After I posted photos of two babies with their baby afghans, Carolyn left a comment and asked "Do you ever share the stitch for these afghans?"
I certainly do, Carolyn, and I love to spread the word because this stitch is easy, fast and functional. Easy, because it only involves single crochet and slip stitch. Fast, because it goes twice as fast as single crochet and uses a large hook. Functional, because it incorporates a lot of air space into what looks like a solid surface, and thus makes a warm yet light blanket. And because of all that air, you don't have to worry that the baby will suffocate even if the afghan gets over his face. I have used this stitch for practically all the afghans I have made in the last 30 years, and that's a lot of afghans. I never see any need to improve upon success.
I don't know the name of this stitch, although it probably had one when I first learned it. After you make a foundation of chain stitch, you turn and come back by making one single crochet into the chain, two stitches back, then a slip stitch, then skipping a chain before inserting your hook into the second chain stitch. In effect, you're making a series of empty squares as you come back across the width of the afghan.
When you get to the end of that first row, make two slip stitches, turn the work around and do the same thing coming back -- a single crochet into the single crochet in the row beneath, a slip stitch, skip a stitch and insert the hook into the top of the single crochet in the row beneath.
|Make a single crochet|
|Make a slip stitch|
|Skip one stitch and insert into the next stitch|
|Always stitch into the little Vs (single crochet in row below)|
I often use one strand of white and one of a solid color, as in Baby Julian's, and you can get a particularly nice effect with two strands of variegated yarn, especially if you use different colorways.
I use big hooks, Boye brand only, size N with two strands of yarn, or maybe K with one strand. I use worsted weight, even for babies, because it's tough enough to hold up in the washing machine and it works up quickly. Baby or sport yarns are thinner and you would need to use a much smaller hook and thus make lots more stitches. But I will use thinner yarns sometimes as the second strand with a worsted weight main yarn, as in the photos here.
One last piece of advice: make your foundation chain quite loose, so loose it looks kind of sloppy as you start to work. For some reason this pattern stitch takes up more of the slack in your foundation chain than happens with other stitches I've used. If you don't leave plenty of slack to begin with, your afghan may end up one or two inches shorter along the bottom edge than it is the rest of the way, as if a cord got pulled tight to gather the edge in. Not fatal, but not beautiful. Ask me how I know.