Join-as-you-go Motifs

By Claire Ortega-Reyes – 14 Comments

As a crochet beginner, I steered clear of granny squares and other crochet projects made with motifs. Don’t get me wrong–I loved the look of crocheted motifs and how each little part plays a big role in the shape and look of each piece. I didn’t make motif projects simply because I wasn’t confident with my sewing skills–skills I thought were vital in completing motif projects.

When I discovered join-as-you-go motifs, a whole new world of crochet opened up for me. I didn’t have to sew all the motifs together! The last row of each motif is matched up to a corresponding side of the previous motif, and slip stitches are made in place of chain spaces. Here it is at work with my Magical Market Bag Pattern:

Magical Market Bag Photo Guide

I set out to learn more about crochet motifs, and promptly fell in love. There were so many shapes to make and learn, so many ways to put them together, and so many projects I can make. My favorite is Edie Eckman’s Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs book, because aside from giving fantastic written and charted patterns for different shapes of crochet motifs, it taught me how to design my own motifs, all the things I can use motifs for, and how to connect them to each other. Here is an excerpt courtesy of, showing the different ways to arrange crochet motifs:

Beyond-the-Square Crochet Motifs Page

Beyond-the-Square Crochet Motifs Page, courtesy of

I look forward to many more crochet motifs projects, and sharing them with you! What about you, what’s your crochet motif story?

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  1. Bliss says:

    “Beyond the Square” is one of my absolute favorite crochet books ever. There is so much to be done with motifs.

    I’ve used motifs from the book to crochet jewelry and coasters so far.

  2. charley says:

    it’s funny you should feel this way because personally I HATE motifs…I’ve made several afghans with them and to me there is nothing more annoying than having to weave in all those loose ends. I don’t even like Mile-A-Minute (strips crocheted in rounds) because it requires me to do too much finishing work. I LOVE to crochet but would rather keep the finish work to a minimum.

  3. Carolyn says:

    Oh I just ordered this book and can’t wait to get it. I’ve heard so many good things about it!

  4. Sarah Dee says:

    I’ve never given crochet as you go motifs a try. About a week or two ago, I crocheted my very first project made of motifs. (I’ve been crocheting for 5 years). It was a granny square bag. It was BEAUTIFUL, but joining 13 squares was Hell to me. I said to myself that I will never join granny squares again. Motifs are REALLY not my thing. I love the look, but cannot stand the processs.

  5. Jana says:

    I made your market bag. I did the join as I go part until the bottom of the bag, and then I went to hand sewing. It just seemed easier! 🙂 But I agree that joining as you go can truly be a time saver by avoiding all those ends! I like motifs, though I haven’t done a ton of them (YET) because of their portability. They are great for on the go projects.

  6. dj says:

    does anyone have a pattern for a scallop shell bra for infants. i need pattern for mermaid costume for photo shoots. must be a modestly cute cover. i have a pattern for the tail with fins.
    also a cute ami mermaid

  7. dj says:

    does anyone have a pattern for a scallop shell bra for infants ? i need pattern for mermaid costume for photo shoots. must be modestly cute cover. I have a pattern for the tail with fins..
    also a cut ami mermaid.

  8. Jumasto says:

    dj: I don’t know about the scallop shell bra, but has a crochet pattern for a baby mermaid. Maybe you could enlarge the mermaid pattern to fit a baby. I hope this helps.

  9. dj says:

    Jumasto~thank you ! i had forgotten about looking on the red heart site.

  10. Jumasto says:

    You’re very welcome, dj. Would love to know if it’s going to work for you.

    Practically all the yarn sites have free patterns. I also have 9 other free pattern sites. I don’t remember seeing one for a baby’s shell bra on any of them. That’s why I hope you can work with the one for the baby mermaid toy.

  11. dj says:

    Jumasto~i do allow myself to look through many free websites. i have found so many which are fun to create and will admit i have way to many patterns. ‘crochet spot’ is one of my top 5 favorites. always great ideas. ravelry is also in the top 5.
    the site helped with figuring on measurements. i showed a friend and she cracked up saying how cute the outfit is. i am excited for my photographer friend to use them. i see my hats and booties on her website of photos.

  12. Varsha says:

    Crochet spot gives wonderful innovative ideas.I have made an evening stole joining triangle motifs and looks real stunning! Will send pic sometime.

  13. nola holden says:

    hi join the squares and finish of as you is the only way to make a granny square or motif rug

  14. fleurdelis says:

    I began a floral hexagon afghan for my daughter 28 years ago when she was 6. I still have all the squares but invented a way to crochet as I went. Now I want to try finishing it for her but can’t remember how I did it.. I will probably have to take apart several motifs to see how I put them together and try to continue with the info Claire provided for us.

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