The Crocodile Stitch (also known as Dragon Tears or Dragon Scales) is such a plush, textured crochet stitch. While this stitch does look intimidating, with this written and video tutorial you’ll be crocheting Crocodile Stitches in no time! Let me show you how.
Crocodile Stitch Tutorial
The Crocodile Stitch consists of double or half double crochets and a chain, all worked around a V stitch from a previous row. To create the Crocodile Stitch, you must first create the backbone for the actual scales. In order to do this, you will create a row of V-stitches. (V-stitches are two double crochets placed in the same stitch so that they form a V when finished.) After you complete the row of V-stitches, you’ll then go back working on that same row adding the “scales” to the front of those very same V-stitches.
About the Crocodile Stitch
If working in the round, start with a multiple of six.
If working a flat project using dragon scales (such as this 12″ afghan square for the Stitch Sampler Afghan), I start with a multiple of 6 + 5. (I do mine a little bit differently than other tutorials I have seen, and this keeps the edges nice and straight instead of dipping in at the edges.)
First we’ll create a row of V-stitches, then we will go back on top of those stitches to form the actual scales. The V-stitches are always made going one direction, then the scales are always made in the opposite direction. (For right handed crocheters, this means V-stitches are worked right to left, then the scales are made worked left to right – opposite for left handed crocheters).
If you are having a difficult time finagling your hook, the trick is to rotate your work for each half of the scale. (See what I mean in the video below)
Some patterns call for different kinds of crocodile stitches, but the concept is always the same. Some patterns call for double crochet (either 4 or 5 per side of each scale) and others like to use half double crochet (either 3, 4 or 5 stitches on each side of each scale). The difference makes the scales either smaller or larger, depending on half or full double and how many stitches completed.
This stitch is definitely a yarn eater! But isn’t it gorgeous?!
To make a crocodile stitch:
For this tutorial we will be crocheting a flat project.
1. Start with a chain in multiples of 6 + 5. For the tutorial here I am starting with 23 chains.
2. In the 4th chain from the hook place two double crochets.
3. Chain one, skip two chains, and place two double crochets in the next chain.
Repeat step three until you only have one chain remaining.
4. Place one double crochet in that final chain.
Now that we have this row of V-stitches in place, it is time to crochet the scales on the front of those V-stitches, working in the opposite direction.
5. Chain one and rotate your work (as pictured). Place five double crochets around the second leg of the final V-stitch made.
6. Chain one (this is the bottom of the scale and creates a pointier tip). Rotate your work so that you are looking at it from the opposite direction.
7. Place five double crochets around the second side of that same V-stitch.
8. Slip stitch to the next V-stitch. I find that working into the center of that V-stitch helps to keep things laying nice and flat.
Note that you will not create a crocodile stitch in the V-stitches into which you slip stitch. You will always crocodile stitch around one, then slip stitch in the next, then crocodile stitch in the next, etc.
Repeat steps 5 – 8 to the end of the row. When you get there, slip stitch to the top of the beginning chain. First row complete!
Now we will offset the next row of scales so that they stagger.
9. Chain three (this counts as a double crochet), and place two double crochets in the center of that first scale.
10. Chain one, place two double crochets in between the next two scales (again, I find going through the center of the V-stitch looks best).
11. Chain one, place two double crochet in the center of the next scale.
Repeat steps 10 and 11 until you get to the end of the row. When you get there, place one double crochet in the very last stitch. (This looks like it is behind the scale and is better explained in the video tutorial below.)
Now that we have the V-stitches in place, we are ready to crochet the offset scale row.
12. Turn your work and slip stitch in each of the two double crochets that make up the final V-stitch made. Turn your work back again and prepare to make scales.
13. Rotate your work. Place five double crochets around the first leg of the next V-stitch.
14. Chain one (this is the bottom of the scale). Rotate your work so that you are looking at it from the opposite direction.
15. Place five double crochets around the second side of that same V-stitch.
16. Slip stitch to the next V-stitch.
Repeat steps 13 – 16 to the end of the row. When you get there, place one more slip stitch to the top of that beginning chain.
Now you’ll create another V-stitch row, and start over at step 5 to make the next non-offset row. Whew!
In the following photo you can see the “framework” of V-stitches that creates the backbone for the Crocodile Stitch. Isn’t that neat?!
If you’re feeling intimidated – don’t be! I do think this video tutorial captures the essence and the beauty of the Crocodile Stitch. I hope you love it! ♥