How To Read Crochet Patterns – Learn The Abbreviations & Tips

Learning to read a crochet pattern seems tricky!

In this article, I explain how to read crochet patterns.

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I reviewed and updated this post on July 12, 2022.

Table Of Contents

How To Read Crochet Patterns For Beginners

The most challenging step when reading crochet patterns is memorizing the abbreviations. You may have seen these before.

  • ch (chain)
  • dc (double crochet)
  • sl st (slip stitch)
  • sc (single crochet).

You don’t have to memorize things straight off. Print the abbreviations and keep it by your side.

Why don’t they write out the stitch instead of an abbreviation?

Using shortened terms for crochet stitches saves time and space.

It makes the pattern easier to read.

Looking for baby soft yarn for blankets? You’re at the right place.

How To Read Crochet Patterns Sizes

In a crochet pattern, there’s a section with essential information.

Here’s how to understand it.

Hook Size

Let’s say it said 5.5mm. You need a 5.5mm crochet hook.

Yarn

If the word beside ‘yarn’ said ‘medium,’ you need medium or worsted weight yarn to achieve the same size finished project as the pattern.

The pattern also tells you how much yarn to buy.

Gauge

To get the correct gauge, crochet a swatch. Measure the result to see if it’s the same as the gauge in the pattern.

Everyone has a different tension.

Go up or down a hook size whether you get more stitches or less.

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How To Read Written Crochet Patterns

The first step to understanding written crochet patterns is learning the crochet abbreviations.

The abbreviations are the crochet stitches and terms used in the pattern.

In your pattern, there may be ‘special stitches’ or ‘other stitches.’

These are crochet stitching techniques to make a specific motif. You wouldn’t find them in a book of common crochet abbreviations.

How To Read Symbol Crochet Patterns

Here’s a tutorial on how to read and understand crochet symbols.

The slanted lines on the double crochet and treble crochet symbols mean how many yarn overs before inserting your hook into the stitch.

  • Double crochet – 1 yarn over = one slanted line on the symbol.
  • Treble crochet – 2 yarn overs = two slanted lines on the symbol.

Common Crochet Abbreviations

SymbolUS TermsUK TERMS
single crochet
sc
chain
ch
slip stitch
sl st / ss
slip stitch
sl st / ss
single crochet
sc
double crochet
dc
half double crochet
hdc
half treble crochet
htr
double crochet
dc
treble crochet
tr
triple crochet
tr
double treble crochet
dtr
back post double
bpdc
raised treble back
rtrb
front post double
fpdc
raised treble front
rtrf
single 2 together
sc2tog
double 2 together
dc2tog
double 2 together
dc2tog
treble 2 together
tr2tog

Back Post/Front Post Crochet Abbreviations

US TermsUK Terms
back post
BP
back post
BP
front post
FP
front post
FP
back post single crochet
BPsc
back post double crochet
BPdc
front post single crochet
FPsc
front post single crochet
FPdc
back post half double crochet
BPhdc
back post half treble crochet
BPhtc
front post double crochet
FPhdc
front post half treble crochet
FPhtc
back post double crochet
BPdc
back post treble crochet
BPtr
front post double crochet
FPdc
front post treble crochet
FPtr
back post triple crochet
BPtr
back post double treble crochet
BPdtr
front post triple crochet
FPtr
front post double treble crochet
FPdtr

Other Crochet Abbreviations

US TermsUK Terms
double triple (treble) crochet
(dtr)
triple treble crochet
trtr
extended single crochet
esc
extended single crochet
esc
extended half double crochet
ehdc
extended half treble crochet
ehtc
extended double crochet
edc
extended treble crochet
etc
stitch
st
stitch
st
popcorn stitch
pc
popcorn stitch
pc
alternate
alt
alternate
alt
following
foll
following
foll
together
tog
together
tog
skip
sk
miss
place marker
pm
place marker
pm
chain space
ch-sp
chain space
ch-sp
repeat
rep
repeat
rep
round
rnd
round
rnd
wrong side
WS
wrong side
WS
right side
RS
right side
RS
yarn over
yo
yarn over
yo
space
sp/s
space
sp/s
previous
prev
previous
prev
remaining
rem
remaining
rem
cluster
CL
cluster
CL
loop
lp
loop
lp
decrease
dec
decrease
dec
pattern
patt/pat
pattern
patt/pat
increase
inc
increase
inc
beginning
beg
beginning
beg
main color
MC
main color
MC
bobble
bo
bobble
bo
marker
m
marker
m
turning chain
t-ch / tch
turning chain
t-ch / tch
puff stitch
puff / ps
puff stitch
puff / ps
contrasting color
CC
contrasting color
CC
continue
cont
continue
cont
back loop only
BLO
back loop only
BLO
back loop
BL
back loop
BL

How To Read Bead Crochet Patterns

Before learning bead crochet patterns, I’ll explain how it works.

In basic patterns, you string the bead up close to your hook. Keep it in place by crocheting a stitch. (A single crochet or a slip stitch).

In advanced patterns, there is less crochet involved.

Nordo Yarn Swatch

In a basic crochet bead pattern, the layout looks like this.

Circumference: How many beads are in the circle. (Bead ‘ropes’ are worked in circles.)

Repeat of colors: How many colored beads are in each circle.

Rows per repeat: How many rows per repeat (the beads in the circle).

Total Rows: Say the number was 70. Seventy means there are 70 rows of 8 beads stacked on top of each other.

Every circle is a row. As you make rows, the colors stack.

Total Beads: There’s 70 beads per each color in this example. 560 in total because 70 (number of rows) x 8 (number of colors) = 560.

List of beads: There would be 8 boxes; 8 beads. There’s a number next to each box. Meaning how many beads you put on in a row or circle.

If the number next to the boxes is 1, string 1 bead of each color per row.

There’s also a graph of colored boxes, telling you where the colors go.

Want to try bead crochet? Here are video tutorials.

Crochet Bead Rope by Naztazia

A great video for beginners!

Beaded Crochet Bracelet by Fusion Beads

Easier after trying simple ropes, and so beautiful!

How To Read Crochet Patterns Amigurumi

Common abbreviations for amigurumi patterns:

US TermUK Term
single crochet
sc
double crochet
dc
half double crochet
hdc
half treble crochet
htr
double crochet
dc
treble
tr
chain
ch
chain
ch
slip stitch
sl st
single crochet
sc
skip
sk
skip
sk
magic ring
MR
magic ring
MR
back loop only
BLO
back loop only
BLO
front loop only
FLO
front loop only
FLO
round
rnd
round
rnd
rounds
rnds
rounds
rnds
decrease
dec
decrease
dec
increase
inc
increase
inc
single crochet two together
sc2tog
single crochet two together
sc2tog
single crochet 2 in next stitch
sc 2 in next st
double crochet 2 in next stitch
dc 2 in next st
fasten off/bind off
FO/BO
fasten off/bind off
FO/BO
repeat
rep
repeat
rep
beginning
beg
beginning
beg

A series of crochet stitches in asterisks means you repeat the series. The pattern tells you how many times to repeat it.

Example: sc 4, sc2tog, sc1 rep from beg 2 times for 3 times.

Single crochet four, single crochet two together, single crochet one, repeat from the beginning two times for three times.

Note: The amigurumi pattern you’re using might have ‘special stitches.’

They are stitches not appear in the above list.

How To Read Lace Crochet Patterns

Lace crochet patterns are written with the same crochet abbreviations as listed under ‘How To Read Written Crochet Patterns.’

How To Read Round Crochet Patterns

Round crochet patterns are worked in rounds (‘rnds’).

When you start a round, you begin with a slip knot, and chain, say, 8. The pattern tells you to join with a slip stitch.

Here’s an example pattern round.

Abbreviated Pattern

  • Rnd 1
  • Make a slip knot
  • Ch 8
  • Join with a sl st to first ch.
  • Rnd 2
  • Ch 3
  • 12 dc into the circle
  • Join with a sl stitch to the top of the ch3

Written Out Pattern

  • Round 1
  • Make a slip knot
  • Chain eight
  • Join with a slip stitch to the first chain
  • Round 2
  • Chain three
  • Twelve double crochets into the circle
  • Join with a slip stitch to the top of the chain 3.
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How To Read Crochet Doll Patterns

See the amigurumi section in this article to see the abbreviations you need to learn to crochet a doll.

How To Read Crochet Motif Patterns

Reading crochet motif patterns is the same as reading written patterns.

See the explanation above to read information about written patterns and common crochet abbreviations.

How To Read Crochet Repeat Patterns

In a crochet pattern, you may notice stitches in asterisks or brackets. After the brackets or asterisks, it says ‘rep from * around.’

The pattern wants you to repeat whatever’s in the brackets around the entire piece until you get back to the start.

Now you know everything there is about reading crochet patterns.

Get yarn and a hook and start a new crochet project with a pattern!

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About Jodie Morgan

Hi. I’m Jodie Morgan, creator of Crochet Penguin. I started this site to show 1,000,000 people the joys of crochet & highlight alternatives to fast fashion. Please say hello!

Jodie Morgan Profile Pic

About Jodie Morgan

Hi. I’m Jodie Morgan, creator of Crochet Penguin. I started this site to show 1,000,000 people the joys of crochet & highlight alternatives to fast fashion. Please say hello!

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