How to read Crochet Patterns

In this post I will outline how to read a crochet pattern. For anyone new to crochet, reading a crochet pattern looks like a completely different language. I hope this post will help you out a little. I have provided some helpful links at the bottom of the post as well. If you have any questions regarding crochet patterns or anything crochet, please feel free to leave a comment here or shoot me an email!

Finished Size: This tells you what size the finished project will be as long you match the gauge.

Materials: Tells you what you need.

Gauge: Very Important! To get the correct size, you need to make sure you match the gauge. If your gauge is off, your finished project will not be the size the pattern stated. To check your gauge you need to make a test swatch. Use the hook and yarn stated in the materials. The gauge will tell you how many stitches and/or rows you need to work up and what the size of the swatch should be.
For example: 18 sts and 24 rows sc = 4″. For this, you will need to make a swatch with 24 rows of 18 Single Crochets. 
If your swatch comes out large than 4 inches, try using a smaller hook or making tighter stitches. If the swatch comes out too small, then use a larger hook or make looser stitches. In the end, you want to match the gauge so that your finished product comes out the size you want. 


Terms/Abbreviations: beginning (beg), chain (ch), double crochet (dc), each (ea), hook (hk), loop (lp), repeat (rep), round (rnd), single crochet (sc), slip stitch (sl st), stitch (st), yarn over (yo)

These are the abbreviations that will be shown in the pattern. This should be provided on every pattern, if not you can always print out a standard abbreviation sheet to keep handy.

Directions –
I have explained some of the standard instructions here:

Rnd 1: With MC, ch 4, join into ring (or use magic disappearing beginning loop method: wrap yarn around finger once, insert hook into this loop, yarn over and draw strand through loop on finger); ch 3, work 11 dc in ring; drop MC (but do not cut it), insert hk into top of beg ch-3, join CC by pulling it through top of beg ch-3 & through lp on hk, ready to work next rnd with CC; do not turn (12 dc)

In the beginning, I would re-write patterns with the abbreviations written out. It makes it a little easier to read. Here is an example of Round 1 written out:

With Main Color, ch 4, join into ring; chain 3, work 11 Double Crochet in ring; drop Main Color, insert hook into top of beginning chain 3, join Contrast Color by pulling it through the top of beginning chain 3 & through loop on hook, ready to work next round with Contrast Color; do not turn (12 Double Crochet).

Rnd 3 (inc rnd): With MC, ch 3, dc in same st at base of beg ch, dc in next sc, *2 dc in next sc, dc in next sc, rep from * around, drop MC, insert hk in top of beg ch-3, pick up CC & join as before, ready to work next rnd with CC; do not turn (36 dc)

In Round 3, you can see an asterisk is being used. The asterisk is used in crochet patterns when a set of instructions will be repeated.

The asterisk here is telling you to repeat “2 Double Crochet in next Single Crochet, Double Crochet in next Single Crochet” all thru Round 3.

ch3, [yarn over, insert hook into stitch indicated, yarn over, pull up a loop, yarn over, pull through2 loops on hook] twice. (3 loops on hook). Yarn over, pull through all 3 loops on hook.

In this pattern brackets are used. Brackets are like asterisks used for repetition. The instructions inside the [….] are to be repeated twice, in this pattern. The instructions then tell you that you will have 3 loops left on your hook in parenthesis.

Working with different sizes:
Some patterns are given for several sizes. The first number given refers to the smallest size, and the remaining sizes are presented from smallest to larges, in parentheses, and separated by commas.

The instructions will show:
Size for Small (Medium, Large)
Chain 24 (30, 38) sts
To make the small you would chain 24 stitches, medium 30 sts and large 38 sts. To make it easier for myself, I usually highlight or circle the size I want to work up throughout the pattern.

SchematicA drawing of the shape of the piece you are making. Normally used when working up different pieces that will then be joined. Tells you the shape and dimensions of the finished pieces.

Hope this information helps and makes sense…I tried my best. LOL. If you have a question not answered here, please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. 

Learning to Read Crochet Patterns from Annies Attic
How to read a crochet pattern from Crochet N More

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