If you want to create a complicated looking fabric or add scalloped edging to crochet baby blankets and afghans, learn to crochet the shell stitch. Most often used with double and treble crochet, shell stitch yields an open fabric with fan-like stitches. If you know how to crochet a chain, you can easily learn to crochet shell stitches.
Double Crochet Shell Stitch
Crochet shells are a cluster of stitches knit into a single chain stitch. Because you work them in either double or treble crochet, they create tall rows. These tall rows make for quick projects that look complex. To begin a basic crochet shell stitch pattern, create a foundation chain with four chains for every shell stitch you want in the first row plus one more chain.
You will start the first shell stitch row as you would any double crochet row: skip the first 3 stitches, wrap the yarn around your crochet hook, crochet into the next chain stitch, wrap the yarn around the hook and draw it through the chain. Wrap the yarn around the hook, slip through 2 loops and repeat until only 1 stitch remains on the crochet hook.
Rather than continuing on to the next chain stitch, create 4 more double crochet stitches in the same chain. Skip the next 3 chains, make 1 new chain and work 5 double crochets in the next stitch. You will continue in this manner until you reach the end of your first row.
Begin your second row as though you are working in double crochet. Chain 3 stitches for the turning chain and crochet a shell stitch into the third double crochet. You will work a shell stitch into every third double crochet, creating a chain stitch between each one.
Treble Crochet Shell Stitch
To create taller stitches, crochet five treble crochet stitches into every third chain stitch. Treble crochet stitches differ from double crochet stitches only slightly. Instead of wrapping your yarn once around the crochet hook before crocheting into a chain stitch, you will wrap it twice. This will increase the number of times you have to pull your yarn through two loops until a single loop remains on your hook.
When you create a foundation chain for a treble crochet shell stitch pattern, chain four stitches for every shell stitch you want in the first row plus two. Begin all of your rows as you would if you were working treble crochet. Skip the first four stitches in the first row and chain four stitches before beginning each new shell row.