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The Differences between British and American Crochet Patterns

Updated on October 20, 2015
NO. 10 CROCHET HOOK THREESOME by Alphavisions DESCRIPTIONA triad of No. 10 crochet hooks crossed over each other making a star.
NO. 10 CROCHET HOOK THREESOME by Alphavisions DESCRIPTIONA triad of No. 10 crochet hooks crossed over each other making a star. | Source

Differences between Crochet Patterns in Different Countries

The internet connects people across the world. Crocheters are no exception, not only can they contact one another but the internet has opened up the crochet resources of each country to crocheters in other countries, which is invaluable. Many crocheters make good use of the crochet resources, tutorials, and free patterns on the internet. As many crocheters discover to their great cost and frustration, pattern terminology in British crochet patterns is different to that used in American patterns. As both American and British terminology uses the same name for different stitches this can cause difficult problems. However, once you understand what the differences are, how to tell what terminology a particular pattern is using and how to convert it to the terminology with which you are familiar, the crochet world is your oyster, so to speak.

The differences between British and American patterns are numerous and as with all crochet work the first considerations which hooks and yarn to use. British hooks now use metric millimetres in their sizing, whereas American hooks have letter sizing. Hook conversion charts abound on the web, but do remember that they are only an approximation and you may have to make a decision based on the chart, pattern yarn and your own common sense and crochet skill as to the size of hook that you feel is appropriate for the project at hand. Working tension or gauge squares before beginning your crochet project will help you to decide.

Yarn weight and thicknesses also vary between different countries, for example, an American Light Worsted yarn is English double knitting yarn, and in Australia, the same yarn is eight ply. However, Worsted weight is modern British Aran yarn, and Australian 10 ply yarn. There are many yarn conversion charts on the internet and it is very easy to find them, an internet search engine will lead you to them.

Basic crochet stitches too, have different names in British and American patterns. It can be very confusing as British and American crocheters mean different stitches when they talk about a treble, for example. A British treble is an American double crochet, an American treble is a British double treble.

More Differences

There are also differences between British and American patterns in the terms and abbreviations that they use, An American pattern will tell you to skip stitches whereas a British pattern tells you to miss stitches. A British pattern tells you to make a tension square before you begin whereas an American pattern directs you to make a gauge square. American patterns use the abbreviation ‘yo’, meaning yarn over, the British equivalent is “yoh”, meaning yarn over hook. Be sure that you understand what the pattern is telling you to do before you begin your project and read through the abbreviations.

There are several conversion charts available on the internet. Enfys ’Rainbow Valley site has charts, term translations, explanations of both British and American abbreviations, and an explanation of how to convert patterns from one terminology to the other using Microsoft word tools. She also has free and retail patterns in both British and American formats and tutorials to help you to understand everything that you need to know.

The differences between British and American crochet patterns have foxed many crocheters. However, once you know those differences and can translate, or convert, between the two, you have access to so many more crochet patterns. It is the key to broadening your crochet horizons, opening so many crochet opportunities and projects to your busy hook.


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  • Mercia Collins profile image

    Mercia Collins 5 years ago from United Kingdom

    Thank-you Rhelena, I thought that many crocheters might need this kind of help.

  • Rhelena profile image

    Rhelena 5 years ago

    This is very useful information. I knew that there were some differences in patterns and hooks, but had no idea the yarn weights were also different. Thanks for sharing this.