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Dear Ann,

Big news!  Not only did I say I was going to finish knitting my dishcloth-inspired Pack & Play baby blanket over the holiday weekend, I actually did it. I love a colorful acre of garter stitch that you can put on autopilot, and this blanket is a prime example of the genre.

So: I’m at the finishing stage. It’s time join these four overambitious dishcloths into one gloriously stripe-tastic blanket.

I have never seamed garter stitch pieces together edge-to-edge, or if I have, I can’t remember how I did it. If left to my own devices, I think I would opt for a flat, whip-stitched seam. My whip stitch may wobble now and then, but it works well for a sturdy join with no bulk at all.

But guess what? I’m not left to my own devices!  Our beloved how-to-knit book, Skill Set: Beginning Knitting has instructions on how to join two garter stitch edges using mattress stitch.

I remember when we were planning out Skill Set. You said, in a breezy tone that I took to mean that everybody but me already knew this: “of course we have to teach how to mattress-stitch garter stitch pieces.”  I nodded along, but I had no clue what you were talking about. There is a special technique for this?

Yes! There is a special technique for this. And the Skill Set video app has a sweet 59-second video that shows how it’s done.


I’m still thinking about the good ol’ flat seam, though. Skill Set has a super-short video on that, too.


I can see advantages and disadvantages to both ways. Which way to go? All advice appreciated.



How to Make a Pack & Play Baby Blanket

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Tips & tricks

The yarn

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  • This thing makes me so so so happy. Imagine what the life-altering effect it will have on a newborn!

  • good videos. I’ve seamed garter both ways. For a large project, I would do the overstitch.

  • Love this! My go to would be mattress stitch but I’d probably play with both methods before deciding. Any old swatches lying around?

  • I’m very glad for this post, Kay, because I did not realize that this blanket was made in sections to be sewn together. It will be a nice size blanket for baby! I love the randomness of the stripes and their overall effect as the pieces are sewn together. This can be a great stash buster or I could use different shades of favorite colors. To me it is also reminiscent of the vintage quilt block called “spider’s web”. So, if I was giving this as a baby gift, I would also wrap up the book Charlotte’s Web, and include it along with the blanket.

  • Not only garter stitch, but slanty garter stitch. Hmm. Keep us posted.

  • A vote for mattress stitch.
    The stitch to to stitch lines things up nicely, and I always enjoy the knitters magic of the disappearing sewing yarn.

    • I sometimes use a single crochet to join using a single edge yarn loosely from between the ridges. Match the garter rows but don’t stitch in the lumpy part. This row does stick up but becomes a decorative element. Another way is usuing a yarn needle, embroider the two pieces together with buttonhole stitch. It must be worked loosely to keep flat.

  • What fun! I would experiment with a flat 3 needle bind off with a color that would “tie” everything together. Picking up the garter stitch bumps is easy and it would be very flexible. The back side produces a garter ridge that would run opposite and might be very interesting.

  • I think I would choose the flat seam. But I would mix it up a bit. Maybe use fixed lengths of yarn, and use all the colors you used in the blanket. When you join the different colors of yarn, use the magic knot method (like Jen Geigley did with the big wool hats- and leave little tufts of yarn).
    Whichever way you choose, it’s gonna be special.

  • This baby will be wowed by your colors and the kaleidoscopic design and maybe much later will admire whatever joining technique you chose. Brava Kay!

  • I would go for the flat seam and have fun with the colors!

  • Hopefully this will be in the archive when I’m at this stage in the distant future! Beautiful, fantastic blanket! Lucky baby, for sure!

  • I have assembled probably 50 garter edge blankets—not mine but for clients—and use a tidy whip stitch of the same weight yarn as the blocks were done in. I use a medium value color that matches the overall color range of the blocks; if in doubt, go a tad darker in your color choice. Join bump to bump, and do a generous weave in run using the classic turn at least three times wiggle stitch. And yes, I make use of cast on or cast off tails if the color is right. The seams lie flat, fold nicely and look tidy from both sides.

  • Overcast with a contrasting yarn to emphasize the diagonal seams.

  • Kay! I’m team mattress stitch for assembling – and team cross stitch for fun.
    I can’t wait to see this wrapped around a very lucky baby…

  • Hi,

    The whip stitch join is easier for garter stitch edges for the same reason picking up stitches is easy. I join using the same entry point on the edges as for picking up. That way the join sinks into the fabric.

  • My vote is for mattress stitch, murmuring “frown, smile, frown, smile, frown, smile…” and imagining making faces with the wonderful recipient of the blanket.

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