How to: Read a crochet pattern

How to Read a Crochet Pattern

In my last post, I covered the basics of starting to crochet. I went over the main tools you would need and listed some helpful sites to find yarn, and for tutorials to follow along until you learned to read a crochet pattern.  In this post I will cover how to read a crochet pattern.


Abbreviations play a big role in patterns. While most patterns will include a “key” or notes at the beginning of a book or before the pattern, some do not. I have found that it usually depends on the skill level required to complete the pattern. For example, if you are advanced, the designer figures you know the abbreviation.

Here are some basic abbreviation definitions (I will include a link to a more comprehensive chart).


Basic Crochet Abbreviations


Ch = Chain

Sl  or Sl St = Slip stitch

Sc = Single Crochet

Dc = Double Crochet

Hdc = Half Double Crochet

Tc = Triple Crochet or Treble Crochet

Sp(s) = Space(s)

St(s) = Stitch (es)

Yo = Yarn Over

Mc = Main Color

CA = Color A

CB = Color B

Rep = Repeat(s)

Pm = Place Marker

Rnd = Round(s)

Rem = Remaining

“ = inch(es)

* = repeat instructions following a single asterisk as directed

*  * = repeat instructions within asterisks as directed

( ) = work instructions within parenthesis as directed

[ ] = work instructions within brackets as directed


These are typically the abbreviations you will find in a pattern for a “beginner”. You may come across one here or there that is not listed, please refer to the Craft Yarn Council’s full list for any others not listed here.



See the following video tutorials on the basic stitches I have listed above.  These are not my videos..I have linked you to the ones that I learned from. Free exposure for them being saviors.  NOTE:  Quite a few of these videos will have a sister video with instructions for left-handers.


Chain Stitch (Ch) – along with creating the required slip knot you need.

Single Crochet (Sc)

Double Crochet (Dc)

Half Double Crochet (Hdc)

Triple or Treble Crochet (Tc)




·        Project Finished Size – some patterns will give you a finished size of the project which allows you to decide if this may be the right pattern for you or if maybe you can adjust the size. For example, an afghan might have a finished size of 40×60. You may want your afghan to be longer, say 40×72. In most cases you can just keep repeating the pattern till the desired length is achieved. 

·        Materials – The designer will give you the materials that were used to make this project. The materials or similar ones are what was gauged to reach the desired size. Straying from these materials will affect the outcome of the size…keep this in mind if you prefer to use a different type of yarn than suggested.

·        Crochet Hook – the recommended size to use based on type of yarn and/or the stitches/pattern.  This may need to be changed IF you change the type of yarn (weight) or if you can NOT achieve the gauge that is given.

·         Gauge – This is important to pay attention to if you want your outcome to be the same as the pattern’s.  It took me a long time to understand this.  I continued to wonder why I hardly ever ended up with the same sizes. 

·         Instructions – Here’s the good stuff.  The main reason you are looking at this pattern.  Before we go into this, it would be a good thing to actually read any notes that the designer included and then the instructions before you put that yarn on that hook. If you follow step by step and I mean….step by step. My suggestion is to also keep checking the picture (if available) and see if yours looks like theirs.

Please refer to the pic of the pattern I have included  – click link for larger image

crochet pattern


Good Luck!!!

Feel free to email me with any comments or concerns!

Look for the next post on Symbol Chart Patterns.

Rock on!

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