I have had SO many wonderful fans ask me to do a post to help beginners learn how to read crochet patterns, and I have finally carved out some time to do this! I hope this post helps you to understand how to read patterns – and if you have further questions, please leave a comment or message me on Facebook with some suggestions on anything I may miss (which is likely to happen) :) P.S. If you’d like to learn to crochet, check out my video series here!
Here are the top things you need to understand/know when reading crochet patterns:
1. Pattern Layout – Every designer will write patterns a little differently, this isn’t to say one person is better than another. But we all use a different structure or layout, and even the amount of details included depending on our level of experience and what we think is important. Don’t let this intimidate you!
2. Abbreviations – patterns looked like mumbo-jumbo when I first looked into them mainly because of all the abbreviations. Once you understand what they mean and get used to seeing them, reading patterns will be cake! Until then, you will read a line of directions, go back and read abbreviations, OVER AND OVER again. This is normal at first, so don’t get discouraged. I still do that if I’m working with a pattern that uses a stitch abbreviation I am not very familiar with.
3. Research Stitches – If there is a stitch you are not familiar with that is used in a pattern, make sure you familiarize yourself with it so that you are less likely to encounter confusion as you are working on the pattern. Check out my videos on stitches here!
4. Gauge, hook size, yarn type – You may not think these are a big deal, but they will make or break your project! Make sure you always, always check your gauge, hook size and yarn type – if you don’t you can’t complain if your newborn hat comes out adult size. Each person works tighter or looser depending on your tension. And of course your hook size may need to increase or decrease depending on your gauge accuracy along with hook and yarn types. I will be doing a tutorial on checking gauge soon, so make sure you subscribe to my YouTube Channel.
5. Working in the Round – Working in the round can be confusing for many crocheters, depending on how much detail the pattern writer gives you for starting ending & starting each round. When I work in the round, no matter what the pattern calls for, this is what I do:
For Double Crochet – At the end of the row I slip stitch (sl st) into the top of the first double crochet from that row, then to start the new row I ch 2 and dc into the same stitch as my first dc to avoid a gap at the start of each row.
6. Stitch Count – This is something that a couple people have asked me about before, but since I learned to crochet without stitch count I never really included them in my written patterns. This is something I need to look into including to my past patterns, but don’t rely on this. Have confidence in your ability to follow a pattern without it.
7. READ THE ENTIRE PATTERN (notes included) a couple times before you contact the designer – I cannot tell you how many times I have got emails asking something that is discussed in the notes section between the materials and the directions. Please make sure you read everything in the pattern before you contact the designer, it takes time for us to reply to messages, and we may have full time jobs and families on top of designing – so don’t expect a response within an hour :)
Do you have suggestions on what I should add to this post? Feel free to add ideas into the comment section below and I can revise and add more ideas! :) Reading patterns WILL be confusing at first for everyone, just keep at it and start with something simple like my Calming Seas Blanket or my Basic Hat (add a flower for a girl, or just a boarder along the bottom for a boy)
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