I wanted to bring you a quick tutorial explaining how I join granny squares with the JAYGO (Join-As-You-Go) method and also describe how I select which colors to place where. I used this method on my "Grandma's Knickknack" blanket. For some, JAYGO gets a little confusing, especially when it comes to joining at the corners of the squares, but it really is simple once you get the hang of it. If you are new to JAYGO, I hope you will benefit from this tutorial and give JAYGO a try.
I prefer to use this approach for joining motifs of blankets that have many colors. I find it easier to just attach the granny's as I make them in a random color arrangement. It is simply too confusing for me to attempt to figure out if I've used enough of this color or that... or if I made too many motifs with this color on the first round or the second. It would mangle my brain trying to figure out how to lay it all out in a pleasing manner making sure "like" squares aren't touching and then making sure I get them all attached in the correct order.
What I like to do is look at the squares I have already attached to my blanket and pick colors for the next square to be made that are different, or in a different order from the ones that will be in close proximity to it. I set those yarns next to me in the order I've decided upon for that square. Then crochet it and attach it to the blanket.
For example: In the picture above, I have three squares completed and attached. When I am choosing a color placement for the next square, I look and see that I don't want light blue, yellow or medium green for the center circle because I've used those colors in the center of the three squares already made. So I pick light green and set that color yarn next to me first. Then I look and see that I have used brown, medium blue and red for the spikes. So I choose light blue and set it beside me second. Then I see that I have used yellow, red and light blue in the third round. So I choose pink for the new square and set it next to me third. Then for the forth round, I see that I don't want to use medium green, pink or light green. So I choose yellow and set that beside me forth. Now I make the new square in the order I have laid out beside me and join it to the blanket. I continue to repeat that process each time I construct a new square, making sure that it's color arrangement is a little different than the squares that are in close proximity to it.
The other reason I like this method of joining and color placement is because your finished blanket is totally unique! And it will have a pleasing, non-contrived appearance. No other blanket will be exactly like it. Of course if you want to have all your squares framed by the same color, you would go ahead and make all your motifs first, and then either JAYGO or sew them together.
Here it is then, the JAYGO method that I use...
You have made your first square...
and you are starting the last round of your new square. At the first corner of the new square you will make your tr cluster, then ch1 instead of 2.
Now insert your hook into a corner ch-2 space of the first square. Insert through the front side, as shown above, making sure your yarn is not wrapped over the hook . When joining, you will always insert your hook in this manner.
Now slip stitch.
Because your corner needs 2 chains total, make your second chain. (so you will ch1, slipstitch in corner, chain 1)
Finish the corner with a 3tr cluster in the corner space of the new granny square. One corner done!
Now you will slip stitch between the corner cluster and next dc cluster of the first square.
Work a dc cluster in the next space of the new Granny square.
Then slip stitch between the next two clusters of the first square. (You do not make chains on the sides... only in the corners).
Make a dc cluster in the new square, then slip stitch between the last dc cluster and the corner tr cluster of the first square.
Work the second corner: Make a tr cluster in the new square, ch1, slip stitch in the corner space of the first square, ch1 (remember your corner requires 2 chains... one before the slip stitch and one after the slip stitch).
Finish the corner by working another tr cluster in the same space of the new square. Second corner made!
Now you simply finish the rest of your new square as usual. Join and fasten off.
Voila! Two squares joined!
Now I want to show you how to join 3 corners together.
Always starting from the right side and working toward the left, join the first corner and work across joining to the square above as described earlier. You will always join the new square to the corners of the squares above and beside as indicated by the blue arrows in the photo above , but not the corner of the square to the diagonal as indicated by the black arrow. (This is an update to a previous error in which I had said to crochet in the diagonal corner...don't know what I was thinking...brain fry. I apologize for any confusion. And thanks to the kind reader who pointed it out!)
For the next corner, 3tr, ch1, slip stitch in the left side corner of the square directly above the square you are making.
Then slip stitch in the corner of the square to the side.
Now ch1 (because every corner you make has a total of 2 chains right?)
Here I have turned the work so I can continue down the side of the third square. Finish the corner with 3tr.
Continue joining by slip stitching between the clusters, joining the third corner as usual and finishing around the square.
That's it! Now you can simply continue adding grannies as you go - JAYGO.
Typically I join together one whole row of motifs and then begin attaching them to the next row, however, I suppose it would be possible to start with a block like the one in the picture above and continue to join around it in a circular pattern...but I haven't tried that.
There are many other methods of joining grannies. This is just one way. I hope you like it and find this tutorial helpful. If you notice an error or something is confusing, please let me know in the comment section so I can correct or clarify. Happy Granny Joining!