How do you Read a Crochet Pattern?

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Crochet is a really neat craft. I’ll be honest here, I’m just learning some of the basics and I will continue to learn new things every day. There are so many stitches to learn and so many projects you can put together using those stitches. When trying to read a pattern it’s like what the heck is all this gibberish? I know though that once you can learn all these stitches and know how they are made, reading a pattern will become almost second nature. So my question to you is:

How do you read a pattern? Is it easier to learn the stitch before learning to read a pattern or should you learn to read the pattern first and then the stitch? They go hand in hand with each other so how do you make learning easier for yourself?

The first thing to learn in crochet is probably the slip knot as that’s what starts the whole pattern. After that is the beginning chain and then most likely single crochet stitches. The beginning chain is quite simple to accomplish so when you see (ch) you’ll know it means chain. Sc means single crochet and dc means double crochet. If you’re looking to learn the basics you can always teach yourself. All abbreviations are great to know, but again, I ask you how do you read a pattern?

Watch Michael’s Video on How to Read Patterns!

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  1. Sharlee says

    Learn the stitches first. If the pattern calls for one you’re unfamiliar with, practice it a few times until it flows easily.

  2. Nancy Gile says

    Having crochet hook and yarn in hand, I read the pattern and do each step to make the stitch. So when pattern says to go through one chain stitch, thats what I do, next step, pull up yarn, thats what I do, pull through chain stitch, thats what I do and so on until I have it exactly the way its supposed to be. Now there are many times I have to read and reread the pattern. Gets easier the more you crochet!

  3. Alicia says

    I tend to just start and hammer out details of new stitches when I get there.
    Some times I do a small guage swatch just to practice difficult stitches tho.

  4. Mackena says

    If it’s a new stitch I’ve never tried before, depending on how the “read-thru” makes me feel, I will try it out in a swatch following steps very carefully, one by one. However, if the basic stitches/pattern seems simple enough, I will just follow on step by step on the actual project. It really does depend on the project. But i always do a “read-thru” first, regardless.

  5. Terri says

    You have to know the basic stitches first – chain, single crochet, double crochet, etc. Once you know how to do those, it’s relatively easy to follow a pattern. I just take it step by step, usually. If I don’t get it right the first time…FROG!!!

  6. Beverly says

    I crochet thread doilies, when I start a new pattern I usually stare and droul over the beautiful doily first, then I check all the stitches showed on the pattern envolved and see if I want to tackle the difficulty. Alot of times its trial… and error, meaning I tear out alot before I get it right. Patience, determination and counting stitches for that pattern if I really want the doily just right. There are plenty of beginner patterns for thread crochet that have simple stitches; sc, dc, etc. that make a lovely pineapple doily for beginner crochet, I recommend doing those for awhile before tackling a more difficult pattern. The crochet dress I made here on my profile picture, I made up as I went along just using basic simple stitches.See More

  7. says

    I read the pattern first, to see if it uses British English or American English – the stitches are different! Other than that, its fun to learn the new stitch as part of the pattern.

  8. says

    I tend to dive straight into a pattern and learn any new stitches as I go. Normally this workes out ok, but on occassion I’ll bite of more than I can chew and end up in knots.

  9. Joanne says

    I read the entire pattern then I start crocheting as I reread the pattern That way I have an idea of the stitches I will need to do the pattern and have an idea how the pattern proceeds as I crochet.

  10. Crystal says

    There a tons of different stitches out there. Learn the basic stitches first. Sc, dc, hdc, tr, etc. All of these and more are used over and over to form the other stitches. I normally just pick a pattern I like, read over it, and then begin. Normally I don’t have a problem encountering new stitches that I haven’t worked yet, though every now and then, ill run into one that I’ve got to rip out and redo. And being as I have three very small children, I mark off each row as I finish it so I’ll know where I left off at. My favorite thing to work is amigurumi.

  11. Sharon says

    Learn the stitches first…then find a simple pattern you would like to try…read the pattern one step at a time…IE:..chain 10…(OK, chain the 10)…then single crochet in second chain from hook and in each stitch..(do that step)..then the next and the next..soon it will flow easily as you progress…and so you don’t get confused and lose your place..mark your pattern with pencil as you complete each step..I’ve been crocheting for over 45 years..and I still use this method with some challenging patterns…works for me…

  12. Nancy George says

    If you’re learning to crochet you must learn the basic stitches first. Then learn to read and follow patterns.If you are confidant enough in your skills then adding new stitches as you crochet is no problem. I always read through a pattern before I start. I usually have my students crochet a lap robe or afghan with each square a different stitch.

  13. Jhoanna Ignacio says

    Learn the basic stitches first. you’ll have to know the diff between US and UK stitches. Then check the notes on the pattern, it will tell you what you haveto do with certain stitches (i.e. picot stitch varies in number of chains-depending on what is being called for in the pattern). Then read thru the pattern to see if there unfamiliar stitches or terms. If you’re familiar with the terms in the pattern, for sure you’ll find it very easy to finish your project 🙂

  14. Patricia says

    I taught myself to crochet from a book 41 years ago. I started by learning the basic stitches (I would do several rows of sc then move on to dc etc. until I felt good about the look). Now I just pick a pattern and get started. I always make a copy of the pattern so I can mark on it or what ever without ruining my original. As I progress thru the pattern I mark my place and also any problem I’m having so I can make notes and attach to my original for the next time. It’s a good thing to keep a list of the abbreviations nearby until you learn them. Hope this helps.

  15. Madena says

    I learned single and double at around age 9. About three years ago (now 40) I was VERY bored. I started buying patterns and am self taught. I find that like anything else if you just take one step at a time it is less overwhelming. I have now mastered expert patterns. I am also a self taught knitter….patience, humility, and one step at a time will get you far:-). Also, don’t be afraid to question the pattern if something doesn’t look right. I have had patterns with errors.

  16. Melissa says

    I’ve tried it both ways: learning the stitch and practicing it first and diving right in. Anymore, I just dive right in. After learning the basics (slip stitch, chain, single crochet, half double crochet, and double crochet) I decided to just go with it. I have found that the key to reading the pattern is taking it one step at a time. And it doesn’t hurt to read ahead so you know where you’re going! Happy crocheting!

  17. Beverly says

    It is best to learn the basic stitches,before learning to read a pattern. I tried to teach a couple of co-workers to crochet and they did not want to learn the abbreviations, they only wanted me to show them the stitch. Learning the abbreviations and techniques has really helped me a lot with patterns.

  18. Deb Paape says

    If I were a beginner, I would have abbreviations next to me , read the pattern over a few times, then if it was hard to figure out write out the parts I had a hard time with so I can under stand it better, Then I would practice the stitches I did not use yet with scrap yarn,. I had no web sites when I taught myself most of the stitches. I bought a good book at the craft store with most of the stitches. Their are so many resources out their now not hard at all to learn stitches or abbreviations Then I would Start the pattern, everyone learns different. I can say for sure if you do not sit and read it over a few times their can be a lot of
    waisted hours by tearing it all out and starting over. Read first.

  19. Diana Cedotal says

    One really important thing about reading a pattern when crocheting is always pay attention to the word TURN I have been crocheting for a very long time and when I started I got very discoraged because I did not turn when it became necessary and the amount of times to repeat directions is also very important. Diana


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