© Sandra Petit, www.crochetcabana.com
Many crocheted projects are made by putting together small parts--often squares or strips--to create a whole. These projects can be beautiful and very rewarding, but you have to know how to put them together! Here are some points to remember before you get started.
IMPORTANT: When you assemble two squares, use the same material to assemble that you used to crochet the piece. If you used cotton yarn, then use crochet cotton to assemble. If you used acrylic, then use acrylic to assemble. DO NOT use sewing thread or embroidery thread to assemble your crocheted items (unless that is what you used to make them.)
1) If you are making an afghan where you want your squares to be side by side (all the same size) then check size before you begin. Make sure they are all within a quarter inch. It is also possible to use the edging to make up a small difference in size. For example, if you get a 5 1/2" square and you're aiming for 6" you could put an edging of dc instead of sc or whatever you need to get it to the size you are looking for.
2) Before assembling squares, you might consider putting a round of single crochet on the squares using the same color for each final round. It will be that much easier and less visible to assemble using that matching color. However, if you have thousands of squares you received for a charity project, edging every one would be a tremendous task so you might prefer to assemble without edging. You might consider an assembly method that is part of the design, like a single crochet join, for example.
3) If you assemble without edging, consider using the same color thread throughout. Depending on the type of assembly you choose, this could be a nice added decoration to your work.
4) Do you want to assemble your columns or your rows first? There's not really any clear advantage to either method. If you do the shorter rows, you might be able to get away with one long strand to join the rows together where you will certainly have to use more than one on a longer column. That's not a really big deal though. It just gives you a couple more ends to sew in.
5) Speaking of ends, when you edge (or finish) your squares, if you leave a long strand at the end and place your squares so that long strand is always in the correct place, then you can use it to assemble the squares together. If you leave another long strand when you finish the assembly and place squares so that strand is in the proper place, you can use it for assembling the rows or columns. That leaves you with a few less ends to sew in when you're done. Another means of using fewer ends is to use the continuous join method.
6) Sew over as many ends as you can during the assembling phase to save work later.
7) You can put squares together with wrong sides facing, or right sides facing, depending on the look you want. You could also lay the squares side by side and work the stitches on top where you can actually see what is happening as you go.
8) Be sure to line your stitches up. If you crocheted 3 stitches in your corners, you might begin with the center stitch of each square to assemble. Also, if your squares were done at different times, or are for a friendship afghan where different people have contributed to the whole, you may have to adjust for larger or smaller pieces. You might have to skip a stitch in some places or put two stitches in another. Skipping a stitch may leave a hole in your piece so you want to avoid this as much as possible. Try to get your squares to line up for a pleasing finishing effect. When assembling rows and columns, I find it helpful to use the joining between squares as a guide, so my squares are not off center. If you yourself are edging each square, you can count the stitches along each side and keep the same number on every square before you get to the assembly.
9) You could also choose to make a hodgepodge look afghan where the squares are not meant to line up. You just keep putting your squares together and when you get to the end, you can add some dc or sc to get the rows or columns to all end at the same place.
About.com is another great site, which has instructions and pictures of assembly methods.
I might also mention that if you are making yo-yos, Chris Simon has a wonderful method of assembly that you should check out.
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Assembly Methods - Using A Needle | Assembly Methods - Using Your Hook
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