I got to the second row, I began the task of not only joining the adjacent sides of squares, but also of joining the bottoms of the squares in the row being worked to the tops of the squares in the row below. This means that you must slip stitch in two places at the corners, once into the corner of the square that is adjacent to the square upon which you are working and once into the corner of the square below the one upon which you are working. After these two slip stitches are completed, you begin to make the 3 dc clusters into the bottom edge of the square upon which you are working, slip stitching into the spaces of the square below the one upon which you are working as you go along.
Here is what it all looks like put together.

This next photo illustrates a square in progress that will be attached soon.

This photo illustrates the slip-stitch joins, circled in red, and gives an idea of placement. 

The most helpful tip I learned when studying this technique was to think of the slip stitches as the equivalent of the chain 2 that is done between the 3 dc clusters at the corners and the equivalent of the chain 1 (that is sometimes done) between 3 dc clusters along the sides. (I want to note here that I am not chaining between my 3 dc clusters along the sides in order to make my granny square more compact - a tip I learned from Lucy on Attic24).

As for choosing my colors as I join squares, I am currently flying by the seat of my pants and just choosing them as I go. I like this method since so much of my life is planned; I find it to be fun to have freedom in my crafting at times and to just try to go with the flow of my inspiration at the moment in choosing the colors. Since this is supposed to be a "patchwork" blanket, I have faith that this spontaneous method will work out in the long-run just as it did when I made the Granny Stripe Blanket. However, I reserve the right to change my mind after this second row if I find that I am not pleased with the effect. If that happens, I will follow Lucy's method of choosing colors a row at at time.

Please share your experiences with JAYG in the comments, or if you have another method of joining that really works for you, we would love to hear about it.

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