Shell Chain 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 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.
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.
This forms the first shell chain stitch.
To 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.
Bring 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.
Work this way along the line.
I have a beaded version of this stitch too! Check it out here
Experimenting with different threads can be expensive. You would normally have to buy a whole skein of each type of thread. My thread twisties are a combination of different threads to use in creative hand embroidery. These enable you to try out stitching with something other than stranded cotton. For the price of just a few skeins, you can experiment with a bundle of threads of luscious colours and many different textures.
These are creative embroiders threads. With them, I hope to encourage you to experiment. Each Twistie is a thread bundle containing silk, cotton, rayon and wool. Threads range from extra fine (the same thickness as 1 strand of embroidery floss) to chunky couchable textured yarns. All threads have a soft and manageable drape. Twisting them around a needle makes experimental hand embroidery an interesting journey rather than a battle. Many are hand dyed by me. All are threads I use. You may find a similar thread twist but no two are identical.
You will find my thread twisties in the Pintangle shop here.