The reverse single crochet stitch, also known as the crab stitch, is a beautiful stitch to use as a final round of your crochet. I love it on the edge of a basket or a hat or really anywhere you want a finished look to your crochet project.
The reverse single crochet stitch can be worked on a flat piece, or it can be worked on a circular piece, such as in the final round of a hat.
The regular Single Crochet Stitch that we are so familiar with is worked from right to left. The crab stitch (reverse single crochet stitch) on the other hand is a single crochet stitch that is worked from left to right. It is a single crochet stitch worked in the opposite direction.
Why Is It Called Reverse Single Crochet?
So normally, a single crochet is worked by inserting the hook into the next stitch to the left of the most recently created stitch and the single crochet stitch is worked there. A reverse single crochet stitch starts by inserting the hook into the stitch to the right of the last stitch worked and then the stitch is formed there.
It is important to know that a reverse single crochet stitch is NOT the same as left handed crochet. When someone crochets left handed they are working stitches in a mirror image (or reversing the entire process) and that results in a piece that is the same stitch and pattern as a right handed crocheter. Reverse single crochet is a different and specific stitch and reverses the mechanism of forming a single crochet stitch. If that seems confusing, just know that this tutorial is for right handed crocheters working the reverse sc stitch.
Looking for More Crochet Techniques?
If you are just getting started with crochet or looking to master new techniques, you might also like to check out these other getting started crochet techniques:
How Do you Do a Reverse Single Crochet?
The reverse single crochet crochet stitch forms a sort of twisted single crochet edge that is a bit rounded and it makes for a simple finished edge for your work.
A lot of crocheters find this challenging and working a crab stitch / reverse single crochet stitch can feel very awkward at first. But it really is easy to master if you follow these simple steps and think through the process. It is helpful to keep in mind each specific step of a normal sc stitch as you work a crab stitch. It definitely become easier as you go along, so persist and keep practicing!
How to Work a Reverse Single Crochet Stitch
Most often a row of reverse single crochet (crab stitch) is worked without turning the crochet from the last round worked. In other words, you are working a crochet row without turning it.
If you are starting a brand new row, a reverse single crochet stitch starts with a chain for the first stitch, just like you would start a normal single crochet row. Then follow these steps to make a reverse single crochet.
First insert the crochet hook into the next stitch to the right of the hook.
Then, turn hook to the left side, grab yarn and pull through the stitch, leaving the original loop on the hook. (Remember.. think of a normal single crochet.. even though this may feel super weird, this is the first step for a normal single crochet too).
There are now 2 loops on the hook. I will be completely honest. This is the point in this stitch where I’m sure I’ve done something horribly wrong. It feels tight. It feels awkward. But remember, we are working through a single crochet stitch and the only thing that has really changed is that we are going left to right instead of right to left.
So now that there are 2 loops on the hook, draw up a loop, bring yarn over the hook again and draw this loop through both loops on hook.
Whew! You made it! One Crab stitch / Reverse Single Crochet Stitch is complete! Now just repeat steps one and two across the row, working a stitch into each stitch around work.
How Do You Finish A Crab Stitch Row?
Great question! If you are working on flat piece, just cut the yarn at the end and pull through, like you would finish off a normal single crochet or double crochet round of work.
But WAIT… How Do You Work Reverse Single Crochet In The Round?
So you’ve conquered the weirdness of it all and worked a whole round of reverse single crochet (crab stitch) but now you’re at the beginning again and wondering how in the world it’s going to join together and look like one continuous piece of work. You have a couple of options.
Option 1: Slip stitch the last stitch to the first stitch, fasten off the yarn and weave in the end. I find this creates a bit of a bump and I don’t always love the look of this.
Option 2: Fasten off the yarn after the last stitch, thread a tapestry needle and weave the last stitch to the first stitch mimicing the look of the crab stitch.
I prefer Option 2, but it does require some practicing to find a way of weaving that looks nice to you. The slip stitch Option 1 is easier.
Reverse Crochet Stitch (Crab Stitch) Final Thoughts
Like most things, you will perfect this crochet technique with practice. Take your time. Inspect your work as you go and don’t be afraid to rip out and try again. Go back through the tutorial as a refresher the next time you want to try this beautiful edging stitch.
I love seeing your finished projects! If you enjoyed learning how to work a reverse single crochet stitch, I’d love to see your work on Instagram, be sure to tag me @crochet365knittoo. If you are on Facebook, stop over to the Crochet 365 Knit Too Facebook page or pop over to the Crochet365KnitToo Club and share a photo! I’d love to see your work!