How To Read A Crochet Pattern

This will be a short segment on how to read my crochet pattern. In the following few steps, I am going to explain techniques pieces of the pattern that I get most questions about.

Reading crochet patterns can be very intimidating for many crocheters, especially those who are new to the craft. Even though there is a certain way how the written pattern should look like, these days each designer has its own unique way how to write and present the crochet pattern to the public.

The following information applies to my crochet patterns. Those are the patterns you can find on my blog and patterns available in my pattern stores on Etsy, Ravelry, and Love Crochet. But because most of them are very common and universally used, they might be very helpful to your reading patterns from other designers too.

If you’ve read the entire post and you still couldn’t find the answer to your question, please leave it in the comment section down below. I will come back to it and help you out. I also might include it in the next post update and make it a part of the content here. Just know that you are probably not the only person with that question and with asking it, you might help others too. 🙂 Let’s grow together.


1.MULTIPLE SIZES

My patterns are usually available in more than just one size, especially those for garments like sweaters, cardigans, or hats.

The main difference between the sizes is usually in a couple of additional stitches in the row or round and a couple of additional rows or rounds in a specific part of the pattern.

The entirely different pattern for a larger size is an uncommon thing to do. But sometimes necessary. And that is entirely up to the crochet designer. In the past, I came across the designers and their patterns where they don’t join all the sizes into one pattern, but they write a pattern for each size, even though the difference in those two is just in a couple of stitches and rows. Like I’ve said, each designer has its own unique style.

I put all the sizes into one pattern and I include the stitch count for larger sizes into parenthesis, like these 30 [32] sts. If you have more then two sizes, I leave the stitch count for the smallest size before the parenthesis and I put the rest of the sizes into the parenthesis – from the smallest to the biggest size.

  • Please keep in mind, I am still working on the bracket situation. Be patient with me, as there is a lot of content that needs to be edited.
  • If you find a bracket with just a number inside, there is a good chance this is a number of stitches you have to make for a larger size.
  • But if you find a whole sequence inside of a bracket and a number of times you have to repeat that sequence, then that applies for all sizes.

The information about the size in my patterns is always available in the pattern notes (blog post) or on the first page of the PDF pattern, in the left lower corner (patterns from 2018 to present).


2. STITCH COUNT

At the end of almost every row or round is a stitch count. It is in most cases aligned to the right and written like = 25 (30) sts. It gives you the amount of the stitches the row or round ends.

If we apply the knowledge from the first paragraph, we know that the first number represents the stitch count for the size small and the one in the parenthesis for the larger size.

Increases as joining a couple of stitches together (example dc3tog) count as one stitch only. If you have more increases in that round, each increase (example dc3tog) counts as one stitch in the stitch count.

The most tricky are the chains. Chains in the middle of the row or round count as stitches, each chain one stitch. But the turning chains, you know the ones you make to lift the row, don’t.

The same is with the joining slip stitch at the end of each round. They, in my patterns never count as stitches.


3. SLIP STITCH IN ROUNDS

Every round ends with a slip stitch. That’s a very small stitch that joins the beginning and the end of the row making it into a round.

The slip stitch is made into the very first stitch of the round you are working on. Simple as that.

And in my patterns, I can’t really say for other patterns though, does not count as a stitch and I do not include it into a stitch count at the end of the round.

This also means you have to skip it in the next round. If you accidentally use it as a stitch in your next round, you will end that round with one additional stitch, which will mess up your stitch count and consequently your work.


4. TURNING CHAINS

Before you start working on your new row or round you need to create a chain to get to the same hight as your first stitch. This chain is known as a turning chain. The name is the same even in cases where you don’t actually turn rows, like working in rounds.

The hight of your turning chain depends on the hight of your upcoming stitch and if the turning chain counts as a stitch in the pattern or not.

The turning chains are there just to lift the row to a proper hight and they do not count as stitches in my patterns. I create a turning chain and then I start with my very first stitch made into the last stitch of the previous row or the very first stitch of the previous round. I don’t skip any stitches, except the joining slip stitches.

If you are following a pattern, it will usually advise you whether the turning chain does or does not count as a stitch. In case you come across the pattern where the designer is using the turning chains as stitches, in that case, one additional chain is added to the turning chain and you have to skip the first stitch from the row.


5. NUMBER BEFORE AND AFTER THE STITCH

This one is pretty simple and straight forward.

  • If the number is written before the stitch 3 hdc work 3 hdc into the same stitch.
  • If the number is written after the stitch hdc 3, work hdc into the next 3 stitches.

6. REPEATS

Repeated parts of the instructions are indicated with ( ) or { }. I do not use *, but some designers might, therefore remember it as a third option.

Example:
Repeat (2 hdc, hdc 1) 5 times.

This translates to: work 2 hdc into the same st and 1 sc into the next one. So you repeat the instructions a total of five times.


7. TERMINOLOGY

The terminology is not very consistent around the world and what adds up to the whole confusion is that the same name is used to mean different stitches in different countries.

The most common two are the United Kingdom and North America crochet terms.

U.S. TERMUK TERM
slip stitch (ss)slip stitch (ss)
single crochet (sc)double crochet (dc)
half double crochet (hdc)half treble crochet (htr)
double crochet (dc)treble crochet (tr)
treble/triple crochet (tr)double treble crochet (dtr)
double treble crochet (dtr)treble treble crochet (ttr)
yarnoveryarn over hook
gaugetension

All of my crochet patterns are written in US crochet terms. I do not use UK crochet terms.

Always check where the pattern was published or check the pattern notes to get a good idea of which terminology was used. A great first indicator is a single crochet stitch. There is no single crochet stitch in the UK crochet terms, therefore you know the pattern uses US terminology.


8. METRIC CONVERSION CHART

When the
measurement
given is in
To Convert it toMultiply it by
inchescentimeters (cm)2.54
feetmeters (m)0.305
milsmillimeters (mm)0.254

I use metric system in my crochet patterns. This means the measurements given in the pattern were originally measured in millimeters, centimeters, and meters and later converted into inches.