How to Work Reverse Single Crochet (Crab Stitch)

Reverse single crochet, also known as crab stitch, creates a decorative cord-like effect. But if you’ve never done it, it can be tricky to understand exactly what the instructions are asking you to do.

The most important thing to understand is that you are going to be working in the opposite direction from ordinary crochet. If you are right-handed, you normally crochet from the right to the left.

Direction of normal crochet for right-handers
Right-handed crocheters usually work in this direction.

If you are left-handed, you normally crochet from the left to the right.

Direction of normal crochet for left-handers
Left-handed crocheters usually work in this direction.

But in reverse single crochet, you are going the other way!

Follow the instructions below, referring to the right-handed or left-handed images to for additional help. I’ve also included a helpful video which you’ll find at the bottom of the post.

Step-by-Step Instructions

At the end of the last row, chain 1, but do not turn the work.

As you crochet this row, keep your hook headed in the same direction that you have been working. (Pointed to the left for right-handers and to the right for left-handers.)

Keep your index finger on the stitch on the hook so that it doesn’t jump off the hook. Insert the hook into the first stitch.

Reverse single crochet: Insert hook into first stitch; right-handed
Right-handed
Reverse single crochet: Insert hook into first stitch; left-handed
Left-handed

Yarn over and pull up a loop. Remember to keep the hook pointing to the left or right as described above.

Reverse single crochet: Yarn over and pull up a loop; right-handed
Right-handed
Reverse single crochet: Yarn over and pull up a loop; left-handed
Left-handed

Now yarn over and pull through both loops on the hook to complete the first single crochet.

Reverse single crochet: Yarn over and pull through two loops; right-handed
Right-handed
Reverse single crochet: Yarn over and pull through two loops; left-handed
Left-handed

Holding the loop on the hook, insert the hook into the next stitch and complete a single crochet.

Reverse single crochet: Insert hook into next stitch and complete the next single crochet; right-handed
Right-handed
Reverse single crochet: Insert hook into next stitch and complete the next single crochet; left-handed
Left-handed

Continue working all the way across the row. Remember to keep your hook pointing to the left if it’s in your right hand, or to the right if it’s in your left hand. Use your index finger to keep the loops on the hook when they want to jump off.

And relax! Breathe! You’ve got this!

Completed reverse single crochet/crab stitch edging
A completed crab stitch edging

Watch Crab Stitch in Action

The following may contain affiliate links. If you buy something when you use one of those links, I may get a small income, but it won’t cost you anything extra.

You’ll find edgings that incorporate crab stitch/reverse single crochet in Around the Corner Crochet Borders and Every Which Way Crochet Borders. For more crochet tips and techniques, subscribe to my YouTube channel.

I’ve got more links to crochet resources at Crochet: Basics & Beyond.

The yarn I used in the photos and videos is Red Heart Chic Sheep. The crochet hook is Clover Amour, size 5 mm.

3 thoughts on “How to Work Reverse Single Crochet (Crab Stitch)”

  1. Thank-you, especially helpful are the photos with the arrows. I’ve never been able to ‘get’ this stitch but I think I’ll be able to now. Thank-you again, and I wish you a very Happy New Year!

  2. On the last stitch, I just cut my yarn and pull it through, then use a tapestry needle join to connect it to the first stitch.

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