Catherine wheel stitch is a brilliant stitch for creating both colour and textural effects, and gets its name as it resembles a Catherine wheel firework. Although it’s made from simple double and treble stitches worked in increases and decreases, it can prove a bit of a tricky one – but don’t worry, we’re here to help with our handy step-by-step guide! We’re starting off with the most common way of creating this stitch, but you’ll also find our alternative method further below which includes a few clever tricks (if you’re making the cars blanket from issue 94 of Simply Crochet magazine then you’ll want to follow the alternative method).
If you’re using Catherine wheel stitch with multiple colours, it is often done by working 2 rows of the same colour at a time and then alternating to get the full circular effect (as shown in the picture above). For this tutorial however we are changing colour on each row to make things clearer. Let’s get started!
If you want to find more tips and tutorials, make sure to check out our other How to Crochet guides!
And remember, if you’re not familiar with any of the abbreviations used in the tutorial, you can find everything you need to know in our Crochet Abbreviations and UK/US conversion guide.
Catherine wheel crochet stitch – main method
To start off with you’ll need to make your foundation chains. For this stitch you’ll need to make your chains in multiples of 7, and then add an extra chain (plus however many chains you need for your turning chains). For this tutorial we’re going to make things simple by starting with a row of dc stitches, so chain 17 (7+7+1+[1 turning ch]), dc in the second ch from hook and each ch along (16 dc). Turn your work.
Now we’ll start on your first Catherine stitch row. Ch1, dc in first st, then skip 2 stitches, 7tr in next st.
Skip 2 sts and dc into the next st, skip another two stitches, 7tr in next st, skip two stitches, then dc into the next st.
Skip 2 stitches and work 4tr into the final stitch. This completes your first Catherine stitch row. Turn your work.
To start row 2 of your Catherine stitch, ch1, dc into the first st, then ch3
Now comes the tricky bit! You’re now going to make a tr7tog (a decrease made of 7 treble stitches). To make this stitch, you’re going to *yrh, insert your hook into next st, yrh, pull through, yrh, pull through 2 loops: and repeat this from * in all of the next 7 stitches (which will be the 3 trebles, a dc, 3 trebles on row 1). Once you’ve done this, yrh one final time and pull through all 8 loops on your hook as in the picture below.
Next make another ch3
Dc into the next unworked st of Row 1 (this will be the fourth of your 7 trebles).
Ch3, then make another tr7tog over the next 7 stitches, ch3 and dc into the next unworked st.
To complete your second row, ch3 and tr4tog in the next 4 stitches. Turn your work.
Now for your third row. Ch3 (counts as a treble) and 3tr in the first stitch (this will be the stitch at the base of your turning ch).
Now skip the next ch3 and dc into the next stitch (which will be the dc in the previous row)
Get ready for another tricky bit. Next you’re going to skip the next ch3 and work 7tr into the next stitch. This part can prove a bit confusing for where exactly to insert your hook. If you use the image below as a guide, you basically want your 7tr to go in the same place as where your tr7tog stitches of the previous row come together.
This will create a nice circular shape, however if yours is looking like two semi-circles slightly offset from each other, then it’s likely you’ve put your stitches in the wrong place. Once you’ve done your 7tr, skip the next ch3 and dc into the next st.
Then skip the next ch3, 7tr in next stitch, skip ch3, dc in final stitch. This completes your third row. Turn your work.
For row 4, start by ch3, then tr3tog in the next 3 stitches. This will count together as if it’s a tr4tog, and when you come to your next row you won’t work into the top of the starting ch3.
Ch3 and dc into the next unworked st.
ch3 and work tr7tog over the next 7 stitches.
Ch3 and dc in next unworked stitch.
ch3 and do another tr7tog, ch3 and dc into the final stitch. This completes your fourth row. To continue in the pattern just repeat these 4 rows.
And that’s how you do the standard Catherine wheel stitch.
Alternative Catherine wheel stitch method
We love the Catherine wheel stitch, but there is another way to create this fab stitch. It’s practically the same method, except that with this method your sides will be symmetrical. Because this method also uses more dc stitches, it helps to create a more solid fabric without so many gaps created by the chain spaces.
Unlike the normal method, for this alternative method our foundation chain needs to be a multiple of 8, and then add an extra chain (plus however many chains you need for your turning chains). So for this tutorial again we’re going to start with a dc row, so ch18 (8+8+1+[1 turning ch]), dc in second ch from hook and in each ch along. Turn your work.
Start Row 1 with ch1 and dc in the first 2 stitches.
Like before, we’re now going to skip 2 stitches, 7tr in next st, skip 2 sts and dc in the next stitch.
Now we’re going to dc in the next 2 stitches. You’ll notice the difference now, this method has three dc stitches in between each semi-circle rather than just the one.
Skip 2 sts, 7tr in next st, skip 2 sts, dc in the last 2 stitches. This completes Row 1. Turn your work.
Start Row 2 with ch2, then tr3tog in the next 3 stitches. You may be wondering why you start with a ch2 rather than a ch3 – this is because the ch2 and the tr3tog will act as a tr4tog and when you come to work the next row you will only be working into the tr3tog. By just working ch2 instead of ch3 your side edge will be a bit neater and not create a loop that sticks out at the side.
Ch3, but don’t skip any stitches.
Dc in the next 3 stitches
Ch3, then tr7tog in the next 7 stitches (this will be into 2tr, 3dc, 2tr)
Ch3 and dc in next 3 stitches, ch3.
To complete Row 2, tr4tog into the next 4 sts. Turn your work.
Start Row 3 with ch3 (counts as a treble), and 3tr into the first stitch (at the base of your ch3)
Skip the ch3 and dc into next 3 sts.
Skip ch3 and 7tr into next st (remember our guide from the main method for where to insert your hook – in the same place as the tr7tog come together)
Skip the next 3ch, dc in next 3 sts, skip 3ch, 4tr in final stitch. This completes Row 3. Turn your work.
To start Row 4, ch1, dc in first 2 sts, ch3.
Tr7tog in next 7 stitches (again this will be going into 2tr, 3dc, 2tr)
Ch3 and dc into next 3 sts.
Complete row 4 with ch3, tr7tog over next 7 stitches, ch3, dc in next stitch, dc in top of 3ch.
To continue with the stitch pattern, just keep repeating rows 1-4.