Teaching Myself to Read Crochet Patterns

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Have you thought about learning how to crochet?
Or have you ever looked at a crochet pattern and thought, “That’s a foreign language!”?  
If so, I have a tip that might help you.

I am a self-taught crocheter and honestly, I found making up blankets as I go was far less intimidating than reading patterns.  I instinctively came up with this method of “translating patterns” and I hope it will help others on their crocheting adventures.

The first thing is to get familiar with the abbreviations patterns use. Most of the pattern books I own have a lovely section with abbreviations and stitch explanations – if the pattern you are using does not have either of those, YouTube is a great resource.

I normally open a note on my phone and use the drawing tools to make a grid for each row of the pattern. Then as I complete each stitch in a row I use the highlighter function to “cross off” what I have done. This helps me count stitches, and saves having to pull out a row if someone rings the doorbell or calls (causing me to lose count).

To explain my wacky scrawling I have put together a cleaner and annotated set of pictures.

Here is an example line of a pattern:

Round 3:  2dc in first 3 sts, 2hdc in next 2 sts, 2 sc in next 5 sts, 2hdc in last 2 sts. (24 sts)
Translated into English that would be read as
Round 3:  2 double crochet in first 3 stitches, 2 half double crochet in next 2 stitches, 2 single crochet in next 5 stitches, 2 half double crochet in last 2 stitches. (24 stitches total)

Here is how I write it out-

A later part of this same pattern calls for:
Rounds 5-6: SC in each st around.

I would translate that as-

I hope this wacky method helps some of you. Crocheting is fun and it doesn’t have to be a difficult as it looks. In my experience, people who crochet are very kind folks. If you get confused or need a little help my advice would be to reach out to a crocheter (on Instagram, Facebook, etc) and/or check YouTube.

Happy crocheting!

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