Two-color Reversible Shells Afghan - Free crochet pattern


[Updated November 27, 2006: If you have problems printing this web page, try this stripped down version of the page.]

Based on my son's Two-color Reversible Shell Baby Blanket, I created the following pattern for a Two-color Reversible Shells Afghan. They are very close, but not identical. My pattern results in shells that are more centered (symmetry is one of "my things"!) instead of a little off center. My son's blanket was made over 25 years ago. I have no idea what the pattern was or where it is. In fact, I'm not even sure I made the blanket! My Mom thinks she may have made it.

I created a 9-row sample swatch of 8 shells across so I could provide closeup photos of the details, but I left my digital camera at work so that'll have to wait. [UPDATE November 25, 2004 1:10pm - photos added above.]

Two-color Reversible Shells Afghan

Colors: Choose whatever colors you desire. Be creative! Use more than 2 colors, or change colors every two rows, or make one side one color and change colors every 2 rows on the other's your blanket!

Color A (Brown in my sample)
Color B (Green in my sample)

Yarn and Hook: Use whatever type of yarn you want and whatever size crochet hook feels comfortable with that yarn.

Size: Make it whatever size you want. Make sure you have enough yarn or can buy more if you run out!

Shell: 5 dc in one stitch.

Shell around chain loop: For each dc in the 5-dc shell: yarn over, insert hook into the designated stitch, place the chain loop made in the previous row on the hook, yarn over and pull through chain loop and stitch, yarn over and pull through two loops, yarn over and pull through last 2 loops on hook.

Border: If you want a border, make one of your choice. The pattern for my son's blanket did not have a border.

Notes: Do not turn unless directed. Make sure the dropped color does NOT unravel. Do not finish off until you want to stop using a color.

With Color A:

Row 1 (starting chain): Starting chain requires a multiple of 4 plus 1. Make the chain as long as you want the blanket to be wide, but make sure the total number of stitches is a multiple of 4 plus 1. For example, 4 x 20 = 80 plus 1 = 81 chain stitches. Chain LOOSELY. If the item begins to arch, the starting chain was not loose enough.

Row 2 (shells): First 3 chain stitches close to hook count as first dc. 4 dc in 3rd st from hook, ch 1, (skip 3 sts, make shell, ch 1) to end of chain. 1 stitch on starting chain will be leftover. Do not turn. Drop Color A off hook - make sure it does not unravel. Do not finish off.

With Color B:

Row 3 (chain loops): Attach with sc to bottom of first dc on Row 2. (ch 6, sc on Row 1 in second of 3 skipped stitches after shell) across to end - last sc goes in the leftover chain on the starting chain. ch 4. Do not turn. Make sure the dropped Color A chain and yarn are IN BACK so the chains aren't twisted. sc in top of last dc in last shell on Row 2. ch 2. Turn.

Row 4 (shells around chain loops): Make sure the dropped Color A chain and yarn are IN FRONT so the chains aren't twisted. (make shell around chain loop, ch 1) in 3rd dc of each Color A shell across. Do not turn. Drop Color B off hook - make sure it does not unravel. Do not finish off.

With Color A:

Row 5 (chain loops): Pick up Color A again. ch 5 (chain has 6 stitches now). sc in the sc between previous row of Color A shells. (ch 6, sc in sc between shells) across to end of row - last sc goes in top of the last dc in the last Color A shell. ch 4. Make sure the dropped Color B chain and yarn are IN BACK. sc in top of last dc in the last Color A shell. ch 2. Turn.

Row 6 (shells around chain loops): Make sure the dropped Color B chain and yarn are IN FRONT. (make shell around chain loop, ch 1) in 3rd dc of each Color B shell across. Do not turn. Drop Color A off hook - make sure it does not unravel. Do not finish off.

With Color B:

Row 7 (chain loops): Pick up Color B again. ch 5 (chain has 6 stitches now). sc in the sc between previous row of Color B shells. (ch 6, sc in sc between shells) across to end of row - last sc goes in top of the last dc in the last Color B shell. ch 4. Make sure the dropped Color A chain and yarn are IN BACK. sc in top of last dc in the last Color B shell. ch 2. Turn.

Row 8 (shells around chain loops): Make sure the dropped Color A chain and yarn are IN FRONT. (make shell around chain loop, ch 1) in 3rd dc of each Color A shell across. Do not turn. Drop Color B off hook - make sure it does not unravel. Do not finish off.

Repeat Rows 5-8 until the blanket is the desired length. End with Row 6 or Row 8 depending on whether you want the starting edge and ending edge to be the same color (Row 6) or different colors (Row 8).

Finish off. Weave in yarn ends. Enjoy!

[Updated 9:09pm]

I have tested this pattern, but I also wrote the directions so they're not necessarily clear to anyone else. Feel free to leave a comment if you have questions about the pattern.


Thank you for writing up this pattern, Cheryl! I love the one made for your son, and can't wait to see the photos of your swatches! :-)

Thanks for posting this pattern. My mom always made it for friends and family. I recently moved and the pattern is not unpacked yet. I need it to get started. I need to have one done around the holidays.

I'd love to make a lapghan sized two tone reversible shell afghan, but I'm having trouble figuring out how many stitches I should start with. Do you happen to have a number to get me started?

Hi, Joyce - The starting number is something you can easily figure out. Lapghans are about 35 inches wide x 45 inches long, but can be larger depending on what is wanted.

Follow what Row 1 says for the starting chain: Make a LOOSE chain the length of a multiple of 4 plus 1. Make the chain as long as you want the blanket to be wide, but make sure the total number of stitches is a multiple of 4 plus 1. For example, 4 x 20 = 80 plus 1 = 81 chain stitches.

The actual number of starting chains will depend on the thickness of yarn being used, the size of the crochet hook, and your gauge (how tight or loose you crochet).

Start with 81 chains and measure the length - is it close to 35 inches? If it's too short, add more 4 or 8 or 16 or 24 or 32 or 36 or 40...or any multiple of 4)...chains and measure again. If it's too long, shorten the starting chain by 4 or 8 or 16...or any multiple of 4...chains and measure again.

Once you've worked a few rows, measure the width again to make sure it's what you want. If not, pull it out and start the chain again.

HI Cheryl,
A crochet friend sent me your website for the two-colored double sided baby blanket.
I will print it and try it!
Please, could you send me the "old" version of the pattern? We have a little grandaughter. She was just born last Monday, the first day of spring. Thank you so much for your help.
Warmest regards,
Linda Ferraro

Hi, Linda - The original version of the pattern is very similar to the one I posted. I cannot copy it for you since that is a copyright violation. Enjoy making the two-color reversible afghan I posted, as well as your new granddaughter!


i have this pattern in french from a friend, but was so pleased to see it in english, i do not understand the french one too well, but i cannot print pages2,3 and 4, how come.

thank you

Hi, Geraldine - I do not know why you cannot get that web page to print. You can try saving it to your computer's hard drive, and then opening it in a word processing program (such as MS Word) and print it from that program. You can also try highlighting the text on that web page, copying it, and pasting it into a word processing program, and then printing it (if you're using a PC: click and drag over the text you want to highlight, press CTRL c to copy it, and press CTRL v in the word processing window to paste it).


I sent out an S.O.S for this pattern and I was sent the link to your site from a woman that belongs to the same knitting group as me. I had made this one before from a magazine. I think it was Lion Brand or Red Heart. It was for a full size afghan that I scaled down for a baby. I have since lost the pattern and wanted to make it again. I'm so glad you have it here. It's hard to find. Thanks

Ontario Canada

Hi, Kimberly, I'm glad you found the pattern! The stats for this blog indicate that many people are interested in a reversible shell blanket pattern.

Hi Cheryl:

Your blanket is very popular... I am having requests to help customers create this blanket. Do you have any idea about how many yards of yarn are needed for this design - in particular, one of my customers is designing a 36 x 48" blanket. This is a wonderful pattern and your site is wonderful! How nice you are to help others with lost patterns! I am going to bookmark your site and refer other crocheters to it when they are looking for a blanket to make up.

Thanks for any help you can provide.


For people having trouble printing this page from my blog, I've added a link to a stripped down version of the page at the beginning of this entry, just under the thumbnail photos above.

Hi, Cyndi - I'm glad people having fun making blankets with this pattern! I don't have any yardage information since the pattern can be made for any size blanket. When buying yarn for this pattern, however, keep in mind that it is 2-sided so about twice as much yarn as a 1-sided blanket will be needed. Buy more than enough - many stores allow returns of unused skeins of yarn with a receipt.

Hi Cheryl,

My aunt gave me this pattern as well as a baby blanket in the '80s. I recently got the pattern out and made a blanket for the Linus Project. One of the little notes that my aunt gave me was to chain the ends of the shell stitch at the end of the row, that gave you some extra stitches to keep from unravelling. I have loved having that little "extra" space. Thanks for recreating the pattern.

Glad you like the pattern, Vija! Thanks for the tip too.

I have been looking for this pattern the two color reversible shells afghan. Have tried to copy so i could make and I cannot copy it will just copy the first page is there anywhere else i can copy your free pattern for this afghan? thank You

Hi, Shirley - Print the "stripped down" pattern at the link at the top of the blog entry. That version of the pattern doesn't have the print-only-the-first-page problem the main blog entry seems to have for some people. The direct link is:

Thank you so much. I made this blanket for several expectant mothers in the early 80's and can't seem to find my pattern. I got it originally at Super Yarn Mart, but I don't live in So. Cal anymore. Wanted to make a large one for WA weather.

You're welcome, Jane! I remember Super Yarn Mart - there was one in Hayward, California. It was a favorite of mine and my Mom's!

I just wanted to let you know that the way you wrote this pattern was great. I had another pattern that I just could not understand. Even went to a crochet teacher and it didn't make since to me. When I read your pattern it was clear and concise. Thank you and keep it up

Thank you so much for posting this. I was asked to make this Baby afghan for a work-mate way back in the late '80's when I was working in Toronto, Ontario (Canada). She was expecting, and bought this kit because she liked it (possibly in the U.S.), but she didn't crochet. The colours were white & teal-green. Afterwards, she let me keep the pattern, and I made one for myself in the same colours. Recently started one for a new baby using "dishcloth" cotton. It's coming along nicely. I love this pattern so much that I would save it in a fire! I've been looking for variations on it for at least a year. Once upon a time, Mary Maxim offered a pattern like this that made an afghan that looked like gingham. Didn't buy it because of it's price, and have never seen a pattern like it again. Thank you for solving the mystery with the credit & reference to "Lee Wards" crafts. I'd forgotten all about them from my years living in the U.S. from the mid-'70's to the mid-'80's. Eureka! Signed, a happy crochet-er in southwestern Ontario

Thank you! I left out specifics about sizes and amounts of yarn so people could do their own thing! I'm glad you found the pattern easy to understand.

Hi, Katrina - You're very welcome! Have fun with it - and don't limit it to baby blankets!

Just finished a swatch to figure out the pattern..Now I am ready to roll it is actually kinda fun watching the colors join , compliment and peek out from each other..just adore this pattern..THANK YOU so very much.. doing in main color black then my intentions is to use up odds and ends of my stash..wish me luck cuz I am making a fairly big um..:) Thanks again been searching for a project and this is more than perfect so generious of you to take the time and share..and I concure your directions were also perfection..

Thanks, Suzanne! Black on one side and a multitude of colors on the other side is a great idea! Thanks for your feedback!


Cheryl, Thank you so much for posting this pattern. It must have been quite some job recreating it. My mother-in-law made my son this blanket in 1974. I have been searching for it for quite some time now. I took a digital photo of the blanket and sent it out to a number of companies trying to find it. The odd thing about finally locating it was that my daughter-in-law who is married to my son who received it originally from my mother-in-law actually found this on your site. Again, thank you so much and I look forward to making this blanket for my grandchild.

Thank you Cheryl for the reversible afghan pattern. Like others I have spent a lot of time looking for it. I first made one in 1987 for my granddaughter who is now 20 and who still has it on the end of her bed.Bless you, B.

Hi, Barbara - Thank you for your note! I'm glad you've found it useful!

shell around loops instructions are sort of confusing, according to them you YO 5 X shouldn't it be 5 DC in the chain loop?

Hi, Peg - Yes, you're making 5 dc in the chain loop, but before picking up the chain loop, you insert the hook into the designated stitch (such as the 3rd dc of the shell on the previous row). This attaches the chain to the shell at that 3rd dc stitch). Does that make it clearer?

Can you help me? Your pattern is the closest one that I have found that matches mine. On mine, I finish off one color, and turn the blanket over to begin the second color. I have got it to the size that I want, but I'm not sure how to finish the last row because it sticks out a little bit farther. Is there any way that you can help me? It's for a Christmas present, and the person who told me the pattern, didn't tell me how to finish it off. Any help would be greatly appreciated. : )

Hi, Courtney - The last row would be a shell row, not a loop row. The color of the last shell row will be longer than the shell of the other color. You can choose to start with color A and finish with color B, or start and finish with color A, depending on how you want the finished blanket to look.

Geraldine Colbeck says in the comments that she have this pattern in french. I'm french speaking and have difficulty with english. I'm looking for this pattern for a long time because I did a yellow and green blanket for my kid 24 years ago with this pattern. Now I want to do it for my grand daughter for april 2008.

Can you ask Geraldine to email it to me please.

Hi, Lorraine - I've just forwarded your message to Geraldine and asked her to respond to your request. Good luck!

I just wanted to say I simply love your site.I have book marked it and sent it to several of my crochet friends.I'm 57yr.old and I love to crochet and make gifts.I have been serching for a pattern for years now.I was in an old mag. around 1983,it now is out of print,It was of a chicken breadbasket,where once done it slides over a wicker type basket or bowl,and the wings lift up so you canget to the rolls or cookies,etc.It was done in cream color and the tail was a zig zag pattern.can you help me with this pattern?Peggy in Pa.

Hi, Peggy - Thank you so much for your nice comment!

I imagined it would be difficult to find a chicken bread basket pattern - of any kind! *BUT* here's one on - and it might be the one you're looking for! Item number: 300185761947

Good luck!

Hi Cheryle
Ihave just found your fab two-tonerev. shell afgan pattern.
Iam having trouble with des.stitch
could you please explain thankyou

Hi, Lesley - The pattern instructions are written in detail. What is the problem you're having?

Hi Cheryl, I am having trouble with row 4. I am reading the instructions but I just can't quite make since of it(I am sorry) I had brain surgery and somethings I just can't figure out yet, is there some other way you can walk me thru row 4? I don't know what to do with the chain loop.
Thanks You very much.

Hi, Bonnie - Let's see... You will use Color B for Row 4. "(make shell around chain loop, ch 1)" means to do the shell stitch (which is just 5dc) in the 3rd dc of the previous shell row. While you're making the 5dc, you will place the chain loop from the previous row on the hook.

The photos at the top of the pattern show the chain loop included with the 5dc shell stitches.

Let me know if you have more questions...

Hi Cheryl, I think I am starting to understand this, I wish you could show us in a video exactly what you are talking about but I am going to try this tomorrow and see if I do it right. Thanks for the help

You're welcome! Let me know how you're doing with it.

Cheryl, I love the pattern. I am using chocolate brown and pale blue. I am having trouble with the end of the "chain loop" rows: last sc goes in top of the last dc in the last Color A shell. ch 4. . .sc in top of last dc in the last Color A shell. ch 2. turn. This (ch makes a loop. I'm not sure what to do with it.

Hi, Jo Ella - That "ch 4, sc" is on the SIDE of the blanket - it's what gets you in position to make the row of shells with the same color of yarn used for the chain. If the loop is too large, you can ch 3 instead - or 2 depending on your stitch gauge. The 3rd photo on the pattern shows in brown yarn the end of the chain row and the first few shells of the following brown yarn shell row - the end of the chain row is the small loop you see on the left side of the photo.

Let me know if you have more questions!

I have been looking everywhere on the internet for something like this. PERFECT. Thank you so much.

when making reversible blankets do you always drop one thread ? I have seen this stitch in baby afghan; still don't understand how it's done. I guess i need to see a picture of stitches .

Thank you so much for making this pattern available. My mother made this afghan many, many years ago. She has been deceased for many years and I looked for her pattern and could not find it. I still have the afghan she made, which my husband loves and my oldest daughter wants. Nice and warm. Thanks again.

I am trying this with a bulky yarn (Size I hook). Should I see the same two-sided look as if I used baby yarn?

Hi, Teresa - The look will be the same - just thicker. Have fun!

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This page contains a single entry by Cheryl published on October 29, 2004 7:04 PM.

Pillow covers - In progress was the previous entry in this blog.

Pillow covers - Various colors is the next entry in this blog.

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