Understanding the standard abbreviations and symbols used on a crochet pattern is the first step to reading all patterns. The abbreviations and symbols save space on the patterns.
Crochet patterns include ratings, symbols, and abbreviations. Crochet patterns are designed for beginner, intermediate and advanced work and are labeled as such. Novices should start with beginner patterns since the more advanced patterns may prove too difficult for someone just starting out with crochet. Each pattern will designate whether the design will be worked in rows or rounds. Rows are used to create flat items like blankets while rounds are used to create tubes without seams for items like hats.
Crochet symbols provide directions, repeat actions and clarifying information in a concise manner. Parentheses offer instructions on collective groups of stitches and work instructions, while items written in italic text in parentheses offer additional or clarifying information.
Brackets offer instructions on repeat stitch groups, and offer clarifying information when used with italicized text. Braces are used to add repetition within parentheses or brackets, while the use of asterisks and double asterisks add more levels of repetition to patterns.
Crochet patterns use a standard language that involves abbreviations to represent stitch types. For example:
- Ch: chain stitch
- Sl st: slip stitch
- Hdc: half double crochet
Additional abbreviations are used to represent actions, such as
- Inc: increase (by the indicated number of stitches)
- Dec: decrease (by the indicated number of stitches)
- Rep: repeat