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How to Crochet a Shell Stitch

Free Shell Stitch Tutorial With Pictures and Instructions


Related Resources: Free Crochet Tutorials | Crochet Stitch Photos | Basic Crochet Stitches | How to Crochet

With this tutorial, you will learn how to crochet the basic shell stitch worked in rows; each row can be a different color if you like, or you could work in a solid color if you prefer.

There are many different ways you could crochet shell stitches, and many different shell stitch variations. There are also many different ways to incorporate shell stitches into your projects. When you've finished with this tutorial, please be sure to check out our other pages about shell stitches too!

Shell Stitch: Multicolored Sample Worked in Four Different Colors

Shell Stitch
Shell Stitch -- Photo © Michael Solovay

Here we have a picture of how my finished shell stitch sample looks. You can click the photo, or any of the photos in this tutorial, to enlarge it.

You've probably noticed that my sample is multicolored. If you'd rather work yours all in one color, no problem; just skip the color changes mentioned in the instructions below. If that's the version you are interested in crocheting, you can click here to see a picture of how the solid shell stitch looks.

I crocheted my shell stitch sample using Caron's Simply Soft acrylic yarn. I've chosen to use four different colors in my sample swatch:

  • Color A: Sage (the green color)
  • Color B: Bone (the tan color)
  • Color C: Blue Mint (the bright blue / turquoise color)
  • Color D: Off White (the eggshell / cream color)

The colors are listed in the order I use them in the project, in ascending order -- working from the bottom of the fabric up to the top, and then repeating over and over again until the crocheted piece is the desired length.

You can use any number of colors you like, so please feel free to experiment with your own color choices.

Row 1 Instructions:

Starting Chain for Crocheting Shell Stitch.
Starting Chain for Crocheting Shell Stitch. Photo © Michael Solovay

Using color A, work your starting chain. The starting chain will consist of a series of chain stitches in a multiple of ___.


Single Crochet Into Second Chain From Hook
Single Crochet Into Second Chain From Hook -- Photo © Michael Solovay

Work a single crochet stitch into the second chain stitch from your hook.


Photo © Michael Solovay

Skip the next two chain stitches. Then work a double crochet stitch into the next chain stitch after that.


Photo © Michael Solovay

Here's how the work looks at this point.


Work four more double crochet stitches into the same chain stitch, for a total of five double crochets.


Photo © Michael Solovay

Skip the next two chain stitches, leaving them unworked. Then work a single crochet stitch into the next chain stitch after the unworked chains.


Photo © Michael Solovay

Skip the next two chains...


Photo © Michael Solovay

...and work five double crochet stitches into the next chain stitch.

The Shell Stitch Tutorial Continues on the Next Page! ----------------------->


Crochet Edgings, Insertions Medallions
With Illustrations and Instructions by Harry B. Smythe
Publication date: 1917
Publisher: Duncan Publishing Company
St. Louis

Encyclopedia of Needlework
Therese De Dillmont

Royal Society Crochet Lessons Book No. 9
Copyright 1917
By H.E. Verran Company,
New York

Peterson's Magazine, Volumes 35-36
Publication date: 1855

Richardson's Complete Crochet Book,
Book No 2
Publication date: 1916
Published by Richardson's Silk Company

The Harmony Guide to Crochet Stitches
Sylvia Cosh and James Walters
Publication Date: 1986
Lyric Books Limited
ISBN# 0 7111 0028 4

Copyright Notice:

The photos and text in this article are copyrighted. Please do not post them on other websites or distribute them without written permission. While this is a vintage stitch that we cannot and do not claim ownership of, we do have the legal right to claim ownership of the specific photographs and instructions we have created and posted here on these pages.

The sunset is in the public domain, to be enjoyed by all. However, any pictures that a photographer takes of the sunset can be copyrighted by that photographer. So it is with the shell stitch. This stitch is freely available to be enjoyed by everyone, but we have copyrighted the specific photographs we took of it, and the instructions I have posted for you in my own words.

I hope you will enjoy these free instructions, and make good use of them. I'm hopeful that you'll appreciate not having to buy a crochet manual in order to have the instructions. If you would like to share these materials with others, please feel free to share a link to this page, so that they can make use of the instructions and all the other free resources our website has to offer. You can easily do so using the "share" button at the top right hand side of this page (you will need to scroll up to the top to see it; it's right under the orange button by the search box.) Thank you for your interest!

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