Saturday, May 12, 2012

Pennies & Lace, Part 2: Joining the Blocks

Welcome back! By now you've completed your first Pennies & Lace block (click here if you missed the block tutorial)...

...and probably have a colourful pile of the addictive little pennies, waiting to be joined up.

The joining is as simple as the blocks themselves, but a word of caution: take your time and pay attention while joining! I can't tell you how many times I missed a join and had to unravel part of a round to fix the goof. At one point I even unpicked an entire block from the middle of the completed 25-block square - luckily this project is constructed in such a way that I was able to crochet it back in without having to unravel anything else. (Major egg on my face for that error, though.)

Tip: If you're working with multiple colours of pennies, lay them out and find an arrangement you like...

...then make a note of it before starting on the joining.

My cheat sheet for colour

There's no hard and fast rule for the order in which you join your blocks. For my pillow, I made 25 blocks (5 rows of 5) and worked one row at a time, building each row on the last. You could also start in one corner and work outwards from there.

The important thing is to remember whether you're on an outside block or an inside block, because:

1. All side clusters are joined as you go.
2. Outside block corners are also joined as you go.
3. Inside block corners are joined four at at time ONLY as you stitch the 4th block of any 4-block group.

Ready to start joining blocks? Let's go.

Your first block is complete. Pick up the next penny and make the first cluster of Round 2. (Click here if you need a refresher on Round 2.)

Now we're going to join the outside corners. Chain 3, and remove hook from work.

Insert hook, front to back, through chain-7 space of the other block's corner.

Now put your hook back into the working loop...

...and gently pull the loop through the chain-7 space, like this:

Chain 1 - this stitch will "catch" the opposite block - then chain 3 more. (Or you could just think of it as chain 4, with the first chain acting like a slip stitch to attach the blocks.)

Finish the corner by making the next cluster in the same stitch.

Your two corners are now linked together. (I like the way the chains look entwined.)

Time to link the side clusters.

Chain 1, then remove hook from loop and insert it, front to back, through the other block's side cluster (between the chain-3 and the double crochet).

Put the hook back in the working loop...

 and gently pull the loop through, as before:

Chain 1 to "catch" the opposite block, then chain 1 again.

To complete the side cluster, double crochet in the top of the previous leaf cluster.

Finish the rest of the block as normal. You don't need to connect any more stitches on this round.

For some reason I forgot to take a picture of the above 2 blocks after joining. However, here is an older picture showing 2 other blocks joined together (if the blocks look a bit odd it's because the block design was modified after I took this picture).

Notice that they are joined at the outer edge corners and side clusters only.

From here on in, the joining order is up to you. (Again, I found it easiest to work one row at a time.) Remember to leave the inside corners free until you can join 4 at a time. Here's how.

The next picture shows the end of one complete row, with the first block of the next row in place.

The > < symbols show where the blocks have been joined up to now: at the outer edge corners and at every side cluster. Notice that the inside corners have been left free.

Now it's time to add a block which will complete a 4th inside corner. The numbered arrows show all the spots where the next block will need to be joined.

Here we go!

Start your next block as usual with a cluster, chain 7, and another cluster in same stitch. (Remember we don't need to join those first corners as they will be "inside" corners.)

Time for the first join. Make side cluster, joining to other block's side cluster as shown above.

Skip 2 stitches of the penny, and start the next corner with a 2-double-crochet cluster.

Chain 3, and remove hook from loop.

First corner (unjoined) made,
side cluster (joined) made,
beginning of second corner made.
Time to join the 4 corners together.

Insert hook from front to back through the other 3 corner loops, working clockwise:

Hook through first loop...

...AND second loop...

...AND third loop.

When all 3 corners are stacked up on your hook, put the hook back in the working loop.

Gently draw working loop through all the corners...

Chain 1 to "catch" the corners, then chain 3 more...

And finish the corner by making the second cluster in the same stitch as the first cluster.

Stop to admire the flower-like pattern made by the joined corners, then go on to finish the block. (Don't forget to join the side cluster immediately following the big corner join. This is the voice of experience speaking.)

And there it is: a beautiful 4-corner join with all the stitches entwined. Nothing can stop you now - onward and upward! The arrows in the above picture show the joining points for the next block.

Barring the kind of mistakes I was all too prone to make, adding each block should only take 5 minutes or so. And before you know it, you'll have something like this...

...full of colour and texture.

(Not to mention a pretty little pile of clippings.)

I recommend blocking your work at this point - it will make it easier to add the border of your choice.

In a future post I'll show you how to make a border like mine...

...and how the Pennies & Lace pillow was constructed.

If you have any questions, feel free to use the comment box below, or you can send me a message in Ravelry.

Thanks for viewing, and happy crocheting!

P.S. Here are some quick links for the rest of the posts on this project:

Part 1: The Pennies & Lace Block
Part 3: The Border

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  1. Oh, the Goatmother REALLY likes this pattern, and, as usual, you have made it clear enough for even her feeble mind. :) Thank you!

  2. wow great tutorial Mrs M - thanks Mich x

  3. A lovely cushion you've made there. I like how it compliments the fabric for the backing. Very nice indeed.

  4. This is so lovely! It is definitely in my project line up. Thanks!

  5. Ahhhh, another coincidence. You're making pennies by the pound, and I'm making tiny flowers by the pound, and we're both joining as we go! Very unique joining method, sort of twisting the four corners together into one stitch. Can't wait to try it!

  6. Delicadíssima!!!!!! amei!!!!!! Parabéns!!!!!!

  7. This would also make a nice lacey shawl in a fine wool I think. Very pretty mix of colours. You really are a cheerup, I often drop into your blog when feeling mopey. God Bless.


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