The crochet brick stitch is a vintage 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 crochet stitch is fun to work and attractive to the eye. It is made using basic crochet stitches, so an advanced beginner should be able to crochet this stitch without a problem.
A Crochet Shell Stitch
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Crazy Stitch: Row 1
Begin with a foundation chain that is a multiple of 3 + 1. (For example, try a starting chain of 19, which is 3 times 6 + 1.) 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
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Crazy Stitch: Row 2
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 the 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.
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Crazy Stitch: Additional Rows
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.
You can see here why it's called brick stitch; the individual boxes are brick-shaped. You can also see why it's called "crazy stitch" since those boxes are set in a way that looks a little off-kilter. The result is an undulating graphic design.
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Crazy Stitch Variation with No Foundation Chain
There is a method of beginning this stitch pattern that allows you to start without crocheting a foundation chain, which is unique in crochet. It is a great choice when working with a dark colored yarn or a textured novelty yarn that can make it difficult to see where to work the stitches into the chain.
Here is the pattern for working crazy shells without a starting chain:
- Ch 6. Join with a sl st to the first ch. Ch 3 (counts as a dc). 2 dc in ch-6 sp.
- Repeat step one 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.
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Crazy Shell Stitch History
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". The stitch is considered a vintage stitch, especially when it goes by the name "crazy stitch". Some might find this name offensive due to its mental health connotations, so it may be more appropriate to call it crochet brick stitch.
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Changing Colors in Crochet Brick Stitch
Although the brick stitch is shown in a single color for these instructions, this is a 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. Play around with the options to make brick stitch even more unique.