Learning how to read a crochet pattern is a very important part of learning how to crochet.
Once I learned how to crochet, I wanted to make all the things! But I couldn’t read a pattern!
I learned how to crochet with YouTube videos and books, but crochet patterns scared me! What did all those crochet abbreviations means? What size was I supposed to do? Do crochet patterns even read left to right?! I had no idea!
Eventually I figured it out myself, but it did take some time, and lots of trial of error! I want to save you all that trial and error and time!
I’m going to share with your the very basics of how to read a crochet pattern PDF and you can also watch the live show I did on this topic below!
*Disclaimer- This step by step layout pertains to how my designs are laid out. Not every designer is going to have the same pattern layout or order, but this should give you an idea of what to look for and what each section means, regardless of where exactly it is in the pattern.
The First Page
The first page of a crochet pattern contains the most vital information. This is where you will find what materials you need, gauge, sizing, stitches used, and any pattern notes there are.
Sometimes this will also continue on to the second part of the pattern, so be sure to read through the whole pattern before you start.
Here you will find exactly what you need to make the project.
This is a vital part of crocheting a project using a pattern. Check out my post on “Gauge- Why it is Important and How to Check It” for more on this.
This is the crochet experience you will need to make this project. (i.e.- beginner, intermediate, advanced)
Sizing & Yardage
Here is where you will figure out what size you are making and how much yarn you will need for it.
Any additional instructions, tips, or information needed will be in this section.
This section is very important to read before you start crocheting.
Stitches Needed and Abbreviations
Here you will find what stitches are required in the project and what abbreviations will be used for them throughout the pattern.
Some of the most often abbreviations, and their meanings, you will see in the patterns are:
st(s) – stitch(es)
ch(s) – chain(s)
sc – single crochet
hdc – half double crochet
dc – double crochet
**- repeat from
sc2tog- single crochet 2 together
dc2tog – double crochet 2 together
You will find other abbreviations in crochet patterns, but you will almost always be given the full name for the it, and sometimes even the step by step instructions on how to complete the stitch or step.
Download the free Basic Crochet Stitch Abbreviations Cheat Sheet.
Once you’ve moved past the first page, you’ll come to the pattern instructions. Here is where you will start working.
Most patterns will have a beginning section which will include how many chains to start with and sometimes a few beginning rows or rounds.
Most all patterns will be listed by either rows, rounds, or steps. Go through each one in their numerical sequence unless the pattern tells you otherwise.
Each segment of the pattern will likely be in order of the way it should be worked up, unless the pattern tells you otherwise ahead of time.
So work your way down the pattern until you get to the end.
Most patterns will have a finishing section or an area that tells you what to do once you’ve completed all the steps.
It may say “Fasten off. Weave in ends. Block if needed” or “Finish off and weave in all of your ends.”
This will let you know that you have completed the pattern.
Most of the time you will be able to find information on the designer in the pattern. There is usually a link to their website or shop and an email address.
Do not be afraid to email the designer with questions if you’re struggling. Pattern support is part of being a designer and we want to help.
Also, if you find an error within the pattern, and you are certain that it is a mistake, email the designer to let him/her know. That way they can fix it and send a pattern update.
You can watch the live show I did on this topic on YouTube.
I hope you find this article very helpful as you learn how to read a crochet pattern!
Please feel free to comment below or email me with any questions you still have!
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Michelle has been crocheting since 2011 and has been designing crochet patterns since 2014! She specializes in modern garments and accessories for your handmade wardrobe. Michelle has been featured in Happily Hooked Magazine, thehooknooklife.com, wecrochet.com, ourmakerlife.com, and several other websites. She is committed to providing the highest quality crochet information and patterns that instill a true feeling of pride, enjoyment, and accomplishment when completing a project.