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How To Read Crochet Patterns – My Complete Guide – Learn The Abbreviations, Tips & More

Learning to read a crochet pattern might seem tricky at first, but once you know, reading a pattern will be a piece of cake!

The most challenging step to learn when reading crochet patterns is memorizing the abbreviations. You may have seen some of these before: ch (chain), dc (double crochet), sl st (slip stitch), and sc (single crochet).

You don’t have to memorize things like ch, dc, and sc straight off the bat. It could help if you print out all the abbreviations you need on a piece of paper and keep it by your side.

In this article, I’ll explain how to read various types of crochet patterns, such as amigurumi patterns.

Table Of Contents

How To Read Crochet Patterns For Beginners

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

Using shortened terms for crochet stitches and terms save writing time, and most importantly, space. It also makes the pattern less difficult to read.

How To Read Crochet Patterns Sizes

At the top of a crochet pattern, there will be a section about hook sizes. It may look something like this:

Hook size: ( a number here or a letter depending on which nationality the author of the pattern is) – Let’s say the number said 5.5mm.

The 5.5mm written there means to work the pattern correctly; you will need to use a 5.5mm crochet hook.

Yarn: (a yarn weight) – if the word written beside the ‘yarn’ said ‘medium,’ you would need to use a medium or worsted weight yarn to achieve the same size finished project as the pattern.

The pattern will also tell you how much yarn you’ll need to complete the project.

Gauge: (example) 10 stitches per 2 inches – those numbers mean you need ten stitches per every 2 inches. The gauge will be different with everyone because everyone has a different tension on their yarn.

To help you get the correct gauge, crochet a little swatch of the said ten stitches and measure the result to see if it’s the same as the gauge in the pattern.

If it’s different, you’ll need to go up or down a hook size depending whether you get more stitches or less.

How To Read Symbol Crochet Patterns

  • Cross or lower case t without the flick at the bottom – single crochet.
  • Capital/Uppercase T – half double crochet.
  • Capital/Uppercase T with one slanted line also resembles an F – double crochet.
  • Capital/Uppercase T with two slanted lines – treble crochet.
  • Three half double crochets pointing to 1 chain at the bottom – 3 individually worked stitches crocheted into the one stitch.
  • Three half double crochets with 1 line across the top, pointing to one chain at the bottom – 3 partially worked stitches crochet into one stitch; a cluster.
  • Closed dot – slip stitch.
  • Open oval – chain.

Fun fact: The slanted lines on the double crochet and the treble crochet symbols mean how many yarn overs you do before you insert 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.

Here’s a video tutorial on how to read and understand crochet symbols by Marly Bird.

How To Read Written Crochet Patterns

The first step to understanding written crochet patterns is learning the crochet abbreviations. The abbreviations will mainly be the most common crochet stitches and some terms used in the pattern.

However, in your pattern, there will probably be a list of ‘special stitches’ or ‘other stitches.’ These are crochet stitching techniques that are needed to make a specific motif in that pattern. You wouldn’t usually find them in a book of common crochet abbreviations.

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 / yarn over hook
yo / yoh
yarn over / yarn over hook
yo / yoh
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 you start learning bead crochet patterns, I’ll first explain how it works.

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

In advanced patterns, there is less crochet involved; the patterns focuses more on the beads than the crochet.

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

Circumference: (a number here) – The circumference means how many beads are in the circle. (Bead ‘ropes’ are worked in circles) Let’s say there’s an eight next to the circumference. That would mean there are eight beads in the circle.

Repeat of colors: (a number here) – The repeat of colors means how many different colored beads are in the circle; the circumference number.

Rows per repeat: (a number here) – The number means how many rows there are per repeat (the number of beads in the circle). If the number is 1, that means there is 1 row per 8 beads.

The total number of rows: (a number here) – Say the number was 70. Seventy mean there are 70 rows of 8 beads stacked on top of each other. Every circle that you make is a row. As you keep making rows, the colors will stack on top of each other.

The total number of beads: (a number here) – there would be 70 beads per each color in this example. There would be 560 in total because 70 (number of rows) x 8 (number of colors) = 560.

List of beads: (a number of colored beads represented as boxes) – In this case, there would be 8 boxes; 8 beads. There will be a number next to each box. The number means how many beads you put on in a row or circle. If the number next to the boxes were 1, you would string 1 bead of each color per row.

There will also typically be a graph full of little colored boxes, telling you which color goes where.

Want to try out bead crochet? Here are a couple of 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 have to repeat that series. The pattern will tell you how many times to repeat it.

Example: sc 4, sc2tog, sc1 rep from beg 2 times for a total of 3 times – single crochet four, single crochet two together, single crochet one, repeat from the beginning two times for a total of three times.

Note: The amigurumi pattern that you’re using might have a section about ‘special stitches.’ They are stitches that don’t appear in the above list of abbreviations.

How To Read Lace Crochet Patterns

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

See above to read the list.

How To Read Round Crochet Patterns

Round crochet patterns are patterns that are worked in rounds or ‘rnds’ for short.

Usually, when you start a round, you begin with a slip knot, and then you chain, say, 8. Then the pattern will tell you to join with a slip stitch.

Here’s an example pattern round to help you out:

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.

Full formed words 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.

How To Read Tunisian Crochet Patterns

Tunisian crochet abbreviations:

US & UK TermsUK Terms
Tunisian simple stitch
tss
Tunisian simple stitch
tss
Tunisian full stitch
tfs
Tunisian full stitch
tfs
Tunisian single crochet
tsc
Tunisian Double Crochet
tdc
Tunisian half double crochet
thdc
Tunisian Half Treble Crochet
thtc
Tunisian double crochet
tdc
Tunisian treble crochet
ttr
forward pass
FwP
forward pass
FwP
return pass
RetP
return pass
RetP
extended simple stitch
etss
extended simple stitch
etss
Tunisian knit stitch
tks
Tunisian knit stitch
tks
Tunisian purl stitch
tps
Tunisian purl stitch
tps
Tunisian slip stitch
tslst
Tunisian slip stitch
tslst
Tunisian twisted
ttw
Tunisian twisted
ttw
Tunisian reverse stitch
trs
Tunisian reverse stitch
trs

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.

Making the hair: How to attach hair to crochet dolls by Stella’s Yarn Universe.

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.

A pattern, including motifs, might use charts. See above to read about crochet charts.

How To Read Crochet Repeat Patterns

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

That means to repeat from the beginning around. In that instance, the pattern wants you to repeat whatever’s in the brackets around the entire piece until you get back to the start.

Here’s an example to help you visualize a repeating pattern. I’ll use the example from before.

Abbreviation example pattern:

Rnd 1. Make a slip knot. Ch10. Join with a sl st to first ch.

Rnd 2. Ch1. 13 sc into ring. Join with a sl st to ch1.

Rnd 3. Repeating rnd. Ch1. *sc 2, hdc1, rep from * around, join with a sl st to ch1.

Note: Another way of writing repeating crochet patterns is like this: (sc2, hdc1) 5 times. That means you single crochet 2, half double crochet 1, and then do that again another 5 times, for a total of 6 times.

Non-abbreviated example pattern:

Round 1. Make a slip knot — chain ten. Join with a slip stitch to the first chain.

Round 2. Chain one. Thirteen single crochets into the ring. Join with a slip stitch to the chain one.

Round 3. Repeating round. Chain one. * two single crochets, one half double crochet, repeat from * around, join with a slip stitch to the chain one.

Now you know everything there is to know about reading crochet patterns. Do you know what that means? Time to get some yarn and a hook and start a new crochet project with a pattern! Go you!

Something I forgot? Or have a question? Leave a comment at the end.

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About Jodie Morgan

Hi. I’m Jodie Morgan, owner and creator of Crochet Penguin. (Yes, I’m a real person :) )

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