The crocodile crochet stitch is a relative newcomer to the crochet stitch repertoire. It is also known as dragon stitch and scale stitch. It is extremely textural and has the appearance of overlapping scales. Crocodile stitch is a fairly complex crochet stitch to master, but the results are well worth the effort!
Crocodile Crochet Stitch Tutorial
The crocodile crochet switch obviously lends itself to making stuffed toys such as crocodiles and dinosaurs! But, of course, it can be used for anything, such as blankets, bags, scarves, and hats. Because of its overlapping layers, it would make an extremely warm baby blanket!
- Yarn in desired thickness and color.
- Crochet hook suitable for that yarn.
Abbreviations for Crocodile Stitch
All instructions are written in US terminology.
- sc= single crochet
- dc= double crochet
- bpdc= back post double crochet
- ch= chain stitch
- st(s) stitch(es)
- sk= skip
- sp= space
How to Do Crocodile Crochet Stitch
To create this stitch you need to make a ‘skeleton of double crochet stitches, onto which you will work your crocodile scales. One of the things you need to know before you start is how to make a back post double crochet. (bpdc) These form the basis of your scales.
How To Make a Back Post Double Crochet
Back post double crochet stitch is used in many crochet patterns, not just crocodile crochet stitch. This makes it worth practicing and getting familiar with it. Instead of placing the hook into the top loops of the row before, the hook is inserted into the back of the post below.
If you have never attempted this stitch before, practice on a small sample until you get the flow of movement required. Then you will be ready to tackle those crocodile scales!
What is a ‘post’ in crochet? The post is the bottom of the stitch, which creates the height of your stitch. Anything below the loops at the top, which you normally crochet into. It appears to make a straight vertical line, hence the name ‘post’.
How to Do Crocodile Crochet Stitch Step by Step Instructions
Step 1 - Crocodile Stitch Skeleton
- Crochet a foundation chain that is a multiple of 10 +1.
- Work 2 double crochet into the 6th chain from the hook. (This counts as the first repeat of 1dc, sp, 2 dc.)
- *Chain 1, Skip 2, Double crochet in the next stitch.
- Chain 1, Skip 2, 2 double crochet in the next stitch.
- Repeat from * across the row. You should end with 2 double crochet in the last stitch of the foundation chain. This gives the ‘skeleton’ on which you will be working your scales.
Step 2 - First Scale
- Chain 1, and turn.
- Crochet 5 back post double crochet (bpdc) around the post of the first double crochet in the row.
Here is the first bpdc worked. I have changed the color so you can see what is going on!
Work from the top down. Each bpdc must lie directly below the previous one, all worked into the same ‘skeleton’ double crochet. This is the first half of your crocodile scale.
- Chain1, Crochet 5 bpdc around the post of the next double crochet.
This time you must work from the bottom to the top. You need to insert your hook from left to right. This is the second half of the crocodile scale. It should be an exact mirror image of the first half. It may be easier to turn in different directions as you make the opposite sides of the scale.
This picture shows the back of the work, so you can see how the stitches go down the posts.
- Slip stitch into the next double crochet. This anchors the scale to the skeleton.
Step 3 - First Row of Crocodile Stitch Scales
- Repeat, making scales all the way across the row. Your scales must be pointing downwards!
- Work the final anchor slip stitch into the top of your turning chain.
Step 4 - Second Row of Skeletons
Now it is time to make the second skeleton row.
- Chain 4,
- 1 double crochet into the anchor stitch.
- 1 double crochet into the center of 1st scale.
- *2 double crochet into the next slip stitch.
- Chain 1, double crochet into the center of the scale.
- Chain 1, 2 double crochet into the next slip stitch.
- Repeat from* across the row.
- End with 2 double crochet at the top of the last scale.
Step 5 - Second Row of Scales
- Turn and work the next row of scales as before. Your scales should be staggered.
Step 6 - Continue
Continue for more skeleton and scale rows.
Crocodile Crochet Stitch Variations
Crocodile stitch is usually worked in double crochet, but it can be worked in half double crochet or in treble stitch just as easily. You just need to work those stitches up and down your skeleton posts. Your choice of stitch will make a difference in the size of the scales.
How To Work Crocodile Stitch In The Round
You may want to work your crocodile stitch in the round if making a hat, hand warmers, or anything circular or tubular! The secret to working in the round is to keep increasing as you make each round.
When working crocodile stitch, you will increase the ‘skeleton’ or foundation row each time, then work the appropriate number of scales into that skeleton. Your ‘scales’ round will not have any increases. Be sure you are confident with making crocodile stitches before attempting it in the round!
It will work like this:
- Foundation chain: Always start with a multiple of 6 ch. Join with a sl st.
- Round 1: Ch 3 and dc into the same ch. Ch2, sk2, 2 dc in 3rd ch. When 2 ch remain, ch2, sk those 2 and join to 3rd ch with a sl st. This is your ‘skeleton’ round. It will be slightly cup-shaped.
- Round 2: (First scale round) Ch3, make 4 bpdc around the first ch2 from previous round. Ch 1. Make 5 bpdc up the next dc. * Sk 2dc, make 5 bpdc down 1st dc, and 5 bpdc up the post of the next dc of that group. When you get to the end of the round, join with a sl st to3rd ch of first scale. It may help to fold the foundation circle back so that you can work up and down the posts of the dc.
- Round 3: Ch 2 and turn. Work into wrong side of scales now. Dc in center of 1st scale, ch2, 2dc into 3rd bpdc of previous scale. * Ch2, 2dc into space between scales. Ch2, 2 dc into center of scale, 2 dc into 3rd bpdc. Continue around circle, finishing with sl st in between the first ch2.
- Round 4: (Scale row) Turn so right side is facing you. Fold the work back so that 1st dc is lying horizontally, facing you. 5 bpdc around that dc. Ch1. Work into next dc, in the opposite direction, 5 bpdc around that dc. Slst into gap between next 2 dc. Work next scale into the following dc. Keep doing this all the way round, ending with a sl. st.
- Round 5: Turn and work the skeleton row again. This row will increase your stitches each time.
- Round 6: Turn and continue with scales, working into the extra stitches.
Scale rounds do not require any increases. If you wish to make a tubular shape, stop increasing, and simply work 1 skeleton row, 1 scale row, as you add length. Be sure that all the scales still point downwards!
More Crochet Stitches
Crocodile Stitch - In Conclusion
Crocodile stitch makes beautifully textured shawls, scarves and hats. It is also perfect for tea cozies! You can make afghans, throws or blankets. They will be extra warm because of the overlapping scales. You can also create beautiful flowers with this stitch, working in the round and using each scale as a flower petal. Because they can also resemble fish scales, this stitch would make a lovely mermaid tail cocoon for a child!
It is also ideal for making bags, from clutches to totes. If you alternate colors with each row of scales you have a whole different effect. It actually looks great using rainbow stripes too!
This stitch definitely takes a bit of practice, but once you understand how it is constructed, it becomes easier. Be warned that it is another ‘yarn gobbler’; that is, it uses a lot of yarn, so be sure you will have enough to complete your project. This is one of the reasons why it is such a warm stitch.
Have a go at practicing this unusual stitch, then get creative with all the possibilities of all the interesting things you can make once you have mastered the crochet crocodile stitch.