Stitch Diagrams: Map and Key for Crochet Success

The act of crocheting something for someone always gives me warm fuzziess in my soul. This effect is increased exponentially when that someone is a tiny, new someone. Crocheting for babies is always rewarding: The projects are small and quick, they’re a great way to learn new techniques, and you can use all those fabulous colors that your teenager refuses to acknowledge.

Robyn Chachula’s soon-to-be-released book Baby Blueprint Crochet is full of adorable, engaging projects that are sure to delight both the stitcher and the receiver. If you like making things for babies and kids, I can pretty much guarantee that you will want this book. If you like those projects and you’re a fan of stitch diagrams, you really need to see this book. Robyn designs and creates her own diagrams, and each one is fit to be its own piece of wall-art. Apart from making great decorations, they are an extremely useful way to read a pattern. However, for those not used to reading them, they can look more like cryptic crop circles than a project map.

Learn how to crochet from stitch diagrams.So, to get you all ready for the release of this book, let’s do a quick review of how to read a stitch diagram. A stitch diagram is essentially a picture of the project, with special symbols used to represent individual stitches. Each diagram is accompanied by a key, like the one at left, that tells you what stitch each symbol stands for. Robyn’s book starts out with a section on reading these diagrams. Below is one of her sample diagrams from that beginning section. It may look confusing at first, but let’s break it down.

Crochet stitch diagrams are a great way to crochet. Learn how to se them.The little ovals along the bottom are chain stitches, as we can see from the key. The way that they go up the side of the first row of the work shows that the last few chains worked will count as a turning chain or stitch. We see then two double crochets worked into the same chain, several chains that are not worked into, then a single crochet, chain 3, skip a chain, and another single crochet. Then we see 2 double crochet, chain 2, 2 double crochet all worked into the same chain, and then those stitches repeated across the chain. We then see our turning chain (shown in blue to differentiate the rows), a single crochet, and the same stitch pattern as the previous row, worked into the chain spaces created in Row 1.

Working with a written pattern alongside a stitch diagram is a good way to practice reading the diagrams intuitively. Before long, you’ll be able to read a pattern directly from its diagram, using the pattern only when clarification is needed, and you may even find yourself drawing your own stitch diagrams for instructions that don’t have them!

Here’s a picture of what the above diagram looks like when it is crocheted (and just wait until you see the whole garment in the book!):

So, if you haven’t tried working from stitch diagrams before, go ahead and give it a go! It’s a great skill to have for working with patterns. It will also be great practice for all of the adorable patterns in Robyn’s book. I know I’m going to be making quite a few of them. My BFF is expecting her first child in January. I have visions of myself as the odd auntie who cozies the child for life in yarn-wear. I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to it!

Until next time,


Other topics you may enjoy:


Crochet Me Blog

7 thoughts on “Stitch Diagrams: Map and Key for Crochet Success

  1. Althought the stitch diagram gives you a better picture of what the piece should look like, my problem with the diagrams is my eyesight. It is much easier for me to see: sc, ch3, sk1, sc, sk2, etc. than try to count the little ovals being skipped and to differentiate all the symbols when they are stacked together.

  2. I love to crochet using stitch diagrams! In fact I used to subscribe to Magic Crochet and Decorative Crochet magazines, but they were discontinued! I could not believe it! I have not subscribed to any more magazines cause they did not have the diagrams. But I may just subscribe to yours now that I know it does. Thanks for bringing the diagrams back!

  3. Fwiw, Crochet Today does both – symbols & written out patterns. It’s the best of both worlds, because you can compare either to your project in-process.

    If a crochet company came out with a digital subscription for patterns, you could increase the size of the symbols to something more comfortable to read.

  4. I absolutely LOVE stitch diagrams as they opened up the whole world of crochet to me. I just find written patterns too difficult to negotiate whereas a stitch pattern I can see at a glance where I need to be. Mind you, I do know others would find the opposite to be true so I guess it boils down to what you find easiest to use. Anyway, I started with filet crochet patters, have graduated to lacy paterns and would love to get some ieas for making clothing. Looking forward to exploring the site.

  5. Bravo!
    Thank You , merci Sarah!
    I think all crochet patterns should allways be made of the diagram of the motif, and the complete diagram of the pattern?
    this should be understood by anyone in the whole world.
    the books magasine ,web site about crochet shoud undersatnd what is the best for us passionate of crochet yarns!

    I do not undcerstand why they keep on writting long littanies of words , sentences, abriviations , that are so complicated to follow and more it does not allow us to vu-isualise the final work, nor the motf!

    This is my goal, I keep writting ( in French for I am Belgium) to all French magasines and books editors , to explain that we perfer the diagram..that is why the japonease books and lmagasines have so much succès

    Thank you very much, merci beaucoup