Crochet Crab Stitch: Uses and How to Instructions
(a.k.a. Reverse Single Crochet, Corded Edge)
Crab Stitch Rewritten by Janice Jones |Last Updated 05/19/2023
The Crab stitch is a simple single crochet stitch, but instead of working the rows right to left it should be worked from left to right.
there is one more name for this stitch - Reverse Single Crochet. It
looks pretty decorative and reminds me of a cord. A corded edge or shrimp
stitch are other well known names for the stitch.
Uses for the Crab Stitch or Reverse Single Crochet
Here are a few traditional ways to use a Reverse Single
- It is a good decorative border for a finished edge. Reverse
single crochet can be done both on a knitted or crocheted fabric.
It firms up the edge preventing it from rolling. At the same
time, decorative cord looks light and neat.
- It is a good solution for rounding off armholes and necklines
where steps of decreases are noticeable.
- In case you would like to insert a zipper, a decorated "frame" of
stitches along the edges will make it look neat and finished.
- A reverse single crochet stitch is a good "trick" to adjust a wavy
and stretched edges (usually it happens on the bottom of the sleeves,
sweater or a dress.)
- Crochet a row of the single crochets to make the
edge fits you. Did you not manage to make it proper from the first attempt?
Try one more time till you figure out how many single crochets on the
edge you need to make it fit. Use that row as a base for a decorative
How to Crochet a Crab Stitch
If you see this stitch in a pattern, it maybe called the Reverse Single Crochet Edging and is abbreviated rev-sc.
The best way to practice this stitch is to first create a swatch of single crochet.
Crab Stitch Tutorial
Materials Needed for the Crab Stitch Border
For the purposes of this tutorial, I am creating a swatch of single crochet stitches.
- Hook: Size 4.5 mm or US 7
- Yarn: Red Heart Super Saver #4 Worsted weight Yarn or yarn of your choice
- Tapestry Needle for weaving in ends
This smaller sized hook has created a square swatch that is stiff yet perfect for a coaster if you want to turn it into a project. Otherwise, you may want to consider trying out this stitch using a larger hook.
Abbreviations Used in this Crab Stitch Tutorial
sc Single Crochet
sl st Slip stitch
Directions for Making the Crab Stitch or Reverse Single Crochet
Ch 21. Turn.
Sc in the second chain from the hook. Sc in each chain until you finish the row.
Turn and Ch 1.
Work sc in each sc crochet to the end of row. Turn and Ch 1. Work enough rows to create a square swatch.
For this project, I created a square that was:
20 rows and 20 stitches = 4.25 inches.
Bind off. You can either weave in your ends or wait until you've added the crab stitch border and then do your weaving.
Crab Stitch Border
The stitch is easy to do, but it certainly requires some practice to make it look clean-cut. Reverse direction of crocheting can confuse you a little bit from the very beginning. Especially if you tend to crochet pretty tight. It does get easier with practice.
You can either choose to make the crab stitch in the same color yarn or find a contrasting color. For the purposes of this project, I chose a contrasting color.
You will be working in the opposite direction that you normally work, so if you are right handed, work from the left to the right. If you are left handed, work towards the left.
Attach a new color if desired and insert your hook from the front to the back. You will still be working the single crochet stitch, just moving in the opposite direction.
You should crochet from the left to the right (right-handed
people). Yarn is in the back of the work. Insert the hook from front to
back at the end of the row. Chain one for height.
Yarn over. Draw up a loop. There are two loops on the hook.
Yarn over. Pull yarn through both loops as usual for a single crochet.
Continue across the row inserting your hook at right to begin the next crab stitch.
It does feel a little awkward at first but by the time you have created a crab stitch in each sc around the edges, you will feel like a pro. As you get to the end, create a slip stitch and pull through. Cut your yarn and weave in the ends.
Crab Stitch Question and Answers
Questions: Why can't you just go around the edge with a row of single crochet stitches?
Answer: You can certainly do that. There is nothing wrong with that, but the edging will not look the same. The crab stitch provides a more finished look for your edges.
Question: Do I need to add an extra stitch to each corner so that the corners look more mitered?
Answer: You can but for this stitch is not necessary unless you are looking for that mitered edge. If you want to do so, create your corners as if you were making a granny square, for example. One single crochet followed by a chain and then another single crochet in the same space.
One of my favorite crochet handbooks is called Complete Crochet Course: The Ultimate Reference Guide by Shannon and Jason Mullett-Bowlsby. I used this reference in writing this tutorial.
If You Found this Crab Stitch Tutorial Helpful, May I Suggest...
The Single crochet rib stitch is a beginner friendly stitch that looks surprisingly similar to the knit rib stitch and is useful for many different projects.
The double crochet stitch is a basic but very versatile stitch used in hundreds of project. Picture how to with detailed instructions.
The Grit Crochet Stitch is a lovely pattern that creates a dense fabric with a little bit of texture. It's also an easy beginner stitch. Tutorials and Pattern
Bullion stitch looks very decorative, but requires a lot of practice - A few practical tips and videos to make your learning curve easier...
The double treble crochet stitch is a very tall stitch but very easy to make once you master the double crochet. Picture tutorials and detailed instructions.
The half double crochet stitch is easy and fun to work. Learn how it's made, what it's used for, and practice a few alternative ways of making the stitch.
Traditional shell crochet stitch and filet crochet mesh compliment each other being used in a new way. Design your own 3-D filet crochet pattern decorating mesh with shell stitch.
Crochet puff stitches are one of the beginner friendly way to add texture to crochet fabric. Learn how to make this easy stitch by step by step directions.
The Picot stitch is usually a headache for many. It just doesn't look right. Meanwhile there are at least three different ways to crochet it. Find out how...
A gorgeous crochet stitch with a funny name - Drunken Granny Stitch...
The single crochet stitch is the most basic one: Learn how it is made and what you can do once you master this stitch.
The Crochet V stitch is an easy beginner stitch that creates a lovely pattern that can be incorporated into many different patterns, washcloths, scarves, etc.
Here's a step by step granny squares tutorial to get you started making all kinds of project from this old but crochet favorite pattern
The crochet slip stitch is a very short stitch used to move from one place to another or to finish off an edge. See how it's done.
Cluster stitch is a crochet classic - it is easy to make and has endless possibilities to be combined with other stitches to form new patterns
The treble crochet stitch, aka Triple Crochet is a beginner stitch that is easy to pick up and fast to make. A good stitch if you want a loose fabric.
The crochet basketweave stitch looks very similar to the knit basketweave stitch with some obvious differences. Learn how to create this lovely stitch.
My Recommendations for the Best Crochet Books to check out: We include general guides, pattern books, stitch dictionaries
The crochet shell stitches are a rich textural stitch that is very beginner friendly with plenty of uses
Crochet Solid Granny Squares. There are a lot of variations for crocheting solid Granny. Find out the basics for crocheting ANY of them.
Learn how to make basic crochet stitches and those just slightly more advanced with straightforward instructions, photographs and video tutorials.
Here's how to crochet the moss or granite crochet stich with instructions and picture tutorial instructions for the beginner crochet crafter.
The crochet wattle stitch is an easy/beginner stitch that insists of a pattern of single and double crochet. Learn by making our free dishcloth pattern.