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Reading Abbreviated Crochet Terms

Learning to read a crochet pattern is like learning to read a new language. It takes time to learn the meaning of each term and each abbreviation, but with practice and familiarity, you’ll learn to understand it eventually. Crochet patterns consist mostly of crochet terms (e.g., various stitches) being abbreviated. For example, a basic stitch like single crochet would show up in a pattern reading as sc, or double crochet would look like dc. Abbreviating helps condense the patterns and, arguably, makes it easier and quicker to read. Below you’ll find a list of basic stitches abbreviated the way you’d see them written in a pattern.

Abbreviations:

Yarn Over – yo

Stitch – st

Magic Circle – mc (This technique is sometimes referred to as a Magic Ring – mr.)

Slip Stitch – sl st

Chain – ch

Single Crochet – sc

Half Double Crochet – hdc

Double Crochet – dc

Of course, there are more abbreviations than this, but these are the most common and basic terms. Most crochet patterns include a list like the one above so you know what stitches are used throughout the pattern, but not all do. Crochet terms and abbreviations can be different in different countries. For Example, the most common conversion of these terms are from the United States (US) to the United Kingdom (UK). Below is a conversion chart.

US Terms

  • Chain – ch
  • Slip Stitch – sl st
  • Single Crochet – sc
  • Half Double Crochet – hdc
  • Double Crochet – dc
  • Yarn Over – yo
  • Gauge

UK Terms

  • Chain – ch
  • Slip Stitch – sl st
  • Double Crochet – dc
  • Half Treble Crochet – htr
  • Treble Crochet – tr
  • Yarn Over – yoh
  • Tension

As you can see compared next to each other, some terms are abbreviated the same, but others are not. For example, both chain and slip stitch are the same for both the US and UK, but the UK term for single crochet is double crochet. It’s important that when you’re starting a pattern, you make sure it’s either in US or UK terms. I can’t tell you how many times I started a project unaware it was in UK terms, and the result was not what I expected.

It can be daunting trying to remember which abbreviation means what; however, the more you crochet and read patterns, you’ll get it in no time. If you ever find yourself looking at a crochet term or abbreviation you don’t know, just look it up and take your time to learn it. Like I said in the beginning, it’s like learning a new language so it will take practice.

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