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After learning how to crochet, the next most important thing you need to learn is how to reach the crochet patterns.
This is important as it helps you understand the various projects and select the ones you can easily work on.
The following guide will take you through some critical tips on how to read and understand various crochet patterns.
Before we get into more details, it’s important to understand the key section you’d expect in a typical pattern.These include:
- Materials, Yarns, and Notions Required
- Gauge/Tension/Sizing Info
- Abbreviations Used
- Any Special Terms used
With that in mind, below are some helpful tips on how to decipher a crochet pattern:
Understand what the project is all about
The About or Description part describes the name of the project as well as other important details you need to know about the details.
The tile will let you know what type of project you’re working on- it could be a scarf, sweater, etc. The About section might also indicate the level of difficulty of the pattern; assuming that you’re a beginner, you’d want to stick to projects rated as beginner level as you’re still learning the game.
Gather all the materials needed for the job
In the Materials, Yarns, and Notions section, you’ll get to know all the crochet supplies you need to complete the pattern at hand.
The section describes what type of pattern to use as well as its weight. It also tells you the amount of yarn you’ll need to complete your project.
The section even explains the size of crochet hook to use as well as any other materials needed to complete the project successfully.
Check the Gauge/Tension
Don’t have an idea what gauge means?
Well, this is a term for describing the amount of fabric a certain hook size and type of yarn will crochet. Gauge might be of less importance if you have unlimited yarn supply or you aren’t worried about the size of your final project.
However, I’d still advice you to consider checking the size of stitches.
To check the gauge of your project:
Simply crochet a swatch approx. 4 by 4 inches in the stitch pattern describes in the project instructions. If the gauge appears larger than the indicated gauge, you’d want to try a smaller hook. Otherwise, try a larger hook.
Know ALL the crocheting abbreviations
One thing that makes crocheting projects look like a foreign language for beginners is the different abbreviations used in writing the instructions. By getting to know all the abbreviations, you’ll have an easy time reading different crochets.
Below is a list of all the crocheting abbreviations and symbols:
bpdc: back post double crochet
bpsc: back post single crochet
bptr: back post treble crochet
blo: back loops only
CC: contrasting color
ch: chain stitch
ch-: chain or previously made space (i.e., ch-1 space)
ch sp: chain space
dc: double crochet
dc dec: double crochet 2 or more stitches together, as indicated
dtr: double treble crochet
flo: front loops only
fpdc: front post double crochet
fpsc: front post single crochet
fptr: front post treble crochet
hdc: half double crochet
hdc dec: half double crochet (decrease) two or more stitches together as per instructions
mC: main color
RS: right side
sc: single crochet
sc dec: single crochet (decrease) 2 or more stitches together as written
sl st: slip stitch
tr: treble crochet
trtr: triple treble
WS: wrong side
yo: yarn over
Check for specialty patterns
Your pattern might also come with a stitch you haven’t done before- that’s a specialty pattern. And in that case, I’d recommend you to first read its instructions and practice using some spare yarn to see if you can do it.
Reading your crochet patterns
When you’re ready to start working on your project, you’ll have to follow all the outlined steps in the pattern.
Most of the projects start by describing the number of chains you need to make, after which the other instructions are written in rows or rounds. Follow the rows- Row 1, Row 2, and so on, until you complete the project.
Note: if your pattern instructs you to turn your piece, simply flip it over such that you’re working on it from the opposite end.
Note the number indicated at the end of your pattern rows/rounds. This shows you the number of stitches you need to crochet. It might also require you to add/drop a stitch to let you get back on track with your pattern.
It’s also important to keep track of the stitches and rows as you continue working on your project, to ensure to ensure you stay within the indicated number in the project instructions.
An Example of Crochet Pattern:
Now that you’ve learned how to read a crochet pattern let’s look at an example of a pattern row below…
Row 1: With size H hook, ch 15, sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each ch across, turn. (14 sc)
Can you read this row?
Try reading it first, and then compare your answer with the description of the row in plain English below…
Row 1: using a hook of size H, make a total of 15 chain stitches (ch), then single crochet (sc) in the 2nd chain stitch from hook and in each stitch across, turn. (14 sc means you should end up with a total of 14 single crochets).
Did you crack it?
Reading crochet patterns is an important process that helps you understand what the project you want to work on is all about. The task isn’t hard as most beginners tend to think.
Though you might not crack the code with the first few attempts, don’t get discouraged. Continue practicing and making references to our full guide above where necessary.
Within no time, you’ll be reading (and understanding) all crochet patterns like you’d do children’s book!