The key elements in learning to read and select the right pattern are Pattern difficulty levels, stitches, their abbreviations and symbols. All these topics will be discussed at length in this post.
Its important that right pattern is selected as per the level of the crocheter. For example: If a beginner picks up a difficult pattern, which is meant for an experienced crocheter, his/her interest will be lost soon.
Pattern difficulty level – Difficulty of a pattern is based on various factors. Yarn and hook sizes, stitches, techniques, colors, shapes and sizes of the project. Following are the 4 levels. Each project will always have difficulty level marked on it.
a) Beginner – A beginner level pattern is based on basic 2-3 stitches. These patterns are very simple to follow for the first time crocheters. Single color, simple shapes, medium size yarn and hook are used in these patterns.
b) Easy – – This is the next level after the first time crocheter gains some experience at beginner level. Easy level patterns will have 2 or more colors, yarn and hook size would be smaller (finer) than beginner level, stitches would grow above the basic levels, shapes would still be simpler. Increasing and decreasing stitches starts at this level.
c) Intermediate – – Once your understanding level of crochet rises above easier patterns, intermediate levels comes in. Various hook and yarn sizes can be used in these patterns, number of colors will be more, designs will be complicated with variety of techniques and stitches. Garment projects, which requires shaping will start at this level.
d) Experienced – – These projects are the most complicated ones. Fine threads, fin hooks, frequent color changes, complicated stitches, detailed shapes, fine techniques everything is at superior levels. Projects take a long time because of all these points.
Understanding stitches abbreviations and symbols-
In addition to the above, abbreviations, symbols of the stitches are also important to understand. A pattern is either written in abbreviations or a diagram is made with symbols. A comprehensive list of stitches, their abbreviation and symbols can be found here – Stitches, abbv., symbols. The compilation of stitches is done in the group of basic stitches , which makes it easy to link and understand the variations and combinations of the basic stitches. There are some abbreviations which do not have symbols and some symbols which are used equally with all the other stitches. These are grouped separately for easy ref.
You can save or print the list for handy reference. While working on a project, you can refer the list to learn the terms used in the pattern.
Since we are discussing specific areas of understanding pattern, therefore, details of the variations, combinations and how to specifications of the stitches will be discussed in future posts.
Learning to read crochet patterns – Crochet patterns are either worked in rows or in rounds. In addition to this patterns are either written in abbreviations or made a diagram with symbols.
Example 1 : Pattern written in abbreviations – The pattern in the following example is worked in rounds.
Beg with MC, ch 2.
Normal english version : Begin with main color, chain 2
1st rnd: 6 sc in 2nd ch frm hook. Join with sl st to 1st sc. 6 sc.
Normal english version : (1st round : 6 single crochet in the 2nd chain from the hook. Join with slip stitch to 1st single crochet. 6 single crochet in round 1.
2nd rnd: Ch 1. 2 sc in each sc around. Join with sl st to 1st sc. 12 sc.
Normal english version : 2nd round: chain 1, 2 single crochet in each single crochet around. Join with slip stitch to 1st single crochet. 12 single crochet
Example 2 – diagram of the pattern
Normal english version – (Starting from the center) – Begin with magic circle and chain 3.
1st round – 17 double crochet in the magic circle. join with slip stitch to the top of the chain stitch.
2nd round – chain 3, (chain 1 , double crochet in the 1st stitch) repeat the instruction in parenthesis 16 more times around. chain 1 before joining with slip stitch to the top of the chain stitch.
Refer to the site often to learn more stitches, videos, instructions, tips. With some patience and practice you will soon master the art of crochet.