Crochet A to Z: Pattern Reading

I’m doing the A to Z Challenge for the month of April with the theme “Learn to Crochet A to Z.” For more details, and to see previous posts, click on the page at the top of my blog!

Crochet A to Z-3

Pattern reading…also known as “deciphering the Greek that is crochet patterns.” When I started crocheting I was overwhelmed by the cryptic code of patterns. It looks overly complicated, but we’re going to break it down step-by-step so it’s more manageable. 🙂

First of all, why should you even bother to learn to read patterns? After all, there are so many YouTube and photo tutorials out there that you can get by without them. That’s definitely true (I learned to crochet from both of those things), but sometimes you’ll really want to make a pattern that doesn’t have a tutorial – for example, in a magazine. If magazines had tutorials, they’d be the length of Les Miserables. So sometimes it’s inevitable.

Let’s take the Mint Green Owl pattern as an example. I’m using US crochet terms in this post – we’ll be talking about US vs. UK crochet terms later in the month. 🙂

First of all, you’ll want to read through the Materials, Pattern Notes, Special Stitches, and Abbreviations. Not all patterns will have all these categories. Materials covers what you need, as you probably guessed. 😛 Pattern Notes refer to anything special in the pattern, like for the Mint Green Owl it specifies that you’ll be working in unjoined rounds. Special Stitches are any, well, special stitches (that aren’t standard). And some patterns have an Abbreviations list.

We’re going to go over the abbreviations now – shorter names for each crochet stitch. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it should act as a good starting point. It’s not alphabetical because I’m actually not that good at the alphabet (which is sort of ironic given the theme “Crochet A to Z.”)

Sc = Single Crochet
Sl st = Slip stitch
Ch = Chain stitch
Hdc = Half-double crochet
Dc = Double crochet
Tr/Tc = Triple crochet
Sc2tog = Single crochet 2 together (this is a decrease)
Hdc2tog = Half-double crochet 2 together
Dc2tog = Double crochet 2 together
Inc = Increase
Rnd = Round
FO/TO = Fasten off/tie off (cut the yarn)
St = Stitch
Sp = Space
Ch-sp = Chain-space (the space made by a few chains)

Now that you know some abbreviations, let’s move on to the pattern.

BODY

Rnd 1: Ch 2, 6 sc in 2nd ch from hook.

Rnd 2: 2 sc in each st around.

Rnd 3: *Sc 1, 2 sc in next st* around.

Rnd 4: *Sc 2, 2 sc in next st* around.

Rnd 5-12: Sc in each st around.

Okeydokey!

Rnd 1: Ch 2, 6 sc in 2nd ch from hook.

Writing this out longhand:

Round 1: Chain 2, 6 single crochets in 2nd chain from hook.

So, you’ll make two chain stitches, and then go into the second chain from your hook. Remember to never count the loop on your hook – so you’ll be inserting the hook into the chain directly after the slip knot, or into the very first chain you made. Make your first single crochet, then make five more into the same space.

Rnd 2: 2 sc in each st around.

Writing this out longhand:

Round 2: 2 single crochets in each stitch around.

This means to increase six times. Some patterns will put a stitch count at the end of the round, which would be just a number in parentheses like this: (12 sc). I forgot to do that when I wrote this pattern. :}

Rnd 3: *Sc 1, 2 sc in next st* around.

Round 3: *Single crochet 1, 2 single crochets in next stitch* around.

The asterisks just mean to repeat the stuff between them all the way around. So you’ll start by making one normal single crochet, then into the following stitch, you’ll make 2 single crochets in one (an increase). Then one normal single crochet, then two into the following stitch. Repeat this around.

Round 4 is very similar, except you’ll be doing single crochets normally before you make 2-in-one.

Rounds 5-12 are just single crochet around.

So this is a very basic pattern, but I hope it gives you an idea of how to go about reading them. If there’s a complicated pattern you’re struggling with, feel free to get ahold of me and we can try and figure it out – I am by no means an expert, but I’ll give it my best shot! (I mean, don’t illegally copy a pattern, but leaving a couple lines in the comments should be fine, depending on what pattern, or use the contact form.) 🙂

What do y’all think of pattern reading? Unnecessarily complicated? (Sometimes I think so!) Thank you again for all of your support throughout this A to Z Challenge! ❤

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11 thoughts on “Crochet A to Z: Pattern Reading

  1. Lydia Howe says:

    You did a good job explaining pattern reading, but I still find it confusing! All of what I learned was by having people show me. I learn best by when someone shows me hands-on how to do it – I guess I’m a visual learner? But good job being able to read patterns!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Claire says:

      Thank you so much, Lydia! I agree that it’s much easier to learn when someone shows you visually – I think I’m a bit of a visual learner as well, which is why I really like photo tutorials and videos. 🙂 I’m certainly not past being confused by patterns, either!

      Like

  2. Dawn Golden says:

    Very helpful blog post! Pattern abbreviations and directions can be so confusing, yet you explained them so well! Thanks for all of your great blog posts this month! They’ve been so fun to read!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Claire says:

      Thank you so much for your comment! Your encouragement means a lot, I’m really happy to hear you’ve liked the posts this month. 😀 Pattern directions still confuse me sometimes, but often that’s when I don’t read them carefully. 😛

      Like

  3. quietwatercraft says:

    I remember the first time I tried to follow a pattern. It was baby booties and I could NOT understand how to get from the sole to the sides. I undid it and tried again about 6 times before just giving up!
    Now I think I’m fairly fluent in pattern-ese and I can manage most patterns I come across 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Claire says:

      I bet you’re fluent in pattern-ese by now, it does take a lot of practice to get there though! 🙂 Those baby booties sound frustrating, for some reason I have a really hard time with patterns like that – it took me about four tries to finally crochet a pair of socks that would fit a normal human foot. 😛

      Like

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