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How to Crochet a Shell Stitch

Follow this seven step tutorial to learn how to crochet a shell stitch. It's quite a lovely stitch, and not very difficult either. You can then use this stitch to work up any pattern you wish. There are so many crochet patterns that use the shell stitch, so now that you've learned it there will be so many more options for you to crochet.


  1. Start with a chain.

  2. Double crochet in the 3rd stitch from the hook.

  3. Make 4 more double crochet stitches in the same stitch.

  4. Skip the next 3 stitches, make 5 double crochet in the next stitch.

  5. Repeat step 4 across the row.

  6. At the end of the row, turn, slip stitch in the first 3 stitches, chain 2, make 4 double crochet in the same stitch. Then repeat step 4 across the row.
  7. Repeat step 6 for each subsequent row of the shell stitch.


Read about Harrington's bio and her experience with crochet.

Projects that use the Shell Stitch

The shell stitch is one of the most basic crochet stitches and can be used for many different projects. It can be used as a border or to create a unique pattern. Shell stitches are the base for a wide variety of patterns: 

1. To keep your head warm, try this pattern for Shelby's Slouchy Beanie or this Shell Stitch Beanie. They're the perfect lightweight hats for fall or a mild winter. 

2. Create a soft scarf with this pattern for Bev's Shell Stitch Scarf--which would also make a great homemade gift!

3. For a cute summer shawl, break out your hooks for this Flirty Pink Shell Shrug.

After you've mastered the basic shell stitch above, try changing up your patterns with this tutorial for Shells with Borders! No matter what you make, it will look adorable with this stitch that is easy to master.


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How do you slip stitch in the first three stitches. One at a time or all three together? I've never heard of this. Thanks

Hi mcavet, You would slip stitch in one stitch at a time, across three stitches. Thanks! Julia, editor for AllFreeCrochet

This pattern is excatly what I was looking for. however, I have tried and tried to do this but I cannot figure out how many chain stitches to do. I want to do a long narrow shawl. I have looked at the pattern and cannot figure it out. Please let me know.

i need pattern to make shell blanket

great instrution however i need to make a blanket with this stitch. how do i get the right size?

Just what I was looking for: a simple tutorial on the shell stitch for my crochet class. Thank you!

It's confusing because I don't know now many stitches to chain before I start the shells in order to not end up with a tail at the end. I'm not an expert or I might be able to figure out something that "simple" but I can't. First time I chained 10 and didn't have enough stitches to skip at the end so there was a tail of 3 stitches I didn't know how to continue. then I tried 12 stitches and then added 3 stitches for the first DC but I still had stitches left over. I'm gonna find a different tutorial that explains the formula for the number of chain stitches to start with.

First off, I think some people need to learn how to read, no where does it say they are making a blanket, they are showing you how to make the shell stitch, your stitches and chain length depends on what YOU are making, try reading the instructions again, thank you

What everyone is looking for is the repeat or a pattern, they never said this was the pattern, I will figure out the repeat and post it.

The length of the chain in # of stitches is not provided. How long is the starting chain? Please provide in "multiples" so that it can be adjusted accordingly.

This is so easy to follow!!

I love this pattern, would love to try to make a vest, but need correct pattern first?

Step 5 indicates you make 5 double crotchets, yet Step 6 states you make 4 double crotchets. The picture shows there are 5 doubles. Using an odd number of DC makes the shell off center.

"chain 2, make 4 double crochet in the same stitch" When it says chain 2, that counts as the first double crochet. Usually it says this in patterns, but this one didn't. It also says the same thing in step 2-3, but it's a little clearer since it's in two steps.

nice to learn with these pics so easy ! thank you!

Your directions are totally off. First off, you need to skip 4 stitches between shells NOT 3 or the pattern gets thrown off. Also, for a neat edge on the blanket you need to Ch 1, THEN turn and do the two slip stitches or the edge of the first shell after turning looks peaked. Maybe that's why you didn't show the edge of the blanket in your final photo.

Do you just make a row of them and then sew them together? Making the row as long as you want? I have been trying to find the pattern where I thought it was a shell stitch but when its done it looks like a shell Thanks Bev

this is a great tutorial


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