How to Read Crochet Patterns

Learn common crochet abbreviations and how to read crochet patterns with this handy guide.

| November 2014

  • Colorful crochet
    Learning how to read crochet patterns gives you access to the variety of projects available.
    Photo by Fotolia/Africa Studio
  • How to Crochet
    Sara Delaney guides beginners through learning to crochet in "How to Crochet," from making the first chain to learning common crochet stitches and how to read crochet patterns.
    Cover courtesy Storey Publishing

  • Colorful crochet
  • How to Crochet

Learning to crochet is fun, inspiring, and easy with Sara Delaney’s clear, simple instructions in How to Crochet (Storey Publishing, 2014). Delaney explains how to understand the structure of stitches, make increases and decreases, crochet in rows or rounds and how to read crochet patterns, giving you all the information you need to be successful learning to crochet. The following excerpt is from chapter 8, “Pattern Reading.”

The final piece in mastering crochet is learning how to read crochet patterns. Unless you are one of the few crocheters who thrive on and embrace free-form crochet style, you are going to want to make garments and accessories based on available patterns, which use abbreviations and other symbolic notations to provide information in a standardized and succinct written form.

This advice on how to read crochet patterns is followed by some basic patterns that you can use to make a few simple projects and try out your pattern-reading skills.

As you may have seen, crochet patterns seem not necessarily to be written in English, or in any other language for that matter. They are written in a series of numbers and abbreviations that allow a pattern to be transcribed with maximum information and minimum text. Always make sure you check the abbreviations and notations in your pattern, and know what they mean before you begin the project. I’m going to try to help you decipher these codes using the following examples, first with patterns in rows, followed by patterns worked in rounds.

Because crochet patterns are like a language of their own, as with any language, you’ll find dialects in different regions with subtle varying differences. When designers write out their patterns, their “dialects” show. The patterns included here indicate a repeat by saying “repeat from * six times more.” This can also be written as “repeat from * for a total of eight repeats,” or as “repeat from * across/around.” Before you begin a new project, take time to read through your pattern to familiarize yourself with the language that the designer uses, so you aren’t confused midpattern when you encounter a phrase or instruction you’ve never seen before.

Important Notations

Asterisk (*). This marks the beginning of a section of the pattern instructions that you will repeat.

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