Shell Chain and Beaded Shell Chain Stitch Tutorial

I discovered Shell chain in Edith John’s Creative Stitches (p.43). It is a member of the chain stitch family and a form of double chain stitch which is a lot of fun to do. Below is a freeform sample worked in a variety threads including satin ribbon and hand knitting yarn! The ribbon is about 1/4 of an inch wide. The fabric I worked it on is 25 cnt linen. A weave of this count  has quite a bit of give which enable me to get a thick tapestry needle and thread through it with out having to tug, pull and carry on.

shell chain stitch sampleShell chain stitch can be easily worked in a circle or on a curve and you can emphasise the effect by angling the needle further left or right. It is a fun and interesting linear stitch which is effective as an edging stitch too,  but if you layer it you build up some very interesting textures with it too!

How to work Shell Chain Stitch

Begin with a small chain stitch.

shell chain stitch step 1Insert your needle to the right of the first chain stitch.

shell chain stitch step 2Bring the needle up through the fabric to the left side of the line as illustrated. Wrap the thread under the needle point and pull the needle through the fabric.

shell chain stitch step 3This forms the first shell chain stitch.

shell chain stitch 4To continue down the line, make a chain stitch emerging from the last chain loop. Insert your needle into the left side of the loop as illustrated.

Bring the point of the needle up through the fabric as illustrated. With the thread wrapped under the needle point pull the needle through the fabric.

shell chain stitch 5Bring the point of the needle up through the fabric further down and to the right of the line, as illustrated. With the thread wrapped under the needle point pull the needle through the fabric.

shell chain stitch 6Work this way along the line.

shell chain stitch 7How to work Beaded Shell Chain Stitch

Now the Sharon B beaded version!

To work this stitch use a size 26 tapestry needle. Since the eye of a tapestry needle is long you can thread cotton perle #8 and cotton Perle #5 through the long eye. However, the needle itself is thin, which means you can add a bead to your working thread as you stitch. The Beading is NOT done afterwards but during the stitching process.

beaded shell chain stitch 1You commence the beaded version of this stitch the same way you start to regular version with a small chain stitch.

beaded shell chain stitch 2Thread a bead on your working thread. As with regular shell chain insert your needle to the right of the first chain stitch. Bring the needle up through the fabric to the left side of the line, as illustrated. Wrap the thread under the needle point and pull the needle through the fabric.

bead-double-chain-shell-4This forms the first beaded shell chain stitch.

To continue down the line, adding beads as you go.

beaded shell chain stitch 4You can vary the number of beads and create patterns in the beading by skipping beads.

Have you seen my Stitchers Templates?

marking a seam using my stitchers Templates

As someone who loves crazy quilting and embroidery, I designed these templates with other stitchers in mind. With my templates, you can create hundreds of different patterns to apply to your stitching and crazy quilting projects. They are easy to use, totally clear so you can position them easily and they are compact in your sewing box.

To see what they look like, find out about the free ebook of patterns that come with them visit the information pages. You can find out more about set 1 on this page . To find out more about set 2 visit this page
Or go directly to the Pintangle shop to purchase them.

20 Comments

  1. Hi Sharon, I love this stitch and the possibilities. I don’t have a blog but I will share this stitch with my CQ buddies at our next meeting. Thanks for the inspiration! Cindi

    Cindi
  2. A very beautiful stitch. I have seen in before in Totsuka Embroidery Stitch Book #3, but it has no name. It is simply called ‘Chain stitch variation no 13’ and described as a combination of Chain stitch and Open chain stitch. It is so nice to have a name to a stitch. It will be fun to work!

  3. Hi please, excuse my english which is not perfect, but,
    merci Sharon pour ces quatre nouveaux points.
    très faciles et sensasionnels.
    The “Bead link chain stitch” is complitly different with long bead than ordinary ones.
    and i receive two mails each day: one at twenty one on monday in France and the same at seven on tueday-in France. Is it normal?
    l’essentiel est de les recevoir!
    Merci encore
    A mardi
    Anna

    Volkstein A
    1. Anna it sounds like you have subscribed to the email twice. At the bottom of the-mail will be a cancellation for the subscription. It will read
      “You are subscribed to email updates from Pin Tangle
      To stop receiving these emails, you may unsubscribe now.”
      Click the unsubscribe link and unsubscribe from one of them.

      sharonb

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