"But, really, why does anyone create? You feel a... a restlessness inside, a need to make something new, something no one has ever seen before. You want to add to the beauty and the richness of the world with a gift, an offering that is uniquely yours. It's an act of selfishness and generosity, all rolled into one."

-- Bruce Coville,
The Last Hunt

Friday, June 4, 2010


Working on the Rising Star doily has got me thinking about joins. As far as I know, there are three different methods for joining to a picot that is below the chain you are working on: lock joins, slope and roll joins, and Catherine wheel joins. You can find instructions for all of them at DS9 Designs; scroll down to the very bottom to find the links.

Pretty much all tatters know how to do lock joins, and many are familiar with Catherine wheel joins, but I think that fewer people are familiar with slope and roll joins. Today's post is a comparison of the three. First, the lock join:
The lock join is the easiest of the three. It gets its name because it locks the core thread. By doing this, it creates a sharp break between two adjacent chains. If you are working with two colors, it also creates little spots of the core thread color, as you see above.

Sometimes these color spots look OK, like in this motif. I could have even done something more interesting with the spots by making the joining picots at different places in each round. Other times, you really don't want them, as in rounds 6 and 7 of the Rising Star doily:

I wouldn't want little pink spots in the middle of these stacked chains-- especially since they would only be there in 2 rounds, the previous 2 rounds having been worked with a green core thread. For situations like this, you can choose between slope and roll or Catherine wheel joins.

This motif was made with slope and roll joins. Like the lock join, the slope and roll makes a sharp division between two chains, but the core thread remains encapsulated, so there are no color spots. This is the join I went with in the doily. It is called slope and roll for a reason; the chains want to get a bit twisty at the join, but if you don't want color spots and do want divisions between the chains, this is the way to go. Also note that the core thread does not lock, so you have to be careful not to let the chains pull too tightly as you snug up your stitches. I find it easier to do this join with a crochet hook rather than the shuttle point.

Finally, we have the Catherine wheel join:

For this join, you need a second shuttle. As with the slope and roll, the core thread remains encapsulated so that there are no color spots, but one chain is a smooth continuation of the previous chain. Again, the core thread does not lock, and the join actually looks exactly like a double stitch. This is not a good join to use if you do want a sharp indentation between your chains; you can see in this motif that it looks nice in the spiral section, but the outer round looks a bit wonky. The Catherine wheel join is good for spirals (hence the name) and outlines, as in my rendition of Gina's Gingerbread Boy:

I used lock joins for the sharp indentations at the neck and armpits, but I used Catherine wheel joins for the rest for a smooth outline.

To sum up:

EDIT: I just fixed this table. I made a mistake in it originally.

I'm going to take a bit of a break to finish reading The Last Hunt, but I'll be back soon with the final three rounds of the Rising Star.


  1. Thank you, Miranda for the visuals of the three joins.

    I actually went to the DS9 site and re-read the explanations, which had made no sense to me when I originally read them.

    Your post un-complicated things for me! : ))

  2. I'm glad, Fox! Sometimes I think I'm just babbling to myself, so it's good to know I've said something useful.

  3. Thank you for the pictures and explanations. The chart summarizes it very well.
    I've been following your progression on Rising Star and just realized I have that book, so looked it up. You have an amazing gift with color. I could not have visualized it from the black & white picture. Seeing yours really makes it pop! Very, very nice. Karen in OR

  4. Thank you so much, Miranda, for laying them out together like this. Your tatted samples really make the differences in appearance clear. Now I have some extra motivation for mastering a these other joins.

  5. Excellent demo! It is so useful to see the different examples together. Thank you.

  6. Thank you for showing the differences in the various types of joins. I know how to make the lock join and the Catherine Wheel join but not the slope and roll join. Do you any visuals of how this is done?

  7. Jon, there's a good diagram at the DS9 site I linked to in the post. It's similar to a regular join in that you pull through a loop of ball thread and then pass the shuttle through it; the only difference is that you're joining to something below the chain instead of something above it. I hope this helps.

  8. That was a brilliant post. I can do the Catherine wheel..when I absolutely HAVE to..but it's not a favourite. Never done a slope and roll so must try. As you say sometimes we just DON'T want those little spots of colour!

  9. I came to this late, but I wanted to say what a useful post this is! Thank you Miranda!

  10. Had a look at this again. It is such a good post.
    Fox : )

  11. Hi Miranda :-)
    Your tabulated summation / comparison of different joins helped me tremendously while learning CWJ. I also checked out the DS9 Designs links. Both of these made the concept & technique very clear...
    I would like your permission to incorporate your table in my blogpost ? Or should I simply add a link to this post? Either way, I will give full credit.
    Looking forward to hearing from you

    1. Hi Muskaan,

      I can't find an e-mail address for you, so I hope you'll come back and check this reply. Yes, you are quite welcome to link to this post. I hope others will find it helpful as well.

    2. Thank you so much, Miranda!
      I'm still a bit new to all this blogging, etc. hence the url didn't show up earlier (I think I used Open ID). Hopefully, this time it will.
      I was actually hoping to "Reproduce" your table. But linking to it is fine.
      Should be able to put up the post in a couple of days.
      Best regards :-)

  12. I am new with some of these joins. I read where some got some information form Ds9 designs, but when I went there I can't find anythng on it at all. I have no idea what the slop and roll join is and I would like to learn that one too.
    Could someone help me find where they are please?

    1. Click the link to DS9 in this post. You no longer have to scroll down to find the information there. There are two links near the top, right under the first paragraph, above all the patterns.

  13. I have now found it and have the info on the other joins. Thanks much..!