I made my version of this popular and free Project Linus blanket pattern that they’ve dubbed the Sideways Shell Baby Afghan (aka Newbie Shell Afghan) specially designed for new crocheters. It was designed by Donna Laing in 2000, but I made an identical one for my second baby in 1988. It was the second-to-the-last thing I had made before I took my 20-year hiatus from crocheting, and I made it in pink, blue and white variegated yarn because we didn’t know the sex of our baby until he was born. I still have that blanket, and it’s packed away in his keepsake box, but I remembered the pattern well and loved it.
While I’m more of an intermediate crocheter I love this pattern because the half shell is a fun stitch and the pattern is very forgiving. Mistakes are easily hidden and not noticeable and it works up quickly. This is my mindless pattern – I usually have two projects going at all times – one that needs constant concentration and precise stitches and one I can do while I’m watching TV or chatting with the hubby.
Crochet How To: Yarn Choices
I made my blanket with my favorite Caron Simply Soft Print Yarn C97003 – the color is Embroidery and have dubbed it, “Melting Crayons.” It was on sale on Amazon for $3.27 and I used 5 skeins to complete this project so my total cost was $16.35 (this yarn is no longer available on Amazon but I’ve put some yarn suggestions below that will work as well). My blanket is larger than a baby blanket and meant for a child who’s hospitalized so it’s long enough to cover them, but not so large and thick that they can’t take it with them throughout the hospital.
I’ve purchased 15 skeins so far of this yarn and have loved every item I’ve made with it! Amazon is displaying a really poor photo of it so I nearly passed it by, but I searched the Caron site and saw what it really looked like and fell in love. I’ve just purchased the other color listed with it (it hasn’t arrived yet), but I suspect I’ll enjoy it as well.
The blanket feels so luxurious to the touch – warm and snugly but not thick. I love the way it lays in my hand. I nearly put a teal border on it or some solid flowers, but I thought leaving it without flowers or other colors could make it a unisex blanket, even with the slight ruffle around the outside.
The yarn works up so beautifully – in this half shell pattern it looks like confetti. In the hats I made with the same yarn (find them here: Crafts: Crafting for a Cause) the yarn flows very differently, but it’s still beautiful.
I love that sometime in the future some child will receive this blanket, and a scary experience may get a little bit better because of this bright afghan that I infused with love.
I suggest the following yarns for this project: