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Thursday, 23 April 2015

A SUPERB SHELLED TOP

A SUPERB SHELLED TOP

Lately it feels like the faster I work, the faster someone is tempting me with ideas .. oh, I am not complaining at all ..  just loving every creative moment.
I have come on a short trip out of Mumbai, and am with a friend.  Their daughter loved the last creation I’d made for my niece, and this is what she has chosen – and of course, I am thrilled to make something new and beautiful… and obviously you agree with me, as here we are..together yet again J

I don’t have a pattern page link, but here’s a photo of my inspiration.. just in case this was on your “to-do” list as well…  The inspiration in white and blue and my creation 


Materials used : A combination of ~ 170 gms our local Indian Red Rose knitting cotton yarn with a 3 mm crochet hook to make a top for a Size 33 - 34" (chest / bust)

Abbreviations used :
 fdc : Foundation double crochet                                dc : Double crochet
ch : chain                                                                         ch-sp : chain space
sp : space                                                                         rep : Repeat

Stitches used :
 fdc : Foundation Double Crochet :This is a unique way of starting a project directly with
a row of double crochet stitches.  This makes your whole project neat and even..in a
way that you need to do once, to agree!  If you are familiar with fsc, you’ll wonder why
you never used this start before !

Chainless dc start :Instead of the usual start with ch 2 or ch 3, I’d like to introduce this
lovely new way of starting a dc row.  Do take a look at this self explanatory super video
In case you are unhappy with this start, or do not like it, do continue with the usual ch-2
or ch-3 start.  However, all instructions will be given assuming that you are using the
chainless dc start.

Small shell :(dc ,ch 1, dc) all in the same st or ch-sp

Large shell :(3 dc ; ch 1, 3 dc) all in the same st or ch-sp

So as we start off,   let’s look at what we’re going to do today with our top.  We start at the base of our top and work upwards towards the armhole and neckline.  The designer has not done any major reductions, but has smartly added a thin belt-like cord around the waist that cinches it for shape.  The only reductions are for the armhole and then neckline.
The lovely pattern also has two sets of shells – and then for a difference, the designer has alternated colours for the shells to give it the lovely finish.  I am planning on using just one colour for this – as I think that the lovely shells will pop out on their own.  So you can now decide ..single or dual colour J 

Right, so we’re going to start with a  row of fdc – and as I said before, if you’re comfortable with this stitch, then great.. else go ahead and start with the usual chain row.

I am also writing out the color changes in case you’d like to do this with two colours.  In case you are using only one colour, do ignore these instructions.

Start (with Main colour) with a  multiple of 10 + 2 fdc.  Turn.

From this row on we will start with our pattern – so do review our two shell stitches.

Row 1 :  (with Contrast colour) : sc in 1st  2 fdc ; *sk next 3fdc,  large shell in next fdc ; sk next 3 fdc , sc in next 3 fdc* ; rep *to* till last 2 fdc ; sc in last 2 fdc. Turn

Row 2 : (with Contrast colour) :  2 dc in 1st sc ; *ch 3, sk nextsc and 3 dc,  sc in next ch-1 sp ; ch 3, sk next 3 dc and 1 sc , small shell in next sc* ; rep *to* till end. Turn

Row3 :  (with Main colour) : 4 dc in 1st small shell ; *[sc in next ch-3 sp , sc in next sc , sc in next ch-3 sp] ;  large shell in next small shell* ; rep *to* till last large shell ; 4 dc in last sc. Turn

Row 4 :  (with Main colour) : sc in 1st  dc ; *ch 3, sk next 3 dc and 1 sc , small shell in next sc ; ch 3, sk next sc and 3 dc, small shell in next sc* ; rep *to* till last 4 dc, sk 3 dc and sc in last dc. Turn

Row 5 :  (with Contrast colour) : sc in 1st  2 sts ; *sk next ch-3 sp,  large shell in next small shell ; sk next ch-3 sp , [sc in next ch-3 sp , sc in next sc , sc in next ch-3 sp]* ; rep *to* till end; sc in last 2sts. Turn


Rep Rows 2 – 5 till your project reaches armhole level.
Now there is a chart given below for the sizing of top and IF your full length equals that given below, then yaay.. you don’t need to calculate anything.. lucky you.  Else, well, like the rest of us, you’ll get your trusted tape measure out right now, won’t you? J


Armhole decreases : So once your project reaches the armhole level, we will need to slowly decrease.  Now once again, my trusted trick is to use a well-fitting top (of the person intended) for this.. else we’ll go by the general rule of thumb.. which is a larger decrease in the 1st row, then a smaller decrease in the next 2 rows.

Row 1 : sl-st till you’re in the ch-1 sp of the 1st large shell ; sc in that 1st ch-1 sp ; and then rep instructions for Row 2 all the way till you reach the last large shell ; sc in the ch-1 sp of that last large shell ; Turn.
You have the first large decrease completed.

Row 2 : sc in same 1st st ; sc in next ch-3 sp ; large shell in next small shell ; and then rep instructions for Row 3 all the way till you reach the last small shell ; then large shell in that small shell and 1 sc in the last ch-3 sp and sc in the last st.  Turn.

Row 3 : dc in the 1st st ; ch 3, sc in the ch-1 sp of the 1st large shell ; and then rep instructions for Row 4 all the way till you reach the last large shell ; sc in that ch-1 sp of the last large shell ; ch 3, and dc in the last st.  Turn.

Now continue without decreases following instructions for Row 5 next, and then rep Rows 2 to 5 once again till you reach the level you want your neckline.

I have, as the designer has, made a higher back and a slightly lower front – but whatever your choice, the decreases are the same.

So like you have for the armhole, you will need to decrease for the neck in 3 rows.  The only difference here will be that you will decrease in the centre bit of your top.  So to figure out where you want your decrease(s), what I do is fold my work in half, and mark the centre front and centre backs.  I then decide how deep I want the neckline and then mark that point, which will be deciding point for the neckline decrease.  Three quick decreases and we should have a good curve for our neckline. 
You will then continue without decrease in either neckline or armhole sides till you reach the shoulders.

Once you have completed one side of the shoulder, you will fasten off and re-attach yarn for the next side of the shoulder.
This will then complete one side of your top.

You will repeat all instructions till here for the other side of the top, remembering to mirror the armhole decreases, but if you want a different depth for necklines of back and front, adjust that accordingly.

Once done, a simple attachment of sides and shoulders and your beautiful top is complete.

Finishing :
So you’ve attached your front and back at the shoulders and sides. I am quite happy with the fdc row at the bottom being the way it is, without embellishments.. but you and your creativity can take it away to another dimension.

I’ve done a quick picot all around the neckline and armholes.


So just to make this an even and neat finish, I ran one round of (ch 2, sk 2 sts, sc in next st), all around the edges for the first row.
Now as the areas we’re working on are curved, there are some places where it will be difficult to figure out where you have 2 sts (that you need to skip).. so basically you work a ch 2 , sc evenly all around ... and as long as its all even and neat, that’s good.

The picots then will neatly go into the ch-2 sps.  The picot I used is a (ch 3, sl-st into the 1st ch) all around, and to get them neatly spaced, I worked *picot in the 1st ch-2 sp ; ch 1, sk next sc and picot in the next ch-2 sp* all around, joining with a sl-st at the end.
This picot pattern is done around the neckline as well.

If you so desire, you could actually do this around the baseline fdc row too.. just sk 2 fdc and picot in the next fdc.. you could also do the ch-2, sl 2 fdc, sc in the next fdc for a start row, and then (like you have done here) ; do the picot in the ch-2 sps.  The only tricky part is getting your ch-2 sps.. i.e in case you run out of an fdc, just play with the calculations a bit and adjust it such that you end with a ch-2 sp evenly. 

Fasten off.. weave in all ends... and then block as per your yarn instructions.. and c’est tout.  You have yet another brilliantly beautiful top all made .. ready for the night in town J

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Have a great day and see you soon. J

I have a few more top patterns already written out.. and here are links for those free patterns