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Shell Stitch - Mermaid Tail pattern help

Question

 
 
I am having a lot of trouble with the mermaid tail.  I got the waistband all ready to go. I followed Row 1 for the tail and got 9Sh just fine, however I had about 2 inches of extra waistband that didn't have a shell across the top of it.  I thought maybe it was an extra length to wrap with the buttons so I kept going.
 
On Row 2, I ended up with only 8Sh total, so then on Row 3 I had only 7Sh.  I am doing the 3ch and 2 tr (which is a dc in the USA, right?).   I really felt like I followed the directions.  By the time I was done with row 3, I could not visualize how to repeat row 2 (for row 4) withOUT turning it.  Do I work backwards?  Wouldn't it turn out almost the same as turning it ?
 
I thought I was getting good at crochet, but this is really throwing me for a loop.  I would love your insight on this!
----------trouble below -----------------

Row 1: Using the larger hook 1ch, 1dc, 9Sh. Turn. (9)Sh

Row 2: 3ch (counts as 1tr), 2tr in first dc, 8Sh, 3tr in last dc. Turn. (9)Sh

Row 3: 1ch, 1dc 9Sh. Turn. (9)Sh

Row 4: As Row 2. Do Not Turn.

**If someone figures this out and works through it, I would love step by step pictures of how you are doing Row 2 and Row 4.

 

Thank you!! My email address is kristinah1981@yahoo.com

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when you work a shell stitch like this, where the shells are offset from one row to the next, you have to include a half-shell at the edges of alternating rows.  in this case, that is the 3 ch and 2 tr at the beginning of row 2, and the 3 tr at the end.  this sets things up correctly so you can have 9 shells again on the next row.  Look at the symbol diagram (aka chart), you can see it clearly there.  Be sure you are including thses partial shells on row 2 and 4, and I think it will work out for you.  

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