Today I want to tell you about the shell stitch. It's one of my favorites and is so easy that anyone can do it. Really. If you know the basics (chain (ch), single crochet (sc), double crochet (dc), etc.) than you have the skills you need. Even if you're a beginner refining your technique, working the shell is excellent practice that will build your confidence and add an interesting new element to your repertoire.
So what is the shell stitch? Well, it's a group of individual stitches that are all worked into the same stitch together. Sometimes it's called the fan stitch. There's a very clear description on About.com that you can check out for details on the most common configurations. I hear so many crocheters say, "I can't do that." I always tell them, if you can do a sc and a dc you can do most anything. All you have to do is try. Just relax and take it one step at a time. You'll be amazed at what happens!
Once you understand the technique, you can combine stitches in a variety of ways to create all kinds of different fabrics. They can be open and lacy or closed and dense. Of course the yarn you choose has a big impact on the end result. Shells are also commonly used as decorative edgings on everything from afghans to lace hankies. Here are a few examples. All of these are made with worsted acrylic and an H/5.00 mm hook (I think).
When working with a pattern that uses a shell stitch you will usually find the instructions written out at the beginning often under a heading like Special Stitches. In the body of the pattern it will tell you when to use the "shell" and how many you should have at the end of the row. Let's take a look at the Cluster Shell. Each shell is made up of (sc, ch1, dc) worked into the (same) indicated stitch or space. Remember, the parentheses mean that you work all of the stitches together. Easy right? To work the shell in a pattern you need a foundation chain that is (3 chs +5). Which means that your chain needs to be a multiple of 3 plus 5. So a chain of say 38 will give you 11 shells (each shell is made up of 3 stitches and 11x3=33) plus your starting/turning chain 5 (33+5=38).
Here's how you get started:
Make your foundation chain (let's use the ch38)
Row 1: Shell (sc,ch1,dc) in the 5th ch from hook, *sk next 2 ch, shell in next ch: repeat from * across to last 3 ch, sk next 2 ch, sc in last ch. Turn. (11 shells made)
Row 2: Ch 3, shell in each ch-1 sp across, sc in top of turning ch. Turn. (11 shells made)
Repeat Row 2 for shell pattern.
That's it. That's all there is to it. It's easy to memorize and doesn't require anything more than 3 simple stitches. The end result is a beautiful fabric that is quite sturdy and has a unique texture. It's also reversible making it perfect for blankets and scarves.
How to Work the Cluster Shell Pattern
So there you have it! I hope that this shell story has given you some new information and maybe even inspired you to give it a try. Whether it's this pattern or another I think the key to being successful is taking it one step at a time. Pattern instructions can seem intimidating and confusing. But when you break them down to the individual stitches that make them up, you'll be surprised at what you can accomplish!
Thanks so much for stopping by and spending a bit of your day with me.
Until next time friends,
Be blessed and stitch & read with love!
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My name is Robin. I am a wife, mother and strong believer in the power of faith. I'm a maker, a crafter and an artist. I love exploring new mediums and sharing my adventures with you.
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Stitch & Read with Love!