How can I merge/join/connect items in timeline

I’ve seen this topic going back over a year, but haven’t seen a current answer.
I have a timeline with multiple splits - some due to various items being added, some due to me splitting longer items. I want to join several of these together - the multiple splits are getting in the way.
Obviously I can export the timeline or a portion of it, but I prefer to continue to work within the project - both for convenience and to avoid the image degradation that occurs with each export.
Is there a way to do this? If so, how?
Thanks in advance.

Export to a lossless codec.
ProRes or DNxHD will also work.

From your answer I gather there is no way to merge/join/connect items in the timeline and that export is necessary. In other words, it can’t be done within an open project.

I might be wrong, but I can’t think of any editor which pre-merges clips before output to a new file.
Some let you merge audio streams with video streams, but not video to video.
I think Premier has a ‘Nested Sequence’ function (rather like grouping I’d imagine)

You could save the project as a “.mlt” file and then open that .mlt file in a new project. Use “File->Open MLT XML as Clip…”. You would have to do this once for each “group” of clips that you want to merge.

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I think you are looking for a grouping feature. That does not exist yet likely some time in the future.

Some additional info to share how I ended up here.

I have a stop-motion timeline, which is an appended file from frames (it’s h264 mkv video already). I am about to cut it and do stuff. In the end I had the base clip and a TheEnd clip, both normal video.

There I wanted to make a crossfade but for that I needed the last frame at least 5-10 times (duplicate it as a freeze-framed video). So, I guessed, frame duplication doesn’t seem to be there so I cut the last frame, and insert it 10 times. Great, works, the result looks okay.

Now, I wanted to make the crossfade. After 4 crashes (segfault, oh well) it was obvious that crossfade can’t hadle overlaying multiple cuts (and, in fact, crash 3 out of 10). So I would need to merge the 10 stand-alone one-frame clips to be able to make a crossfade.

Saving and reloading is an obvious inconvenience. Can be done, of course.