READ A Crochet PATTERN
The first step in learning how to read a crochet pattern is to learn the terms and abbreviations.
I have most of the terms, abbreviations and stitch instructions on my Crochet Basics Page.
Once you familiarize yourself with these terms reading patterns will be much easier for you.
The following are pattern excerpts that viewers have asked me about.
I have explained each in simple English without all of the
crochet abbreviations in hopes of teaching you how to read a crochet pattern.
Review the abbreviations on the Basics page then choose a pattern and see how it goes.
When you come to a part of the pattern where you don't think you understand the directions,
browse through this page to see if you see similar instructions.
If you're still confused... just email me the part that's confusing you and
I'll do my best to explain it in plain English instead of crochet terms.
<< GENERAL INFORMATION >>
All crochet patterns begin with a foundation chain. Sometimes the foundation chain is long (for an afghan)
and sometimes it is short (for a motif that begins as a circle).
Anytime a set of directions is enclosed in parentheses you do what the pattern says directly after it.
The following page has symbols for crochet stitches.
Symbols are used in chart crocheting where you crochet by reading symbols intead of words.
HOLDING YOUR PROJECT: You should hold your project however you feel comfortable and in a way that you can manage to complete the stitches correctly. I hold my project to the left of the place where the next stitch is to be placed. This way you should be able to make even stitches.
TURNING: Anytime a pattern says to "turn" the piece... you flip it over so you are working from the opposite end. In other words, keep the top side in the same position and switch the left end with the right end (the top will be flipped over but that's ok).
HOW MANY CHAINS? The number of chains you do at the first of a row depends on the stitch you are using.
Chain 1 for a single * Chain 2 for a half double * Chain 3 for a double
You should chain how many chains it takes to make the height of the stitch you are doing.
<< INSTRUCTIONS EXPLAINED > >
PATTERN SAYS: Insert yarn into next chain space.
YOU NEED TO: Insert the hook in the space where you chained on the previous row.
PATTERN SAYS: Sc in first ch-1 sp.
YOU NEED TO: Work a single crochet in the next chain one space you made on the previous row.
PATTERN SAYS: Ch 1 skip next dc, work v-st,ch 1 sp,
YOU NEED TO: Chain one and skip the next double crochet stitch on the previousrow. Now you work a v stitch (instructions for the v-stitch should be explained in the pattern) in the next chain 1 space that you made on the previous row.
PATTERN SAYS: * sk next st, dc in next st. Repeat from * across.
YOU NEED TO: The asterisk ( * ) is used in a pattern to specify the repeating of certain instructions.
This means that you skip the next stitch and do a double crochet stitch in the next stitch then you back up to the * and do it over and over till you get all the way across. Sometimes a pattern will contain an asterisk on both sides of a set of instructions. In this case the pattern should state that these instructions are to be repeated somewhere in the project.
PATTERN SAYS: Ch3,2 dc in ring
YOU NEED TO: Chain 3 times, then you work 2 double crochet stitches in the ring.
makes a little ring or circle used to work into later in the pattern.
The pattern should say to form the ring first but I have encountered some patterns that assume you know what they mean. The ring could be formed using the chain 3 by doing a slip stitch in the first chain you made... this
PATTERN SAYS: (ch2,3 dc in ring) 3 times
YOU NEED TO: Chain 2, then do 3 double crochet stitches in the ring,
Chain 2, then do 3 double crochet stitches in the ring,
Chain 2, then do 3 double crochet stitches in the ring,
hence... the 3 times written after the closing parenthesis.
PATTERN SAYS: Sl st in next 2 dc and into ch-2 sp. Ch 3,2 dc in sp, ch 2, 3 dc in same sp.
YOU NEED TO: Do a slip stitch in each of the next 2 double crochet stitches on the previous row and you also need to do a slip stitch in the next chain 2 space (this is where you chained 2 on the previous row). Now you should chain 3 and since the instructions only say to do 2 double crochet stitches in the space they are most likely referring to the very next space. Then chain 2 more, then do 3 double crochet stitches in the same space you just did the 2 doubles. This sounds like a shell type stitch.
After you chain 3, you should end up with the (chain 3, 2dc, ch 2, 3 dc) all
in the same space.
PATTERN SAYS: Ch5 (counts as first dc plus ch 2, now and throughout), turn; dc in next dc, (dc, ch 1, dc) in next ch-2 sp and in each ch-2 sp across.
YOU NEED TO: Chain 5 and turn. (in this case, what's in parentheses is information for your next row so don't worry about that now) Now work a double crochet in the next double crochet. When it says (dc, ch 1, dc) in next ch 2 sp and in each ch 2 sp across it means that you do what is in those parentheses in every chain 2 space on the
previous row. So in each chain 2 space you should end up with a double crochet, chain 2, double crochet.
PATTERN SAYS: Do not join rounds until you complete the 10th round.
YOU NEED TO: You need to place a marker to keep track of each time a round is finished and reposition the marker until you have completed 10 rows. You can use a split ring marker or a piece of yarn in a contrasting
color. I usually use the yarn because it's easier to maneuver.
PATTERN SAYS: (Dc in next dc, ch 1) 4 times.
YOU NEED TO: DC in next DC,CH1, DC in next DC,CH1, DC in next DC,CH1, DC in next DC,CH1.
PATTERN SAYS: Working in free loops of beginning ch [5 dc in ch at base of next 5 dec group, sc in ch at base of next sc]
YOU NEED TO: When you start a project you work with a foundation chain of a certain number of chains specified in the pattern. To work in the free loops you simply work back up the other side of the chain.
In this case you have sets of 5 double crochet stitches (in one chain) alternating with single crochet stitches.
directly across from the single crochet stitch on the opposite side.
You need to do 5 double crochet stitches in the free loop of the foundation chain that is directly across from a set of 5 double crochet stitches on the opposite side and a single crochet stitch in the free loop
PATTERN SAYS: 2dc in next st
YOU NEED TO: Work 2 double crochet stitches in the next stitch.
PATTERN SAYS: Dc next 2 sts tog.
YOU NEED TO: Work a double crochet decrease over the next two stitches.
The double crochet decrease stitch is explained on our Basics page.
PATTERN SAYS: 6 ch-4 sps
YOU NEED TO: You should have 6 spaces that consist of 4 chains. In this case, you should have been instructed to chain 4 and join with some type of stitch, repeated 6 times in a previous row or round.
PATTERN SAYS: chain a multiple of 12 plus 8
YOU NEED TO: Chain any length you want as long as the finished number of chains is divisible by 12, then add 8 more chains.
In other words, Multiples of 12 just means you chain 12, then 12 more, then 12 more... and keep doing that until you get the width you want... then you
add the 8 additional chains so the pattern will come out correctly.
PATTERN SAYS: Chain in multiples of 2 plus 1 ch.
YOU NEED TO: Chain any length you want as long as the finished number of chains is divisible by 2, then add one more chain.
The sames goes for 9 +1. ... the basic chain should be divisible by 9 and
then you add one more chain.
PATTERN SAYS: dc in next ch-1sp
YOU NEED TO: Work a double crochet in the next chain 1 space that you made on the previous row.
PATTERN SAYS: Sc in first dc, (dc in next dc, sc in next dc) 7 times;
YOU NEED TO: Single crochet in the first double crochet, then (double crochet in the next double crochet and single crochet in the next double crochet) seven times. This means you work the instructions in the parentheses 7 times all together.
PATTERN SAYS: In sp between last dc worked and next dc work (dc,sc)twice;
YOU NEED TO: Work (double crochet , single crochet, double crochet , single crochet ) in between two double crochet stitches. In this case it's just to the right of the post of the double crochet stitch you just worked in and just before the post of the next unworked double crochet stitch.
PATTERN SAYS: (Dc in next dc, sc in next dc) 7 times;
YOU NEED TO: Do the instructions inside these parentheses seven times all together.
1) Double crochet in the next double crochet, single crochet in the next double crochet;
In other words, do the following:
2) Double crochet in the next double crochet, single crochet in the next double crochet;
3) Double crochet in the next double crochet, single crochet in the next double crochet;
4) Double crochet in the next double crochet, single crochet in the next double crochet;
5) Double crochet in the next double crochet, single crochet in the next double crochet;
6) Double crochet in the next double crochet, single crochet in the next double crochet;
7) Double crochet in the next double crochet, single crochet in the next double crochet;
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