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How to Crochet Puff Stitch: Easy Beginner Guide

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Looking for a tutorial on how to crochet the puff stitch? You’ve come to the right place! Join me for an in-depth guide on crocheting this beautiful, dimensional stitch and incorporating it into your next crochet project. Grab your hooks, and let’s get started!

a complete swatch of evenly spaced puff stitches in blue yarn on a light gray background

The crochet puff stitch is one of my favorite ways to add playful, dimensional texture to all sorts of crochet projects. Puff stitches are easy to learn, quick to make, and just so versatile! They’re a great way to add visual interest to beanies, blankets, amigurumi, and more.

In this tutorial, I’ll take you through the basic puff stitch technique, step-by-step. We’ll cover everything you need to know to get started, including our best tips, answers to frequently asked questions, and fun crochet pattern ideas featuring puffs. 

How to Make a Puff Stitch

To make a puff stitch, it’s as if you’re crocheting a group of 3-5 half-double crochet stitches together, all in the same stitch. This creates a round, raised puff that pops out from the surface of your work.

Puff Stitch: Yarn over, insert hook into the stitch or space, yarn over, pull up a loop, (yarn over, insert hook in same stitch or space, yarn over, pull up a loop) 3 times. There will be 9 loops on hook. Yarn over, and draw through all loops on hook.

Things to note:

  • Puff stitches will “pop out” on the opposite side of the fabric to which they’re made. In other words, if you want the puff stitches to appear on the RS (right side) of the fabric, you’ll need to crochet them on a WS (wrong side) row.  
  • Accordingly, patterns often alternate WS rows of puff stitches with RS rows of regular crochet stitches. Depending on your pattern, it may be made up of single crochet, half double crochet, double crochet, or a combination of stitches. 
  • To make your puffs really stand out, crochet a shorter stitch before and after the puff. The shorter stitch on either side draws the fabric down, making the puff in the middle appear more rounded and “3D”. 

Puff Stitch Details

  • Abbreviation: “puff” is the most common abbreviation for puff stitch. That said, abbreviations vary from designer to designer. You may see other abbreviations for the puff stitch, including “ps”.
  • Skill Level: Easy.
  • Stitch Multiple: Any odd number. Puffs are worked across a single stitch, and usually bordered by shorter stitches such as single crochet.
  • Row Multiple: Multiple of 2. Puffs are worked on the wrong side row (WS). A row of non-puff stitches is usually worked between each row of puff stitches.
  • Right side vs. wrong side: The puff stitch pops out on the opposite side than it’s made. If you want the puff to show on the right side of the fabric, make the puff on the wrong side (WS) rows.
  • Reversible? Sometimes. A swatch of puff stitches alternated with single crochet (like the one below) will have a 3D texture on the front and a relatively flat texture on the back. But, there are other ways to work the puff stitch that do have a more reversible look.

Puff Stitch Instructions

Think of making the puff stitch as if you were making a group of 4 incomplete double crochet stitches into the same stitch. (Puffs can be made with different numbers of stitches, but this version is one of the most common.)

Here’s how to crochet a classic puff stitch:

  1. Yarn over (as if you were going to make a half double crochet). Insert your hook into the indicated stitch. Yarn over and pull up a loop. (You’ll have 3 loops on your hook.)
  2. Yarn over, insert your hook into the same stitch, and pull up a loop. (5 loops on the hook.)
  3. Yarn over, insert your hook into the same stitch, and pull up a loop. (7 loops on the hook.)
  4. Yarn over, insert your hook into the same stitch, and pull up a loop. (9 loops on the hook.)
  5. Yarn over one last time and pull through all loops.
  6. Optional Step: Chain one to secure the top of the puff stitch.

Note: The “ch-1” step is only sometimes used – so double-check your pattern instructions to see if it’s required.

Puff Stitch Swatch

Now that you know the basics of the puff stitch, let’s learn how to crochet a swatch of puff stitches.

Materials

  • Yarn: Any yarn works, but medium weight (aka worsted weight) is beginner-friendly.
  • Hook: Use the size recommended for your yarn.
  • Scissors and tapestry needle: Keep these on hand for those finishing touches.

I used Lion Brand Color Theory yarn and a 5.5mm hook in this tutorial.

Abbreviations 

  • Ch – chain
  • Puff – puff stitch
  • RS – right side
  • Sc – single crochet
  • St/s – stitch/es
  • WS – wrong side

Notes

  • This stitch pattern is written in US crochet terms
  • Turning 1 ch does not count as a stitch
  • Ch-1 worked after the puff stitch does not count as a stitch
  • All puffs are made on wrong side (WS) rows.

Puff Stitch Swatch

Row 1 (RS): Ch an even number. Sc in the second chain from hook and in each ch across. Turn.

one row of crochet stitches and a silver tapestry needle on a gray background

Row 2 (WS): Ch 1 (does not count as a st, here and throughout) sc in the first st, *puff in the next st, sc in the next st; repeat from * across. Turn.

one row of puff stitches in blue yarn on a light gray background

Row 3: Ch 1, sc in each st across. Turn. (Make sure to work into the single crochets and the tops of the puff stitches themselves – not the ch-1 following each puff stitch.)

a row of crochet stitches after a row of puff stitches on a gray background

Repeat Rows 2-3 to continue the pattern.

a complete swatch of evenly spaced puff stitches in blue yarn on a light gray background

Puff Stitch Variations

While the classic 4-hdc (9-loop) puff is the most common, puffs can be made using different numbers of loops. Here are some variations to try:

Bigger Puffs

To increase the size of the puff, add more loops on the hook before finishing the stitch. For example, making a group of 5 incomplete half double crochets would give you 11 loops on your hook.

Large Puff Stitch (11-loop version): Yarn over, insert hook into the stitch or space, yarn over, pull up a loop, (yarn over, insert hook in same stitch or space, yarn over, pull up a loop) 4 times. There will be 11 loops on hook. Yarn over, and draw through all loops on hook.

Smaller Puffs

To reduce the size of the puff, make a group of 3 incomplete half double crochets instead of 4. 

Small Puff Stitch (7-loop version): Yarn over, insert hook into the stitch or space, yarn over, pull up a loop, (yarn over, insert hook in same stitch or space, yarn over, pull up a loop) 2 times. There will be 7 loops on hook. Yarn over, and draw through all loops on hook.

a swatch of puff stitches in blue yarn on a gray background
Larger puffs, regular puffs, smaller puffs

Tips and Tricks for Perfect Puff Stitches

Puff stitches add fabulous texture, but getting them right takes practice. Here are my top tips for making gorgeous, uniform puffs every time:

Practice your Yarn Overs: Try to pull all the loops up to the same height to achieve a neat-looking stitch. Don’t yarn over too tightly, though, or you may struggle to get that last yarn over through all those loops.

Check the pattern notes: Make sure to read the designer’s pattern notes to find out exactly how they’d like you to make the puff stitches. The pattern will state how many loops they want you to work when creating a puff stitch, and if they’d like you to include that closing ch-1.

Tension: Keep your yarn tension as even as possible, so your puff stitches look the same from row to row. Overall, aim for consistency.

Crochet Patterns with Puffs

The puff stitch creates beautiful texture, but which projects really allow it to shine? Here are some of our favorite crochet patterns featuring the puff stitch.

Hexi Puff Coasters

Add a pop of color to your home with these beautifully textured coasters that use the textured crochet puff stitch. The Hexi Puff Coasters are a wonderful project for beginners to try. The pattern uses some basic stitches but helps beginners stretch their skills by adding the fun puff stitch, working the magic ring, and adding a border. Give these fun coasters a try!

Puff Stitch Fingerless Gloves

These puff stitch fingerless gloves would make a perfect gift for a loved one or a friend. They are a quick and easy project that you can whip up as a craft stall item. They will be super popular with your customers!

Boho Puff Stripes Blanket

If you have a lot of friends or family members expecting little babies, this cute blanket would make such a lovely gift! The crochet puff stitch creates a great contrast in texture against the plain stitches, which exaggerates the texture of this beautiful stitch.

a swatch of puff stitch compared to a swatch of bobble stitch in blue yarns on a gray background
A swatch of puff stitches and a swatch of bobble stitches.

Common Questions about Puff Stitch

Here are the most frequently asked questions about crocheting the puff stitch.

Does the puff stitch use a lot of yarn?

Yes, the puff stitch is a bit of a yarn eater. Since you are essentially making 3-5 half double crochets in the same stitch, each puff will use 3-5x as much yarn as a regular half-double crochet stitch. 

Do you crochet a puff stitch on the right or wrong side?

In most cases, you’ll crochet puff stitches on wrong side (WS) rows. The puffs will pop through to the right side (RS) of the fabric.

What is the difference between a puff stitch and a bobble stitch?

Think of making the puff stitch like making a group of incomplete half-double crochet stitches into one stitch, and joining them together at the top.  

In contrast, a bobble stitch is like making a group of incomplete double crochets, and joining them together at the top.

Is the cluster stitch the same as the puff stitch?

No. The cluster stitch is a double crochet decrease worked across multiple stitches, while the puff stitch is a group of partially finished half double crochets worked in a single stitch. 

a complete swatch of evenly spaced puff stitches in blue yarn on a light gray background

Crochet Puff Stitch

Yield: 1

Materials

  • Any yarn, such as medium weight.

Tools

  • Crochet hook, in the size recommneded for your yarn.

Instructions

  1. Yarn over (as if you were going to make a half double crochet). Insert your hook into the indicated stitch. Yarn over and pull up a loop. (You’ll have 3 loops on your hook.)
  2. Yarn over, insert your hook into the same stitch, and pull up a loop. (5 loops on the hook.)
  3. Yarn over, insert your hook into the same stitch, and pull up a loop. (7 loops on the hook.)
  4. Yarn over, insert your hook into the same stitch, and pull up a loop. (9 loops on the hook.)
  5. Yarn over one last time and pull through all loops.
  6. Optional Step: Chain one to secure the top of the puff stitch.

Notes

Check your specific pattern to see if the Puff Stitch includes the finishing ch-1.

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More Crochet Stitch Tutorials

Expand your crochet repertoire with these stitch tutorials.

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