Creating the Crocodile Stitch

Nov 17, 2011

Seafoam Shawl, Kimberly K.


Crochet shawls are the ultimate universal-wear garment—one size fits all! They are the perfect accessory for everything from blue jeans to evening wear, and shawls present a great opportunity to learn a new stitch or technique.

Esther Shawl, Lana Holden

The simple Seafoam Shawl is perfect for a beginning crocheter's first foray into lace or to whip up for a quick gift, and the Lucille Shawl is a gorgeous example of joining motifs as you go. Or try the Esther Shawl that uses a brilliant two-row repeat to create a web of delicate floral blossoms.

Icarus Shawl, Tracey McCorkle

The crocheted shawl that has garnered the most interest recently is the Icarus Shawl by Tracey McCorkle. This magical shawl is inspired by Faroese designs and the wings of an ancient bird. The "feathers" that run down the middle of the intricate shawl are created using the crocodile stitch.

I have been watching the crocodile stitch's recent rise to fame. This stitch is the perfect 3D technique to imitate feathers or scales, and while it can be incorporated into complicated crochet patterns, the basic stitch is quite simple. Let's look at how the stitch is created.


The crocodile stitch is worked into a base of V-stitches. I worked several V-stitches on a base of double crochet and separated by single crochet stitches.

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On the next row, work a multiple of double crochet stitches down the first post of the V-stitch. For my "scales," I worked five double crochet.

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After you have worked down the first post of the V-stitch, chain one. Now work the same number of double crochets, in our case five, up the second post of the V-stitch. Single crochet in the next single crochet and repeat the crocodile stitch in the next V-stitch.

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On the next row, work a V-stitch in each V-stitch and a single crochet in each single crochet across. Then repeat the crocodile stitch in each new V-stitch. Voila! The crocodile stitch is demystified. I can't wait to use it in a project.

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Lucille Shawl, Jill Wright

Whether you are drawn to lace borders, geometric motifs, simple blossoms, or the intriguing crocodile stitch, shawls are a great idea for any occasion.

Purchase Interweave Crochet Accessories 2011 today for great shawl patterns as well as innovative scarf, hat, and bag patterns for all ages.

Best wishes,

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Emy@2 wrote
on Nov 17, 2011 8:46 AM

I hope u can help me, I know how to crochet but does not know how to read patterns.  I can only read symbols,  is there a book or magazine that sells symbols on pattern or teach me how to read pattern.   Thank you..

arbyjo wrote
on Nov 17, 2011 12:23 PM

I have a great deal of trouble following some of your instructions. Aren't real clear.

janelmc wrote
on Nov 17, 2011 3:58 PM

Hey Toni!  Thanks for posting this, it does make the crocodile stitch seem less scary.  Is it possible to get the repeat that you used for the V-stich?  I'm somewhat new to crochet, so speak softly.

Thank you!  :-)

Toni Rexroat wrote
on Nov 18, 2011 11:46 AM

Sure Janelmc. I worked a foundation row of 6 stitches plus one. I used foundation single crochet and worked a total of 37 foundation single crochet for this swatch. Then I worked, ch 1, sc in first st, *ch 1, sk next 2 sts, (dc, ch 1, dc [this is the V-st]) in next st, sk next 2 sts, sc in next st; rep from * to end of the row.

This set up the first row of V-sts. I worked the crocodile st in each V-st.

Then for the next row, I worked ch 1, sc in first st, *ch 1, V-st in center of next V-st, ch 1, sc in next sc; rep from * across. Turn and work the crocodile stitch in each V-st across. You can these last two rows as many times as you would like for as many rows of crocodile stitch as you want.

You can keep working the V-sts and therefore the crocodile stitches on top of each other or play with working a V-st in each sc and a sc in each V-st to alternate the placement of the crocodile stitches. I will be putting a blog together on how to alternate the placement in the future.

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have any other questions!

janelmc wrote
on Nov 18, 2011 2:59 PM

That helps a great deal!  Thanks, Toni. :-)

Debora Duff wrote
on Nov 21, 2011 12:33 PM

The crocodile stitch that I learned is the scales were offset from each other. Is the stitch that I learned called something different?

Toni Rexroat wrote
on Nov 21, 2011 12:38 PM


Yes, I have seen the crocodile stitch with the scales on top of each other and with the scales offset. I think it is easier to learn with them on top of each other and then learn to offset them. I will be writing about working them offset in a future blog.


Scotkat wrote
on Dec 18, 2011 1:03 PM

Love this stitch ,must test it out thanks.

on Dec 15, 2013 7:40 PM

Toni, I was wondering if once you've completed the rows if there was a way to back/reinforce the stitch from behind?

Toni Rexroat wrote
on Dec 16, 2013 5:13 PM

Aussiebelle74, I haven't found that the stitches need reinforcement. What context were you thinking of using them in? I have seen bags that had a fabric liner which would definitely provide reinforcement.