I love this time of year. That magical time that I break out Christmas Chewbacca, pop my yule log DVD* in the the Playstation, and kick back with a nice cup of nog. Wait, no, that doesn’t sound right. Replace that last bit with “join together geek-a-long squares until I hate all finishing work with a fiery passion.” Yep. That sounds more like me. ;)
Actually our blankets have already been auctioned off to some lucky new homes to benefit Child’s Play Charity, but now it’s time for you to join me in suffering through finishing work and put yours together too! Of course, you may join your blankets in any way you would like. The join you choose will not affect your eligibility for the prize basket raffle. But if you want to do one just like ours, we’ve got a shiny new tutorial for you!
The video below will take you through the steps, but I HIGHLY recommend you read the written instructions first. I think this is a pretty easy way to join double sided squares and it was also fairly quick. You will need:
- 2 long pairs of circular needles in the same size that you used to knit your squares. I used 60″ circulars for my joins, and since I knit my blanket on size US5 I did the joins on US5 as well.
- 1 crochet hook. The size isn’t particularly important, you aren’t using it to make actual stitches. As long as it’s not huge or tiny you’ll be fine.
- 1 Double pointed needle. Again, size is not especially important, but if you have one that’s within 1 US size of the circulars you’re using, that will be easiest for you.
- Yarn for knitting your joins (duh). We used approximately 1000 yards to join the 24 squares.
The Double Sided Join
Set Up: Choose 2 squares to join. In the video below, I made some mini squares and I recommend you do the same when practicing the join so you can get a feel for it on a small scale before attacking the whole blanket. We will first do a vertical join. You will work from bottom to top up the left edge of the first square. Then you will leave those live stitches on the needles and using your second pair of circular needles work top to bottom down the right edge of the second square. Once you have joined 2 full rows of squares, you will use the same method to join the bottom of the first row to the top of the second. This is not demonstrated in the video, but nothing changes except for how many stitches get picked up. Just treat the 2 strips like very tall squares. When you come to a join between squares, treat these rows as if they are square stitches (even though they face the other way). Pick up one stitch for each row of your join.
1. We will join squares from right to left. Beginning with the square that will be at the far right end of your strip and with the right side facing you, insert your crochet hook at the bottom left hand corner from front to back between the 1st and 2nd stitches. The crochet hook should go all the way through the square coming out the wrong side between the same bottom stitches.
2. Grab your working yarn with the head of the hook, and pull it through the square from back to front. Tie the yarn in a knot to secure it and don’t worry about the end, you can tuck it into your square when you are done. Insert the hook once again between the exact same stitches and grab the working yarn again pulling it through to make a loop. Insert the tip of your circular needle through the loop and pull the working yarn so the loop is now the first stitch on you needle. Don’t make your stitches too tight.
3. Make a 2nd stitch by yarn over: Bring your working yarn from back to front underneath the needle. Bring it up over the needle and return it to the back of work. 1 stitch created.
4. Working up the edge of the square skip the next row and insert your hook between the 1st and second stitches of the following row, just like you did when picking up your first stitch. Catch the working yarn and pull it through to make a loop. Insert the tip of your needle through the loop and pull the working yarn to make a stitch on the needle.
5. Repeat step 3.
6. Continue repeating steps 4 and 5 up the length side of the square. I picked up 1 stitch plus one yarn over for every other row. If you have a tighter gauge you might want to pick up 2 out of every 3 rows. This is where making the mini squares is a great way to play with it and see which gives you the cleanest effect. When you reach the end of the square and there are no more rows to insert your hook into, cast on 1 last stitch (this is instead of the last yarn over, because putting a yarn over at the end of the row is tough to work with).
7. Turn and work a row of double sided knitting. Choose how thick you want your joins to be. I did 2 rows of double sided knitting on each square of vertical joins, and 1 row on my horizontal joins. Work the number of rows that you want to work.
8. Knit 2 together (K2tog) across. This will decrease your total number of stitches by 1/2. Break the yarn, but leave the live stitches on the needle.
9. Repeat steps 1-8 down the right edge of the second square, being careful to pick up the same number of stitches that you picked up on the first square. On step 8 do not break the yarn.
10. Use your DPN to work a 3 needle bind off (demonstrated in the video). Break yarn and pull the tail through the loop of your final stitch and pull it tight. Yay! You’ve joined your squares. Repeat these steps until you have made a complete strip of squares, then make a second. Joining the strips is exactly the same as joining squares, except you will pick up one stitch for every stitch on your square (since now you are working in the same direction as the stitches on your square).
True story. This time of year I play this on a loop. I LOVE my Yule log DVD. It actually does have a never ending loop option, in case you were wondering.