Learn to Crochet: Reading a Pattern

Pinterest image of a pattern with a purple box in the bottom third with white text that says Learn to Crochet Reading a Pattern”

This is the last post in my three-part Learn To Crochet series. Now that we’re familiar with the abbreviations used in crochet, let’s look at how they all work together in a pattern. We’ll look at each part of a pattern closeup.

In many ways, this post will look a lot like this one where we also talked about the parts of a pattern.

Generally speaking, patterns include:

  • An image of the finished item.
  • A materials list
  • Gauge measurements
  • Notes
  • Special instructions
  • The pattern instructions

Some patterns will also include a chart of stitches and a schematic diagram with the measurements of the finished item.

I’m including an image of one of my patterns. It’s an easy one that will help you learn to crochet the basic stitches. We’ll dissect each part so you’ll understand it and any future patterns. (I’ll also include a coupon code to the pattern on Ravelry so you can get it for free for a limited time.)

The pattern we’re looking at is my Stitch Sampler Scarf. It’s an easy one that will help you learn the different stitches.

Single page pattern with a small picture of a purple scarf in the top center and the pattern under that
Stitch Sampler Scarf Pattern

Materials

This includes the yarn, scissors, and tapestry needle for weaving in the ends when you’re done. It can also include other notions like stitch markers and buttons. (My pattern doesn’t require either of those.)

As a side note, when the designer mentions a specific yarn, it’s not a requirement that you use that exact yarn. You can use any yarn of the same weight, for example, worsted weight, which is typically a 4. I’ve made too many yarn substitutions to count in making different patterns. Just remember that natural fibers might drape differently than synthetics and animal fibers (wool) will look different than plant fibers (cotton).

Gauge

This is a measurement that tells you how many stitches and rows you will get in a 4” square by using the yarn type and hook the designer indicates. For some things, like scarves, this might not matter to ouch. For other tings, like sweaters, it’s crucial. Since you’re just starting out with reading patterns, I would recommend you stick with scarves and shawls until you’re comfortable with patterns. Then you can go to more difficult items requiring specific gauge measurements.

Special Instructions

Is there a special stitch used in the pattern, like a crossed double crochet? The pattern notes or special notes will tell you what they are and tell you how to do them.

Notes

This section is just a couple reminders for the pattern. For example, does the turning chain count as the first stitch in a row? Or do you ignore it and count the first actual stitch? This section will tell you that. It will usually say, “Turning chain does not count as a stitch unless otherwise indicated.” Or something like that.

Pattern Instructions

This takes you row-by-row through the making of the item. It might include asterisks and brackets that we talked about in a previous post. The pattern I’m sharing with you today doesn’t include those. (In fact, as of this post, I odn’t think I have any patterns that do, although one might be coming out soon.)

Chart

Most patterns do not include this, but some do. It’s up to the designer if it’s included or not. This is a visual representation, using symbols, of how the item is supposed to look.

Schematic

This is a sketch of the item, including measurements. This is usually only given in the case of garments or blankets It also shows you how the pieces fit together, if there is any seaming involved.

That’s pretty much it. The order might vary somewhat. More complex patterns might include photo tutorials to walk you through how to do stitches.

As promised, here is the coupon code for the Stitch Sampler Scarf on Ravelry. When you go to check out, use the code “LEARNTOCROCHET” without the quotes. That will get you this learn to crochet pattern for free. However, this code will expire at the end of December 2020. If you are reading this post after that, I’m sorry you missed out on the free pattern. However, it’s less than $1, so you wont be out too much.

Oh, one more thing: A pattern should tell you if it’s in US or UK terms. That will make a difference in how your piece turn out. It’s very important you know which terminology you’re using so you’ll know what to expect. My patterns will always use US terms, since I’m based in the US.

If you have any questions, leave a comment. I’d be glad to help wherever I can.


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