Staggered Shells-Crochet for a Difference

Some crochet stitches appear more difficult then they may actually be, Staggered Shells I believe is one of these. This stitch is essentially comprised of single crochets worked between shells that are made up of five double crochets.

New crocheters sometimes do not realize that what creates a different look may simply be where you place a stitch, and that you can work more than one stitch in a location. However like all crochet stitches the name “shell” doesn’t tell you the entire story. “Shell” essentially means that there are a number of stitches worked in the same location, without looking at the Special Stitches section of a pattern there is no way to fully understand how this stitch is worked, what number of stitches, or which stitch for that matter is worked. For this shell pattern I have used five double crochets worked in the same stitch.

Staggered Shells

Staggered Shells, changing color every row.

I have written this stitch pattern out in an untraditional method to attempt to help in understand how to better read your stitches. In my teaching I have found that crochet can be very forgiving if you have learned how to read your work and not worry so much about counts. Seeing the pattern can free up your work (at the end of this post the stitch pattern is written in a traditional format).

Row 1: To begin you create a chain that is a multiple of 5, then add 2 more chains. Single crochet in the second chain from the hook, [skip the next 2 chains, work a shell (5 double crochets) in the next chain, skip the next 2 chains, single crochet in the next chain] repeating everything in the [ ] across, turn.

Row 2: Chain 3, 2 double crochet in the same stitch as the beginning chain, this creates a half shell at the edge of the fabric, work a single crochet in the center double crochet of the next shell, [then work a shell in the next single crochet (between shells), work a single crochet in the center double crochet of next shell] repeat everything in the [ ] until you reach the top of the last shell, after working the single crochet in the top of the last shell, work 3 double crochets in the last single crochet stitch (this is another half shell at the other edge of the work, turn.

Row 3: Chain 1, single crochet in the same stitch, [shell in the next single crochet, single crochet in the center double crochet of the next shell] repeat in the [ ] across, turn.

Repeat Rows 2 & 3 until it is the desired length.

I always like to practice new stitches and feel like I am accomplishing something at the same time, so I find places that may be interested in receiving a handmade blanket donation, you may want to consider reaching out to your local fire station and see if they maybe interested in receiving small afgahns that they can give to children or others that may be in the need of some extra comfort during a time of trauma. Not all trauma is physical and sometimes wrapping yourself in a blanket, or even having one draped over your shoulders can add comfort during difficult times.

The traditional pattern:

Shell: 5 dc in same st

Ch a multilple of 5 +2

Row 1: sc in 2nd ch from hook, [sk 2 chs, shell, sk 2 chs, sc] repeat across, turn.

Row 2: Ch 3, 2 dc in same st, sk 2 dc, sc in next dc, [shell in next sc, sk 2 dc, sc in next dc] repeat across, 3 dc in last sc, turn.

Row 3: Ch 1, sc in same st, [shell in next sc, sk 2 dc, sc in next dc] repeat across, turn.

Repeat Row 2 & 3 until desired length.

Cross Stitch- Crochet For a Difference

I will admit, that featuring on how crochet can make a difference locally has really helped me remained focus on what is important. Prior to working as a freelance designer and instructor I worked in public service, I there are times that I really miss the satisfaction at the end of the day knowing that you made a difference in someone’s life. So finding a way to remind myself that crocheting is a way to make an impact, is very powerful to me.

I was thinking about a simple stitch for an afghan, and my mind kept coming back to a simple cross stitch. It is made up of double crochet stitches that are, as the name states, crossed. To this stitch I work a chain in any even number, and add 1.

Row 1: Single crochet in the second chain from the hook and in each chain across, turn.

Row 2: Chain 3 (this will count as a double crochet, and not be crossed, this is the edge), [skip the next stitch, double crochet in the next stitch, now double crochet in the stitch that was skipped] repeat across, double crochet in the last stitch, turn.

Repeat Row 2 until desired length.

Final Row: Chain 1, single crochet in each stitch across.

Cross Stitch

Cross Stitch

This creates a lacy type of fabric, and works well in a wide variety of yarn types. It is a simple texture as well, creating many options of feel. One of the reasons I enjoy this stitch is that once it is set up, it almost becomes a mindless stitch pattern, since it is really pretty simple to see if I made an error, thus I do not have to count my stitches.

After working this stitch up in an afghan you may want to consider donating it to a local residential care home. In any community you may be familiar with long term care homes, or what some people call nursing homes, yet there are many smaller ones that may actually be down the street from you in a simple home. To find these locally in your community contact your local Long Term Care Ombudsman Program, this program facilitates and trains volunteers to routinely visit all sorts of care facilities to ensure that the rights of the residents are not being violated. Find your Long Term Care Ombudsman within your local Area Agency on Aging, find it here.

Simple Basket- Crochet for A Difference

There are various ways that crochet impacts organizations and individuals every day. I have always tried to use my crochet ability to make a local impact, so I want to share a crochet stitch and inspire you to Crochet For A Difference.

I have stated it in past posts, that crochet specialty stitch pattern names really are not known universally, but in order to make it clear about the stitch I am discussing I have to give it a name, so I want to share the Simple Basket Stitch Pattern with you.

Front post double crochet

Where to work a Front Post Double Crochet, insert the hook around the post.

This stitch pattern is worked in double crochet with the only variation being the Front Post Double Crochet. This Front Post stitch can seem intimidating, but essentially it is the same double crochet that you have always worked it is just in a different location. To work this stitch you begin with a yarn over and insert the hook around the body or post of the next stitch from the front to the back and then to the front again, and then work it as a regular double crochet by working a yarn over then pulling it through, then yarn over again and pull through two loops, twice.

To work the Simple Basket you need to create chain that is a multiple of 4, then add 2 more chains.

Row 1: Work a double crochet in each chain across, turn.

Row 2: Chain 3, [front post double crochet in the next 2 stitches, double crochet in the next 2 stitches] repeating across until 1 stitch remains, double crochet in the last stitch, turn.

Simple Basket Stitch

Simple Basket Stitch

Repeat Row 2 until you have reached the desired length.

To help visually understand where each stitch goes so that you do not have to worry about counting, essentially if the stitch you are working into appears to be pushed forward then work a front post double crochet, if the stitch you are working into appears to be pushed away from you work it as a double crochet stitch.

The texture created gives a great visual as well as esthetic feel. It has a nice loft to it that really helps the stitch feel like it is harder than it is. This can create a great blanket that you may consider to donate to a homeless shelter. It is estimated that any given night in the United States that over 600,000 people were experiencing homelessness only 17% of those are consider chronically homeless (source Meaning that a great percentage of those experiencing homeless on any given night, are in a short term housing situation and a simple blanket can make a difficult time a little more bearable. Find one in your community here.

V Stitch- Crochet for a Difference

ScannedImageCrocheting for a Difference, to me is a way to use my skills to benefit others. One of the drawbacks to being a Freelance Crochet Designer is that I do not get the direct feedback that I use to receive when I worked in the field of Social Work. It can be a bit isolating working from home, and not sure if you are making a positive impact on the world around you. So I crochet to help benefit others.

I have made countless scrap afghans and throws for a multitude of outlets and charities over the years. Even when I was staying at a city for only a short time I found places that could benefit from the hand skills of crochet. I have decided that I want to help encourage others to find a way to make a difference locally, so I am planning to share some stitch patterns and some ideas about places in your local community that might benefit from your crochet skills. I am calling it Crocheting for a Difference.

V Stitch Pattern for Crochet for a Difference

V Stitch

Today, I am sharing a basic V stitch pattern that I enjoy using to create a fast fabric. After establishing the first row, it really becomes pretty mindless, as you work the V stitches in the chain space created in the V stitch the row below. I usually work the entire length of the scrap yarn, and then change to the new color or skein, regardless of where I am in the fabric. This does cause color changes in the middle of a row, but I think it adds a nice rustic feel, but it can easily be a solid color, or stripes.

To begin you create a chain as long as you like (if you want Row 1 to work up without any extra chains, then crochet a chain that has a number of chains that is a multiple of 3, then add one more chain). Please note I am writing this stitch pattern in US standard format.

V stitch: (Double crochet, chain 1, double crochet) in the indicated location

Row 1: V stitch in the 5th chain from the hook, *skip two chains, V stitch in next chain; repeat from * across, double crochet in the last stitch, turn.

Row 2: Chain 3, V stitch in each chain-1 space across, double crochet in top of turning chain the row below, turn,

Repeat Row 2 until it is a desired length.

After creating an afghan in the stitch pattern consider donation to a Crisis Center, in some places known as a Women’s Center. Aiding those leaving domestic violence situations. Often when someone is leaving a volatile situation they leave with almost nothing, or nothing at all. A throw, an afghan, a scarf, a hat…all can help to begin a life anew.