Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Crazy? Double Shells Save the Day

Normally it does not take me weeks and weeks and weeks to crochet a specialized baby shower gift. However, this set did!

The blanket is my design. I started with six chains, my jeweled "F" Graydog crochet hook, a skein of Plymouth Yarn's "Dream Baby dk" yarn in soft mint. Six chains Dee? Yes, six chains. I used what is known as "The Crazy Stitch," a series of "blocks" crocheted diagonally.

Once I reached the size I wanted the baby blanket to be I became stumped. What was I going to do for the border? I poured through books, gandered at seemingly thousands of other baby blankets looking for the perfect border solution to no avail. Was I being too picky? I don't think so. My problem was in not knowing if the baby would be a boy or a girl -- this made it a bit of a challenge in picking the perfect border for my project!

At my CGOA's Chapter meeting last month I brought the blanket with me. Time was starting to run out! As I doodled with my hook & yarn with possibilities, I decided to begin the border using shells. Shells? Yeah, I know what you're thinking: crochet shells are used so often! They're a staple of crochet! How could I possibly make the border "more original" when crocheting shells? I had a plan! The last row would be DOUBLED shells, something I don't recall seeing before!

How to create Doubled Shells as a Border (in a nut shell):
1. crochet shells in front loop of designated stitch, leaving back loop unworked.
2. anchor shell with traditional single crochet going through both loops.
3. continue this process around, join with slip stitch after going completely around.
4. crochet shells in back loop of designated stitch using extended dc stitches AND adding 2 more dc stitches to the count.
5. anchor shell to sc with a sl st.
6. continue this process around, join with a slip stitch. End off. Tuck ends in.
7. happy dance; it looks awesome!

Unfortunately I never made it to the baby shower because I had come down with the flu. This also meant I decided not to design my own little sweater for the baby. Instead, I turned to the Leisure Arts booklet called "Lullaby Layettes" (leaflet #2614), and used pattern # 4 called "blocks." This is another variation of the crochet crazy stitch, and when worked in the same yarn in white, it matched my blanket beautifully.

I gave the set to the expectant parents on Thanksgiving Day; they were tickled. The parents-to-be loved the colors, how soft the blanket & sweater came out, the stitch pattern AND the double shelled border! ... any day now I'll find out if I have a grand-niece or grand-nephew. ... maybe this means I have time to whip up a little bonnet....or cap..... :)


Anonymous said...

Very cute! They look like complete little shells opened up. Why do you need the extra ex. dc's?
PS Wish you were coming to Miami. :-(

CrochetWithDee said...

Good questions, Marianne!

The extended double crochet stitches make the 2nd set of shells taller, easier to see.

The extra 2 stitches in the 2nd set of shells also relaxes the 2nd shell a bit, giving a ever so slight rippling effect.

Thanks for asking, Marianne :)

Ghost said...

It is a beautiful done keepsake. Good think and very unique.

Nancy said...

They came out great, Dee!!
Congratulations on being an Auntie!

I'm glad you're feeling a bit better now!

Dorothy said...

Can you tell me how to do an extended dc please. The blanket looks lovely.

Anonymous said...

Lovely gifts! I am going to try the double shells soon.