The crochet shell stitch is one of the easiest decorative crochet stitches to master. All you need to know before you start is how to make chains, single crochets and double crochets. Once you have mastered the stitch, you will be able to create so many beautiful items! We have included four of our favorites at the bottom of this post.
The shell stitch lends itself really well to all kinds of color changes. Choose multiple contrasting colors for a bright, bold and daring look, or use different shades of the same color for an ombré effect.
Crochet shell stitch tutorial
Feel free to use any yarn you have on hand and the corresponding hook size for this swatch.
- Ch – Chain
- Dc – Double crochet
- Sc – Single crochet
- St/sts – Stitch/stitches
- * – Repeat instructions between asterisks the amount of times specified.
You will need multiples of 6 + 5 chains to start your shell stitch project. For the purposes of this tutorial, we will be using 23 chains (which is 3 multiples of 6, plus 5 extra chains).
Row 1: Ch 23. Sc in the second ch from the hook. *Skip the next 2 chains, make 5 dcs in the next chain. Skip the next 2 chains, sc in the next chain.* This is your first complete shell. Repeat from * to * until you have 3 chains left.
Skip the next 2 chains and make 3 dcs in the last chain. If desired, switch colors, ch 1 and turn.
Row 2: Sc in the first dc. *Skip the next 2 dcs. Make 5 dc’ in the next sc. Skip the next 2 dcs. Sc in the next (central) dc.* This is your first complete shell for this row. Repeat from * to * until you have worked into each shell.
There should now be 3 stitches remaining: 2 dcs and 1 sc. Skip the last 2 dcs and make 3 dcs in the last sc. Switch colors if desired, ch 1 and turn.
Each subsequent row: Repeat Row 2, changing color whenever your heart desires.
If you would like to change colors at the start of any row, do so before you make the turning chain at the end of the previous row.
4 fun shell stitch patterns to try
Photo via Craftsy member Priscilla’s Crochet
1. Shell Stitch Baby Cloche
This cloche is quick and easy to make, and the texture of the shell stitch makes it different from your average crochet baby hat. The addition of a colorful flower makes it both customizable and fun!
Photo via Craftsy member The Stithin’ Mommy
2. Shell Stitch Baby Blanket
The gentle colors and broad stripes give this blanket a modern yet soothing feel. Using a yarn like Lion Brand Cotton-Ease makes it both soft and easy to care for.
Photo via Craftsy member Nichole’s Nerdy Knots
3. Shell Stripe Tablet Cozy
This tablet cover is a great way to show off your stitches while protecting your tech. Make it in one color for a sophisticated look, or make each band a different color for a more bohemian feel. Alternating black and white will give you a more modern accessory, while shading your colors from light to dark will give you a soothing ombré effect.
Photo via Craftsy member Crochet With Attitude
4. Fingerless Mitts
If you are after a smaller project to help you get familiar with the shell stitch, these fingerless mitts are perfect. Simple and elegant, they would make a wonderful accessory or gift. Once again, you can express your personality through the use of colors.
Crochet More Textured Stitches!
Elevate your crochet with three amazing textures! Learn how to stitch them all in this FREE Craftsy mini-class.