Crochet Shell Stitches by Janice Jones |Updated 05-22-2023
The crochet shell stitch is a lovely beginner stitch that can be used as a stand-alone stitch for blankets, pillows, scarves or any number of handmade goodies.
It adds texture but it is also a great choice for a decorative border. You’ll see it used in patterns created with one color, two colors, or any number of color changes for a distinctive look. The crochet shell stitch also makes a lovely border on knitted items.
For this tutorial, we will be practicing the crochet shell stitch as it is worked from row to row. Later on, I will show you some examples of how you can create a lovely border on any number of projects.
For simplicity, we will work each row in the same color, but feel free to change colors with each row.
The crochet shell stitch pattern is worked on a multiple of six stitches plus one.
Chain 25. (6 x 4) +1
Row One: Work 2 double crochet stitches in the fourth chain from the hook. Skip 2 chain stitches, then make 1 single crochet in the next chain stitch. Skip 2 more chain stitches. Next, make five double crochet stitches in the next chain. (These five double crochet stitches will make one shell). Next, skip 2 chains and make 1 single crochet in the next chain stitch. Skip 2 more chain stitches. Make five double crochet stitches in the next chain. Continue by skipping 2 more chain stitches. Make one single crochet in the next chain. Skip 2 more chains. Create 5 more double crochet stitches in the next chain. Make one single crochet stitch in the last chain. Turn.
Row Two: Make 3 chain stitches (counts as one double crochet). Work two more double crochet stitches into the first stitch. You should now have 3 double crochet stitches at the beginning of the row.
Skip the next two stitches and work a single crochet stitch into the center of the group of five double crochet stitches making up the shell.
Skip the next two stitches. Work a group of five double crochets (another shell) into the single crochet from the previous row.
Repeat these steps repeatedly until you reach the end of the row. Work three double crochet stitches into the last single crochet, forming another half shell, 1 sc in top ch. Turn.
Row Three: Chain one for the turning chain. Work a single crochet stitch into the first stitch. Skip the next two stitches. Work a group of five double crochet stitches into the next stitch. Skip the next two stitches. Work a single crochet stitch into the middle of the next shell. Continue in this pattern to the end of the row. At the end of the row, work your last single crochet stitch into the turning chain.
Repeat Rows Two and Three for the crochet shell stitch pattern.
The Crochet Shell Stitch is especially lovely when done in two or more colors and adding different rows of color can be quite easy. In the sample below, I used two colors in a 100% cotton yarn to make a small washcloth or dish cloth. I finished it off by adding a shell border to 3 sides which is also easy to do. I will discuss this in the section below.
You can carry the colors down the side of the piece or finish off each row and then weave in the ends.
The crochet shell stitch is lovely as it is with one color, but when you add color, the possibilities are endless. Change colors every row or every other row.
Adding a border to a project makes it look more finished, more polished, more professional.
Your project can be a crochet fabric or a knit fabric. Even more creative is adding a crochet shell stitch border sewn to a handmade item or a ready made project that adds extra texture and a handmade touch.
1. It is important to try to match the border yarn with the project yarn at least matching the type of fiber (cotton, acrylic, etc.) and the weight of yarn for best results.
2. Sometimes you will need to add a stitch or two to the corners if necessary to work around and start the next side.
The border is made the same way the crochet shell stitch fabric is made as far as it is possible.
Attach border yarn with a slip knot and make one sc. Skip two stitches and then make 5 dc in the same stitch. Skip two stitches, then work a sc in the next stitch. Continue this pattern until you reach the corner. Adjust the stitch count by adding or subtraction a single crochet. When the border is complete, fasten off and weave in ends.