Classically Simple Shell

Classically Simple Shell
Classically Simple Shell

Looking for a nice crochet shell stitch pattern? Try this Classically Simple Shell.  It's a free and easy shell stitch crochet pattern to make. You can give it as a baby shower gift or to a grandparent - it's that versatile! We how timeless this simple crochet shell stitch pattern is.

Simply follow the tutorial and you can have a blanket like this in no time. If you're looking for gift ideas for an event, try giving the Classically Simple Shell! Everyone loves a homemade afghan, especially one with a great shell stitch crochet pattern.


Crochet HookJ/10 or 6 mm hook

Yarn Weight(4) Medium Weight/Worsted Weight and Aran (16-20 stitches to 4 inches)

Crochet Gauge2 pattern repeats = 5¾" (14.5 cm) (one pattern repeat consists of one shell, 3 dc, and 2 ch-1 spaces); 8 rows = 5" (12.5 cm). CHECK YOUR GAUGE. Use any size hook to obtain the gauge.

Finished Size45" x 57" (114.5 x 145 cm)

Materials List

  • RED HEART® Comfort: 2 balls 3222 Putty
  • Susan Bates® Crochet Hook: 6mm [US J-10]
  • Yarn needle

Instructions for THROW:

Ch 156.

  1. Row 1 (right side): Dc in 5th ch from hook (beginning ch count as first dc and first skipped ch), ch 1, skip next ch, dc in next ch, *skip next 2 ch, shell in next ch, skip next 2 ch, dc in next ch, [ch 1, skip next ch, dc in next ch] twice; repeat from * 13 times, skip next 2 ch, shell in next ch, skip next 2 ch, dc in next ch, ch 1, skip next ch, dc in each of last 2 ch, turn—48 dc, 15 shells, and 32 ch-1 spaces.
    Row 2: Ch 3 (counts as first dc here and throughout), dc in next dc, ch 1, dc in next dc, *ch 2, sc in center dc of next shell, ch 2, dc in next dc, [ch 1, dc in next dc] twice; repeat from * across to last shell, ch 2, sc in center dc of last shell, ch 2, skip last 2 dc of same shell, dc in next dc, ch 1, dc in next dc, dc in top of beginning ch, turn—48 dc, 15 sc, 32 ch-1 spaces, and 30 ch-2 spaces.
    Row 3: Ch 3, dc in next dc, ch 1, dc in next dc, *shell in next sc, dc in next dc, [ch 1, dc in next dc] twice; repeat from * across to last sc, shell in next sc, dc in next dc, ch 1, dc in next dc, dc in top of beginning ch, turn—48 dc, 15 shells, and 32 ch-1 spaces.
    Rows 4–87: Repeat last 2 rows 42 times.
    Row 88: Repeat Row 2.

Instructions for BORDER ROUND:

  1. Ch 1, (sc, ch 4, sc) in first dc, (sc, ch 3, sc) in each ch space and sc across to beginning ch, (sc, ch 4, sc) in beginning ch; working across first side, (sc, ch 3, sc) in end of each row; working in opposite side of foundation ch, (sc, ch 4, sc) in first ch, (sc, ch 3, sc) in first 2 ch spaces, (sc, ch 3, sc) in next ch (base of shell), *sc in next 4 ch spaces, sc in next ​ch (base of shell); repeat from * across to last 2 ch spaces, (sc, ch 3, sc) in last 2 ch spaces, (sc, ch 4, sc) in last ch; working across other side, (sc, ch 3, sc) in end of each row; join with slip st in first sc.
    Fasten off.

Instructions for FINISHING:

  1. Weave in ends. Block to finished measurements if desired.


The shell stitch in crochet is most often used as a border to afghans and sweaters. Shell crochet afghan patterns aren't as traditional as it would be to simply use the stitch as a border.

Another popular way of using the shell stitch is to stagger it with another stitch to create distinct rows in a blanket. On the other hand, you can make a shell stitch border stand out more if you work single or half double crochet in a different color into the base and over the shells. 

The fan stitch is a close relative of the shell stitch, but it's not usually the exact same technique and design. You can differentiate the shell and the fan if you define the shell as five stitches in one stitch and the fan as two stitches proceeded by a chain and then two more stitches. Fan stitches are also usually stacked on top of one another whereas shell stitches are built into the gaps left by the previous row of shells. 

Additionally, you will discover other versions of the shell stitch. These variations will use longer stitches, change the number of stitches, or change the anchoring method. 


(SPECIAL) shell
5 dc in indicated space

What color yarn would you use for this crochet afghan?

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Border instructions seem incomplete. The bottom part using the starting chain says sc in next 4 chain space, sc in next ch(base of shell) and then repeat actoss. Here's my question. Should it be ("sc, ch 4, sc) in next 4 ch spaces and in the next sc(base of shell) looking at the picture it seems to have that shell-like edging all around. Thanks for looking into this! I'm almost done. Used Caron Cotton Cakes, color Lighthouse. I will try to post a picture when finished.

this site is very confusing and difficult to navigate. can you print an instructions for the patterns? no matter what I try I get sent to a chrome site that says I have the donwload extension but I can't download any directions

I am not sure if this is where I ask this question but I would love to add this pattern to my Afghan Pattern List but am having difficulty doing this?? I have looked everywhere to find a save button but..... Please help!

Hi seeflishman 578882 7, The save button has moved to a new toolbar for sharing and saving items. The save button is now located next to the row of social media buttons below the content. It is a grey plus button labeled "Save". I hope that helps! For more details, you can visit this page https// --Kaitlin, AFCAP Editor

This Classically Simple Afghan is true to its name - classically simple. The stitch used looks complicated but when you get to learn how to do it then doing the project will just be like a walk in the park. The finished product is so elegantly crafted, the stitch used was carefully chosen, and the color of yarn used was exquisitely considered. It speaks of good taste and class. This will be my next project. Thanks for the pattern. Cheers!

I love the airiness of this pattern and would like to make this as a shawl, What are the stitch increments that I would have to add to make it wider? (example -- 8 2) Thanks.

Sorry, it should have been 8 2.

Guess the computer won't allow any symbols. It should be 8 plus 2

I've been making this for decades! It's also known as "Granny Shells" Works up best with lighter colors.

This is so frustrating!!It is supposed to have a video and all I get are Ads!!! UGG!!


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