Join as you go, or JAYGO, is a technique used in crochet to seamlessly join granny squares or other crochet motifs as they are being worked.
Rather than creating all the granny squares or motifs separately and then joining them at the end, JAYGO allows the crocheter to join each square to the next as they are being worked. This particular method creates a seamless and continuous piece of crochet fabric.
This JAYGO technique can be used to create anything that has multiple crochet pieces, including afghans, shawls, and scarves. However, this joining method is most known for joining crochet projects that are made up of multiple granny squares.
Alternatives to Join As You Go
One common alternative method to joining as you go, is to crochet the squares or motifs individually and then use a crochet hook or sewing needle to join them together later. This technique is often used when making afghans or other projects where the squares or motifs are worked in different colors, or by multiple people.
When using a crochet hook, it is usually done with either a slip stitch or single crochet stitch. Some crocheters like to use a method called the “invisible join,” which uses a crochet hook to join the squares or motifs in a way that is almost undetectable when using the same color yarn as the granny square borders.
Another technique is to use a sewing needle and yarn to sew the squares or motifs together. Common seaming techniques in this style include the mattress and reverse mattress stitch.
This sewing method can be a bit more time-consuming, but it allows for more flexibility and control over the placement of the squares or motifs. While it is popular among many crocheters, I actually prefer to use an actual crochet stitch instead. Large afghans with long sides can pose quite the problem if you are trying to use a mattress stitch for it. This is because when performing a mattress stitch, you need to pull the total length of yarn through each stitch… potentially asking for problems if an issue should arise.
When Can You Use Join As You Go?
Pretty much any crochet project that has more than one piece that needs joined can use the Join-as-you-go method. While is most associated with joining granny squares together, it also works with:
- Sweaters – Use JAYGO when you crochet the arms and torso sections separately.
- Pocket Scarves – You can join a pocket to a scarf with the JAYGO method instead of using the mattress stitch. This should create a seamless look to the attachment.
- Yo Yo Crochet – Yo Yo crochet is when a small crochet circle is made using just one or two rounds of stitches, then joined as you go to create a unique pattern made up of many circles.
- Any size or shape of granny squares. Hexagons, squares, rectangles… it doesn’t really matter the shape or size. Any granny square works great with the JAYGO method.
What Crochet Stitches Work Best with JAYGO?
There are several different stitches that can be used when joining granny squares or other crochet motifs using the “Join as you go” technique. The best stitch to use will depend on your personal preference and the specific project you are working on.
Some common stitches that are used for JAYGO include the slip stitch, single crochet stitch, and double crochet stitch. Each of these stitches has its own unique characteristics and can produce a slightly different finished look.
- Slip Stitch (sl st) Join – It is a small stitch that can be used to create a very seamless and invisible join. The slip stitch seam is also the flattest seam that you can create with a crochet hook.
- The Single Crochet Stitch (sc) Join – The single crochet stitch is slightly larger and can provide a more sturdy and durable join.
- The Double Crochet Stitch (dc) Join – Use this join when adding a new color at the beginning of a row or round. It will give your work a nice, smooth finish.
Join As You Go Tips & Tricks
Here are some tips and tricks that I’ve learned throughout my years of joining granny squares together with the join-as-you-go method. It usually takes a little time to get used to it, but once you master the technique, it becomes like second nature.
- Tip #1 – Remember the Order. The first granny square each project will be made in full. However, the following squares will all be made a different way. Begin the same way as the first granny square, but partway through, during the final round of the next square, it will instead be joined to the previous square before being completed.
- Tip #2 – Join on the Wrong Side. Granny squares that are continuously joined are always joined with the same side facing up, typically with the wrong side facing up unless the pattern says otherwise. This is so the joining happens on the wrong side, making the seam a little less visible. Remember, when you are joining two side-by-side granny squares, make sure that both are facing the same direction!
- Tip #3 – Master One Direction First. Granny squares can be joined continuously in either one direction or both. One direction JAYGO ends up creating strips that then can be joined a different way, like with the mattress stitch. Joining on multiple directions is much more complex of a method, so learn how to join in one direction before attempting both.
- Tip #4 – Read the Pattern First! JAYGO is a semi-permanent joining technique. Yes, you could frog out a good portion of your work, but it’s obviously best if you never have to. Some crochet patterns only use JAYGO crochet techniques on parts of the pattern, and some require that the squares have a specific orientation. Be careful to not join in crochet granny squares wrong! It is very difficult to back out a mistake with the JAYGO method.
How Do You Join As You Go?
To join two granny squares together using the “join as you go” method, you will need to have the first square already completed, with the second one finished up to the beginning of the last round.
Here is a basic pattern on how to join the two granny squares:
- Attach the second granny square by chaining one and then working a single crochet stitch through both loops of the corresponding stitch on the first square’s corner.
- Continue working a round of single crochet stitches around the perimeter of the second square, working through both loops of each stitch and making sure to work three single crochet stitches into each corner space.
- When you reach the end of the round, slip stitch into the first single crochet stitch of the round to join the two squares together.
- At this point, you can either work on starting the next granny square, or fasten off and weave in any loose ends.
- Each new granny square will be added to the previous square in the same fashion.
And that’s it! You should now have two granny squares joined together using the “join as you go” method. You can continue joining squares in this way to create larger projects, such as afghans or blankets.