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Best Ways to Join Blanket Squares Together

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Dear Kay,
It’s so much fun to see all the Mitered Crosses blanket squares cropping up on Ravelry. It won’t be long before people start joining the squares together to make blankets, and O what a glorious day that shall be!
I wanted to share a few ideas for joining the squares into a blanket. People ask me all the time about what techniques work best. I’ve got several methods, so I’ll show you each one. None of these is hard. Personal preference is really what it’s all about.
At Your Desktop
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I use a Swingline 500-capacity office stapler, mostly because a heavy-duty staple gun is too powerful. You don’t want the staples to blast through the yarn, and you don’t want those heavy staples that affect the drape of the fabric.
What you do:
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Position your squares with front sides facing, so that the staples will be hidden on the back of your blanket. It’s like mattress stitch, only a heck of a lot faster. What’s great here is that you can do a bunch of this during break at work.
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I like the textured effect the staples give. Kind of like quilting.
Duct Tape
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I know a lot of people do this already, and there’s a reason why–this goes faster than a stack of Thin Mints on a Friday night watching a boxed set of Colin Firth movies!
Lord knows there are enough decorative duct tapes out there that you can find pretty much any color you need to coordinate duct tape with your blanket’s shade of Noro Silk Garden. (Here’s an overview of cool duct tapes, especially Japanese ones.)
What you do:
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I went with silver because it looks so cool. And this stuff is the real deal–my contractor left it in the basement after fixing our insulation, and I kind of like that whole reduce/recycle/reuse vibe coming off this. Didn’t cost a penny! (Except for that insulation job, I mean.)
This isn’t exactly rocket science if you’re all literal about it and just slap tape down. Do be tidy in your cuts–a wonky edge really shows up with this stuff.
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There’s no end of art to this once you start playing around with pleats and herringbones and alternating colors. Have fun with it, I guess, is the golden rule with duct tape.
Cream Cheese
The secret here is that any old cream cheese will do, as long as it’s not flavored.
What you do:
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It’s basically the same technique as bathtub caulking or cake decorating. Fill up a plastic bag with cream cheese, moosh it up so that it’s nice and soft, clip a corner, and off you go.
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The most important thing is to keep a steady hand, and to make sure you’re getting cream cheese down into that first row of stitches.
Let dry away from direct sunlight.
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You will be surprised at how pliable the cream cheese is once it dries. I knew it would stick well; I just wasn’t sure how flexible it would be.
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I read in one of Clif’s pirate books about how pirates used to make buttons out of old cheese, and I remember being a) mystified by this and b) grossed out. Well, call me a pirate, but this stuff WORKS.
Love,
Ann
PS Kay’s ditto machine over at Ravelry is running overtime. If you’re looking to get a copy of her fabby Mitered Crosses Blanket pattern for Japan, here you go and thank you!

PSS One other technique I forgot to mention: sewing in ENDS. I can’t tell you how often we get this question. Here’s probably the best way you can cut your finishing time down to pretty much zero point zero:
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102 Comments

102 Comments

  1. Nice, thank you. I might try that sewing in ends method on my niece’s BW 63 squares blanket. Finally got the squares sewn up, but the ends are KILLING me!

  2. THANK YOU for such a wonderful belly ripping laugh on such a crappy slop-snowy day!

  3. Can’t stop laughing—happy April 1. Isn’t the cream cheese just a bit sticky?

  4. Oh, poisson d’avril,y’all! xo

  5. Ha Ha Ha–can’t stop laughing. Happy April 1. But isn’t the cream cheese just a bit sticky? I think I will have a smile on my face all day today.

  6. Happy April Fools, ladies. Thanks for the giggle.

  7. I don’t know just how far you’ll actually go for a laugh, but I sure hope whatever you did for those cream cheese pics didn’t actually involve *actual* cream cheese coming into contact with your *actual* knitting :D
    happy April Fools. This year, the closest we came was my kids thinking that “get up and get dressed” was an April Fool’s day joke…

  8. You are brilliant! That is all.

  9. Brilliant! Of course, I thought you might go with my favorite way of dealing with yarn ends: just letting them dangle. . .

  10. Great April Fools joke but I can’t believe you actually put staples and cream cheese on your precious knitting!

  11. Yeah, but being able to staple the squares during work hours will cut into my MDK and Facebook browsing during work hours…such a dilemma! Thanks for the chuckle :o)

  12. Some of your readers may think that just because you posted this on April 1 – that this is a joke……as a Canadian, I KNOW that duct tape is good for EVERYTHING – up here we follow the example of Red Green who used duct tape for everything and it always worked. Not so sure about the cream cheese though – think you might need to put it in the oven…….just a thought.

  13. You are a pirate!

  14. Hilarious!! I love the cream cheese… adds a nice touch. Snack and blanket all at one.

  15. LOL!!!
    I’m feeling pleased with myself, as I started by sewing in the ends in the middle of each corner….but now I’ve switched to Russian join spit and rolling my ends. Knit to the end of the color, break yarn, leaving. 3-4 inch tail, pinch the yarn at the end of the last stitch, dump 5 or 6 sts off the needle, pull out the yarn (Noro is sticky, the sts just hang there, patiently waiting), keeping that pinch pinched. Fold the yarn at the pinch. Thread Th new color through the fold, and fold it back 3 o 4 inches. Spit and roll felt the doubled areas. Pick the sts back up and knit them back down, careful with your tension, to make the color change be at the edge.
    A finished square is so nice, with half as many ends done!

  16. You had me believing up to the cream cheese. Then, I remembered the date.

  17. Hilarious! Happy April Fool’s Day to you too.

  18. The staple idea isn’t half bad – I was chuckling, but then you mentioned the quilt-like texture and I thought, hey!

  19. I laughed. V. funny. But I can’t BELIEVE you put cream cheese on your knitting, even as a joke.

  20. Who said the Internets aren’t full of valuable information? I, for one, have never used cream cheese, but now I know. Bring on the blankets.

  21. ROFLMAO

  22. I thought the staples were an “innovative” way to hold the pieces together while you stitched them together. The duct tape clued me in that something hinky was going on. Good one! Happy fools day!

  23. HILARIOUS!! Thank you for all the tips!

  24. Hey! That’s MY method for sewing in ends! :)

  25. Such a nuanced touch to put the scotch tape in the shape of a cross. Artistry, that’s what it is.

  26. OMG! That is so funny and really made my day! It was starting to look kind of dismal with bills and all to pay…..but that last tip pretty much put me over the edge hysterical!
    THANKS SO MUCH!

  27. Best April Fool’s day post, ever. Can’t stop laughing. The cream cheese in particular was genius. Arrrrrr!

  28. Do these techniques also work for sweaters? I’ve got all my knitting done and the last bits of joining everthing up have been staring me in the face for days… Duct tape may be the perfect solution.

  29. I love you.
    I woke up this morning to four inches of fresh, wet, heavy snow, and it hasn’t stopped falling yet. Needed laughter much!

  30. You forgot the butterfly bandaids, and also the velcro (hooks, not fuzzies) – in either case applied to the WS, of course.

  31. I also at first thougth the staples were real, instead of pins for while you sew. The cream cheese is just too funny. Is it true about the pirates and old cheese bottons?

  32. Great post. Thanks for the tips.

  33. And what about spit splicing squares together? Noro felts pretty well – just get two adjacent edges nice & damp and then rub briskly together for an hour or so … I feel inspired!

  34. Happy April Fool’s Day to you!

  35. Too funny! You made me laugh harder than Franklin did, and that’s saying something. :-)

  36. This is awesome!

  37. This was a good one….read through the whole thing,knew it was funny…but totally forgot April’s Fools…..have one to add…the glue gun …..thank you for the LOL…on a SNOWY day in Boston! Mother Natures’ idea of April Fools Day…(she’s not funny). Kay,you deserve a standing ovation on your idea for Japan!Glad the $$ are still rolling in!!

  38. I love you guys!!! : ) I read your blog at work and all my co-workers think I’m crazy… LOTS of laughing today.
    THANK YOU!!! You two are so wonderful.
    : )
    Elizabeth

  39. You are officially nuts!

  40. ha ha ha! i’ve considered paper clips for seaming. and of course there’s always super glue.

  41. I’ve been known to hem pants with both staples and scotch tape. Will have to look into cream cheese though the next time my hem gives out while grocery shopping.

  42. Ha! You’re the best. I am still worried, however, about how you accomplished this photo shoot. Esp. the cream cheese!

  43. I thought it was plausible to use the staples to baste the squares and you were then going to show us your seaming method with yarn. But when I got to the duct tape I knew you were pulling our leg(s).
    Funniest thing in a long time!

  44. OMG! I would never have thought of cream cheese! I’ve used peanut butter for years, but ran out and needed to piece together a baby blanket. Also, the peanuts probably wouldn’t be good for baby.
    Cream cheese — I’ve got some in the fridge right now! Thanks.

  45. Hey, where do you stand on the cream cheese tub vs. brick vs. whipped controversy?

  46. Inky, I do think that old-school Philadelphia Brand, brick form, makes the strongest bond. Less air in there. And the fat keeps it all hanging together better. You definitely give up something when you go with low-fat. But if you’re counting calories, that’s just the compromise you have to make.

  47. Better yet, put your blanket together while watching Coling Firth and eating a box of Thin Mints. (Or your cookie of choice. Forgive me,but I’m still rather bitter about the whole cookie thing.)

  48. You are a genius. Thanks for the laugh. I’m still smirking to myself. Seriously. Funny.

  49. I came here today to see what Ann would do. I am so NOT disappointed. What a hoot!

  50. Hilarious! I am completely doing my ends like that from now on.

  51. I thought you’d moved over to my world with that stapler…who needs to knit when you can bind with ease? I’ve got tape holding together more than one pant hem as we speak. But the cream cheese, any true Meador would not waste the likes of that. Happy Fool’s Day, Sissy!

  52. My only concern is whether any cream cheese was wasted in the production of this video. Because I am a cheesitarian at heart.

  53. Yes, funny! It reminds me of the “solutions” at the “There, I Fixed It” site.
    http://thereifixedit.failblog.org/

  54. Rubber cement is nice for garter stitch becuauz yu kinpush enz riges
    Few! I passed out there for a bit from the fumes, but I think you get the idea.

  55. I’ve seen some really good April Fool’s Day posts today, but this is the best! Personally, I’m fond of the office supply solutions. Although, I often use bobby pins as stitch markers, but they’re not real good for joining.

  56. Thank you for FINALLY giving duct tape its due. I’ve also found that pipecleaners can work in a pinch.

  57. Finally…. the alternatives to sewing in all those damn ends! Why hasn’t anyone said this before??? I hope it will be in your next brilliant knitting book as one of the tips! Bobby pins (dug out of the junk drawer) could also work in some way – I know you will work on this.
    BTW, the stapler is amazing for quilting – for those recipients who wouldn’t know the difference… Just sayin’ it’s a multicraftual device.

  58. Hahahah, best journal entry EVER!

  59. I have NOT laughed that hard in such a LONG LONG time! and you DO know that there will be someone, somewhere that will DO this ;)
    Love the squares (already purchased pattern) and can’t wait to see it all “put” together ;)

  60. Personally, I prefer marscapone cheese. Giada uses it all the time.

  61. Love.
    Lovelovelovelove!
    So helpful!

  62. daddy mommys been in the wine cellar again
    do not forget to bring your hose in

  63. You are brilliant! :) This even beat the Google Gmail Motion site today, though I laughed pretty hard at that, too. Thanks for your wonderful blog, you two. Always a treat to visit.

  64. Well, missy, you may think you’re so funny, but now I’m going to stay awake all night wondering how you photoshopped the cream cheese in those shots because no one in their right mind would actually pipe cream cheese in the seams of such a beautiful knitted object (MUCH LESS CAUKING!!!!).
    Just kiddin’ ;) April Fools back at ya!

  65. LURV it! You’ve given me some ideas on how to finish off some UFOs. But first — I have a real urge to eat a bagel.

  66. Thanks for the great April Fools Day laugh!

  67. That is the best April 1 post I have seen anywhere! Thanks for the chuckles.

  68. Cream cheese! I love it! And this is the first knitting-related April Fools Day gag I’ve seen..

  69. Ha ha…April Fool’s!!!
    Hope y’all had a good one…

  70. I swear by Gorilla Glue to seam up a sweater.

  71. bathtub caulking hahahahaha

  72. why NOT the flavored cream cheese ? Don’t hate on the strawberry. That pink tint could lend just the right touch of color to some blankets.

  73. First the Bronte Sisters Power Dolls (my face still hurts from laughing) and now how to duct tape or cream cheese your squares together. My poor face! Fun E!

  74. Dude, ur crayzee….
    Silly, gullible me – I was all like, “Oh yay, just in time for me!” Because I like joining squares as I go.

  75. I was laughing all the way to the cream cheese, when I had to stop and wonder – is that really cream cheese on her gorgeous blanket?!?! Would she do that for an April fool’s joke?! (= Whatever you used, it looks real!!

  76. so great! I was almost in until the duct tape and then the cream cheese confirmed it…very tricky, very funny! Thank you!

  77. ROFLMAO

  78. LOL–hope you got the cream cheese out ok!

  79. Hilarious. Thanks.

  80. Ha! April Fool yourself!!!!! but I might try the duct tape, all the same.

  81. Thank you for the giggle :)

  82. I tried the cream cheese method, however its getting a bit crusty & yellowed like the bits left around the ring at the top of the tub. Should I just gnaw it off and start over?

  83. Oh my gosh! This was HILARIOUS!!!!!
    I found this pattern on Rav. and put it in my QUE. Then came to your site the next day and saw this!
    I’m gonna send this to all my knitting friends!
    Thanks for the laugh.
    And thanks for the reminder that we knitters are not a “Stick in the mud” we are funny people!

  84. BEST joke of the day! Great job. Thanks for the smile.

  85. Okay, you got me going with the stapler–I thought, can you really do that???? Great joke!

  86. Ha Ha, very funny. Even my 16 y/o son who could care less about knitting thought this was funny. I think you have cornered a new market in knitting advice. I look forward to more “tips”.

  87. Oh my God, that was hysterical! Seeing cream cheese on those beautiful Noro squares is just so wrong it’s hilarious! That must have been fun to wash out afterwards!
    Great April Fools. P.S.: I love your books!

  88. The best April Fools Day laugh ever! You should have been able to hear the giggling even from over here in England. Will this make it to the next book? Loved MDKBTL, and the “rejected” samples – are we seeing a trend?

  89. This was hysterical! Loved the photos for show and tell. I never would have thought of cream cheese, but I will keep that in my arsenal of tricks, hee hee!

  90. I think I will put my afghan together with the stapler method..looks good to me!

  91. Gosh, you had me for a bit…and if no one had said anything in the comments you would had me cramming down cream cheese in a container one day….but that’s a waste o’ expensive Cream Cheese in my mind. Rather eat CC than caulk with it anyday.

  92. Best April 1 blog EVER!

  93. Does cream cheese frosting work as well as regular cream cheese?

  94. Thanks! This brought a smile for a day that looms difficult.

  95. You can try and make me feel bad about stapling my stuff together all you want, it won’t work! And incidentally, SUCK IT, gauge swatches!

  96. Thank you – been back a couple of times for the smile and just noticed what day it was posted – you gals are always up to something and don’t usually need a day to celebrate, but is nice when you do. Take care you all!

  97. I was just about to break out the cream cheese. I wonder if you can used whipped?

  98. In the same class as Ann’s adorable sultry
    Rowan model photo.
    xxxxx to you both always
    Tessa

  99. Hrm. I wonder if you could join the pieces with string cheese. It sounds like it could work except then my dog would spend even more time trying to eat the blanket.

  100. You mean… it was all just a joke? — awwwwwwwwww…

  101. Just want to testify that this entry is funny even to non-knitters. Made my husband laugh very hard.

  102. AMAZING. best april fools day blog post ever. :D