Freeform Crochet Basics, Part 5, The Nautilus Shell


The nautilus shell is a popular motif in freeform crochet. It’s made in the same way as the spiral, or two-colored spiral, except the height of the stitches progressively gets higher, creating a widening of the spiral towards the end.


The pattern is based on the actual living sea creature commonly called nautilus shell, a marine mollusc with a spiral shell divided into chambers.


The pattern is also called the Fibonacci Shell. The Fibonacci sequence, also known as the Golden Spiral, is a mathematical formula for natural spiral formations.


Here’s how to crochet a basic Nautilus Shell:

(With American terminology)

The shell is made in 3 rounds, with an increase in every stitch in the second and third round.


Besides single crochet and double crochet, you need to use triple and double triple crochet. These are the same as double crochet, but with one or two more yarn over than the double crochet. These are the higher stitches that will widen the spiral.


To clarify the stitch height, I’ve used different colors for the different stitches in my sample shell.

Start with a Magic Circle and chain 1.

Make into ring 2 Single Crochet (SC) …

… 2 Half Double Crochet (HDC) …


…  8 Double Crochet (DC)


Pull the magic circle tight.

Make 2 DC into the first SC, continue making 2 DC into the next 3 stitches. (8 DC in first round + 8 DC = 16 DC)


Next, you need to make triple crochet (TR). To make a TR you yarn over the hook twice, then go through the stitch, yarn over and pull through so that you have 4 loops on the hook. Yarn over and pull through two loops, yarn over again and pull trough two loops. I like to make the first stitch as a “half ” triple crochet to make the shift from one level to the other smoother.

I make the TR, but after the first “yarn over, pull through” I yarn over and pull through all 3 remaining loops.

This makes the stitch a little bit shorter than a TR, but taller than a DC.


Then, make a TR into the same stitch, and continue with 2 TR into next 5 stitches (12 TR, including the “half” TR)

Next you make 2 double triple crochet (DTR) into each of next 8 stitches, and here again you can make the first one as a “half ” DTR by pulling the yarn over through the last 3 loops. The DTR is made the same way as a TR, but with one more yarn over in the beginning. (16 DTR)

Fasten off yarn and weave in the ends.


You can use your shell as it is as a small decoration or applique, or you can incorporate it into your freeform crochet fabric or scrumble.


You can also embellish it with additional stitches. I’ve added a slip stitch relief spiral on top.

What will you do with your Nautilus Shell?

~ Marina

Related posts:

– Freeform Crochet Part 1

– Freeform Crochet Basics: The Spiral

– Freeform Crochet Basics: The Two Color Spiral

– Freeform Crochet Basics Part 4

– Freeform Crochet Basics 4b: Bigger Spirals

– Freeform Crochet Spiral Scrumble

– Freeform Crochet: Single Crochet Spiral

– Hump Stitch in Freeform Crochet

– Freeform Crochet World Let’s meet on Facebook!

More Crochet Patterns:

Snovej Crochet