How to read a crochet pattern

Many people when they first start looking at patterns they just see something that is a jumble of letters, numbers and symptoms. However patterns really aren't that confusing when you know how to look at them.

First thing you want to look at is how difficult the pattern is, is it something you can make at the level you are at. some patterns will say beginner etc and others will have something like stars showing the difficulty. You also need to check what terms it is written in. Yes there are different terms in different countries and it is important you know this as the terms are the same but for different stitches, ie a double crochet in UK terms is a single crochet in US terms and a treble in UK terms is a double in US terms.

Next you want to look at the tension gage. The gage will tell you how many stiches you will make with in a set measurement. The materials list will say what size crochet hook is recommended but it your tension is to loose or to tight you will have to change the hook size to get the correct tension.

Now we need to look at the pattern key and any pattern notes. These will tell us how the person who has written the pattern has abbreviated the stitches. There are common one's that everyone uses (SC single crochet, DC double crochet) but now and again you will come across a stitch you haven't seen before . Some patterns that have these stitches in will also have instructions on how to do this stitch, read these carefully as they can be easy to do wrong and sometimes it takes a few row's for you to notice (believe me! I've been there, nothing more annoying than pulling it apart and doing it again!). The pattern notes will have other important information regarding the pattern.

So we have checked through what we need, what terms we are working in, our tension gage and checked the pattern key and pattern notes now what? Well now we crochet YAY lol. Patterns as a whole aren't hard to read. They may start with "row 1 chain 20, SC into second chain from hook SC in each chain to end". This literally means you make a chain of 20 and then in the second chain from the hook you make a single crochet, you then single crochet in the other chain stiches.

You may find that you have a row that reads like this "row 2 *INC SC, SC* repeat between * to end" This again simply means you are increasing (putting 2 single crochets in 1 stitch) in the first stitch and then 1 single crochet in the next, you then repeat that to the end of the row, the comma between tells us the single crochet goes in the the next stitch. Most patterns will have the stars to repeat so as to make it easier for you to read.  

You may have ones that say "row 3 SC, HDCx2, DC" this means that you would make a single crochet in the first stitch, half double crochet in the second and third stitch and a double crochet in the forth stitch. The x2 tells us that it is 2 stitches in the next 2 stitches.

As I say it can look very confusing but once you get your head round the terms and how it is written it can be easy. Don't get me wrong I still look at some patterns and wonder what on earth it means, however the crochet community is brilliant at helping out if you get lost and confused.