Letters to the Editor: Lumpy Afghan Needs Your Help!

Posted by on Jan 5, 2012 in Crocheting | Comments


In going through your letters to the editor from our newsletter this past weekend, we came across this missive from Michele, who seeks help with her afghan. We thought it might be fun (and helpful for her) to have you, the Craftsy community, offer guidance. So, we so we decided to post it here.  That way you can pass along your advice in the comments section.

Unfortunately, we don’t have an image to share with you, but maybe some of you have encountered this issue and can provide some guidance:

My mom taught me all the crafting I have learned. Unfortunately, she is now in the blue sky and the reception just doesn’t work. I am making my granddaughter a granny square blanket. I tried to piece the squares together with single crochet. But it seems to leave a hump on one side of the blanket. I have done one of these many years ago and mom helped me with that one. I don’t know what I am doing wrong. Or am I not doing anything writing, and is there supposed to be a hump where I put the two squares together?

Thank you, Michele

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Comments

  1. Linda says:

    I have always sewn granny square or other types of shapes together with a tapestry needle and single strand of yarn. You need to make sure stitches are not too tight.

    1. Dora says:

      I do the same thing: tapestry needle a yarn

  2. Erin says:

    I believe that a single crochet will leave a hump. Its up to you if it looks good that way or not. Try a slip stich to see if that gives you the look you are going for instead. Do not stitch too tightly, or the squares will not stay squares.

    1. Mary Stutzman says:

      I agree with Erin….there are a number of ways to join granny squares. Try single crochet, if you like it thats fine. Or try the slip stitch. You can also use a tapestry needle to sew them together. The things to remember are: only pick up one strand of yarn when you are crocheting or sewing the squares together AND check as you go along to make sure the tension of your seam is the same as the granny square itself. Good luck!

  3. DebraEmanon says:

    I’ve always crocheted my squares together. I select only one stitch along the edge of each side of the square and slip stitch them together (instead of wrapping the yarn around the hook for a single crochet, I simply pull the hooked stitch through the hook. Hope this helps.

  4. Melanie Humphrey says:

    I like to whip stitch mine together. It takes a little bit longer but it doesn’t leave a ridge on the one side. As Linda had said, you will use a yarn needle and yarn to sew them together.

  5. Heather says:

    With the right sides of the blocks facing each other slip stitch through the two outsides bars. There should be 4 “bars” of two stitches showing along the top of the two squares being held together – grabbing the “outside” two should allow the blocks to lay flat when they are unfolded. Also, leaving the corner stitches unbound helps to stop some of the pucker.

    Depending on the pattern, I like to sc in one block 1, *ch 3, sk 3 st of block 2, sc, ch 3, sk 3 st in block 1, sc,* repeat from * to * until at the end of block and finish off. If the blocks are lacy, this continues the lacy look.

  6. Linda Richards says:

    Michele, I would agree with the comments that have been made so far. I am wondering as DebraEmanon mentioned taking one one stitch from each square may be your answer even if you did want to single crochet them together. It may leave a little hump there anyway depending on the thickness of your yarn. I know I did a baby quilt in blocks and put them together with a single crochet and that was with fine wool and it left a little hump. Hope you can find an answer and be happy with your quilt. A picture would have helped us to see what was going on.

  7. Elizabeth says:

    My granny taught me to connect granny squares with a yarn needle, just sewing them together. Now, after fifty years the afghan she made me is just beginning to come apart at the seams. Crocheting may be more secure, but I don’t know of any way to avoid adding a layer or two of yarn, making that hump.

  8. Pearl says:

    Joining squares with a single crochet will leave a hump, you aren’t doing any thing wrong. If you don’t like the hump Linda’s suggestion about using a tapestry needle will eliminate the hump.

  9. Nan Ziegler says:

    I have always put my squares together with a row of single crochet. I guess I’m one that likes the “lump” look of it. To me, the challenge is to have the stitching all going in the same direction!! It’s how I learned to put them together and never thought there could be any other way!
    good luck,
    nan

  10. Heather says:

    Sometimes I like to use a crocheted every-other stitch join for granny squares. Line the two squares up back to back, then crochet a single or double in the first stitch in the left square, the second on the right square, the third on the left and so on. When it lays flat the join is invisible and it looks like a crocheted border.

  11. Tres says:

    With a single crochet join you will have a thick seam on one side, totally normal. I like this look. If you decide to keep with this joining method make sure your joins are all on the same side, so you seam is all on the same side. You can also slip stitch your squares together or mattress stitch them. Here’s a great tutorial with pictures on how to join granny squares. http://attic24.typepad.com/weblog/joining-granny-sqaures.html
    Good luck!

  12. Patty says:

    Hi Michelle,
    Joining blocks with single crochet can leave a ridge, I like it on some afghans. You can sew them together using a ‘mattress stitch’, which should leave the joining nearly invisible. You can search the web or books for instructions. Just remember that your granddaughter will love it because you made it with love and that your mom’s love and smiles do reach you thru that erratic reception.

  13. Diane Weeks says:

    It is possible that you are going through both loops along the edge on both sides. You might want to try to whip stitch it together using a single strand of matching yarn. Remember to go through both loops on both sides.
    Good luck !

  14. Marion Davis says:

    Michele, I have no sewing skills so I have always slip stitched the squares together. It will be slightly raised but not like the single crochet join. There are patterns that will tell you to use the single crochet stitch. One suggestion is to slip stitch the squares together loosely as not to cause the squares to bunch up at the side of the join.
    There are many tutorials on YouTube that show how to so a join that is real nice and easy to do.

  15. El Bridges (Mrs Elleas Crochet) says:

    I know you miss your crafting guide. When joining squares a sc will make a hump. The best way to me is slip stich. Some use a yarn needle and “sew” them together. Let me know if that helps. You can finde me on facebook too. Elleabridges@yahoo.com

  16. Vicky (The Crafty Rocker) says:

    If I crochet pieces together I take the pieces and lay them fronts together and slip stitch using only the back loop of each stitch. Be sure not to make stitches too tight.

  17. debbie says:

    are you doing singles on RS or WS ?
    i have used singles to put squares together.if you put them on WS it will make it look lumpy.
    i put them together in strips first then single the strips together.

  18. Debbie Lentz says:

    My best suggestion is that if you are crocheting the two together, you are probablly not catching either all the bottom stitches or all the top stitches as you go. If you catch some of the bottom stitches & intermittently catch the top stitches, you will end up with a lump whenever you switch the placement, You can also go between the rows of stitches, but you have to do this loosely so it lays flat.

    Hope this helps! I am speaking from my first year’s experience when I just couldn’t figure it all out without every mistake atleast once! :) Good luck!

  19. juanita says:

    I have always whip stitched mine squares together with tapestry needle and yarn. Hope this helps.

  20. Anna says:

    I use a single crochet to assemble my granny square afghans – I put the right sides together and stitch through the back loops of each square. I also use a smaller hook than I used to make the squares, normally I use a G7 hook for assembly. It does leave a a ridge on the back side of the afghan.

    You need to decide which assembly method appeals to you best. If you search “crochet afghan assembly” you will find several ways to assemble your squares.

  21. Jodi says:

    After you finish the afghan you can do a technique called blocking. One way is to mist the blocks with water and pin into the shape and allow it to dry. A method I use is two damp towels (I put them in my washing machine and run a full rinse/spin cycle) and a very hot iron. Place sections of the blanket between the damp towels so it’s smooth and in the proper shape. Then put the very hot iron on top and press it between to steam the block into shape. I’ve done this to shape many afghans and even after it’s washed they stay flat. It will flatten out any bumps that were made when you crocheted them together. <3 hope it helps!

  22. Kate says:

    This is a technique called a ‘flat braid’ square join. I think it’s a lovely way to join squares without that ‘bump’ you talk about. Hope this helps! :)
    http://web.archive.org/web/20010710001544/members.aol.com/lffunt/flatbraid.htm
    ~Kate~

  23. Lieza Kiel says:

    You might like look of single crochet in the back loops, which leaves less of a ridge. This web link has a continuous join using the granny style shell that might work well for your project: http://www.crochetcabana.com/tutorials/joining_squares3a.htm

  24. Judy says:

    Using a single stitch will leave a ridge. My favorite way to sew squares together is with a half-double crochet stitch. It doesn’t leave a ridge, but it’s a nice solid stitch. Hope this helps!

  25. Holly says:

    I am primarily a knitter but use SC and DC etc frequently to finish my stuff. I think you will ALWAYS get a bump or raised line when you’re seaming if you use these methods. I agree with the above comments and suggest you use a matching (or for that matter contrasting if it suits your pattern!) yarn and simply use a simple seaming technique – perhaps whip stitch – which you can manipulate to keep the squares even. Pay attention to your tension! (OOH! That rhymes!)

  26. Veronica H says:

    Single crochet will leave a hump on one side if you use it to join squares. For Granny squares, I do an extra row, Then on that row on the second square, I sc into the ch gap of the previous square, then carry on with the pattern. This joins the squares together ‘granny-style’. Hope this helps.

  27. EJ says:

    If it is not too difficult. take all the joining apart and you will have indivdual squares again.
    My grandmother taught me to join them on the last row of each square. I hope this is not too confusing, easier to watch it done than to explain sometimes..
    Lay the squares together, backs touching. (Remember the square you are joining to is already completed so is 1 row bigger and that changes as you finish the new square–they will be the same size)
    As you make the chains on the corners or between the clusters of stitches, reach the crochet needle thru the square holes of the other square and pull the yarn thru and make the stitch, usually 2 or 3 ch st). Make the clusters on the square you are completing and then at the next open area, join the 2 togeher.
    Depending where in the pattern you are, you may only need to join one side, 2 sides or 3 sides. You want the squares to lay flat so join how you need to do so to make that happen. Hide the tail as you desire. One nice way to do it is to use a single color as the border for all the squares for continuity.
    These will never pull loose on the corners unless the entire square unravels so they are good for a lot of wear and use.
    Hope that helps.
    EJ

  28. Jay says:

    I taught myself to crochet, and when I have squares to join, I join as I am doing the last row. example, if you have 3dc 3ch and 3dc, when you reach the chain 3 just chain 1 and the second chin you will slip stitch in the matching chin of the other square then chain one and continue with ehe 3dc and continue till you finish that side, It does not leave a lump.
    Hope it works

  29. vipalicej says:

    I, too, have always sewn granny squares together… Then I crochet a border around the outside edge.. Good luck!

  30. Alicia Woods says:

    Dear Michelle,
    You can crochet or sew (whip stitch w/ Yarn needle) your sqares together.
    When crocheting squares it will leave a hump in the middle or at the cross sections. This side is considered your wrong side of the afghan. To make sure stitches are not too tight, use a large hook and that will help even out your tension.
    Enjoy making your grandbaby’s afghan no matter what method of joining you choose.

  31. Pieri Hayes says:

    I put my afgan together with a single crochet, and got the same result as you. I liked how the other side looked, so I made the stiched side the “wrong” side. It has held together for years and looksw wonderful.

  32. Aunti"M" says:

    My teacher “my mom” is also where your mom is and she had me whip stitch them together, end to end and then row to row. I used a tapestry needle and a length of yarn the length of the rows and square to square plus about 6-10 inches, enough to weave back in when done. Oh and something my mom always told me, “It’s ok to have at least one error in your project, that’s what makes it “homemade” Happy crocheting and I hope I’ve helped.

  33. Angela says:

    I use both the slip stitch or the tapestry needle to sew the squares together. If you slip through half the chain instead of both loops it will form an extra border around each square for a different look.

  34. Kari Morin says:

    I always stitch my squares together going throught the inside loops only. Keeping a tail at the beginning to weave in and when i cut the yarn , I weave in the other end. I always keep the tail from my original slip stitch there until i complete the project, then I snip them off. I also weave them under my shell groupings first. If you want to crochet them together I would use a slip stitch.

  35. Cathy says:

    I have always sewn the patterns together with a tapestry needle. Make sure you go through BOTH front and back loops so there is no ridge.

  36. Pat says:

    I do not like the look of the hump. I always sew my squares together with tapestry needle and yarn. It look nice on both sides.

  37. Carol says:

    Gee, this takes me back a ways! I just checked mine that is tucked away neatly in my cedar chest; it appears I did a single crochet to attach the squares, however there are holes in each corner. I did not take the the crocheted assembly into the corner, and it lays flat beautifully. As my granny squares are double crocheted, which leaves “holes”, the corners do not appear unfinished, if you will.
    Your granddaughter will cherish your special gift for years to come!
    Blessings!

  38. Darlene says:

    I have made this type of afghan and I wove the squares together. Making it with single crochet will make it lumpy on one side. If you weave it do a row then another and then weave all of them together.

  39. Nancy says:

    I like the “hump” when I crochet squares together with single crochet. If I use a contrasting yarn it gives a “shadow box” effect to the joining as opposed to stitching them together. But if the “hump” is a concern, then sewing them is probably the only real way to get them to lay flat. (You might also try a couple less stitches in the corner joinings so that they don’t get as bulky…like skipping the corner stitch on the first crochet together then crocheting them on the 2nd pass going the perpendicular direction.)

  40. Wendy C. says:

    I agree with Linda. For the smoothest result, use a tapestry needle and single yarn strand and whip stitch (or there may be other ‘invisible stitch’ methods, too, you can research online), but going through the tops of the stitches of each square should make it smooth and flat. Good luck and let us know how it works out!

  41. CrochetQuackers says:

    Use the back loops only of each square and slip stitch them instead of single crochet so that there is less of a bump

    Good Luck :)

  42. Christa says:

    I like the dimensional look created by crocheting the squares together, and usually plan my projects accordingly. I think it’s just personal preference!! Most important is simply making handcrafted items for your family – I treasure those I have from my mother and grandmother.
    Happy Crafting!

  43. Shawna says:

    I have crocheted for years and almost always crocheted squares together. In my house of boys, things need to be secure! I have used both stitches in the past, and on several occasions have crocheted on the right side of the project, and often have used a contrasting color, or black, and then edged the whole thing with the same color. As most of my afghans are scrap things, doing this will tie it all together…black really makes the colors pop.

    In any case, slip stitching will leave a lesser ridge than a single crochet – if you are wanting an invisible seam though, hand sewing is pretty much the only option. I wouldn’t worry too much about the seam ridge – I have found that a crocheted seam is much stronger than a hand sewn one, and also helps keep the blanket in shape. Like I said before, in my house of testosterone, ‘secure’ is best!!

  44. Carol says:

    There is no “correct” way to do this, it’s whether you like how it looks or not that counts. I have whipstitched mine together with a tapestry needle and matching yarn. I have also created a windowpane effect by adding a single crochet border in the same dark complementing color around each square, then whipstitching those together with the same dark yarn. I have also used a crochet hook to slip stitch the squares together like Debra does. They all work. Have fun experimenting, if you don’t like it after a few stitches you can unravel it and try something else. As one of my sewing buddies always says, “As we sew, so shall we rip”!

  45. YarrrnPirate says:

    Depending on the look I want I do either a slip stitch like many others do. Or I will do a singe Crochet. To avaoid the lump and to add extra design hold your squares wrong sides together and single crochet in the back loops only. this will make your front loops even with the single crochet when you lay it flat.

  46. Retiree says:

    Whip stitch using a tapestry needle works every time for a professional finish. Good sewing!

  47. Pineappleworks says:

    I’d just like to say “WOW” to all the wonderful people who have taken the time to help with this. It’s great to know that the people here are kind enough to help out. You all RAWK!

  48. Annie O says:

    It has been so much fun reading everyone’s comments. I have done it with single crochet, slip stitching, and with a tapestry needle, but I love Heather’s ideas and the flat braid stitch of Kate’s and Leiza’s shell edge. I taught myself to crochet more than 35 years ago and still either knit or crochet every day. I am still learning new techniques and thank all of you who took the time to respond.

  49. Lorelei Bibler says:

    I always sew them together through the back loop of the outside edges. This leaves a nice flat edge.

  50. Jeanie says:

    How about trying a smaller cotton yarn crocheted to join, maybe in a different color, or black will frame the squares nicely. The smaller yarn will not look humpy, and it will be strong if you SC of DC.