Reviewing the Pattern
Learning the different abbreviations is the first step to reading pattern instructions properly.
In fact, if you look into a crochet glossary, you will find that there are hundreds of them you need to learn. You do not need to memorize them just so you can start crocheting. All you need to get started is to determine how you are going to work the pattern. They are either worked in rows or rounds and it is normally specified in the pattern how you will be working. This will make it easier for you to know how to proceed when reading the instruction. Take note, that depending on the pattern, there will be cases that you will be employing a combination of both for your project.
Note that when choosing a pattern, always choose the kind that is best suited for your abilities. Patterns normally indicate their level of difficulty – beginner, easy, intermediate and advanced. Choosing a pattern suited for beginners does not only mean that the project would be easier to complete but would also mean that terminology and writing style used can be understood by the novice crocheter. Choosing this kind of pattern even for those with a lot of crocheting experience but little knowledge in crochet terminology can be helpful if you need to be eased into learning the terms used. Keep in mind though that even patterns for beginners will hold a certain level of difficulty. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you will automatically be able to understand them. Don’t let yourself be discouraged though, as the more you practice, the easier it will be to understand the pattern. Before you know it, you will have already reached a point when you are able to follow any crochet pattern you wish.
Why Do Patterns Make Use of Abbreviations
Typically, crochet patterns and instructions make use of a lot of abbreviations. This is because it makes the instructions a lot shorter. You will notice how the abbreviations do not make use of periods as well. With the countless abbreviations being used in a single line of instruction, making use of periods will make the instruction look cluttered. The abbreviations are normally specified at the beginning of a pattern or in the front or back of the pattern book.
Here’s an example of a crochet instruction: “Row 1: With size H hook, ch 15, sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each ch across, turn.” In this instruction alone, there are already two abbreviations used. Sc and ch both refer to a kind of stitch you will have to do for the first row of your crochet project. If stated explicitly, it would look like this: “Row 1: Using a size H crochet hook, make 15 chain stitches. Then, single crochet in the second chain stitch from the hook and in each chain stitch across, turn.” Now you can see why instructions tend to employ a lot of abbreviations. If all instructions are to be stated explicitly, one pattern might have to make use of more than a hundred pages. You may have also noticed that the abbreviated words are the stitches. The best thing to do is to familiarize yourself with the basic stitches and their abbreviations. The rest will just follow seamlessly once you have gotten the hang of it.
Common Crochet Abbreviations You Need to Know
One of the most basic stitches that is present in almost all patterns is a chain stitch. It is abbreviated as “ch” and is normally the stitch being used to begin most crochet projects. When a grouping or several number of chain stitches is being used in the beginning of a pattern, you may see the words “starting chain”, “base chain” or “foundation chain” in the pattern. This kind of stitch is also normally used between the rows of your pattern. Its height or the number of chains you will need to create normally depends on the number of stitches you need to use in that particular row. Nonetheless, if you find ch and the end of the row, you will then realize it is being used as a “turning chain”. When working a round pattern, you may be able to notice the chain stitch being used to connect other stitches.
Another abbreviation that is commonly used in crocheting is “sc”, which stands for single stitch. It is also one of the basic stitches often used in crochet and it’s most often the first real stitch beginners learn. Another common stitch that’s often being used is the double crochet, which is abbreviated as dc. You will find a lot of repetitions of this stitch in several patterns. Normally there is a number indicated beside it. This basically just states the number of double crochet stitches you need to work.
Sk is also one abbreviation in a pattern you will continuously find. This stands for skip(ped). Basically, all this ever tells you is to skip the indicated stitches where normally you should be doing a stitch. Sp or sps, on the other hand, stands for space and spaces respectively. If you see this on an instruction line, this means you need to crochet into a certain space on the previous row instead of crocheting directly into a stitch.
These are only five of the most abbreviations used in the world of crochet. When in doubt, do a little research. Don’t play the guessing game by yourself. You wouldn’t want to ruin a project that can easily be completed with a little patience. They key is to remember that you do not need to overwhelm yourself with the abbreviations and instructing techniques of different patterns. Deep breaths, a calm attitude and a lot of practice will eventually make you the expert you want to be.