Stitch Tutorials
Textured Stitches Made Easy: The Crocodile Stitch

Textured Stitches Made Easy: The Crocodile Stitch

Have you ever tried the Crocodile or ‘dragon scale’ stitch? It’s the one that looks like alternating scales and it’s so cool! However, it’s a bit more tricky to learn than the average crochet stitch and that’s because the stitch construction is so unique. But don’t worry, we’re going to break it down so that not only will you be able to master this stitch, but you’ll be able to put your own creative spin on it! Let’s jump into textured stitches made easy: the Crocodile stitch!

Textured Stitches Made Easy: The Crocodile Stitch

The Anatomy of Crochet Stitches

Before we get into how to create the Crocodile stitch, first we need to talk a bit about the anatomy of stitches. I know it sounds boring, but I promise this information will make learning this stitch worlds easier.

Let’s look at 3 examples: single crochet, half double crochet, and double crochet.

sc, hdc, dc stitch examples for blog post
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

Each of these stitches has a ‘post’. It’s much easier to see with the double crochet because it’s the tallest stitch in this example, but even the single crochet has a post.

When we work the Crocodile stitch, we’ll actually be working primarily around the posts of the stitches and into gaps created by those posts.

One other thing to keep in mind is starting chains. In this case ch 1 counts as a single crochet, ch 2 counts as a half double crochet and ch 3 counts as a double crochet. I’ll explain why this is important later on, but for now just keep in filed away.

The Basic Crocodile Stitch

Abbreviations

  • Ch – chain
  • sk – skip
  • Dc – double crochet
  • Dc inc – double crochet increase
    • work 2 double crochet into the same stitch
  • Sl st – slip stitch
  • Croc – Crocodile stitch
    • working around the first post, 5dc, ch 1, working around the second post, 5dc

This is one of those stitches that gets easier with practice, so I recommend grabbing some yarn and a matching hook to make several samples. The Crocodile stitch consists of double crochet stitches and is built up over a 4 row repeat with 2 ‘base’ rows and 2 ‘scale’ rows.

If you prefer to watch stitch tutorials, check out this video:

Ch 22 (chain a multiple of 6 + 4)

Row 1: starting in the fourth ch from the hook, dc, [ch 2, sk 2 ch, dc inc] 6 times. (26)

row 1 of croc stitch for textured stitches made easy: the crocodile stitch
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

From here on, this stitch is worked over a 4 row repeat, alternating between ‘scale’ or ‘Croc stitch’ rows and base rows.

In the next row, we’ll be working around the posts of the double crochet stitches to create the first row of Crocodile stitches. The initial ch 3 at the start of the row counts as the first double crochet of the first scale.

Row 2: ch 3, [Croc, ch 1, sk dc inc] 3 times, Croc. (7)

Let’s break down Row 2 step by step.

After the ch 3, you need to rotate your work so that it’s vertical and facing you with the ch 3 at the top. Then to create the first Crocodile stitch, insert your hook in between the posts of the first double crochet increase. Work 4 double crochet stitches around that post (the initial ch 3 counts as a dc).

first scale image example for blog post
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

Then ch 1 and rotate your work again so that it’s vertical and facing you, this time with the initial ch 3 at the bottom. Insert your hook back into the gap between the posts of the first double crochet increase. Work 5 double crochet stitches around the second post.

first scale stitch part 2 for textured stitches made easy: the crocodile stitch
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

Ch 1 and then skip over the next double crochet increase. Rotate your work again so that it’s vertical, facing you and the initial ch 3 is at the top. Create the next Crocodile stitch by working 5 double crochet stitches around the first post, ch 1, rotate your work, and then work 5 double crochet stitches around the second post.

croc stitch tutorial for blog post
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

Repeat this two more times, but don’t ch 1 after working the final Crocodile stitch.

row 2 of croc stitch for textured stitches made easy: the crocodile stitch
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

Whew, I know that was a lot, but once you practice a few rows, it won’t be so bad. The next row is a base row. For all base rows going forward, you’ll work the dc inc stitches into either the center of a Croc stitch or in between the dc inc stitches from the previous base row.

Row 3: ch 3, dc in the Croc, [ch 2, dc inc] 6 times. (26)

base row example for blog post
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

Row 4: ch 1, sk dc inc, [Croc, ch 1, sk dc inc] 2 times, Croc, ch 1, sl st in the gap. (8)

croc st row for textured stitches made easy: the crocodile stitch
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

Row 5: ch 3, dc in the same gap as the sl st, [ch 2, dc inc] 6 times. (26)

final base row for blog post
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

Row 5 is the final row of the repeat and if you want to continue the sample, simply start back at Row 2. For a cleaner look, end your sample on a scale or Croc stitch row.

crocodile stitch sample for textured stitches made easy: the crocodile stitch
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

Crocodile Stitch Modifications: Changing the Base Stitch

What if you like the Crocodile stitch, but decide it’s too big for what you need? Why not use a smaller stitch like the half double crochet or the single crochet?

The amazing thing is, is that you barely need to change anything! All that you need to adjust is the starting chain and the number of stitches you put in the actual Crocodile stitch.

Adjusting the starting chain

For double crochet stitches, you chain a multiple of 6 + 4. The multiple of 6 is what you need for the scales and the additional 4 chains creates the first double crochet. So to adjust for smaller stitches, you would use the formula below:

HDC: chain a multiple of 6 + 3

SC: chain a multiple of 6 + 2

And this works in reverse too in case you wanted to make huge scales using treble crochet stitches. Just chain a multiple of 6 + 5.

Adjusting the Crocodile stitch

Since the posts of double crochet stitches are so tall, it’s easy to fit 5dc on each post. However, half double crochet and single crochet stitches are shorter, so you can’t fit as many stitches. The number you decide on is up to you, but here’s what I like to use.

HDC: 4hdc around the first post, ch 1, 4hdc around the second post

SC: 3sc around the first post, ch 1, 3sc around the second post

NOTE: Since single crochet are so small, you may want to only put 2 stitches around each post. Play around with different variations to get the look you want.

Crocodile Stitch Modifications: Changing the Stitch Shape & Color

Shape

Let’s say you want your scales to be a bit pointier, or at least not as round. Well, you can play around with the stitches that make up each scale.

For example, in the sample below, I used a base of half double crochet stitches and then for each scale, instead of doing a ch 1 at the tip, I used a picot (ch 2, sl st into the first ch).

hdc modified croc stitch for blog post
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

This creates a pointier stitch and looks super cool in my opinion. But this is just one way to play with the shape of the scales. You don’t even have to only use the same kind of stitch to make your Crocodile stitches.

For example, instead of the Crocodile stitch being (5dc, ch 1, 5dc), you could do (2dc, 2hdc, sc, picot, sc 2hdc, 2dc). Take a look at the image below to see the comparison.

croc stitch comparison for textured stitches made easy: the crocodile stitch
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

The top one is the (2dc, 2hdc, sc, picot, sc 2hdc, 2dc) and the bottom is the (5dc, ch 1, 5dc). The top one is not only pointier, but more leaf shaped while the bottom one is much rounder.

Color

The Crocodile stitch looks amazing in solid colors, but it can also look great ombre yarns since they naturally create seamless transitions. Or you can change colors every round to get a custom look! Lastly, if you want to challenge yourself, you can alternate colors on the base and scale rows to make the scales stand out even more.

color change sample for blog post
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

Summary

There’s so many ways to play around with this stitch and I’m so excited to explore it more. I hope you liked this article and I’d love to hear your thoughts on the Crocodile stitch. Have you tried it before? Do you think you would try customizing it? Share in the comments below!

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And if you’d like to dive into the world of textured stitches, check out these other great articles:

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