How To Read Crochet Patterns And Beginner Tips
What is a crochet pattern and how to read it?
Let’s start with learning what a crochet pattern is, and then we’ll go over the parts of the pattern you might not know yet!
First things first: this is an example of a simple (and very common) type of crochet pattern:
What you should notice: Each set of instructions starts with either “hook” or “yarn”, so if you skim quickly, you can tell which one tells you what to do.
The instructions in front tell us that we need to use a size K hook and worsted weight cotton yarn for this project.
Other patterns may be written with different abbreviations, but just remember that if you’re ever not sure about something your pattern tells you to do, it’s okay to Google the abbreviation! You can find out just about anything that way.
How to make the most of your yarn?
Yarn is an absolutely fascinating material. It comes in so many colors and textures, each type of yarn suitable for a different project depending on the thickness and softness/hardness of the fiber!
But what exactly is yarn? Yarn is basically glorified thread – all it really is is fibers together twisted tight so they aren’t loose and fraying everywhere (and are properly durable), which are then either plied or braided into larger strands before being made into a skein or ball.
When you’re crocheting, you’ll be using either one or several strands of yarn at a time, depending on the project.
The thicker the yarn, the fewer strands you’ll use, and vice versa – so a pattern that calls for a bulky yarn might require six strands held together, while a pattern that calls for a lace-weight yarn might only require one or two.
So how do you make sure you’re using the right number of strands? It all depends on the thickness of your yarn!
If your yarn has a print or label on it with the recommended number of strands to use, then follow those instructions.
If your yarn doesn’t have any such instructions, there’s no need to guess – just use a yarn weight identification guide! They’re easy to find online, and you can tell at a glance the thickness of your yarn.
Tips for beginners on making their first project
So you’ve made it through that pattern finally! Now what? What if there’s something in it you don’t understand or need help with?
Never fear – we’ve got some tips on how to get through your next crochet pattern like a pro! When you finish reading the whole thing through the first time, take notes of anything you might want clarification on and any parts that seem confusing or don’t make sense right away.
Read over those places again later and see if they click then. Find someone with more experience than yourself (either a friend or an online forum) and show them your pattern, asking for help with anything you’re still unsure of.
If you’re having trouble finding someone to help you in person, there are always helpful people online who are more than happy to answer any questions you might have about crochet!
Just be sure to post in a crochet-specific forum rather than a random message board, as those people will be more likely to have the answers you need.
Helpful tips for reading crochet patterns
We’ve talked about how to make the most of your yarn, but what about when you’re actually following the pattern?
There are a few things that can make the process easier for you.
First, make sure that the gauge swatch (or test square) that’s included in the pattern is the same as the gauge you’re getting with your yarn and hook. If it’s not, then you’ll need to make some adjustments.
Second, always work in even numbers of stitches unless the pattern tells you otherwise.
This applies to both the number of stitches in a row and the number of rows in a pattern repeat. Following these two tips should help keep your project on track!
Common mistakes made by beginner crocheters and How to avoid them?
Ooooh, this one is my favorite! There are several common mistakes that new crocheters make when trying to read crochet patterns. Avoid these by taking your time with the pattern and not rushing through it – you’ll make fewer mistakes that way!
One mistake is skipping or confusing row or stitch repeats. A row will almost always be written as follows:
Work 1 sc in next 2 sc, ch 1, skip next sc * work 1 sc in each of the next 3 sc, ch 1, skip next sc* repeat from * to * across, ending with 2 sc instead of 3
A stitch will usually look something like this:
Sc in each of the next 5 stsch 3 *sc in each of the next 2 st, ch 1, skip next st* repeat from * to * 2 more times (you should have 6 sc)
Another common mistake is reading the pattern incorrectly and making assumptions about how it should be worked. Always be sure to read the instructions carefully and make sure that you understand what’s being asked of you.
Finally, some people try to hurry through the project without completing all of the required stitches, which almost always leads to disaster.
Take your time, follow the instructions exactly as they’re written, and you’ll be much more likely to finish your project successfully!
We hope these tips have helped you in understanding crochet patterns.
How to finish your project?
Once you’ve reached the end of your pattern, all that’s left to do is weave in your ends and block (if necessary).
Weaving in ends is easy – just take a length of yarn thread it through the remaining loops on your hook or through your work, making sure not to leave big gaps between the strands. When all of them are securely woven in, trim off any excess length and you’re done!
Blocking is a good way to smooth out pieces that might have uneven stitches (not counting gauge swatches), like brioche stitch projects. Since blocking involves water, it’s best to do this after you’ve finished crocheting so you don’t accidentally get your project wet.
There are many tutorials online for blocking, but the easiest method is to pin down your piece (gently) on either a padded surface like a couch cushion or a heavy blanket covered with an old sheet, spray it lightly with water until damp (not soaked) then let it dry.
Video tutorial on how to read crochet patterns
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