Crocheting is not an easy task but can be made easier by seeing and reading crochet patterns and learning from them. Now, You will need to understand how to read crochet patterns or different tutorials. Each pattern must start with different abbreviations and terms that have been used to save space and make the patterns easier to read.
Crocheting is one thing; learning through crochet patterns is another. Whereas reading a crochet pattern is not an easy task either. For a beginner, it might sound like a foreign language. All the crochet patterns involve crochet terms and abbreviations that are not used in everyday life. However, the basic crochet stitches abbreviations and terms make it easier for the crocheter to teach and learn effectively.
If you are also a crochet beginner, this article can help you understand how to read a crochet pattern. It has all the basic information that you need to learn the learn crochet abbreviations and terms to start beginner level crocheting.
So, for a start, you might have seen many abbreviations throughout the crochet patterns and instructions. It might get you confused that what those abbreviations are supposed to mean. So you need to know the crochet terms that are used in crochet patterns and what they mean. These are some easy crochet abbreviations used in basic crochet stitches and a very easy to understand.
Basic Crochet Stitches Abbreviations:
|SL st||Slip Stitch|
|Hdc||Half Double Crochet|
|Tr (or trc)||Triple ( or treble) crochet|
Different Crochet Terms
There are some other crochet terms that are used in the crochet pattern tutorial, and that might come in handy for you in understanding the tutorial in a better way. The list is as follows:
|Inc||Increase (add one or more stitches)|
|Dec||Decrease (eliminate one or more stitches)|
|Join||Join the two stitches together. It is usually done by working on the slip stitch in the top of the next stitch.|
|Turn||Turn your work so you can work on the next row.|
|Rep||Repeat (Do it Again)|
These are some of the crochet terms that will help you a great deal when you are starting to crochet and going through the tutorial to understand it.
Learn how to read crochet patterns:
Now that you have the basic crochet terms and abbreviations list in hand, you will be able to understand how to follow a crochet pattern in a better way. There are different crochet pattern techniques for different designs. For example, when crocheting an afghan, you will follow the pattern in rows, i.e., back and forth to crochet a flat piece. Similarly, for a hat, the crochet pattern is worked in the round to create a tube with no seams.
Whatever you are going to crochet, the first-ever step is to make a slip knot on your crochet hook. This step might not be shared in the tutorial you are looking at to learn from. The reason is that this basic step and a necessary one, so it is assumed that the person who is trying to learn a design to crochet already knows that. It is considered to be known already that to make a slip knot on the hook while starting to crochet anything.
Learn Crochet Slip Knot
See the figure to learn how to make a slip knot. After having a slipknot on your hook, you can now work the foundation chain, which takes your pattern further. The number of chains that you are going to need for the pattern will be stated by the writer in the first row or after it. The writing style of the writer may differ accordingly. For example:
For Row no. 1: Ch no. 15; sc in ch no. 2 from hook and in each ch across.
Ch no 15. And Row 1: Sc in 2nd ch from the hook and in each of the ch across.
Now, to make it easier for you, both lines have the same meaning. To explain it in easier words, both the lines mean that after making a slip knot on the hook—Whip 15 loose chain stitches. Now, count the stitches carefully, and make sure not to count the slip stitch as one of the stitches. The slip stitch is basically just there to give the crochet pattern a start. It is a loop that cannot be counted as a stitch.
Now that you have 15 chain stitches look again at the above lines. They say “sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each of the ch across”. This means that count and moves the first chain away from the hook. You will skip it and then start whipping a single crochet stitch in the second chain. The question arises that why do you have to skip the first chain. For that, you try crocheting single crochet in that chain, and you will get the answer!
Crocheting single crochet:
Moving on, in the 2nd ch from the hook and in the remaining 13 chains, carefully work a single crochet stitch. This is abbreviated as ‘Rem.’ And you’re done with your first row. Remember to skip the loop while carefully counting the stitches. You will have 14 single crochet stitches.
Tip: To make it easier for yourself, count the stitches whenever you have worked up an entire row. Most of the patterns have the instructions of how many stitches you will need for it. Some of the ways to mention the required stitches are:
—- 14 sc
All of these are different ways to show the number of stitches you should have. This is not an instruction to work some stitches. This is only a way to tell you how many total stitches you will have. Remember the chain you skipped at the start? Here’s the thing, whenever you are working a single crochet stitch, you never have to work on the chain. It will be gone later on.
How to turn the work after completing one row.
Now that you are done with working up until you first row, look at the pattern again. At the end of the row, there might be an instruction of “ch1, turn”. It means that you have completely made one row, and it is time to turn up so you can start working on the next row. The figure below would help you in understanding how to turn the work after completing one row. It is up to you whether you turn it to your right or your left.
There is no hard and fast rule for that. But you need to be sure that you give it the same way turn each time when you turn. It is best to leave the hook in when you are working your way into turning. Also, some patterns do not mention the turn at the end of the row of ch 1, but they do add the instructions for the next row.
While moving from row 1 to row 2, the pattern can be written in these two different ways:
Row 1: Sc in 2nd ch using the hook and in rem ch; ch 1, turn.
Row 2: Sc from each sc across.
Row 1: Sc in 2nd ch from the hook and in each of the rem ch.
Row 2: Ch 1 and turn; sc in each of the sc across
Now, it is not of much importance that you work ch1 and turn at the start of the first row or at the end. It is easier to work row 2 because it is almost the same way as row 1.
Row3 and So On:
The important point is that whether you work row 3 or any other row that follows it, you need not count the turning ch1 as a stitch. The turning stitch always disappears when you are working on the foundation chain.
Working in Double Crochet:
Double crochet stitches are different from single crochet in a way that slip stitch and turning chain do not disappear while working on the foundation chain and is counted as a stitch. Let’s learn how to make the first row of double crochet to have a clearer view:
Row 1: Dc in the 4th ch from the hook and in the chain across 15 dc.
Simple! All you need to do is to make a slipknot at the start, then make 17 stitches. After that, count your stitches, leave the first chains away, and start working double crochet in the form of a chain by skipping the first three chains. Now do the math, and you will find out that you have 13 remaining chains and 15 double crochet stitches.
Now your question is that how come you have worked only 14 double stitches. The first 3 chains you just skipped while working up the first double crochet stitch explains it. The 3 chains that were skipped count as the first double crochet of the row. For the following rows, you will use the top chain of these 3 chains as a regular double crochet stitch.
How many chain stitches will be required:
The pattern will then tell you how many chain stitches will be required to raise your yarn to such a height for meeting the stitches for the newt row. This information can be shared at the end of the row or at the beginning of the next row. Remember that for single crochet, it ch 1, and was not counted as a stitch. But as double crochet is a taller stitch, so 3 chains are required and then turned, and we count these 3 chains as a single stitch.
So, for starting the next row, you need to assume that chain no.3 is the first double crochet, and you are going to work on the next stitch. The figures shared will make it easier for you to understand this. Unless your pattern has different instructions, this is the technique that is used in all taller stitches. The turning chain is considered as the first stitch of the row.
Asterisks, Brackets and Parentheses
When you read crochet patterns, you will notice that it uses different symbols, which helps the crocheter decide what to do next. Crochet patterns mostly have steps that are to be repeated several times in the same row. So, instead of writing the step, again and again, the asterisks (*) are used, which is an indication of the repetition that is going to occur. Here, we are sharing an example from the pattern.
Row 4: Dc in next 4 sts; *ch 1, skip the next st, dc in the next st; rep from * to end (or across the row).
Row 4: Dc in the next 4 sts; *ch 1, skip the next st, dc in next st*, repeat from * to * across row (or repeat between *’s).
Both these lines have the same meaning. The asterisks tell that you have to repeat the same process across the row.
Now to make things more advanced
There are sometimes double asterisks together. This shows that you have to repeat the same step many times and then start doing some other step. To make it easier for yourself, do not focus on (**), and just work your way through the first instructions that are given., and then when (**) comes, it means you will not be working it the last time.
Sometimes brackets are used to explain how many times a step is to be repeated. The step is written in the bracket and the number outside the bracket, which shows how many times you are going to repeat the same process. Sharing an example to make it easier for you:
Row 7: Dc in the next 4 dc, ch 1, [sk next dc, also shell in next dc]
and 4 times, for ch 1, dc in next 4 dc.
It means that you will work the pattern in the bracket 4 times before starting the pattern that is mentioned after the brackets and the number.
Parentheses are also used the same way. But mostly, they are used to show a group of stitches that the crocheter has to work together. For example:
In the next dc ( 2 dc, ch 3, 2dc) This means that you will be making a shell by working all of these stitches in one double crochet.
Working in Spaces:
This is one of the instructions that confuse almost all beginner crocheters. It can be best explained by the example.
“work a shell in the next ch sp.”
When you are working a chain, you will skip a stitch. Now you will work the shell underneath the chain, at the place where you skipped the stitch. Simple as that! Spaces that the stitch you skipped can be more than one chain. We call it a loop if there are more than 2 spaces.
Working in the Round:
You might have noticed that many crochet patterns work in rounds. For example:
Ch 7, join it with a slip stitch to form a ring.
To understand this, first, you will make a slip knot. After that, you need to make 7 chains. Insert a hook in the first chain, hook the yarn carefully and bring it through the first chain and throughout the loop on the hook. Now, you will have a small circle in which you will work the stitches. To start working, you will need to raise the yarn, like raised to start a row, i.e., in the perfect height to the chains. Now that you have a ring, the following pattern will guide you on what to crochet or what to work in the ring. Learn How To Make A Crochet Magic Ring.
Front and Back Loop:
Most of the stitches work in loops. The pattern will tell you to work in the front loop or back loop. The front loop is the one in which your hands are working at the inner side or closest to you, while the back loop is the one where your hand is working at the outer side or at the loop that is far from you.
You also need to learn some special terms if you’re crocheting some garments.
Right front, Right shoulder, and Right sleeve: These terms refer to the actual body parts where you are going to wear the garment. The same kinds of terms are used for the left sides as well.
Wring side, Right Side: The right side is the outer side of the garment when you wear it, while the wrong side is the inner side of the garment.
Left Hand Corner: Sometimes, the instructions tell you to join the yarn at a mentioned corner. Now the left-hand corner is the one that is nearer to your left hand. The same goes for the right-hand corner as well.
At the same time: This is the term that is used when you are supposed to work on two different steps at the same time, like the shaping of the armhole and the neck.
Work same as Right piece, reversing shaping: This term can be a bit difficult for a beginner to understand. Let’s say if you have worked some stitches for the left arm, the pattern will tell you to work the same as the right piece, reversing shaping, to work the same way for the right arm, but with reversal of the shape.
Crocheting is fun if you have understood how to crochet and the basic crochet stitches and techniques that are required. It is best to understand all these crochet terms, abbreviations, symbols, and steps before trying to crochet. It will make your work less difficult, and you will definitively enjoy the super fun crochet techniques and won’t think of it as a tedious task. Now, read crochet patterns in an effective way and enjoy your work. Happy Crocheting!