Crab stitch is a popular stitch for finishing off the edge of a blanket. It gives a smooth, sturdy and hard wearing finish when added to the edge of the border. I chose to use it as the top edging for my rainbow tote bag.

Rainbow tote bag with crab stitch edging

Step-by-step crab stitch tutorial

Although its easy to do, crab stitch is quite difficult to show either in photographs or in a video tutorial. But here goes. If you have any questions please post a comment below or visit me at my Facebook page Crafternoon Treats.

Crab stitch is exactly the same as working a standard double crochet [UK terms] single crochet [US terms]

The difference is that instead of working from left to right across your row of crochet, you work from right to left.

In the sample I’ve used in this tutorial I have made the crab stitch edging in bright green to contrast with the pink border to make it clear what is going on.

How crab stitch works

  1. Join your new yarn into the top of the first stitch by pulling through a loop. Make one chain.
  2. Take your hook and instead of inserting it into the next stitch to the left, turn it in your hands so that it goes into the next stitch along to the right. This feels very strange! But stick with it.Free crab stitch tutorial step 1
  3. Once your hook is on the other side, adjust the position of the hook in your had and pull through the working yarn. I found it easier to do this by grabbing the yarn with the hook pointing downwards. I didn’t put the yarn over the hook.
  4. You now have two loops on your hook. Put the working yarn over the hook and pull through both these loops, just as you would in a standard dc stitch.
  5. You have now completed one crab stitch.
  6. Turn your hook backwards again and insert it into the next stitch to the right. Repeat steps 3-5.Free crab stitch tutorial step 2
  7. Continue and complete the round, whether you are going around the top of the rainbow tote bag or around a blanket.
  8. When you reach the start of the round, turn your hook and insert it into the same space in which you made your first chain stitch.
  9. Complete the crab stitch and fasten off.
  10. Weave in your end carefully going through the base of the stitches on the wrong side for at least 5cm (2 inches). Cut the yarn.

Free crab stitch tutorial step 3

For the rainbow tote bag, I used boysenberry from the Stylecraft Special DK limited edition pack to edge the top of the bag. As the bag is made from top down to the bottom, this was actually made between the posts of the treble stitches used as the foundation row, which gives a lovely firm edge yet still adds a bit of an open design to contrast with the dense waistcoat stitch of the main tote. The boysenberry colour is darker than the fuchsia used in the treble stitches producing a subtle effect.

Free crab stitch tutorial finished example