Ultimate Guide to Join-As-You-Go Crochet
Join-as-you-go crochet (also known as JAYGO) is important to add to your repertoire of crochet techniques if you love to make items from lots of small motifs but don't enjoy the end stage of the project when you have to join the motifs and weave in all of those ends. With JAYGO, the motifs are all joined along the way, and although there are some ends to weave in, you can handle a lot of them as you go so that the finishing stage of the project is only a small part of the process. JAYGO is also great for people who like to take their projects with them on the go and don't want to worry about losing motifs in the shuffle!
You can use the join-as-you-go technique to join together all different types of crochet motifs including:
- Crochet granny squares
- Crochet hexagons
- Crochet flowers
- Yo-yo crochet
Many crochet patterns today have join-as-you-go instructions. Once you understand the technique, you can adapt other motif-based patterns to utilize it.
Join-As-You-Go Crochet: What You Need To Know
Before we get into the steps for join-as-you-go crochet, here are some basic things that it will be helpful to know.
- The first motif of each project will be made in full and will show you the basic instructions for each motif. The following motifs will begin the same way as the first motif but partway through will be joined together with the existing motif(s). All rounds except the final round will be made, the final round will be partially made, joined to the previous motif and then completed.
- JAYGO motifs are always joined with the same side facing up, typically with the wrong side facing up (so the joining happens on the wrong side) unless the pattern says otherwise. So, when you are joining two side-by-side motifs, make sure that both are facing the same direction (wrong side up, for example.)
- Some join-as-you-go crochet projects have motifs that are just joined in strips (each one joined next to the previous one). Other JAYGO projects are joined both horizontally and vertically (each one is joined to one or more motifs). Beginners should wait to work on the latter type of projects until after mastering the former.
- Some patterns will have diagrams showing the placement of motifs. Typically this means that some motifs are joined on only one side, others on two sides, others on three or more sides, so you need to understand the placement to know where specifically to join each motif. For an example of a diagram, please see the Happy Hexagon Throw.
- Many join-as-you-go crochet patterns are entirely motif-based with all joining happening as you go. However, in some cases, an item may incorporate join-as-you-go-motifs with additional instructions. For example, a join-as-you-go shawl might have motifs at the top, with the rest of the instructions made top-down after the joining is done. Always look at your pattern's specific instructions for the joining details of any specific project.
How to JAYGO Classic Crochet Granny Squares
The granny square is the classic crochet motif so it's a great one for practicing the join-as-you-go crochet technique. Here's one way to do it. Patterns may have different instructions, so you will want to make sure you understand how the pattern wants you to join. The exact type of join used can give different looks to the finished project. This example uses a single color, but you can change colors between rounds if you would prefer.
Join As You Go Row of Granny Squares
1. Crochet your first classic granny square. We will work with just a small two-round granny square to keep it simple. (If you need instructions to make a basic granny, please follow the first two rounds of the Basic Square instructions for the Granny's Classic Throw.)
2. Crochet the first round of the next motif.
4. You will begin your joining by using a slip stitch in place of the ch 2 in the corner to connect the two motifs. So, hold your granny squares together with the wrong sides facing each other and slip stitch into the adjoining corner of the next motif.
5. Complete the corner as usual by making 3 dc to finish the corner of the second motif. Note that you are only crocheting into the second motif, not into both squares.
6. Start the next corner as usual by making 3 dc. Note: Larger granny squares will need additional joining in the center before the next corner. See photo tutorial further down in this article.
7. Repeat step 4. (This will join the second pair of adjoining corners on the two motifs.)
8. Complete the rest of the second motif in normal fashion.
9. You now have two granny squares joined together. Each new granny square will be added to the previous square in the same fashion.
JAYGO 3-Round Granny Squares
With the two-round granny squares, you just join with slip stitches in each corner. If you have granny squares that are three rounds or larger, you will likely want to do additional joining to better secure the squares. You will join in the corners in the same manner as you do with two round granny squares. Additionally, you will slip stitch the squares together in the top of the first dc of each cluster that is in between the corners. Here is a photo tutorial:>
Note: An alternative is to join the in the ch space between clusters instead of in the top of the first dc.
Join-As-You-Go Square of Granny Squares
The instructions above show you how to connect a row of granny squares. You might not just want to make a strip of granny squares, though; you may want to make a cushion or blanket so you'll need a large square of smaller granny squares.
1. Connect the first two granny squares in the same way as above.
2. Connect the third granny square to the pair in the same manner, forming a V-shape with the three squares.
3. Connect the fourth square in the same manner. The difference is that you will need to join the square to two adjacent squares. This is done in the same manner, though, with a slip stitch in each corner (where you would typically put a chain two space). When you get to the corner where all four squares meet, crochet 3 dc in corner, sl st to square 1, sl st to square 3 then 3 dc in same corner.
You will now have four small squares that make up one larger square. Additional squares can be joined around the smaller square in the same manner. Always be consistent and use the same method throughout a piece so the joins look consistent. To make this square of four bigger, always use a slip stitch to join the adjoining corners of attached squares.
Additional Resources for JAYGO Granny Squares
People who learn better through videos than written instructions might also want to check out the following Red Heart videos for Join-As-You-Go Granny Square Crochet:
- Learning How to Join As You Go On Basic Granny Squares
- Learn How to Join As You Go on Versatile Granny
Join-As-You-Go Crochet Patterns
Want to practice the JAYGO technique? These Red Heart free crochet patterns utilize join-as-you-go.
by Kathryn Vercillo