When I first started learning crochet, patterns just looked like a bunch of gobbledygook to me.
Not only were they full of stitch names and terminology that I didn’t yet know, most patterns also use abbreviations, creating the appearance of an indecipherable bunch of letters and numbers on a page.
Deciphering the crochet code
Author Sarah Bessey’s description of her introduction to knitting patterns makes me chuckle:
“…how could one possibly make lovely things out string and sticks and codes? I peeked into knitting pattern books and it was a foreign language of acronyms and numbers.
Sidenote: I bet that the reason the British government knew women would make excellent codebreakers at Bletchley Park during World War II is because someone high up in the military happened to catch sight of a shawl knitting pattern and thought, “Whoever can decipher that shawl pattern could probably defeat Hitler.”
~ Sarah Bessey*
I can’t tell you how much time I spent looking up terms and abbreviations in my early crochet days.
Plus, just to make it even more confusing, there are different crochet ‘languages’ and terms used in different places and patterns. (More on that here.)
So I’ve put together a basic guide outlining some of the most commonly used stitches, in both US and UK terminology, and the abbreviations, in the hope that this handy guide might be helpful for those starting out or needing to translate a pattern from one crochet ‘language’ to another.
A basic guide to common crochet terms
|St||Stitch||Each individual knot in crochet ‘fabric’ is called a stitch|
|R||Row / Round||The row or round of stitches|
The series of loops created by yarning over (placing the yarn over the hook so it crosses from one side of the hook to the other) and pulling up one loop after another, each through the previous loop, to create a chain or string of loops.
Flat crochet pieces begin by creating a foundation chain which stitches are then worked into to create a fabric or piece.
Chains are also used to increase height at the start of a row of stitches (the taller the stitch, the more chains are required to start with), and to add new sections etc.
The space underneath a chain, or in between a chain and the stitch next to it (usually at the start of a row), where you may need to insert your hook and/or work stitches into that space.
|Inc||Increase||To increase the number of stitches by working 2 new stitches into the same base stitch instead of just 1. Sometimes described as 2sc, meaning work 2 single crochet into the next stitch (or 2dc in UK terms).|
To decrease the number of stitches so that 2 stitches in your base row/round become only 1 stitch in the new row/round, by working 2 stitches together. Sometimes described as sc2tog (or dc2tog in UK terms).
Insert the hook into both stitches (easier if you put the hook under only the front loop of the first stitch), before continuing on as you would a normal single/double crochet: yarn over and pull the loop through both stitches so there are now two loops on the hook, yarn over and pull through the remaining two loops on the hook.
|Sc2tog||Single crochet 2 together||Decrease by working 2 single crochet stitches together.|
|Dc2tog||Double crochet 2 together||Decrease by working 2 double crochet stitches together.|
|Sk||Skip||Sometimes called ‘miss’ in UK crochet, to skip or miss a stitch means you don’t work any new stitches into it.|
A basic guide to common crochet stitches in both US & UK terminology
US crochet term
|UK crochet term||
|Slip stitch (ss)||Slip stitch (ss)||Insert the hook, yarn over and pull it through all loops on hook. (ie. pull it though so there are two loops now on hook, then without yarning over again pull the new second loop through the first loop on the hook).|
|Single crochet (sc)||Double crochet (dc)||Insert the hook into chain or under both loops of stitch, yarn over and pull through so there are 2 loops on hook, yarn over again and pull through both loops on hook|
|Half double crochet (hdc)||Half treble crochet (htr)||Yarn over once before inserting hook, insert hook, yarn over and pull through so there are 3 loops on the hook, yarn over and pull through all 3 loops on hook|
|Double crochet (dc)||Treble crochet (tr)||Yarn over once before inserting hook, insert hook, yarn over and pull through so there are 3 loops on the hook, yarn over and pull through first two loops on hook, yarn over again and pull through remaining two loops on hook|
|Treble crochet (tr)||Double treble (dtr)||Yarn over twice before inserting hook, insert hook, yarn over and pull through, yarn over and pull through first two loops on hook, yarn over again and pull through next two loops on hook, yarn over a final time and pull through last two loops on hook|
|Double treble (dtr)||Treble treble (trtr)||Yarn over three times before inserting hook. Continue to complete the stitch as for treble/double treble crochet (ie. pulling through two loops at a time)|
|Triple treble (trtr)||Quadruple treble||Yarn over four times before inserting hook. Continue to complete the stitch as for treble/double treble crochet (ie. pulling through two loops at a time)|
|Quadruple treble (quad tr)||Quintuple treble (quintr)||Yarn over five times before inserting hook. Continue to complete the stitch as for treble/double treble crochet (ie. pulling through two loops at a time)|
|Quintuple treble (quintr)||Sextuple treble (sextr)||Yarn over six times before inserting hook. Continue to complete the stitch as for treble/double treble crochet (ie. pulling through two loops at a time)|
There are many more crochet stitches you can learn, but these are the most commonly used terms I’ve come across in the patterns I’ve used, and many of the more complicated and decorative stitches are created by using a combination of these basics anyway. So I hope it’s helpful.
If you’ve found it helpful I’d love to hear from you! Let me know by leaving a comment below.
Anything I’ve missed? Comment below and let me know if there are any other crochet terms, abbreviations, or stitches you think I should add to this list. Or perhaps you’ve got a better way of describing how to create any of them? Let me know in the comments. I’d love your input. Thanks!