Home » Afghans, Crocheted, My Patterns » No Beginning Chain Quick Shell Afghan

No Beginning Chain Quick Shell Afghan

19 September 2012
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The first row of an afghan with homespun or bouclé or other knobby style yarn can be frustrating. This afghan does not require finding chain stitches, even for the first row.

This pattern was designed to be easy for homespun or bouclé style yarns, but it can be made with just about any yarn. Make it in a solid color or with as many color changes as you like.

The example is made with two strands of DK weight yarn. It can also be made with one strand of bulky or super bulky yarn.

Size: This blanket can be made any size. Five widths are given in the directions.

SizeWidth (Inches)Length (Inches)Ounces of yarnYards of yarn
Extra Small33.1244.1619.82770.15
Extra Large56.1674.8856.982214.36

Yarn – Sizing given for Super Bulky yarn but other weights can be used. If using two stands of lighter yarn, double the yardage.
Size N (10.0mm) crochet hook

ch = chain
ch sp = chain space
dc = double crochet
sc = single crochet
tr = treble/triple crochet


There is a tutorial video and a chart available for this blanket.

Instead of a beginning chain, the blanket is begun with a first row of chain and tr spaces.

For these widths, start with this number of chain and tr spaces:
33″ = 23
39″ = 27
44.75″ = 31
50.5″ = 35
56.25″ = 39

Row 1: Ch 3, tr in first ch, (ch 3, tr in last ch sp) even number of times.

Do not turn.

Row 2: Ch 4. Without turning the work, 2 dc over tr just made. Working across the tr stitches, (sc, ch 3, sc) over next tr, ** (2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc) over next tr, (sc, ch 3, sc) over next tr. Repeat from ** across all but last tr stitch. Over last tr, 2 dc, 1 tr.

Row 3: Ch 3 and turn. Sc in space between tr and dc. ** (2 Dc, ch 2, 2 dc) in ch-3 sp, (sc, ch3, sc) in ch-2 sp. Repeat from ** across to last 2 dc and turning chain. (Sc, ch 1, dc) in space between 2nd dc and turning chain.

Row 4: Ch 4 and turn. 2 dc in ch-1 sp. (Sc, ch 3, sc) in ch-2 sp, ** (2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc) in ch-3 sp, (sc, ch 3, sc) in ch-2 sp. Repeat from ** across to last ch-3 sp. (2 Dc, 1 tr) in last ch-3 sp.

Repeat row 3 and 4 until afghan is desired length. Finish off and weave in end.

The blanket can be made in a solid color or can be made with any number of color changes. The best way to make a color change is to finish all but the very last pull through of the two loops of the last stitch of a row. Cut yarn with a few inches of tail and join with new color next to stitch. Pull new color through last two loops. Weave in ends.

8/19/15 – added chart link

Restrictions on the use of this pattern are available at http://stitcheryprojects.com/using-my-patterns/.

Afghans, Crocheted, My Patterns

54 Comments to “No Beginning Chain Quick Shell Afghan”

  1. OMG! The whole idea here is awesome — different sizes, how many ounces of yarn and/or “yardage”, the cool “foundation chain”, etc. I LOVE the whole thing. I wish these measurements were given in other patterns as well. Sometimes I love a scarf but I think the stitch would look good as a shawl or an afghan . . . you have nailed it ! ! ! Thank you.

  2. Absolutely amazing! Love the way your mind thinks! You should be the standard all others should strive for.

  3. I agree with both Vicki & Carolyn. I have made many afghans, both knit & crochet. I have to say this one
    is a have-to-make one. Thank you for a really interesting
    pattern, I cannot wait to try it.

  4. I can’t wait to try this out… love learning and making new things!! 🙂

  5. Wow! What an idea. I cannot wait to try it. I hate the first row, it is always so tedious, this is a much better idea. Thanks.

  6. This is AWSOME all patterns should be this great…IM LOVIN THIS

  7. this is a great pattern! I can hardly wait to try it…..and since I do a lot of crocheting in the winter, I have a feeling I’m gonna be making a few of these

  8. I really can’t wait to try this! I’ve been crocheting in the same old way since 1977. This year I’ve been battling hemo brain by learning new tricks and yours may just be the best one yet! I’ve got 5 wedding gifts or baby gifts to accomplish by April so much incentive to try it.

  9. ‘Have some boucle yarn that I can’t work with because I can’t “see” the stitches. This pattern ended that for me! I can use ANY yarn! Love it, love it, love it! Easy on the eyes. I started a scarf this morning. Thank you!

  10. The first NBC pattern I made was your Granny Ripple Afghan and I can’t tell you how grateful I am for this new way to begin. I have a vision problem and counting chains is difficult, so this is perfect for me. I am so anxious to start the Quick Shell afghan next. Thanks so very much for you very imaginative new way to begin afghans.

  11. Gee I sure am glad I clicked on this pattern
    I was just trying to start a shaw and it begins the same way
    but you are much clearer in your directions
    Thank alot

  12. love this pattern. I am teaching myself how to crochet….and I do better if there is a video to watch. do you know if there is a video I could watch?

  13. i’m wondering how this would look if a smaller hook is used. I was thinking about maybe using a 6mm hook , but how would i adjust the measurements and beginning pattern requirements. I was thinking about making the large size. Can you help me with this?

  14. I am new to crocheting and am trying this pattern for my new granddaughter but I am having trouble turning with even edges. Suggestions?

    • I don’t know what is happening. Could you give me more details or send me a picture?

      • Christy Hitchings

        I would make sure to be doing the right row. At first I kept getting confused with 3 and 4 now I mark them with a different color yarn so I know what row I am on. Good luck

  15. I love the shell pattern. All different ways. This is a blessing to me and makes my crocheting shell afghans much easier. Thank you 🙂

  16. thanks for posting this, it looks great and I will be trying it out, I have never done the no chain style but I also have trouble seeing the chains and I love how the design shows on this blanket, so pretty.4

  17. As a beginner I’m loving this pattern.its easy to follow and the video tutorial helps to start off. Thank you so much. I love the site lots of new things to keep me wanting more

  18. Christy Hitchings

    I love this pattern. It is the third pattern I have done with this foundation and it’s great thank you


  20. Samantha Brundage

    Thank you for this pattern. I cannot wait to try it. I too cannot see the chains well anymore and this pattern looks so much easier. The different colored yarn for rows works, I use the ties from bread bags and my daughter uses little gold safety pins. The video tutorial is wonderful. Sometimes seeing is so much better than reading and trying to visualize in your mind. Thank you again and please keep the new patterns coming.

  21. Adrian McFadden Evans

    Do you have to use thick yarn or two strands yarn ? I would like to use only 4ply yarn.

    • This can be made with any weight yarn. Use a hook size appropriate to the weight of yarn.

      • Is the size chart only for using 2 strands? What if I used a single stand of weight #4 yarn? Also, how do you do the last row(s) so that it matches the beginning?

        • The size chart is for 2 strands. For one strand use a smaller hook and begin with spaces for a couple of sizes larger blanket.

          To make an ending with loops so that all four sides have matching loops, continue the pattern repeating rows 3 and 4 and end with a row 4. Then complete these two rows:

          Next to last row: Ch 3 and turn. ** Sc in ch-3 sp, ch 3, sc in ch-2 sp, ch 3. Repeat from ** across to last 2 dc and turning chain. Sc in space between 2nd dc and turning chain.
          Last row: Ch 3 and turn. ** Sc in ch-3 sp, ch 3. Repeat from ** across to end of row. Sc in last sc. Finish off and weave in end.

  22. I was looking for something different to crochet, that doesn’t take to much time. My niece’s wedding is soon. I came across your video, wow. I learned faster when I used to watch my Mother, instead of reading from a booklet but she has past now. I picked up your instructions very quickly by watching you. It was such a pleasure watching your video. If you have more I will enjoy watching them too. Thank you

  23. Jessica Cockerell

    Can you give me something for really simple for beginners?

  24. Hi! I’m going to try making this beautiful afghan for a baby shower! Just wondering if you think this will work up well using baby yarn. And is it possible to add an edging to this blanket, as I really want to make it a special gift. If so, could you please suggest one. I’m going to make it in lavender, so I was looking for a “fancy” edging to complete this as it will be for a baby girl! Thank you so much this beautiful pattern and the YouTube tutorial. Really helps a beginning crocheter! 🙂

  25. This is the pattern I have been looking for. Thank you. Now to get started on my grandson’ gift. Thank you

  26. I love this “no beginning loops” I am making a neck scarf & made 7 across. I used the jamie pattern & its so pretty. I made it 34in. long so how do I end it with the no beginning loops to match the other end so I can put the fring strings on each end! Thanks Eve

  27. THANK YOU for this GREAT afghan pattern!!! I crochet (or knit) afghans and donate them to my local Children’s Hospital. The children get to take the afghans home when they get discharged so I’m always looking for interesting patterns and yarn. This is going to be my next one to make. God Bless.

  28. Is there a diagram for this? If not, could you kindly make one up? I’m having a heck of a time keeping it straight how to start and begin at each end and I find your diagrams to be a great help.

  29. Thank you so much for the pattern and video tutorial. I am new to crocheting and this really seems like a project I can do! I am so excited to get started.

  30. Very nice quick pattern , just what I needed . Do you have a graph? GRAPH are so much help , always make one please. Thank you I’m sending this pattern to 2 friends who are just learning to crochet.

  31. I am trying to make this pattern for a queen size bed. Any idea how many stitches to start with. Do not want it to the floor just midway down. Thank you. Love the pattern.

    • A queen mattress is 60″ wide.
      For a comforter width (86″) start with 59 chain/tr spaces.
      For a blanket width (90″) start with 63 chain/tr spaces.
      For a bedspread width (102″) start with 71 chain/tr spaces.

  32. I’m making an afghan with Isaac Mizrahi super bulky yarn. A skein is 69 yards and is 4.93 oz. I wanted to do the ex large blanket 56 x 74.88 in. But would that mean I need 32 skeins? And what size crochet hook would I use?

    • I looked around Ravelry for similar projects made in that yarn. One that used a 10mm hook indicated that it would take 17 skeins for that size. You would definitely need fewer beginning ch spaces than those given for that size in my pattern. It’s hard to convert sizes for changes in yarn weight, so the best way would be to just measure the length of your row 1 until it is what you want (as long as you use the right multiple). Several people were using size 15mm hook with that yarn.

  33. In this pattern you say Row 1: Ch 3, tr in first ch, (ch 3, tr in last ch sp) even number of times. But in your video tutorial you say an odd number of times. I was following your pattern and it didn’t work out so now I have to rip it out and add another loop.

    • There should be an odd number of total loops. In the pattern the “tr in first ch” is a loop so you will “(ch 3, tr in last ch sp) even number of times” to make a total of an odd number of loops.

  34. This is beautiful. As a beginner I feel intimidated, but the beauty of this pattern is incentive for me to try. Thank you.

  35. I HATE foundation chains. I usually end up doing Granny squares because all of the “no chain” patterns are out of my league. This one is awesome!! Thank you for sharing such a beautiful pattern that is easy to understand and quick to make.

  36. As a 71 year old man who has decided to take up crochet, (“Rosie Greer learned needle-point and no one laughed.) I hate chains. This method can be used no only on throws/afghans but also in scarfs and many smaller more narrow items. Thank you for this idea.
    P.S. I worked in structural design and this fits right in there.

  37. Hi, I love this pattern, however, I am now on row 6 and the blanket is curving quite a bit as if I have added stitches somewhere. I followed your video and thought I was doing it right. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance. Would it be because row one is too tight and the rest of the rows looser???? Help please…….

    • A tight first row could do that. If you can, send me a picture and I will see if there is another cause.

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