Learning to crochet is honestly one of the most fun things I have ever done before and I’m so glad its been one of my passions. But, when you’re first starting out things can be…. Well, a little less than fun.
It can be frustrating to not know what you’re doing (And, if you’d like a teacher. You should check this out!)
One of those not-so-fun things that people seem to struggle with is reading patterns!
I know how foreign some of those abbreviations can seem to be! Even I get stumped by a new one every now and then and have to google it to find out what it means!
Lucky for you, I have been planning this post for a very long time! And every time I came across an abbreviation in a pattern that I didn’t know, I made sure to make a note of it so that you won’t have to search as hard as I did for the answer!
Let’s get started!
Abbreviations to know
Below, are the most common stitch abbreviations that you’ll see in patterns:
- Ch -Chain
- Sl st -slip stitch
- Sc -single crochet
- Hdc -half double croche
- SDS -Short double crochet (Same as HDC)
- Dc -double crochet
- Tr (or trc) -triple (or treble) crochet
- Sp -Space
Once you get past the stitches, you’ll also run into the directions the pattern is giving you. You may see abbreviations such as these:
- Inc -increase (Add one or more stitches which should be specified by the pattern.) (i.e. “Inc row by 2 sts)
- Dec -decrease, usually done by yarning over and going through one st, then going directly into the next st, yarning over and pulling through that one then yarning over one last time to crochet them together (Eliminate one or more stitches which should be specified by the pattern.) (i.e. “Dec row by 2 sts)
- Tog- meaning together, stitch two sts together, same as decrease in some cases)
- Turn -Turn your work around so you can work back for the next row.
- Join -Join two stitches together; usually done by working a slip stitch in the top of the next/last stitch.
- Sk -Skip a stitch
- RS -Right side
- WS -wrong side
- Yo- yarn over hook
- beg – beginning
- Work even- keep working the same number of sts as the row before, without changing
- Blo- back loops only (Meaning working in only the back loops)
- Flo- front loops only (Meaning working in only the front loops)
- Rep repeat (Do it again.)
- F/O-finish off
One of the things I have seen in patterns when they want you to repeat a certain amount of stitches is using little asterisks(*) to signify which stitches the pattern wants you to repeat
So, for example, let’s say the pattern says
*2 dc in the next 2 sts then sc 1 in the next 5*
Then the pattern might say as a next step
Repeat * to * for 2 rounds.
So, you would repeat whatever stitches were in between the little * symbols. I’ve seen it in many patterns, and I use this method myself! Just think of crochet like the short-handed notes you used to take in school! (or in some cases, the notes you should have been taking in school!! hah)
Tools to start
Once you know you can read the pattern, you have to make sure you have the proper tools!
Guage and Tension
One thing that a lot of crochet patterns will specify is crochet guage. Its basically how tight/ lose you are holding your yarn. And it’s very important that you match up your tension when following a pattern to the person actually writing the pattern because this will affect the overall size of the thing you are crocheting.
Now, this doesn’t mean you need to adjust the way you hold your yarn, you should continue to crochet as comfortable for you. But this may mean that you need to go up or down a hook size or change the thickness of your yarn, if possible, to match the guage that the writer of the pattern has. If you want to learn more about crochet gauge, I recommend going over to this post here!
The pattern should also tell you what yarn they are using such as the brand, and sometimes the dye lot, how much yarn you will be using and/ or the thickness of the yarn.
The pattern should also tell you what size crochet hook and any other tools you will need!
And that’s really the basic basics for reading a crochet pattern! It seems a little tough at first but once you start memorizing what all the abbreviations mean, crocheting with a pattern is no problem!
If you can’t seem to understand the pattern written the way it is, rewrite it in a language that’s easy for you to understand! Now I don’t mean changing the stitches or anything, but if “Ch 2, sk a sp, sl st in the next 3 sts” Doesn’t make sense to you, write out the stitches in full term! “Chain 2, skip a space, slip stitch in the next 3 stitches”
See? Didn’t that make more sense?
And, don’t worry, you’ll get the hang of it soon!