Lesson 1: Learning the Language

The hardest thing about learning crochet -you know, apart from the aching hands and shoulders and figuring out what a stitch is- is wrapping your head around the lingo. You learn the basic stitches and you practice over and over until you feel confident enough to finally try a pattern and… what on earth does that say? ch12 sk2 st dc in next 5…. complete gobbledegook….. Now you have to learn how to read a pattern, it’s like a whole language of it’s own. However once you learn the abbreviations it suddenly starts to make a lot more sense.

Ch                       Chain

Sc                        Single Crochet

Dc                       Double Crochet

Hdc                     Half Double Crochet

Tr                        Triple Crochet

Sk                        Skip stitches

Sl St                    Slip Stitch

These are the very basic stitches, there will be many more over the course of a pattern. Often if there is a new or complicated stitch in a pattern then there will often be a note stating the abbreviation and explaining the stitch. Some patterns list all the abbreviations at the beginning of the pattern and explain them; we like these patterns!


Ch 40.
1. Hdc into 2nd ch from hook. Hdc 38. Turn.
2. Ch 1. Sc in same st. Sc 38. Turn.
So for this pattern you would do the following steps:
Make a starting chain of 40 stitches
1. Count 2 chains from your crochet hook and do a half double crochet into it. Do a Half double crochet into each chain all the way to the end totalling 38 Half double crochets. Turn your work so you are now at the beginning of the row rather than the end.
2. Chain 1. Do a single crochet in the same stitch the chains are coming from. Continue to single crochet along the row to the end totalling 38 single crochets. Turn your work so you are now at the beginning of the row rather than the end.
As you can see, without all the abbreviations a pattern starts to get pretty wordy; the above pattern is very simple but when explained it takes 2 paragraphs. When working with larger and more complicated projects we would be looking at an essay which would be long winded and difficult to work from.
Often you will find patterns are repetitive: rather than write the same instructions over and over patterns will often put in a repeat.
1. Ch2 *dc in next st, sk 1 st* repeat from *to end of row
So this would translate to:
1. Chain 2. Do a double crochet in the next stitch, skip a stitch, do a double crochet in the next stitch, skip a stitch etc. to the end of the row.
These are the very basics of reading a crochet pattern, certainly enough to get you started on your first project! I hope this has helped you understand patterns a little better and as I load more tutorials I will link them in the relevant points for easy access to them from the this post.
Have a lovely day, here is a picture of a kitten

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