Reversible Shells- A unique fabric

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.

The beginning foundation of Reversible Shells in crochet
Reversible Shells, Row 1

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.

Using a standing single crochet to join for Reversible Shells
Reversible Shells- drop the working loop and join the new color with a standing single crochet
Adding the first row of a new color in Reversible Shell crochet stitch is a chain loop
Reversible Shells- Work chain 6 and single crochet across, working a single crochet in the unused beginning chain.
Slip Stitch to attach this unique reversible fabric
Reversible Shell- Slip Stitch in last stitch of the other color, make sure to keep the long loop and working yarn out of the way.

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.

Work through the two rows in Reversible Shell crochet stitch
Reversible Shell- Insert hook through both the indicated stitch and the chain 6 loop that is the same color as the working yarn.
Single crochet in last stitch or turning chain.
Reversible Shell- Single crochet in the last stitch or turning chain

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.

Single crochet in the chain 1 space between the double crochets of the same color
Reversible Shells- Chain 6, single crochet in the chain 1 space between double crochets of the same color

And Repeat

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.

Reversible Shells crochet
Reversible Shells- Work the pattern until the desired length.

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.

Thermal Stitch in the Round

Some crochet stitches can take on a different feel and appearance if worked in a different direction. One such stitch is the Thermal Stitch.

View of Thermal in the Round from Even Rounds

This stitch creates a dense double layer fabric that has a unique honeycombed or waffled effect, which reminds me of long-johns with little indented squares. To learn the traditional method of this stitch technique check it out in this tutorial.

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 round.

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.

Beginning:

Method one: The magic loop/ring/circle. Essentially this technique involves making a loop of yarn and crocheting in this loop, like when crocheting over item (like the demonstration here making holiday wreaths).

Round 1: Work 8 single crochets into the loop (color cream), turn.

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.

Working Round 2 of Magic Circle method, inserting hook behind ring and through top loop closest to you,
Working Round 2 of Magic Circle Method as viewed from the Wrong Side
Thermal in the Round, Completed Round 1 & 2

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

Thermal in the Round, Round 2 working in the “through the stitch leg” method. Insert hook through one “leg” of the stitch and the top loop closest to you.

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

Thermal in the Round, Odd Round increase

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

Thermal in the Round, Even Round Increase, first stitch
Thermal in the Round, Even Round Increase, second stitch

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.

Thermal in the Round view from Odd Rounds

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 future.