Imagine that, unlike me, you want to make a project—sew squares together and arrive at something useful. Our imaginary project involves weaving “Companion Squares” that, when combined, contribute to a “Bigger Picture.” (The terms “Companion Squares” and “Bigger Picture” will be used throughout this article to describe the type of squares referred to—see photo caption.)

Example of a “Bigger Picture” made by combining “Companion Squares.” (Squares woven and photo by Bonnie Visser; used with permission. Pattern design by Suzanne Eakin.)

Technically, the above photo doesn’t show companion squares; it shows one square that could be a series of four companion squares. (For an example of companion squares see the Charleston Afghan post.)

In order to form the Bigger Picture, the squares must be turned. However, if you were hoping to use the mattress stitch to join these squares, it won’t work now—at least not in the way outlined in the mattress stitch post. (It remains to be seen whether or not manipulation of the mattress stitch will yield pleasing results. I intend to do some joining experimentation and am not prepared to make a full statement yet.)

Apparently if you don’t use Companion Squares and just weave the same square four times, you will always need to turn your squares in the same way described above. (It’s VERY helpful to be familiar with the Anatomy of a Square when it comes time to join. Corner 2 is usually easiest to spot. Corners 1 and 4 will sport your beginning and ending tails—usually cr1 has a shorter tail, but that depends on the habits of the weaver. Cr3 is the only corner with three yarn loops.)

If you don’t turn and flip the squares the correct way, you will end up with mismatched lines. In the photo below, the white arrows indicate the direction of the Under-3 stitches in the outer half of each triangle. You can see that one of the squares “is not like the others.” Project makers will need to be very careful—make sure ALL squares line up with each other to make a consistent Bigger Picture.

Photo provided by Danny Case; used with permission

When planning your imaginary project… Wait, let me back up.

Please PLAN your projects. I once took a metal working class wherein the teacher required us to decide ahead of time what we were going to make and then write in a notebook all the steps we would have take to get from start to finish. It was quite a revelation to me, and an invaluable lesson that’s come in useful over and over through the years (saves so much frustration, effort, and material). It might be a good idea to consider actually writing out the steps for some of your projects; don’t forget to include which joining method you hope, ahem, plan to use.

A final word on square orientation…

We’ve discussed companion squares here—squares that have a definite design but that need to be turned (and usually redrawn) in order to make a Bigger Picture. Sometimes texture, or overall pattern, squares can be combined (see Block and Color Combination post for a look at one of my imaginary projects).

Side by Side Stripes pattern in four orientations

Textural patterns may not require redrawing. You can simply turn the pattern upside down (copy, flip, and paste in Paint or cross out row numbers on the diagrams and rewrite them in reverse order).

But there may be times you’ll want to turn a pattern sideways. Some won’t work turned sideways even when redrawn or redesigned. That’s when you’ll want to use the Reverse Warping Method (RWM). Reverse Warping enables the weaver to turn a pattern on its side without worrying about centering, or redesigning it. Please see the linked RWM post for an in-depth discussion of its benefits.


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