How do you work a stitch over joining dc / sc?

Stitch over joining stitch?

How to work a stitch over a joining stitch is one of the most common questions I get asked by folks new to my patterns.  I have answered it before in this post, but I think it’s time to be a little more specific with the why and how of joining with a stitch and working over the joining stitch.

Why I join some rounds with a stitch in my patterns

Here’s an excerpt from one of my patterns – it’s in UK terms, but that doesn’t matter for this explanation;

R1: ch3 (stch), tr, *ch2, 2tr*, rep from * to * 2x, ch1, join with dc to 3rd ch of stch.
{2 sts on each side; 4 2-ch cnr sps}

R2: ch3 (stch), tr over joining dc, *tr in……

Those bold bits are the parts of a pattern I am going to explain today.

Joining with a stitch is not something new and wondrous. It’s been around probably as long as crochet. I first came across it in old doily patterns. It may seem new as I use the same method to help make my granny squares look as seamless as possible. I’m not the only designer who does it this way. I’ve made it work from the simplest of my patterns to the most complex.

Once you get it, it’s a real light bulb moment and it all makes sense. I have witnessed that moment in workshops many times and heard from a lot of you of it too. I promise it is really not as complicated as your brain might initially make you think it is.

join with a dc to 3rd ch of st ch

But before I explain how I do it, let’s look at some of the ways you can start and finish each round of a traditional granny square. There are a few ways it can be done, and all are perfectly acceptable for a traditional granny square.  The last way is my way – joining with a stitch for all patterns, no matter how simple or complex.

1. Slip stitch to corner to start

Here’s what that looks like. You finish your rounds at the end of a side, before the first lot of 3 stitches in the corner, then you slip stitch across to the corner space to start your next round.

slip stitch to corner

It’s ok, but if you want to progress into more complex patterns, this can really spoil the look of a block as it adds bulk, it makes to those stitches you slip stitch into look different, and it can be tricky if you have to work into the stitches you slipped stitched into.

2. Start and end each round along the side

Here’s what that looks like. You’ll see the needle is pointing to a visible line where each round has ended and begun.

Again, it’s ok in a traditional granny square, but in more complex ones, it stands out like a sore thumb as you can see.

3. Start in the with half a corner

Here’s what that looks like. The arrow is pointing to the first group of 3 stitches where each round begins.

It’s the best of the methods, but still it has its problems when you move on to more complex patterns. You probably need to look closely to see, but that first shell of 3 stitches of each round is kind of skewed due to you having to work backwards a little bit to make your first stitches of the next round. That can be a problem when you are working fancy stitches and complex patterns.

4. How I do it – joining with a stitch

To help hide those joins, I use a method of ending each round that places you in exactly the right spot to start the next round – no slip stitching, no visible line, no working backwards.

It’s easy and translates well into more complex patterns so it will be hard to know where your rounds begin and end. All my patterns are written this way.

I’m initially going to use an example that has 2 chain corner spaces.

We begin each round with the second half of a corner and finish the round by finishing the corner then joining. When we get to the last corner, normally, you’d chain 2 and join with a slip stitch to the 3rd-chain of the starting chain we began the round with. What I do instead is chain 1, and join with a stitch to the top of the 3rd chain of the starting chain. (joining to the top loop of the 3rd chain makes your stch replicate a true stitch better)

Join with a dc

When replicating a 2 chain space, I chain 1 and join with a double crochet (UK terms) or single crochet (US Terms).

What’s the difference between joining with a slip stitch and joining with a stitch you may ask? Well I know when you’re just starting out, joining with a stitch looks pretty much the same as chaining 2 and joining with a slip stitch, but I assure you it is different.

ss vs dc join

In the photo on the left, I chained 2 and joined with a slip stitch. In the photo on the right, I chained 1 and joined with a dc/sc.

The needle shows the starting point of the next round, as dictated by the position of the yarn and hook. In the photo on the left, a visible line of joins would appear if continued in this way. In the photo on the right, the yarn and hook are in the exact spot to begin the next round seamlessly.

To replicate longer chain spaces, you chain more and join with longer stitches. For example, ch2 and join with tr/dc (UK/US) would replicate a 6 chain space, ch1 and join with htr/hdc (UK/US) would be a 3 chain space.

In the example below, if I chain 6 like in the other corners and join with a slip stitch, you can see the hook and yarn are part way along the side – the wrong spot to be in to start the next round as we’d end up with a visible line of joins.

In the second photo, where I chained 2 and joined with a tr/dc, the yarn and hook are in exactly the right place to begin the next round – ie in the middle of the 6 chain space.

No matter the number of chain and type of stitch joined with, the effect is the same. You end up in the middle of whatever chain space you are recreating, ready to start the next round. The joining stitch is pretending to be the second half of the chain space. That’s why the next round may start with instructions to work a stitch or stitches over the joining stitch. It just means work over that joining stitch just as you would work over a chain loop.

To make it really easy to see where to poke your hook, pop a scrap of yarn in the gap before you join the round. That scrap of yarn shows you where to put your hook to work over the joining stitch as well as where to work the last stitches of the next round.

dc over joining dc sc over joining sc


The photo above shows a dc/sc (UK/US) worked over the joining stitch. The photo below shows ch3 (stch) and a tr/dc (UK/US) worked over the joining stitch. In both cases, the first half of the first corner has effectively been worked into a 2-chain space.

tr over joining dc dc over joining sc

But, and there’s always a but…

I don’t always end rounds this way! Joining with a stitch is only necessary when you are continuing the same colour. This is why the last round of a colour or square, I will say chain 2 (or ch 6 or ch 3 or whatever the pattern calls for) and join with a slip stitch.

And that’s that!

I hope I’ve explained it all with enough of the why to help you understand. If it’s still not clear, sign up for Granny Square Academy where you will see it all in action.

Granny Square Academy by Shelley Husband

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2 thoughts on “How do you work a stitch over joining dc / sc?

  1. Sandra lobb

    Do you think you may at the end of Acadamy post it for purchase as an ebook for us oldies lol??????????Thanks Shelley for great help and patterns


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