Is that a slip stitch or a single crochet?

Have you ever tried to work a project from a vintage crochet pattern and your finished piece just didn’t look right? You followed the instructions as closely as possible considering their decidedly sparse nature, but the piece you finished just looks out of proportion or too big.

Slip Stitch Crochet or Single Crochet
Is this a slip stitch or a single crochet? The answer might depend on your pattern.

If you are used to crocheting from patterns written in the United States, you were probably working the wrong stitches. While both English and American patterns use the same terminology when referring to crochet stitches, stitch names actually refer to different stitches. And many vintage patterns use English terminology.

So, if a vintage Weldon’s pattern tells you to double crochet (dc) across the next row, they are really referring to what modern American patterns would call a single crochet (sc). An English single crochet (sc) would translate as a slip stitch (sl st) in American patterns. A treble crochet (tr) in a vintage pattern, such as those found in Weldon’s, would translate to a double crochet (dc) in current American patterns.

Bourbon Rose Vintage Crochet Pattern from Weldon's Practical Crochet
Bourbon Rose Pattern for Antimacassar from Weldon’s Practical Crochet Seventh Series

Are you confused yet? I know I was confused the first time I tried to memorize the difference. If you are used to crocheting from American patterns, the easiest way to remember which stitch you are supposed to work is to always go down one full stitch, so single crochet becomes slip stitch, double crochet becomes single crochet, treble crochet becomes double crochet, etc.

If the vintage pattern tells you to work a half treble (htr), the “half” stays as it is written and the “treble” translates to an American double crochet. So you would work a half double crochet.

My favorite stitch is the chain stitch. This stitch does not change whether you are working a vintage pattern or a modern pattern. A chain stitch is always a chain stitch.

Crochet Stitch Translation Guide
English American
Chain (ch)
Chain (ch)
Single Crochet (sc)
Slip Stich (sl st)
Double Crochet (dc)
Single Crochet (sc)
Half Treble Crochet (htr)
Half Double Crochet (hdc)
Treble Crochet (tr)
Double Crochet (dc)
Double Treble Crochet (dtr)
Treble Crochet (tr)

If you find you are having trouble remembering which stitch to work, keep a translation key handy or write out the pattern in the crochet vernacular you are used to. I have also found that a set of highlighter pens can come in very handy. Highlight the single crochet stitches in yellow, the double crochet stitches in green, etc.

I love crocheting from vintage patterns. Translating the stitches, following a pattern that was written over a hundred years ago, and discovering a treasure at the end of your crochet journey, makes crocheting from a vintage pattern an unparallelled adventure.

Best wishes,

P.S. Do you have tips for working vintage patterns or are you used to crocheting in English and have tips for working American patterns? We would love to hear about them below.

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How to Crochet, Stitches
Toni Rexroat

About Toni Rexroat

Toni Rexroat is the Online Editor of Crochet Me. Outfitted with several crochet hooks and surrounded by bins of yarn, she has been the assistant editor for Interweave Crochet magazine as well as PieceWork, Interweave Crochet’s sister magazine. She was born and raised in a little town in Wyoming where she was exposed to wool and other fibers at an early age, and began crocheting in her early teens. Enjoying a wide variety of fibery hobbies from crochet and knitting to sewing, she is determined to learn to spin so she can crochet with her own yarn.

5 thoughts on “Is that a slip stitch or a single crochet?

  1. This is really timely, as just a week ago I wrote a guide for my UK English website, http://www.adamventure-crafts.co.uk, about how to translate an American English crochet pattern. It has comparisons of hooks, yarns and threads as well as stitches, and should be equally useful used in reverse by US crocheters, particularly any ex pats in the UK!

  2. This info may be of help also to help prevent even more confusion. I’m UK English and can read UK patterns and USA patterns fluently now – have used all so many times!

    You refer to the UK English Single Crochet being the USA Slip Stitch in your comparison chart – but we don’t use that term at all nowadays… Slip Stitch is Slip Stitch – the same !
    So the UK modern terms appear to be slightly different than your vintage USA patterns written in what was then UK English ?

    Ever bigger circles huh ? !

    Amanda Jane
    http://www.wildcottage.blogspot.com/

  3. We have this problem in Australia as we use English terms. I find I keep the conversion with my crochet so I can refer to it all the time. I really cannot understand why the terms were changed in America to different stitches when they had been around for so long as they were.

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