Saturday, March 5, 2011

Shell Stitch

Shell Stitch
(Multiple of 5 plus 4)

The shell stitch is a fun and diverse pattern. It involves adding more than one stitch to a space. We spoke briefly about this type of crochet when we discussed the Leaf Stitch. When performing the shell stitch you are adding additional stitches to one chain and skipping others to compensate. So if you add an extra two stitches to a chain you would skip the preceeding and following stitches. This will allow your 'shell' to be placed equally between the two stitches. In this example we are adding five double crochet stitches to one chain. One double crochet stitch belongs there and four do not so to compensate we need to skip two chain spaces before and after the shell. 

The base chain for this stitch is a multiple of 5 - this is how many chains you need to make the shell patter - plus 4 chains - this will allow for two double crochet stitches at either end of your row and a turning chain. (If you'd like your turning chain to act as the end of a row than you'd only use a plus 3)

After you've crocheted your base chain you are ready to add your first shell. You'll want to put your first double crochet in the 5th chain from the hook. That will allow 2 chains as your turning chain and 2 chains for the shell pattern - remember you need to skip two chains before and after each shell (that's 4 chains in between shells).

Add five double crochet stitches to the same chain space:

 Notice the turning chain on the right. To add your second shell stitch you will skip 4 chain spaces and add five double crochet stitches to the 5th chain stitch.

To end this row you skip 2 more base chain stitches and add a double crochet to the last chain stitch.

Chain 2 and turn.

For your next row you have several options, the following is just one of them. Another option which we will cover later is to add the shells for the next row to the chain spaces between shells from the last row.

For this pattern we will add the shell for the second row to the middle double crochet of the shell from the previous row. If you look where my spare hook is pointing you can count two stitches that were skipped before crocheting the shell. For the next shell, skip 4 stitches - this will put you at the middle stitch of the next shell again. Repeat for each new row.

I really like this stitch for it's versatility. A variation of this stitch is also used to make granny squares - which we will cover tomorrow. If you have used a shell stitch or a variation before, send us a picture so we can take a look.
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