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DIY Shell Stitch

By: Christy Hagan for

Shell stitches, or “fan” stitches, can produce some of the most dramatic results in a free crochet pattern. When used to finish a piece, the shell stitch can create elegant scallops. Creating a rounded edge can also be done with shell stitches. Layering shell stitches in rows can create a “tear drop” pattern. This has even more punch if the rows are completed in contrasting colors. Variations of the standard shell stitch includes a variety of fan stitches, the v-stitch, and even the well-loved granny square. The icing on the cake is that shell stitches are easy to do, especially with great crochet instructions!

Most patterns call for the use of simple stitches, such as chain stitches, single crochet, and double crochet. Often, a group of double crochet stitches will have single crochet or slip stitches on either side. This process anchors the shell stitch and fans them out. By combining these basic crochet stitches, the end result is bold and beautiful.

Try making a sample of shell stitches. To begin, chain a length of 38 stitches. First single crochet, skip two chains, and double crochet 5 times in one chain. Then, skip 2 chains and make single crochet. Repeat this pattern across the row. When finished, you'll have a nice scalloped edging.

To practice layering rows of shell stitches, begin the second row by making a turning chain of 3-chains, then double crochet twice into the last single crochet of the first row. This will create three double crochet stitches, which looks like half of the shell. To continue, single crochet into the third double crochet, at the top of shell. Then, double crochet 5 times into the next single crochet. Repeat this pattern across the row, until you reach the last single stitch. Double crochet 3 times in the last single stitch. Similar to the beginning of this row, it will look like half of the shell.

Although, for the beginner, learning shell-stitches can seem daunting, they become a valuable stitch in many projects. Simple and versatile, shell-stitches are one of my favorites.

Learn how to Crochet the Shell Stitch with these step by step crochet instructions.

Free Crochet Patterns using the Shell Stitch:

  1. Bev's Shell Stitch Scarf
  2. Shell Stitch Hooded Sweater
  3. Easy Baby Shell Stitch Hat
  4. Stained Glass Shell Stitch Motif Afghan


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Awesome and very interesting....I would love to learn and hope I can do so very sooon, with practice of course.


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