How to do the Crazy Stitch in Crochet

(Also known as crazy shell or brick stitch)

The crazy stitch is a fun vintage crochet stitch pattern that has been called by a few different names over the years. Whether you call it the crazy stitch, the crazy shell, or the brick stitch this stitch is one that is fun to work and attractive to the eye.

A Crochet Shell Stitch

This stitch is considered to be a version of the crochet shell stitch. However, it is more rectangular in nature due to the unique placement and directionality of the double crochet stitches. This shape is why it is...MORE also sometimes called brick stitch. 

Brick Stitch in Crochet

A quick note on crochet stitch names: as mentioned, this stitch goes by several names. What gets confusing is that some of those stitches, particularly the brick stitch, are also the same names for completely different patterns. So you might see a "brick stitch" pattern that looks different from what you see here; they are both different patterns that have been named brick stitch over the years because they both look like bricks. To make things even more confusing, there are variations of other stitches in "brick" version such as the Crochet V-Stitch in Brick Repeat. Despite this, it is very common for the stitch described here to be called the brick stitch. People who want to differentiate it from other brick stitches will do best to call it "crazy" stitch, which almost always refers to this stitch pattern.

Diagonal Box Stitch

The pattern of the stitches look a little bit like corner-to-corner crochet, also called diagonal box stitch, but the effect is achieved when working in rows rather than on the diagonal. Some designers have mixed up the two, so there are occasionally patterns that describe the crazy stitch instructions but call it the c2c stitch. If it's worked on the diagonal (with the first "row" being just one box, the next two boxes, etc.") then it's the corner-to-corner stitch; if it's worked in true rows then it's the crazy crochet stitch.

  • 01 of 06

    Crazy Stitch: Row 1

    Crazy Crochet Stitch, Row 1
    Crazy Crochet Stitch, Row 1. Kathryn Vercillo

    Begin with a foundation chain that is a multiple of 3 + 1. (For example, try a starting chain of 19.) Then follow these instructions:

    • 3 dc in 4th ch from hook
    • Sk 3, sc in next ch, ch 3, 3 dc in same ch
    • Repeat the previous step all the way across the row
    • Sc in last ch
  • 02 of 06

    Crazy Stitch: Row 2

    Crazy Stitch: Row 2
    Crazy Stitch: Row 2. Kathryn Vercillo

    This row (and all subsequent rows) will use the following pattern:

    • Turn and ch 3
    • 3 dc in the sc that ended the previous row
    • Sc in next ch-3 sp, ch 3, 3 dc in same ch 3 sp
    • Repeat previous step across row until you reach the final ch-3 sp of the row. Do not repeat the steps in that final ch-3 sp.
    • Work one sc in final ch-3 of the row.
  • 03 of 06

    Crazy Stitch: Additional Rows

    Five Rows of Crazy Stitch
    Five Rows of Crazy Stitch. Kathryn Vercillo

    All additional rows for the crazy stitch are completed using the instructions for row 2. It is really an easy stitch pattern to learn and one that can become quite meditative once you have gotten the hang of it. 

  • 04 of 06

    Crazy Stitch Variation with No Foundation Chain

    There is actually a method of beginning this stitch pattern that allows you to start without crocheting a foundation chain, which is a really unique option in crochet. It is a great choice when working with a dark colored yarn or a textured novelty yarn, if you are finding it difficult to see where to work the stitches into the chain. Here is the pattern for working crazy shells without a starting chain:

    1. Ch 6. Join with a sl st to the first ch. Ch 3 (counts as a dc). 2 dc in ch-6 sp.
    2. Repeat step...MORE one over and over until you have as many blocks as you want for your crochet pattern!

    That's row 1. You'll work row 2 as normal except that you don't have a sc to work your first stitches into so you need to work them into the base where the sc would typically be.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    Some History About Crazy Shell Stitch

    An interesting bit of info: Instructions for the crazy shell stitch were printed in A Treatise on Embroidery, Crochet and Knitting, published in 1899. Fleisher's Knitting & Crocheting Manual of 1917 published the instructions but called it just "crazy stitch".

  • 06 of 06

    Changing Colors in Crochet Brick Stitch

    Although the brick stitch is shown in a single color for these instructions, this is crochet stitch that works really well when you change colors from row to row. The unique directionality of the stitches really shows up when you contrast one row with the next using smart color choices.

    Try it in black and white to get a really graphic design or work a selection of rainbow colors for something a little bit wild and crazy! It also looks interesting when worked in a variegated or print yarn.