Learn how to read a crochet pattern

One of the biggest struggles that I see with crocheters is that they cannot read a crochet pattern. If you crochet and cannot read a crochet pattern, then know that you’re not alone! And it’s totally understandable as so many of you have learned from a friend or a relative or from You Tube so reading a pattern wasn’t part of the lesson. You were most likely told how to make some of the stitches and how to make something that the person teaching you knew how to make. They may not have known themselves how to read a pattern or they might not have known how best to teach you.

And that is where I come in with this month’s tutorial and I’ll spell out step by step how you can learn to read a crochet pattern.

Step 1:

If you don’t have it already, then you’re going to want to grab my free download – the Ultimate Guide to Reading Crochet Patterns – as everything I am going to share here is in there with more detail and for you to keep. The guide is a handy reference for everything that you need to know to get you started.

Step 2:

Before you try to read a pattern, one of the first things to learn is the stitch names. If you’re confused with the names of the stitches, then it is just going to confuse you even more if you need to also figure out what stitch they’re referring to. And did you know that there is US and UK terms? And not only that, but some of the stitch names are shared across the languages but create totally different stitches?!

Inside my guide you’ll find an easy reference guide to the most common basic stitches. It contains the Stitch name, abbreviation, symbol and how to make it. Having this with you as you try to read a pattern will help you remember the stitch names more quickly.

Step 3:

When we crochet we most often work in rows or rounds. Each method has it’s own set of rules to follow, and knowing these rules makes it easier to decipher the instructions or chart that you’re trying to follow. Inside the guide I explain the difference and how you can apply the rules. But to keep it simple here I’ll briefly outline the difference.

When you’re working in rows you’re working in a line from your hook hand to your yarn hand, turning your work and crocheting back along the stitches just made. The number of stitches will always be the same unless you’re shaping your work.

When you’re working in the round, you’re going round and round in the same direction usually making the piece increase with more stitches added every round. How many stitches you add will impact if the piece lays flat, ruffles or starts to get taller (like for a basket). Squares are also made in the round, the difference being that the increases happen in the corner spaces.

Step 4:

Try to read the pattern for something that you already know how to make. This way, then you’re reading the pattern as written you’ll be able to determine more easily if you’re interpretting it correctly. Inside the guide I have included written instructions for how to make a traditional granny square. This is something that most of us have created before, so it is an easier one to decipher.

What you won’t find inside the guide is the specifics for reading a pattern. And the reason for this is that everyone writes them differently. And for me the traditional way becomes extremely confusing as there are asterisks’ and brackets and abbreviations and difficult formatting to interpret. Some designers use assumed knowledge which just makes it more confusing. BUT, if you know the stitches and know the rules behind rows and rounds, then it is much, much easier for you to interpret what is being written. Don’t hesitate to rewrite it in a way that makes sense to you (I do!). If you want to try read a more simpley written pattern then test your knowledge out on one of mine. I have been writing procedures for decades, so I write my patterns in more simple method than the traditional way. And all my newer patterns (like my washcloth ones) contain the stitch instructions and a picture guide so that you can confirm if you interpretted the written instructions correctly or not.

So are you ready to download my guide and give reading crochet patterns a go? i look forward to the world of crochet opening up even more for you once you do!

Seona x

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