Tips for Reading Crochet Patterns

By A Guest Writer – 11 Comments

A Guest Post by Ivory Herman.

Do you remember the days when you just learned how to read a crochet pattern? For me it was exciting to be able to do something besides a scarf or blanket. I had to teach myself because there were no family members or friends of mine who knew how to read a pattern! It was a whole new world; however, it had many roads leading to frustration and fits of rage because my project wasn’t turning out right or I couldn’t understand the author of the pattern.

Here are a few tips that I would like to pass on in order to help you better read your crochet patterns.

  1. Read your pattern from start to finish before you start. This is probably the most important tip of all, simply for the reason that you never know what you are going to come across in the middle of the pattern. Many times have I started a pattern and come across a stitch or term that I had no clue how to do. There are important things that you need to know before you start the pattern, which leads to my next tip.
  2. Read any special notes that the author of the pattern leaves. They leave them for a reason! A lot of times they will explain how or why they did what they did or provide you with suggestions or alternatives (in case you cannot do exactly what they did). These notes will save you a lot of trouble and are not always in the beginning of the pattern.
  3. American versus English Patterns. I learned this the hard way, there is different terminology for American crochet patterns and English crochet patterns. For instance, in America a single crochet is referred to as double crochet in English terminology. This is something that you should take note of.
  4. Check your supply list before you start. It’s a good idea to make sure you read this, in case you’re missing supplies. There is nothing like getting all excited over a project and then having to stop in the middle because you’re missing something.
  5. Different versions are sometimes given. In some patterns I have found that the author will offer different versions of their pattern for the finished product. They offer alternatives in case you are unable to do exactly what is called for in the original pattern. Check this out in case you want to do the alternative version of your project.
  6. Check the project skill level. A lot of pattern authors will list this at the beginning of their patterns; however, a lot do not do this. This is yet another reason to read the entire pattern from start to finish, so you may accurately assess your ability to complete this project.
  7. Keep track of where you are at in your pattern. A lot of times I have started a crochet pattern, been distracted, and then could not remember where I was at in my pattern.
  • Take a pencil and underline the row you just finished. That way you are able to erase the pencil markings when you are done.
  • Others have suggested getting a plastic sheet holder and dry erase marker, mark off one row at a time, and when completed, clean the plastic sleeve.
  • If you have special instructions like “*sc6, dc * repeat six times” write this on a piece of paper six times and cross each one off as you go.
  • Do whatever you find works best for you!

In conclusion, read your pattern and save yourself a lot of frustration and time. If you have any tips or tricks, then feel free to leave a comment below! Happy crocheting!

Ivory has been crocheting for around four years. The things Ivory likes to crochet most are amigurumi and dishcloths, but she is always up for challenging herself with new projects. Besides crochet, she is a mother to a one year old boy and a stay at home mom with a degree in Psychology. To learn more about Ivory visit her blog xX The Catalope Blogs Xx.

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  1. Lauren says:

    Great and very valid tips! Thanks so much for sharing 🙂
    I’m so guilty of doing #1, hehe. I get too excited sometimes and just dive in.

  2. Heather says:

    I have started using electronic patterns so keeping my place was an issue. I didn’t want to have to print it out to write on it. What I ended up doing was copying the pattern into Microsoft Word and as I completed a section I deleted it. I saved it as a work in progress. When the page was clear I was done.

  3. Ivory says:

    I have done that with electronic files if I don’t intend on printing them out. Word has a neat highlight feature. I just highlight the last row/round and come back to it whenever.

  4. Taylor says:

    very helpful I will start doing some of these!

  5. Angie says:

    Great ideas Heather & Ivory! I will start doing some of those as well! I also have a hard time remembering where I am in a project sometimes!

  6. Ivory says:

    Oh another good tip is to get a sticky note and post it right under your current row…

  7. Denisse says:

    You were right about learning the hard way, in my case my mom taught me how to do a double crochet only, but the thing is that we live in Mexico, so we speak spanish, and no one in my house knew anything else about crochetting so y started watching videos in youtube from a channel named, The Art of Crochet Teresa, she has the video nd also the written instructions to follow pattern, after that i started reding other patterns and learning new stitches one at a time, ’til now i’m still learning, though i’m only 14 years old, i’m lucky ‘cuz i learned english a time ago 😀

    P.D. I love your web site, keep working like that 😀

  8. lulu says:

    HelloRachel, I’m working on the slouchy beeanie but i’m not sure the difference between rnd 3 ( 2dc in next dc, dc in next dc) and rnd 15 (dc2tog, dc in next 5 dc). These seem the same to me from what I’ve been doing from rnd 1-7. The beanie is ready for decreasing but I need to understand the two types. Thank you, Lulu

  9. lulu says:

    Rachel, 2 dc in next dc & 2tog, how do these differ? lulu

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