Friday, June 10, 2011

Crochet Friday Series 8: Understanding Written Patterns / Abbreviations and Terms

Hello there! I thought it would be important to include a brief explanation of how to understand written patterns for the Crochet Friday Series of today. Beginners come here to learn from my patterns cause they're easy to understand and I try to explain with real detail everything I'm talking about. But maybe it's still hard to read for someone who is not familiar with crochet? Sure! It was to me when I started to crochet, specially because everybody is publishing patterns in the internet but sometimes they just assume everyone knows what they're saying. Plus, everyone has a different style of teaching and explaining. I will go in parts again, otherwise it would take forever. So here are a few tips on abbreviations and terms that you might find helpful when reading patterns:

Abbreviations and Terms
Most of the abbreviations are easy to figure out. I say most. CH is chain, DC is double crochet, etc. Personally, when I write a pattern I always add abbreviations. (Most patterns have their own, make sure you find them.) It can be messy if you're not familiar with terms when someone switches from calling it stitch to loop. What's the difference? probably nothing. A loop is always where you put the hook and draw yarn through when doing any stitch. So a loop (or two, sometimes differentiated by front or back loop) is always on top of every single stitch. 

A ring is mostly when you make a chain and from the last chain you slip stitch into the first chain to make a ring, where you will be asked some times to make stitches into the ring:

But there are also Magic Rings. These rings are always open and will be cinched until you're done working stitches. See a video here.

Some other times you'll read "YO twice". I couldn't figure this one out for a long time, why do people keep saying YO? well it means Yarn Over, and that means wrap your yarn in your hook. That is an abbreviation used for explaining stitches such as the Treble Crochet, where you need to wrap your yarn twice in your hook before anything (see photo on the right). That's a YO twice.

Parenthesis are used to make repetitions. I use them all the time, for example: Work (1Tr, 1Ch, 1Tr) x 4. And can also be used to group with other purposes, example: Skip (1Ch, 1DC); or (1Sc, 1Ch, 1Sc) for the corners. Meaning you will always have to work what's inside the parenthesis for the corners. Other ways to read repetitions are the stars *, sometimes it will say: *2SC, 2HDC, 2DC in same stitch, 2HDC, 2SC* repeat from * to * 3 times. You know you will have to work what's in between the * 3 times total. 

Rounds or Rows. When repetitions are something crazy like, repeat round 3, 25 times, it means you will have to do the same instruction round or row other 25 times and it is highly recommended to always take notes, or you will get lost. Make notes you can understand. For example, this is how I keep track of stitches when I make my Audio Waves bag:

The arrows at the beginning of each row mean if the long single crochet stitches start in decrease or increase. And every time I start a new bag, I write down the numbers first so I can check them after each row. Really? Yes. I've done this bag several times but I still need this info.

Spaced stitches? Some times you will find a number enclosed in parentheses at the end of a row or round. That tells you the total number of stitches to be worked in that particular row or round. For example, (6 spaced SC) means that you have to work 6 Single Crochet stitches in the round, each one spaced by the number of chains stated in the instructions. Sounds confusing but once you figure out your pattern, easy peasy lemon squeezy. 

That's all for today. Next Friday I will be coming with the GAUGE. I hate GAUGE so maybe explaining it to you will make me hate it less. Have a good weekend y'all!

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