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All About the Crochet Shell Stitch: How To + 10 Shell Stitch Crochet Patterns

Learn how to crochet shell stitches and get some beautiful patterns to try.

By: Krista Childers, Editor, AllFreeCrochetAfghanPatterns.com

Learn about the shell stitch variations as well as how to crochet shell stitches with All About the Crochet Shell Stitch: How To + 10 Shell Stitch Crochet Patterns. The shell stitch is one of the most popular crochet stitches and is used in all sorts projects from hats to scarves to baby blankets and afghans. There are a few variations out there and many crochets like to play around with their own distinctive ideas for patterns.

The shell stitch is beautiful, with a fan-type look about it. It also resembles a seashell, which explains its name. The shell stitch can be used alone to create stunning designs or combined with other crochet stitches, such as the cable, ripple, and v-stitch. It's often combined with lace styles because it's delicate and elegant.

The crochet shell stitch tutorials we are focusing on are the traditional shell stitch, the vintage shell stitch, and the crochet shell stitch edging technique that will add some flare to a variety of patterns. We also have a list of ten of our favorite shell stitch crochet afghan patterns to get you started.

Check out the step-by-step instructions, photos, and even links to videos. No matter your style of learning, it's covered. Learning the crochet shell stitch will open up a lot of opportunities for new crochet patterns in your life. If you already know how to do it, this page will still be helpful as it can act as a nice refresher as well as provide new designs you may not have seen yet.

Traditional Crochet Shell Stitch

Though every pattern is different, this shell stitch tutorial will help you learn the basics that you can apply to any crochet pattern. Follow along with the step-by-step instructions and photos below or click here to watch the shell stitch video tutorial and follow along with our teacher, Chris.

  1. Make half of a shell.

    Double crochet at the base of the chain twice in one hole.

  2. Skip 2 to make the shell (in the dip).

  3. Do a single crochet.

  4. Next, work to make a full shell.

    Skip 2.

  5. Work 5 double crochets in the same stitch.

  6. Skip 2 and do a single crochet to lock and keep the curve in place.

  7. Work all the shells according to your pattern.

  8. TO FINISH:

    At the last three stitches of the row, skip 2.

  9. At the last stitch, work a half shell.

    Double crochet 3.

Vintage Shell Stitch

The vintage shell stitch is, as suggested, an old-fashioned shell style. This is a gorgeous crochet stitch that looks wonderful when using two colors. The shells curve in certain rows, creating a lovely wave look. The shell stitch has very nautical appearances and styles, which is why it's used in a lot of summer or beachy patterns.

This version is worked with treble crochets which create the wave effect. It's also easy to change colors every row with this style.

Follow along with the step-by-step instructions below or click here to watch the video tutorial. It's a great version of the shell stitch that any crochet would enjoy.

  1. To start, crochet a slip knot. Chain a multiple of 6.

  2. In the fourth chain from the hook, work 4 treble crochets (yarn over twice, insert and pull up a loop, yarn over, pull through 2, yarn over, pull through 2, yarn over and pull through 2).

  3. To lock the shell, skip 5, and work a single crochet. Chain 2 (the single crochet with the two chains stacked is the height of your treble crochet).

  4. Work 3 treble crochets in the same stitch.

    Note: If you loosely crochet your foundation chain, it may create a loop but should settle back down as you work.

  5. At the end of the row, work a single crochet and fasten off.

  6. Move on to your wrong side/second row. Change colors if desired.

    On your next row, find the chain two space from the previous row.

  7. Work in that space. Crochet a slip stitch to attach your yarn.

  8. Do a single crochet in that space, 2 chains, and then work your treble crochets.

    Note: You can tuck your yarn tail behind so that when you single crochet, the tail will get woven in as well. This is shown in the first image below.

  9. Find the chain two space on the next shell on the row below.

  10. Work a single crochet to lock.

  11. Chain 2, and then finish row with treble crochets as before.

Crochet Shell Stitch Edging

Here's a super creative use for the shell stitch. Use it as a border for your next project. You can use this edging technique on many crochet projects, from scarves to blankets.

You can follow the step-by-step instructions and pictures below or click here to watch the video tutorial from teacher Kristi.

  1. You will need a multiple of 7 plus 1. Pull through and slip stitch.

  2. Skip 2 and do 5 double crochets.

  3. Skip 2 and slip stitch. This anchors it down. The process now repeats until you are finished with the edging.

  4. Skip 2 and do 5 double crochets.

  5. Skip 2 and slip stitch.

  6. Skip 2 and do the 5 double crochets.

  7. Skip 2 and slip stitch.

  8. Once you get to the corner, there may be only one stitch. That's fine. Skip 1, and continue until finished.

Shell Stitch Crochet Patterns

Now that you have learned the shell stitch, get crocheting! The patterns below range in skill and style, but all involve the shell stitch.

You are going to love the versatile nature of the shell stitch. These patterns are just the start. To find more patterns, check out our shell stitch tag page!

Vintage Shell Stitch Video Tutorial

Check out the vintage shell stitch section here but if you're looking for another version of the vintage shell stitch, take a look at this video tutorial!

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It's amazing the kind of variety allowed with the shell stitch. It's such a cool stitch.

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