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How to Read Crochet Patterns - Part 2
How to Read Crochet Patterns - Part 2
This is the second part of how to read crochet patterns. In this article you will discover some of the common abbreviations that you might find in a beginner crochet pattern. In addition, you will discover the usage of parenthesis, brackets, asterisks and other symbols that you might encounter.
And I also thought it would be a good idea to explain what the pattern means when it says to work the next stitch into the next chain, space or loop.
If you havn’t already done so, and you are a new to reading crochet patterns, then you might also want to check out part 1 for other important information.
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Stitches and Abbreviations
One of the most difficult things in learning to read crochet patterns is to learn the basic crochet stitches and their abbreviations. Once you are familiar with them, then rest will come easy.
Crochet abbreviations can vary slightly from pattern to pattern, but here are some common abbreviations of the basic stitches that you might see in a beginner crochet pattern.
Chain/Chains = Ch/Chs
Stitch/Stitches = St/Sts
Slip Stitch = Sl St
Single Crochet = Sc
Half Double Crochet = Hdc
Double Crochet = Dc
Triple Crochet = Tr
Decrease = Dec
Single Crochet 2 Together = Sc2tog
Double Crochet 2 Together = Dc2tog
Skip = Sk
Space = Sp
Repeat = Rep
F.O. = Fasten Off.
Any pattern that calls for more complicated stitches than these, should generally be avoided by beginners as it will only be frustrating.
If you are working from a pattern book, then it will contain the stitch instructions either at the front, or at the back of the book. Make sure to read those instructions over before you begin on the pattern.
And if you are working from a pattern that you found online, check the website for instructions. Most patterns will have a small section where the abbreviations are explained, and many websites will also have a chart explaining how to do the various stitches.
Parenthesis ( ), Brackets [ ] and other Symbols
Parenthesis and brackets are commonly used to encase a specific stitch sequence that is worked into the next stitch, space or loop. You might see them used like this: (sc, ch 1, sc) into next st.
The brackets and parenthesis can also be used together like this: [(sc, ch 1, sc) into next 2 sts, sk next st, 2 sc into next st] 5 times. In this case, you simply work the stitch sequence given within [ ] 5 times before moving on to the next set of instructions.
In addition to parenthesis and brackets, you might also see other symbols that work in a similar fashion. If you come across a symbol that you have never seen before, just ignore it until the pattern provides instructions around it.
The asterisk is one of the common symbols that you will come across. It basically is used to mark the spot from which you will begin your next repeat of the pattern. It might say something like repeat from * to end of row/round. Or, repeat from * to * 3 more times.
The pattern might also say something like repeat from * around to last 2 sts ending at **. In this case, you simply continue to repeat all the instructions from the first * and ignore the ** until you come to the last 2 sts. You would then stop the pattern repeat at the ** and follow the instructions for the last 2 sts, which might be something like: sc into last 2 sts.
Need Pattern Help? Take Advantage of these Crochet Forums
Chains, Stitches, Spaces and Loops
The pattern will always tell you where to work your next stitch, whether it be into a chain, a stitch, a space or a loop. Although it might not seem like there is a difference, it makes a huge difference as to where you insert the hook in order to make your stitch.
Stitch. When the pattern says to work the next stitch into a stitch, then you normally insert the hook underneath the top two loops of the indicated stitch.
Spaces. Sometimes the pattern will tell you to work a stitch or a series of stitches into a certain space. A space can mean the space underneath a chain or a series of chains, as well as the space between two stitches.
The pattern might say: work 5 dc into next ch-1 sp. This means that you work your stitches in the space underneath the chain.
The pattern might also say something like: Sk next st, 5 dc in sp before next st. In this case the space is between the two stitches.
Chains. When the pattern says to work the next stitch into the chain, then you should work the stitch directly into the chain and not into the space underneath.
You will soon find that it is much easier to insert the hook into the space below the chain, but in many cases, working directly into the chain can make the fabric look much more elegant.
Loops. In some cases the pattern might tell you work the stitch or a series of stitches into the next loop. A loop is generally made with a series of chains. To work into the loop, you simply go in underneath the chain or series of chains.
Front Loops and Back Loops. Sometimes the pattern might state to work in the front loops only, which means that you work the stitches into the loop closest to you. And if it says to work into the back loops only, then you work the stitches into the loop farthest away from you.
Hope these tips have helped you, and if you scroll down a bit you’ll find some great links to tons of free crochet patterns.
Free Crochet Patterns
- Crochet Pattern Bonanza | A Collection of Crochet Patterns
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- Crochet. Free Crochet Patterns, How To Crochet, Crochet Instructions, Crochet Magazine.
The Daily Crocheter offers free crochet patterns, crochet yarn, crochet instructions, crochet books, crochet stores, crochet articles, yarn shop directory, yarn company listing, local crochet clubs, crochet for charity, and more.
- Crochet Pattern Central - Free, Online Crochet Patterns - Beginner Crochet Instructions - Crochet Ti
A Directory of Free, Online Crochet Patterns - Beginner Crochet Instructions - Crochet Tips, Tricks, Testimonials, Links and More!
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A free crochet pattern directory.
- Free Crochet Patterns - By Indie Crochet Designers
A directory of free crochet patterns, primarily designed by individual crochet designers.
- Free Crochet Patterns for Amigurumi
A short list of free crochet patterns for amigurumi toys, including a monkey, fairy, bunny, elephant and more.
- Free Crochet Patterns for Doll Hats
A small collection of free crochet patterns for doll hats.