Easiest way to recognize you’re avoiding something?

It doesn’t get done … And doesn’t get done … And doesn’t get done …

How to join squares with non-matching edges

I’m not sure why I’ve been avoiding this topic—no, wait. I do know why. Because it’s bottomless. There are SO MANY options. In order to make headway, I’ll have to set some parameters: we’re going to talk about flat joining here (as opposed to sculptural-type joining, e.g. dimensional pumpkins). And, while I’ve done a fair bit of research (read some blog posts and watched some not-so-thrilling videos [Just so you know, I think my own videos are incredibly boring; I applaud anyone who’s watched them.]), I’m only going to illustrate one method.

My #1 choice for joining squares is mattress stitch. However, I’m pretty sure this only works if all your squares are oriented in the same alignment (see Anatomy of a Square).

Mattress stitch, back view

My #2 choice is double running stitch (which is also my #1 choice for sculptural joining—see pumpkin post linked above). Your squares can be in any alignment, front or back side up. I used this method in my first project—the one wherein I joined all the squares I made in the first three months of owning a pin loom. The drawback of double running stitch is that it leaves a ridge on your project (back or front … or both, your choice). If you’re planning to put a backing fabric of some kind on your project, consider this join. It’s very sturdy. You could even use it as a decorative feature.

Back of afghan—raised seams, the back definitely looks like The Back

Front of afghan—looks crisp and squared on this side

I’ve experimented with crocheting around the edges and then sewing those together … or maybe I never got around to sewing the pieces together. No, I did explore it a little–early on. I wasn’t happy with my results back then. To my way of thinking, crocheting around the edges turns your project into two projects. That’s fine—if it’s your plan.

Ah, another joining technique to explore…

Placing the squares right sides facing and then crocheting them together would produce the same effect as double overcast: a ridge.

I’ve also tried crocheting squares together with a sort of open chain. It’s pretty, but I found it rather confusing—project abandoned.

When it comes to joining squares, I prefer sewing them together. (And I recommend working in ends as you go or, if you’re like me, your project will never be finished.)

Mattress stitch, front—ends awaiting concealment

If you’ve been reading the blog recently, you’ll know that I just posted an article about planning your project before you begin weaving it. But not everyone does that—you might never think of it on your first project.

I’m going to use the Loomette B-25 squares as an example. All the squares in the photo below were woven according to the original pattern directions (AKA orientation A). Now I want to join them so they make a large diamond.

Loomette B-25, original directions

As you can see, I can’t use mattress stitch because the squares don’t line up the right way.

Corners are circled in different colors. To use mattress stitch all the cr2’s need to be in the same location, i.e. bottom right

The person who recently asked me about this didn’t want to use double running stitch, so I first attempted a  whip stitch. (According to the note accompanying a video by American Felt and Craft, the difference between overcast stitch and whip stitch is minimal—whip stitch joins two pieces of fabric while overcast is performed on the edge of one to prevent fraying.) Whip stitch was SOOOOOOOOOOO easy to do! I loved it.

Place right sides together and sew through the loops

Makes a pretty join

But, there’s a problem.

You can see that the light pink square’s vertical edges don’t match up with those of the light green

I’m pretty sure skewed stuff doesn’t even itself out and I’ll be unhappy with the final look if I pursue this course. (Meg Stump’s double overcast [technically double whip] stitch means taking two stitches instead of one in each spot.) (After completing my sample joining below I’m beginning to wonder if whip stitch, single or double, could still be used to join non-matching squares. 2EWS seems to yield the same kind of skew when everything is joined up. Will ponder…)

The best method I can find (thanks to help from a weaver on the Facebook Pin Loom Weaving Support Group) for joining squares whose edges don’t match is in this video by Jo Moore, maker of Blue Butterfly Skipper Looms. (Skipper looms have a three-pin configuration, but a wider sett than Weave-It style looms. Weave-It pins are set 1/8″ apart; Skipper looms are 3/16″. The squares they make are not compatible with Weave-It style squares. You can use thicker yarn on the Skipper looms.) While the edges in her squares do match, and that’s what she demonstrates in her video, the stitching method works when they don’t.

This method … What shall we call it? It’s like whip stitch, but is sewn with the squares lying flat on the table as I sew mine when using mattress stitch. Think I’ll call it edge-to-edge, or Double Edge, Whip Stitch: 2EWS.

I’ve completed one sample of squares joined with 2EWS (which I’m already pronouncing two ewes) and I’ll post photos and diagrams right now. As necessary I’ll come back to this post and polish it up later. (My stamina is waning…)

Seams 1 and 2 sewn—at this point the joins look pretty even to me

Seam 1—the instructions are a little inaccurate sounding. Don’t go down through the bottom loop from above; go through it from below.

Seam 2

Beginning Seam 3

Beginning Seam 3, cont.

Beginning Seam 4

Seam 3-4 notes

Completed Group of Squares—all slight ridges are on top. I’m not crazy about how they’re still skewed—which wasn’t apparent till I joined them all together. I’m not sure if there’s any way to correct skewing when you start with squares that don’t match up.

Finished squares, back. It might look better to turn the squares over when sewing them together so the ridge is on the back, but I guess that hardly matters. The back can just as easily be the top side. The main caution is to be consistent.

I’m not crazy about the strength of the intersection join. I was using short yarn to sew. If the seam 3 yarn tail had been longer I could have doubled up on reinforcing that part of the join.

If you’re not using yarn tails to join your squares, you’ll need to weave the ends into your squares or seams and use separate yarn for sewing the squares together. You can knot the ends, but I don’t recommend it. Secure them by working them back into the squares or seams.

When all’s said and done, this is a handmade artifact, so a little skewing may just give it character.

That’s all for now. I’ll post this with the caveat that I’ll most likely revisit this article and polish it up a bit.


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