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Learn Something New: The Slip-Stitch Crochet Seam

Feb 27, 2013

Mosaic Tile Afghan
by Judith L. Schwarz
I have three afghans in the works, and they're all knitted in blocks and then sewn together.

Although there's a lot of finishing work involved in these types of knitted blankets, I don't mind. The trade off is that they're portable and each block is a different stitch pattern, so there's no chance of getting bored with the pattern. I love this way of trying new stitch patterns, too. Even if you're not crazy about one of them, it's soon over and you're on to the next one!

Check out the free pattern at left—the Mosaic Tile Afghan is just gorgeous! This would become a family heirloom for sure.

But back to the finishing issue, which is mostly made up of seaming the squares together. You can use good old mattress stitch, which is my favorite seaming technique for most things, but I'm partial to slip-stitch crochet seaming for seaming afghan squares.

Here's how you do it:

Slip-Stitch Crochet

Using the slip-stitch crochet seam
With right sides together and working one stitch at a time, insert a crochet hook through both thicknesses into the stitch just below the bound off edge, or one stitch in front of the selvedge edge.

Catch the yarn and draw a loop through both thicknesses, then catch the yarn again and draw this loop through the first. This secures the end stitches together.

*Insert the hook into the next stitch, through both thicknesses, then catch and draw a loop back through both thicknesses and through the loop on the crochet hook; repeat from *, keeping the crochet stitches even.
To end, cut the yarn leaving a tail 6–8" (15–20 cm) long. Pull the tail end through the last stitch on the hook. Thread the tail on a tapestry needle and weave it back through the seam allowance for 2" (5 cm).

TIP: Slip-stitch crocheted seams are easy to remove if you've made a mistake—just pull on the working yarn to ravel. Because it's so easily removed, it's ideal for adjusting the placement of matching seams or easing in fullness.

—Vicki Square, from The Knitter's Companion

I'm going to be using the slip-stitch technique in the next week or so because I've got a baby blanket to deliver. Just three more squares to knit!

Join me in knitting an afghan! I know you'll enjoy it as much as I do.


P.S. What's your favorite seaming technique? Share it with us in the comments!

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tammcarroll wrote
on Mar 2, 2013 7:07 AM

this is always been one of my favorite methods of seaming.

stitch.knit wrote
on Feb 27, 2013 10:30 PM

I love crocheting pieces together, compared to stitching them.  I have an alternative to making the chain in a straight line.

I began experimenting, when I thought the straight chain method made the seam too tight.  I wanted something that would feel more like the work in the squares.

So, I move from side to side, angling the chain stitch to the right of the line of stitching, then to the left......alternating until I reach the end. This makes a row of what looks like an embroidered Feather Stitch.   I like the stretch this has built in, and the look reminds me of vintage pieced quilts.

SussanC wrote
on Feb 27, 2013 6:12 PM

Refence holding the seam of a garment together,

I use a large blunt darning needle threaded with the same wool as the garment.

using single thread.

Press the right sides of garment together and weave from left to right, then right to left of both pieces, through the rows,    Keeping the rows level while you stitch.

This gives a flat seam needed in making up garments.

Keep the thread a moderate tension, if too tight give a stretch to the seam before securing the thread, if too slack draw the thread tighter.


p.s. I have enjoyed reading your website, since starting to knit again.

MarthaE@7 wrote
on Feb 27, 2013 3:18 PM

I've made a number of baby afghans using various sizes of Granny Squares.  I like doing a single crochet on the right side; it makes a ridge that gives the afghan a nice finished look.


Louisville KY

momterra wrote
on Feb 27, 2013 12:15 PM

Hi, I have made several afgans and used a variantion on this technique.  I didn't like the ridges on one side of the blanket and sometimes I alternate which "good"side is up.  I lay two blocks on top of eachother just overlapping the first row of stitches. A long knitting needle woven down the intended seam is beneficial for keeping them lined up.  Then do the crocheted slip stitch as described between the first and secnd row of stitches in both layers.  You get a flat seam witha row of chained loops on one side (almost invisible with matching thread) and a single line down the back.


delgadohouse wrote
on Feb 27, 2013 11:00 AM

I can see the merit of this for quick and easy seaming but I would think the ridge left would be uncomfortable for an afghan.  Do you intend to line it?

smyrnastitch wrote
on Feb 27, 2013 10:25 AM

For seams with a matching number of stitches, I prefer the backstitch. The resulting seam has some give, and is very easy to make. I use backstitch for side seams of a bodice and seams of a sleeve, as well as shoulder seams. Side and sleeve seams need very little marking, whereas shoulder seams need a lot of safety pins to make things match. But I have a feeling that would be the same no matter which stitch I used to join them.

gma11331 wrote
on Feb 27, 2013 10:09 AM

I've always used this method of joining.  I find it easy to ease pieces together this way if the need arises.  Don't remember who showed me this because it's been too long ago--maybe my grandmother.

Joleen Knits wrote
on Feb 27, 2013 9:57 AM

Hi Kathleen, Thanks for the suggestion! Am making an afghan for my son's impending wedding and was looking for an alternative to mattress stitch. Perfect solution.

Ruth Ann R. wrote
on Feb 27, 2013 9:17 AM

I make a lot of afghans comprised of squares - as you say, it's portable and a fun way to try new stitches.  I stitch the squares together with the crocheted slip stitch.  I don't use this method on garments because I think it makes the seam too bulky - wish I could, though!  So much easier.

Rnneena wrote
on Feb 27, 2013 8:50 AM

I've always used the slip stitch seam method but never knew it was an "accepted" method. It was just easier for me and the seam comes out so much  more even! I was so excited to see this article as it confirms my method! Thank you!

books59b wrote
on Feb 27, 2013 7:41 AM

I've tried that seaming method and it can give thick ridges. I've also use just the outside loops in a slip stitch which lays smoother at times.

Good advice love the patterns

wibbus wrote
on Feb 27, 2013 7:36 AM

I usually use the mattress stitch.  Or the three-needle bind off.  Recently I tried the Tunisian joining, but didn't like the look of the seam.