I have found a way to eliminate the awkwardness of the starting chain on an Elmer Square.
The sample on the left is made with a starting ch5 in the corner, which equals a dc, ch2. The sample on the right is made with a different method, which I will describe below.
In the square on the left, the holes in the joined corners are larger than the other holes on the same square. The square on the right has more uniform holes.
In the square on the left, the starting chain makes the bottom of the stitch hide behind the last stitch of the round, so it appears that the bottoms of the two stitches are crossed over each other. In the square on the right, the bottoms of all 4 stitches are visible, just like all the other corners.
Here’s my preferred method for the Elmer Square.
Ch4. Sl st to form ring.
Rnd 1. Do not ch1. Work a sc, ch1 (equals 1st dc), dc, ch2, [3dc, ch2] three times. Then work final dc. To join this round, slip stitch in the top of the regular dc, not in the chain stitch at the beginning of the round.
Rnd 2. Do not ch1. Work sc in ch-2 sp, ch1 (equals dc). Dc, ch2, 2dc in same space. First corner is made. Dc in next 3 sts, ([2dc, ch2, 2dc] in ch-2 sp, dc in next 3 sts) three times. Sl st as in Rnd 1.
Continue with as many rounds as desired.
First corner is made.
Last stitch of each round goes here.
Slip stitch to join in top of first regular dc of round, not in chain above beginning sc.
Round is complete. Note that first [sc, ch1] looks like a regular dc, now that the round is properly joined. Use an invisible join (a.k.a needle join) on final round.