The Flat Braid Join is a magical thing of crochet wonderment. I learned how to do it from my crochet idol: Priscilla Hewitt, pattern designer of such famous works as the Sunburst Granny Square (Ravelry) and the Circle of Friends Square (Ravelry), which I slightly adapted to create the Textured Circles blanket. (Free pattern)
The pattern that I used to learn flat braid join is called Lacy Lapghan (PDF), from Priscila’s website. Now I use some type of variation of FBJ for almost all of my projects. See every project I’ve used FBJ on HERE!
Okay, so lets get to it!
Now, SC in the joining stitch, and ch4. Skip 1 stitch and SC in that final corner stitch. *Ch2, skip 1 stitch, SC in next stitch* Repeat across. (13 ch2 spaces on each side of the square). Ch4 in every corner as seen in the photo. Complete the first motif in this manner. All subsequent motifs will be joined on the second round.
Take your next square and work the first side only up to 2 chains of the second ch4 corner. (One side will be completed only.) – See photo below.
Lay both motifs side by side as seen in the photo below. Drop the loop from your hook and insert the hook into the ch4 corner from front to back. Pull the loop through and complete the other 2 chains of the ch4 corner. In the photo below, I have dropped the loop, inserted the hook, and grabbed the loop. I am ready to pull the loop through and continue chaining.
After those 2 chains are completed, make an SC like normal in that last stitch of the corner (That is where I stopped in the photo below). Ch1, drop loop, insert hook into the CORRESPONDING ch2 space on the completed motif, and pull the loop up through. Work a chain to complete the ch2 space, skip a stitch, and SC in the next stitch. I hope this makes sense. I’ve tried to capture it in the photos.
To be clear: normally, you have a chain 2 space on the sides. On the sides that are joined to an adjacent motif, you will be interrupting the chain 2 space to drop loop, pull loop through opposing chain 2 space, and complete the chain. As seen in the photo below, there is a little “twist” where two chain 2 spaces are joined. This twist (that resembles a whip stitch in a way) is made when you complete your chain after you have pulled the loop up through.
Work in this manner until the two squares are joined, and you get to the next corner.
Let’s talk about the corners. You have two corner meeting situations. Either two corners meet around the perimeter of your blanket, or they meet in the body of the blanket. You need to remain aware which type of corner meeting you are approaching. Ask yourself: Will this corner be around the edge of my blanket? Or am I working in the center? Around the perimeter of your blanket, you will go ahead and join those corners immediately.
Where four corners meet in the body of your blanket, you will be working in a special way, so that you create perfectly crossing corners. I have fought and fought in an internal struggle with the way that four corners meet in a join-as-you-go method. I always want that meet-up to be perfect, opulent, and a key design element.
Here is what I do: When you come to a corner that you know will be in the center of your blanket, you need to LEAVE IT ALONE. You can see this in the photo below. These two corners will soon be picked up by their diagonal partners, so for now, they are just hanging out.
Okay, in the photo below, I have a diagonal corner pairing and I have a corner loop that has not yet been picked up – you can see that the bottom square is not yet joined. One diagonal pair will cross over the other one. Please make sure that you do all crosses facing the same direction. Don’t accidentally cross the other way, as it is super-noticeable.
Below are three different corner meeting situations occurring. At the top left, you see four corners joined up. Top right, you see a loop waiting to be picked up by the diagonal square, and bottom left, you see both loops awaiting their diagonal partners. Remember, When you get to the final row of squares, you need to join adjacent corners immediately, as this will be around the perimeter.
Once you finish joining, you can work a reverse SC round. I work 2 reverse SC stitches in each chain 2 space. I skip over the SCs because the reverse SC is naturally large… many times, I will go down a hook size so that the border is not stretched out. Here, I stay with the same hook size.
Please ask questions if I can clarify something 🙂