Essentially there are 2 ways to create a thermal crochet stitch. I was first introduced to this technique over a decade ago. “Thermal” is worked one way, and today you can find it worked in a completely different manner. This is proves to me even more, that you cannot rely on the fancy names of crochet stitches, make sure and check the special stitches of a pattern.
However, I thought I would share what I have learned about this stitch. Basically a thermal stitch is one that creates a double sided fabric. Stitches are connected by working through the loops of 2 different rows to create the third.
Bottom Up -1 of 2 ways thermal crochet
I learned to connect these stitches from the “bottom up”. Insert the hook through the loop of the row 2 rows below upwardly and then through the front loop of the row typically be worked into. Yarn is wrapped around the hook and then pulled through these 2 loops. There is an additional yarn over, and pull through the last two loops; a single crochet thermal stitch is created. Learn it here.
The bottom up method creates a fabric that has the “front” or “right” side of the fabric facing outward, while the “back” of the stitch is captured in the center of the fabric.
Top Down -1 of 2 ways thermal crochet
The latest way I have seen this stitch explained, uses the same loops of the stitch rows has the base of the stitch, but instead works the hook down through the front loop of the regular working row and then through the unused loop of the row 2 rows below.
To prevent the stitches from twisting, the work is essentially worked “backwards”. Meaning that you are crocheting the fabric in the opposite direction from that which you usually do. This “top down” method creates a fabric that has the “wrong” of “back” side of the fabric facing outward with the “front” encapsulated in the center.
There are some slight visual differences with these methods, and the Bottom up approach tends to lend itself better to working in the round.
This is an interesting stitch, either way you work it. I am continuing to explore its possibilities.
Creating unique reversible crochet fabric is a really fun thing to do. The Reversible Shell stitch is a great technique that can create a memorable blanket, scarf, hat, or really just about anything.
It looks more intimidating than it really is. This technique is worked as a 4 row repeat, working 2 rows in each color.
One of the things that can be a bit trying about this stitch is that after working 2 rows of one color, you remove the hook from the working loop and pick up the loop of the other color and work 2 more rows.
Lets Get Started
Start with a beginning chain of a multiple of 4. The first row has a little different stitch pattern in order to keep the project looking symmetrical.
To work the first row, put a stitch marker in the 4th chain from the hook (this is to help find the location to join the second color), dc in 5th ch from hook, 3 dc in next ch, dc in next ch, [ch 1, sk 1, dc in next ch, 3 dc in next ch, dc in next ch] repeat across, leave last ch unworked. Do not turn.
A Little Unnerving Way to Start A New Row
Now for the unnerving part, pull your working loop up kind of long and remove your hook. With the second color join with a sc in the marked chain (to work a standing sc, check it out here), now ch 6, sc in the skipped chain of the beginning, (ch 6, sc in next ch) across, working last sc in the unworked last chain. Chain 1, and slip stitch to the last stitch worked in the other color making sure to keep the long loop and the working yarn of the other skein out of the way. Now you turn the fabric.
Join the Fabrics
This row essentially joins the two colors. When working the shell the hook is inserted through the indicated double crochet and chain 6 loop of the same color that is being worked. Ch2, sk 1 dc, Shell (5 dc in next dc and ch-6 loop), [ch 1, sk 4 dc, Shell in next dc and ch-6 loop (this is the center dc and the chain loop)] repeat across, sc in turning chain. Pull up the working loop to a long loop and remove hook. Do not turn.
Back to Working Only the Same Color
This row works through the same color. Start by inserting the hook in the other color loop, and resize the loop to fit the hook. [Ch 6 and sc in the ch-1 sp (between the 5 dc stitches)] repeat across. Turn and work the Row of joining the two colors.
Repeat the stitch pattern rows or working ch-6 loops, turning and working a joining shell. Then you drop the working yarn, pick up the other color and work the same stitch repeat.
Work this until you have the desired length.
I like to finish my work so that it has a little visual balance, so I work a row of the ch-6 loops, and fasten off that color. I then turn and pick up the other color loop. Chain 4 and [sc in the same location I would work a shell, picking up the ch-6 loop, ch 3] repeat across, sc in 2nd ch of ch-6 loop. Then fasten off.
I have found that it works nicely with a wide range of colors and yarn types. Lending itself to endless possibilities.
I pick up this stitch again recently and begun playing with
it in the round. This stitch is typically worked at only half the row height
increase of the single crochet stitch, working in both its on row stitch and
the one adjacent. As a result of this one, stitch stacked upon one stitch approach
it takes a bit of thinking to work the flat circular increases.
The first hurdle is to actually begin the round. You really
need to work 2 rows of fabric in the same beginning stitches to ensure an even
fabric consistency throughout. I have found two approaches to this in the
Please note that I worked this fabric as a different color
on each side, as it really helped me to keep the process understandable. In
doing such I would drop the color, leaving the working loop for the color live
and pick up the new color, switching like this between every Round. In addition,
I worked the entire fabric in a spiral method, meaning I did not join the
rounds when completed, I simply began the next stitches in the next round. This
was also so ease of keeping track of my location in the work. I have to play a
bit more with the end of the Rounds, as even working in a spiral they appear to
easily as the stitches become a bit clustered and dense, but it does allow for
the thermal stitch to be created.
Round 1: Work 8 single crochets into the loop (color cream),
Round 2: Drop color
from round one, join new color (color yellow). Working between stitches in between
the stitches of Round 1, [insert your from behind the magic ring, and through
the top loop closest to you in Round 1….this feels a bit awkward, but
essentially what you are doing is inserting your hook into the bottom ring and
the loop of the stitch in round 1, yo, pull through a loop, yo, pull through 2
loops] repeat 8 times, turn. -8 sts
Pull ring closed.
Method two: Working into a ring. Chain 4, and slip stitching to the first chain to form a ring.
Round 1: Ch 1, 8 sc in ring (color white), turn. -8 sts
Round 2: Drop color from Round 1, join new color (color
yellow) to one “leg” of the single crochet stitch, insert hook through same
point as join and the top loop closes to you of Round 1, yo, pull through a
loop, yo, pull through 2 loops, [insert hook into one “leg” of next single crochet
and the top loop of next stitch, yo, pull through a loop, yo, pull through 2
loops] 7 times, turn. -8 sts
All Subsequent Rounds….Working the Increases
Increases need to happen in each Round, but you are
essentially working the same increase for 2 rounds. Meaning that the stitch
count for Rounds 3 and 4 will be in same, the same number of stitches are
worked in the white, the same number in the yellow….like working two separate fabrics
at once. However the increases are slightly different in approach.
Round 3: Dropping yellow and picking up white, insert hook
through the front loop of Round 1, and the top loop closest to you in Round 2, yo,
pull through, yo, pull through 2 loops, insert hook into same location as
stitch just made and rework stitch, this is your increase. Work 2 thermal
stitches in each stitch around, turn. -16 sts
Round 4: Dropping white and picking up yellow, [insert hook
through the front loop of Round 2 and the top loop closest to you in Round 3,
yo, pull through, yo, pull through 2 loops, insert hook into the same front
loop of Round 2, and next top loop closest to you in Round 3 (note there are
already twice as many stitches in Round 3 as there are in Round 2…so there are
less front loops to work into then there are completed stitches, as a result
you need to increase Round 4 by working 2 stiches in the same Front loop, but
do not in the top loop closest to you)] repeat 7 times, turn. -16 sts
You work the same formula for a flat circle (you can find that here), in all the rounds going forward. I tend to think of the rounds in sets, a pair of one odd round and one even round (Round 1 & 2, Round 3 & 4, Round 5 & 6, etc.) Working all increases in Odd number rounds by working into the same front loop and the same top loop closest to you. Working all Even Round increases as the same front loop but different top loop closest to you. All non-increase stitches are worked as traditional Thermal Stitch (see tutorial for basic stitch)
This subtle difference in the increases between the rounds
is one reason the different colors helped me. I could remember that every time
I used the yellow yarn I was doing an even number Round increase.
This process takes a bit of practice, but the resulting
fabric has a nice textured look, and the dense nature lends itself nicely to
pot holders, trivets, wash scrubby, I could even see a nice warm hat in the