How to Crochet: Crocodile Stitch

By Rachel Lendyak-Peters – 48 Comments

This funky stitch is perfect for adding a little flare and texture to your projects. You know everyone is looking forward to your handmade holiday presents this year, and the crocodile or scale stitch is perfect for jazzing up a simple scarf or adding a feathery quality to a cute owl hat or bag. The best thing is that once you get into the rhythm of this stitch, it practically crochets itself!

This tutorial is for both right and left handed people. For left handed pictures, roll your mouse over the image and it will change for you.

Begin with a chain with the number of stitches a multiple of 6. (You may find that in some patterns this will be a different number – like a multiple of three.) But by working in multiples of 6, you’ll have the right number of scales in the alternating rows to make a nice, straight edge.

After your chain has reach the desired length, chain 4 more.

Then double crochet into the forth chain from your hook.

You’ve just formed the first post. Next you will chain 2, skip 2 stitches, and then make 2 double crochets into the next stitch.

Repeat this pattern: chain 2, skip 2, 2 double crochets into the next stitch, until you’ve finished the row.

Fabulous! You’ve completed the first foundation row. I’ll refer to each set of 2 double crochets as a post. From this point, you will be doing a row of scales, foundation row, scales, foundation, etc.

Turn your work and chain three.

You will be double crocheting down one side of the post and up the other to form the scale. You will need to feed your hook under the first double crochet and up through the middle between the double crochet posts.

Make 4 double crochets down the first post (the first chain of 3 counts as a double crochet, so essentially you have 5 double crochets). Then chain 1.

Again coming under the second double crochet towards the middle, you’re going to make 5 double crochets coming up the second post.

Chain 1 at the top and you’ve completed your first scale!

Skip the next post and repeat the 5 double crochets down first post, chain 1, 5 double crochets up second post, chan 1. Skip the next post, repeat, and so on until the end of the row.

Now you’re set to make the next foundation row. Turn your work, chain 3 and then double crochet into the space between the 2 double crochets of the previous row.

Chain 2 and make 2 double crochets into the top of the next post, catching the chain 1 that you made between the scales.

Continue the chain 2, 2 double crochets pattern across the row.

Turn your work. Chain 1. Skip the first post and begin the scale in the next post. 5 double crochets down, chain 1, 5 double crochets up, chain 1; Skip post and repeat.

When you reach the end of the row, slip stitch into the middle of the last post.

Turn your work. Chain 3 and begin the next scale exactly like you did on the first scale row. Keep repeating this pattern.

I’ve tried to condense it down for quick reference here:

Row 1 (Foundation): ch 3, dc into last st, *ch 2, skip 2 sts, 2 dc in next st, repeat from * across
Row 2 (Scale): ch 3, turn, 4 dc down first dc post, ch 1, 5 dc up second dc post, *ch 1, working in next set of posts, 5 dc down first dc post, ch 1, 5 dc up second dc post, repeat from * across
Row 3 (Foundation): ch 3, turn, dc on top of scale, *ch 2, 2 dc at top of next scale, repeat from * across
Row 4 (Scale): turn, skip first set of posts, *ch 1, working in next set of posts, 5 dc down first dc post, ch 1, 5 dc up second dc post, repeat from * across

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to leave a comment!

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  1. Faith says:

    Thanks for posting this I have wanted to learn this stitch,but have been too afraid to try it.

  2. Amy Kittel says:

    Wow. I am having a hard time visualizing this finished. Can you post a pic of it with like 6 or 8 rows finished? Thanks

  3. melika says:

    Hi thank you very much for ur teaching

  4. fariba kafi says:

    Hi ,Rachel you are very friendly ,thank you so much

  5. elisa says:

    will you be featuring any patterns with this stitch in your crochet spot store

  6. Joann says:

    Thanks so much at exlaining this stitch you are so good at what u do ,can you post some patterns it would be appreciated.

  7. Marie says:

    Best instructions for the croc stitch.

    Thank you.

  8. Sue says:

    Hi Rachel
    I wrote out the directions hope I can handle it.
    Thanks so much for doing that for us.

  9. Nel says:

    Thank you! I have watched a couple of videos of this stitch on You Tube. But it’s great to have something written out at the same time. I love this stitch but it may be a little heavy for our climate (C. America). But a nice bag would be good! Keep on hookin’.

  10. Roma says:

    thank you!!!!

  11. Linda says:

    When I chart this according to your directions, I’m winding up with an issue. I have two leftover chains at the end of the first base row. I can’t make the pattern work with multiples of three, plus an additional three at the end of the foundation row… the only way I can get it to work is when I chart in multiples of three, with four at the end of the foundation row, and doing the initial post in that first of the extra four chains. Am I doing something wrong, or have I hit on a mistake in your directions? My way seems to work okay so far for straight things like scarves. However, if I’m messing it up now I might wind up ruining a pattern in the future… so if I’m doing it wrong it would be a relief to know where I’m just not getting it to prevent problems later! Thank you for what you have here already, this tutorial is much easier to follow than some others I’ve tried!

    • Rachel Choi says:

      Hi Linda, thanks for catching that! I think Rachel may have miscounted. It should be ch 4 extra and then double crochet in the forth ch from your hook like you suggested. I’ll go ahead and make the correction to the tutorial. Thanks again!

      • Linda says:

        O.O Wow, really? LOL, yay me? In that case, I’m glad I could help! Thank you for getting back to me so quickly, too. It’s a relief to know that I’m getting the stitch right. Now I can make that hat my mom wanted so much without having to worry if I’m messing it up! :)

  12. Nicks says:

    Thank you so much, i have tried several times in the past to do this stitch but threw it down in frustration – your instructions are so clear and easy to follow – mastered it straightaway!
    Changed it to single crochet so I could design and make a small owl with ‘feathers’ he looks fab – thank you x

    given you a mention/thank you on my blog

  13. Janice in Alaska says:

    Thank you for your great tutorial and pictures of this neat stitch !! I do have a question though. After completing row 4, do I do row 1, then 2, then 3, then 4 ? Or is it row 3, then 4 ?

  14. Mary Williams says:

    Your are the best . I have been trying to find this stitch for a long time.Again thank a lot ,I’m going to print it of

  15. Adele says:

    Hi, I was given a bag done in crocodile stitch and have been trying to find out how to do it ever since. Thank you for the illustrated instructions, now I just need some time to get on with trying them out!

  16. Patsy Hill says:

    Hi Rachel:

    I’m sorta kinda new to this. I love your site.

    I know these are not your patterns that I have, but I’d rather ask you about them.

    On the ones I have come across (patterns for crocodile purses) , they only give instructions for the front of the purse not for the back. So, am I to assume I make the pattern twice, that is, for the front and back, and what if I don’t want the crocodile stitches in the back.

    Thanking you in advance

    • Rachel Choi says:

      Hi Patsy! Feel free to get creative! If you don’t want the crocodile stitch in the back feel free to made a plain back or a back that is a different stitch. You can make a simple double crochet piece if you prefer.

  17. ElaineCz says:

    Excellent instructions of the crocodile stitch!
    I am looking for a pattern for a child size (5-8 years) hat.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  18. Ronee says:

    Left handed! I think I love u. Thanks!

  19. Carmen says:

    Thank you so much for thinking of us lefties. Will be visting you site more!!!

  20. Hi: I am following your crocodile stitch written pattern, and I have completed two rows of scales.
    My question? Do I crochet a foundation row after each scale row? I am a little confused.

    Thankyou, Lillian from Canada

  21. Myrna says:

    Please tell size of hooks and yarn for any of your patterns.

    • Rachel Choi says:

      This stitch pattern can be made with any hook and yarn that you like! Only the crochet patterns with a specific size have the required hook and yarn mentioned. Everything else you can use whatever you like.

  22. Myrna says:

    I would like to make a shawl with worsted weight yarn and need
    to know the size of hook to use?

  23. Lucy says:

    Hi guys,
    I was just wondering if this is uk or use? I’m trying to teach myself but seems there are differences in double sticking. As I’m aware uk call a double a treble? I’m so confused! Any advice welcome.

  24. Lucy says:

    Thanks so much for your speedy response!! I’m going to have a look on you tube and see if I can figure it out. I’m sure I will come up against this many times so best of I can teach myself both versions. No wonder I couldn’t figure out why I was doing it wrong haha!

  25. Stephani says:

    I started this to make a mermaid tail blanket for my daughters and didn’t realize the foundation row is the bottom row of scales. To hopefully help someone else making something for themselves, start at the bottom of the pattern in your head!

  26. Jo Atkin says:

    Hi…I never had a problem w the stitch, but always get so confused about how to end the row with five scales and go to the next row to make the row w six scales. When and where do you make the v stitch to increase the next row? Can’t seem to get that, been crocheting for 60 yrs
    Thank you if you can clarify this….but thank you anyway..

  27. Jo Atkin says:

    Don’t understand—-moderation?

  28. aysha says:

    thanks for giving me instructions of this stitch.

  29. aysha says:

    lovely stitch

  30. Jo Atkin says:

    Hi….I have worked the croc stitch on a few projects, but always had to fake the endings and beginnings, because I can’t seem to get the change on the ends to go from six scales to seven scales. Not one of the videos spend enough time on the ends of the foundation rows.can you please help? I would like to feel confident and not have to get so frustrated…appreciate your help.

  31. Kim says:

    I am working on a project and need to increase the size, the pattern only says to increase on every other 2nd foundation row, it doesnot tell me how to do that…can anyone help me with this? Maybe a link, pics. or explanation!?!? Thank you

  32. Janine Probbing says:

    As with above ladies I am struggling to increase for my mermaid tail, so close to starting again with different pattern but I love it, just need to figure it out.

  33. Rachel Choi says:

    To increase on the side of a foundation row (row 3 in pattern above), try making your first “2 dc” into the side of the last double crochet you made on the previous scale row, insert your hook into the very edge/corner of that scale. Then you can continue to work across the row, making your “2 dc” into the top of each of the scales like you normally would. If you want to increase at the end of the row too, then you would make the last “2 dc” into the corner of the last scale.

  34. Brenda says:

    Hi Rachel. Thank yu for quick response. This one seams to ne the best for the croc. Stitch. Brenda Ur awsome.

  35. Janine Probbing says:

    Hi thank you for this, I thought that we needed to add two sets of posts to each end, that is why I have got so confused as could not do this however I tried.x

  36. Belinda says:

    Thank you!!!! I have been sorting through instructions for over a week now trying to find a set that actually…..makes……sense. Your simple words and easy to see pictures have helped so much! I finally feel comfortable being able to finish a crocodile stitch pattern I’m making for my daughter’s Christmas present, I was beginning to think I would never get it done.

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