What does all of this mean?!

After you learn stitches reading patterns is definitely the next road block in learning to crochet. When you start delving into free patterns especially you’ll notice everyone seems to write patterns differently. It can be frustrating. So I’m going to help you read through a couple of patterns.

All the examples I’m using are from my own collection of patterns along the way. I’ve picked ones from different designers to show how everyone writes patterns differently. I remember being really confused when I first started out. I’m hoping to save you from some of that.

Official Abbreviations for American English Terms

There are official abbreviations. Keep in mind some patterns do deviate from these. They should explain their abbreviations at the top of each pattern. So always read over those and follow their abbreviations.

Yes, there’s a lot of ways to show repeat instructions…

Abbreviations Full Wording
chchain stitch
dcdouble crochet
decdecrease / crochet 2 stitches together
hdchalf double crochet
incincrease / crochet 2 stitches in same stitch
scsingle crochet
sl stslip stitch
ststitches
trtriple / treble crochet
yoyarn over
( )Collective stitch groups, stitch count, or clarifying information.
[ ]Repeat instructions within brackets, additional information, or clarifying information.
{ }Repeat instructions or repeat instructions inside repeated instructions.
* *Repeat instructions

American English Terms to British English Terms Chart

The UK uses different abbreviations and even names for stitches than the US. It’s extremely important that you check what terms your pattern is using as it changes the pattern drastically if you use US stitches for a UK pattern. Throughout these lessons you’ve seen the different abbreviations and names, but we’ve never really gone through it. Below is a conversion chart for UK and US.

American Crochet (US)British Crochet (UK)
Single CrochetDouble Crochet
Half Double CrochetHalf Treble Crochet
Double CrochetTreble Crochet
Treble CrochetDouble Treble Crochet
Double Treble CrochetTriple Treble Crochet
GaugeTension
SkipMiss

The following pattern examples are using American English Terms.

Pattern Example 1

how to read a pattern

Let’s break down this pattern line by line. I’ll show the original and then explain in plain english.

Original PatternSimple English
1: ch2, 6sc in 2nd ch from hook (6)Round 1: This is the chain 2 method of starting in a round. They want you to start a round with 6 single crochet stitches. At the end of the round you should have 6 stitches. (6)
2: 2 sc in each sc (12)Round 2: 2 single crochets in each stitch, also known as an increase in each stitch. You have 6 stitches from previous row, so 6 increases. At the end of the row you should have 12 stitches. (12)
3: (sc in next sc, sc 2 in next sc) around (18)Round 3: They want you to repeat the parenthesis: 1 single crochet then 1 increase. Repeat until the end of the round, which by basic math is 6 times. You should have 18 stitches at the end of the round.
4: (sc in each of the next 2 sc, sc 2 in next sc ) around (24)Round 4: Repeat the parenthesis: 2 single crochets then 1 increase. Repeat until the end of the round, which again by basic math is 6 times. You should have 24 stitches at the end.
5: sc in each sc (24)Round 5: single crochet 24 times. At the end of the round you should have 24 stitches.

Pattern Example 2

how to read a pattern

Breaking down the pattern line by line. I’ll show the original and then explain in plain english.

Original PatternSimple English
Chain 32 + 3 for turning chain.They want you to start out with 35 chain stitches.
Row 1: 1dc in to 4th chain from hook (counts as 1st dc), 1dc in each chain across ———- 33 dcRow1: They want you to create 33 double crochets across the chain. They explain that you start the double crochet in the 4th chain from hook and that the first 3 chains you skip counts as a double crochet. Everything you’ve learned in our double crochet lesson.
Row 2: Ch 1 (counts as 1st sl st), 1 sl st in back loop of next st, 1 sl st in back loop of each st till end of row———–33 sl stRow 2: Create 1 chain stitch and turn. This chain counts as a slip stitch. Create 32 slip stitches in the back loops until end of row. At the end you should have 33 slip stitches.
Row 3: Ch 3 (counts as 1st dc ), 1 dc in the back loop of the next st, 1dc in the back loop of each st across till the end of the row———–33dcRow 3: Create 3 chain stitches and turn, this counts as a double crochet. Create 32 double crochets in the back loops until end of row. At the end you should have 33 double crochets.
Repeat Rows 2 & 3 till you have a total of 16 rows and you have ended in a sl st Row (Row 2) Now your gloves should measure 7 inches in width. Do not fasten off.This is actually straight forward. You’ll continue repeating rows 2 and 3 until you have 16 rows total. You should end on Row 2 ( the slip stitch row). This is a pattern for gloves, so if you need to add or decrease rows to make them fit to your size this pattern allows that so long as you end on a slip stitch row.

Pattern Example 3

how to read a pattern

Line by line. I’ll show the original and then explain in plain english.

Original PatternPlain English
With MC, ch2With your main color, chain 2. For my own personal patterns I use MC as Magic Circle.
Round 1: Sc 8 times in the 2nd ch from hook. (8)Round 1: This is the 2nd chain method of starting a round. They want 8 single crochets.
Round 2: [Sc 3 times in next st, sc in next st] 4 times (16)Round 3: Crochet 3 single crochets in the same stitch, then a single crochet in the next stitch. Repeat 4 times. You'll have 16 single crochets stitches at the end.
Round 3: Sc in next st, [Sc 3 times in next st, sc in next 3 sts] 3 times, sc 3 times in next st, sc in next 2 sts. (24)Round 3: 1 single crochet, Repeat the following 3 times: 3 single crochets in the same stitch, then 3 regular single crochet stitches. Next, 3 single crochet stitches in the same stitch. Then, 2 regular single crochets. You should have 24 stitches at the end of the round.
Round 4: Sc in next 2sts, [Sc 3 times in next st, sc in next 5 sts] 3 times, sc 3 times in next st, sc in next 3 sts. (32)Round 4: 2 single crochet. Repeat the following 3 times: 3 single crochets in the same stitch, then 5 regular single crochet stitches. Next, 3 single crochets in the same stitches. Then, 3 regular single crochet stitches. You should have 32 by the end of the round.
Round 5: Sc in next 3 sts, [Sc 3 times in next st, sc in next 7 sts] 3 times, sc 3 times in next st, sc in next 4sts (4)Round 5: 3 single crochets, Repeat the following 3 times: 3 single crochets in the same stitch, then 7 regular single crochet stitches. Next, 3 single crochets in the same stitch. Then 4 regular single crochet stitches. You should have 40 stitches at the end of the round.

Pattern Example 4

how to read a pattern

This is an example of one of my own patterns. Line by line. I’ll show the original and then explain in plain english.

Original PatternSimple English
1. MC – 6sc (6)
Round 1: For my patterns, MC = Magic Circle. Create a magic circle with 6 single crochets.
2. 6inc (12) Round 2: 6 increases. You should have 12 stitches at the end of the row.
3. [1sc, 1inc] x 6 (18) Round 3: Repeat the following 6 times: 1 single crochet, then 1 increase. You should have 18 stitches.
4. [2sc, 1inc] x 6 (24) Round 4: Repeat the following 6 times: 2 single crochets, then 1 increase. You should have 24 stitches at the end.
5-10. 24sc Rounds 5 - 10: 24 single crochet for each round.
homework and quiz

Your homework!

 

Write out the instructions to this pattern:

Abbreviations:

[American English Terms]
slst – slip stitch
ch – chain stitch
sc – single crochet
dc – double crochet
hdc – half double crochet
inc – increase (2 single crochet stitches in the same stitch.
dec – decrease (single crochet 2 stitches together)
f/o – fasten off
[ ] – repeat instructions between [ and ]
( ) – the total number of stitches for row
CC – change color
MC – Magic Circle

Navi:

Body:
With light blue yarn:
1. MC – 6
2. 6inc (12)
3. [1sc, 1inc] x 6 (18)
4. [2sc, 1inc] x 6 (24)
5-8. 24sc
9. [2sc, 1dec] x 6 (18)
10. [1sc, 1dec] x 6 (12)
11. 6dec (6)
12. DEC until closed. Sew up any holes.

Patterns

Let's see how much you've learned.