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Tutorials

How To Read A Crochet Pattern

  • First determine what terminology the pattern was written in: US or UK
  • The pattern will be formatted, for the most part as follows:
    • A picture of the project
    • The name of the designer or design company
    • The terminology the pattern was designed in (US or UK)
    • Difficulty Level
    • A list of materials needed
    • Abbreviations: a list of the stitches used
    • Stitch Guide: How to create the stitches. This is found in most patterns
    • Measurement of the finished item
    • Gauge or tension swatch instructions
    • Special notes (also called pattern notes): these sometimes include special instructions for a section or sections of the design
    • Instructions
    • Progress Pictures (sometimes included)
  • It is important to remember that:
    • projects worked in the round are indicated as Round 1, Round 2 etc
    • Projects worked flat are indicated as Row 1, Row 2 etc…
  • When working a garment it is important to do a tension swatch EVEN if you are using the same yarn and needle size as the designer as every crocheters tension is different.
    • If your swatch is to small, (TIGHT TENSION) you go UP a hook size in increments of 0.25 or 0.50mm until you reach the required measurement (as close as possible)
    • If your swatch is to big, (LOOSE TENSION) you go DOWN a hook side in increments of 0.25 or 0.50mm until you reach the required measurement (as close as possible)
    • Remember that if the yarn you are using is to far off in weight (DK, Chunky etc) from the original yarn used, you are likely to not reach the swatch dimensions. In this case you might need to use 2 strands at a time OR change yarn completely.
    • Doing tension swatches for non-garment projects is not really necessary, unless you would like to see how the yarn stitches up
  • Work through the pattern systemically, 1 row at a time.

COUNT COUNT AND COUNT….during and after rounds or rows

Projects normally start with

  • a chain foundation for those worked in rows
  • OR a chain with a slip stitch in the first chain to form a ring OR
  • A magic circle (usually used in amigurumi but can be used for other projects worked in the round)
  • There are 5 basic stitches in crochet and they are simply:
    • Slip stitch
    • Chain
    • Single Crochet (US) Double Crochet (UK)
    • Half Double Crochet (US) Half Treble (UK)
    • Double Crochet (US) Treble (UK)
  • After the Double Crochet / Treble comes :
    • Treble (US) Double Treble (UK)
    • Double Treble (US) Triple Treble (UK)
  • Decrease and Increase stitches are variations of the stitches named above and are indicated on your pattern as:
    • Dec (decrease)
    • Inc (increase)
  • Note that there are different techniques when it comes to increasing and decreasing and here it is important to reference the Special Notes or Stitch Guide for the specific pattern
  • Stitch Variations: the following are stitch variations of some of the stitches mentioned above:
    • Front Post Stitches (FP)
    • Back Post Stitches (BP)
    • Back Loop Only (BLO)
    • Front Loop Only (FLO)
  • Post stitches (Front and Back Post) are worked around the POST of the indicated stitch (where you insert the hook)
    • Front post stitches are worked around the post of the indicated stitch from FRONT TO BACK
    • Back post stitches are worked around the post of the indicated stitch from BACK TO FRONT
  • Back or Front Loop Only stitches are worked by inserting the hook into the indicated stitch using either only the front or back loop of that stitch and NOT through both top loops as is normally the case
  • Repeats are stitch sequences that need to be repeated in order to complete the row or round. They are normally indicated with * *, ( ), { }, [ ] or a combination of these
  • Once you reach the end of the project, you will be instructed to cut yarn and finish off by pulling the tail end of the yarn through the last stitch and weaving it in.
  • Some projects require sewing or crocheting sections together and others require blocking. These will be indicated by the designer.

So lets look at some examples: These are extracts from free patterns found on the internet:

(the full instruction is highlighted in YELLOW)

EXAMPLE 1: - this pattern was written in US terminology….I know this because the designer indicated it at the beginning of the pattern

Ch 5, slip st in 5th ch from hook to make a ring.

Chain 5 and then slip stitch into the 5th chain (I.E the FIRST CHAIN YOU MADE) from the hook in order to form a ring

SPECIAL NOTE: THE LOOP ON THE HOOK IS NOT A CHAIN AND THEREFORE DOES NOT COUNT…IT IS SIMPLY A LOOP ON THE HOOK

Round 1- ch 3 (counts as first dc), 15 dc in ring, slip st to third ch of first dc. (16 dc)

Chain 3 (in brackets the designer is telling you that these 3 chain counts as 1 Double Crochet), now IN THE RING create 15 Double Crochet, slip stitch in the top of the chain 3 that you made that the beginning of this round to close the round. You should now have 16 Double Crochets

EXAMPLE 2: - this pattern was written in UK terminology….I know this because the designer indicated it at the beginning of the pattern

Row 4: Ch2, TURN, sk the first tr from previous round, 1 tr in next 14 tr,* 2tr in next tr, 1tr in next 2 tr * repeat *to* 4 more times, 1 tr in next 14 tr.

Chain 2, TURN, SKIP the first treble from the previous round, 1 treble in next 14 treble * (* indicates a REPEAT start) 2 treble in next treble, 1 treble in next 2 treble* (REPEAT END)… repeat from * to * 4 more times, 1 treble in the next 14 treble

EXAMPLE 3: - this pattern was written in US terminology….I know this because the designer indicated it at the beginning of the pattern

Ch 1. Working in the round, place 1 sc BLO in each st around. (place a st marker in the first and last sts.) Join with a sl st to the 1st sc st. (126)

Chain 1. You will be working in the round. Place 1 Single crochet in the BACK LOOP ONLY in each stitch around. (the designer is telling you to place a stitch marker in the first and last stitches of this round). Join with a slip stitch into the 1st single crochet stitch (you should have 126 stitches)

EXAMPLE 4: - this pattern was written in US terminology….I know this because the designer indicated it at the beginning of the pattern

Ch 2. FPdc in 1st st. BPdc in the next st. *FPdc in the next st. BPdc in the next st.* Rep around. (end with a BPdc st.) Join with a sl st to the 1st FPdc st. (126)

Chain 2, FRONT POST DOUBLE CROCHET in the 1st stitch, BACK POST DOUBLE CROCHET in the next stitch *(REPEAT START) Front Post Double Crochet in the next stitch, Back Post Double Crochet in the stitch * (REPEAT END)…repeat around ending with a Back Post Double Crochet stitch. Join with a slip stitch into the 1st Front Post Double Crochet Stitch. (You should have 126 stitches)

There are tons more examples with various anomalies, abbreviations etc. These simply give you a general idea of the make up of the pattern and how to make sense of it.

A PDF Download of these notes is available at the bottom of this page.

 

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