Putting a bunch of blanket squares together is always a meditative task for me. This one has been particularly absorbing. I spent Sunday morning digging in on how to join a bunch of garter stitch squares when there are at least nine different yarns at work.
The answer: don’t fuss too much.
I arrived at this answer only after fussing way too much.
I loved every minute of fussing too much.
I started this blanket back in April as an early start to our Socks and Blocks Knitalong. (Now under way here!)
Different weights, different fibers. Souvenirs of so many great people.
I made them with a fierce abandon not unlike the manufacturing of knitted dishcloths. The yarns are all over the place. (Read all about what you’re seeing here in the bathtub.)
Squares having a swell time ingesting the fragrance of Soak. THIS SCENT, Lacey, smells great.
I started the joining using our favorite three-needle bindoff method. This is a gorgeous way to join squares.
But with nine different yarns in these squares, I found that the pattern of darks broke up. It made all the varied yarns look even more varied. I dunno. It wasn’t helping, the three-needle bindoff.
I decided to try a method I’ve never used before: mattress stitch for garter stitch.
When Stumped, Dial Patty
I turned, as we should all turn in moments of uncertainty, to Source of Truth Patty Lyons. Over on her website, she cooked up a tidy tutorial on how to join garter stitch squares. It’s actually sort of incredible.
Here you go: “Tuesday Tip — How to Seam Garter Stitch.”
It is so stinkin’ clever. The basic concept involves smiles and frowns—the two shapes that you see in a ridge of garter stitch. By connecting a frown on one square to a smile on the other, the result makes the garter stitch ridge appear to continue seamlessly from one square to the next.
The back side of a mattress stitch seam using garter stitch.
For this method of seaming, it is important to use a yarn the same color as the squares you’re joining, so I’ve taken it slow and swapped out the light and dark yarns of my Picket Fence Blanket to make the most of this beautiful seam.
The front side, right down the middle.
This is the sort of thing that makes me really happy: a bunch of yarns trying to get along.
I am working on my tension as I frown and smile my way to glory on this blanket. The different fibers and varied weights are definitely a challenge here, and it’s not going to end up with the sublime unity of effect that you get when making a blanket with, you know, one kind of yarn.
The gauges vary. the colors vary. it’s life’s rich pageant in blanket form.
I knew that was going to be the case with this blanket. The point was to join together yarns that I’d found over the course of many years traveling and meeting the people who make these woolly, minimally processed yarns. Hey, Rachel and Amanda and Alberto and Brooke and Alice and Jill and Gretchen and Kim and Debbie and Kathy Reed and Sue—thanks for making these yarns!
I think the final blanket is going to hang together, when it’s all stitched up. Please stay tuned.