The Tight Braid Joining method I use to join squares is very similar to the Flat Braid Joining method, but tighter and closer - not as lacy. I've used it to join the Mini Magic Mandala Motifs in the Magic Rainbow Baby Blanket, and in this video I'll demonstrate exactly how it works. But it can be adapted to any square, as long as you're willing to play with the stitch counts a bit - so I'll explain that as well!
Tight Braid Joining Tutorial Video
As seen in this video (affiliate links - your purchases help support Moogly!)
- US – H, 5.0 mm hook (Furls Fiberarts Tulipwood used)
- Lion Brand Modern Baby (DK weight, yarn symbol “3”, 50% acrylic/50% nylon, 173 yds per skein)
- Yarn needle (Susan Bates Finishing Needles used)
The Tight Braid Joining method as used in the Magic Rainbow Baby Blanket uses two rows - one row to finish off the square pattern, and then a second row (in the same color) to make the joins. This means it's a Join As You Go method - love that! But if you are using it to join other squares, you can skip the plain row of sc sts, and just do the last row.
The first square of the Magic Rainbow Baby Blanket gets a final row as follows: Sl st to corner ch sp, ch 1, (sc, ch 2, sc) in ch sp, *[ch 2, skip 2 sts, sc in next st] 3 times, sc in next st, [ch 2, skip 2 sts, sc in next st] 3 times, finishing last repeat in ch sp, ch 2, sc in same ch sp; repeat from *3 times, break yarn and join.
However, if you were using this on another pattern, you'd join with your yarn to the corner space, and then proceed as above. But this is where you have to get creative, and flexible. You want a series of ch 2, skip 2 loops around the sides, with ch 2 loops in each corner. In order to make this work for the Magic Rainbow Baby Blanket, I put two sc sts right next to each other in the middle of each side of the square.
Depending on your square's stitch count, you might need to add a couple more, remove another... do whatever you need to do to get loops evenly along the sides. And if you're joining squares with various stitch counts in their final/outside row, you'll want to make sure to add the same number of ch 2 loops on each side of each square - fudge it as you go! Skip one, add one - in the end, it will all work out.
So when it's time to add the second square, work one side with the ch 2 loops as before. Then when you get to that second corner, ch 1, remove your hook from your 2nd square, insert the hook in the 1st square's corner, ch 1 (this will enclose the ch-2 loop of the 1st square), and then sc in the same corner of the 2nd square again. Then ch 1, remove hook, insert it in the next ch 2 loop of the 2nd square, ch 1, skip the next 2 (0r as needed) sts of the 2nd square, sc in the next st, and continue working down the sides, connecting the two.
Connecting a fourth square is where it gets tricky - turning the corner. Only it's not that tricky at all! Just join to the first square as before, then when you get to the corner where the 4 squares meet, ch 1, insert hook in the ch 2 sp of the square you've been joining to, ch 1, (skipping over the square diagonal from the current working square) insert hook in the ch-2 sp of the next square you're attaching to, ch 1, and sc back in the corner of the working square.
I know this can all sound complicated reading it, so please do refer to the video if you have questions. The Tight Braid Join is a simple and flexible joining method for squares that with a little math and a bit of bravery and ingenuity can be applied to nearly any motif or afghan blocks project! Remember too, that if are indeed using this method to join blocks with different stitch counts, that using the same color for all the joins will go a long way to hiding any fudging you've had to do!