Once you’ve learned the basic crochet stitches, you’ll want to start your first pattern. (If you are new to crochet, learn the basic crochet stitches here).
I strongly recommend you choose a beginner level pattern as a first project, for written patterns may look almost as a foreign language when you see them for the first time.
They usually use many abbreviations and technical terms which save space and make patterns easier to read and memorize.
So the first thing you need to do is become familiar with the abbreviations and terms. Here are a few of the basic abbreviations I use in my patterns & tutorials :
Though you may find similarities between 2 patterns, there is no consensus about how to write a a pattern : each designer has its preferences and lists the abbreviations used in the instructions, giving additionnal information when needed.
There are 3 main families :
- Descriptive instructions : the rows or rounds are explained step-by -step, it’s the easier to follow kind of writing pattern as a beginner. But you’ll see as you get experience it becomes really boring , and you’ll crave for some more condensed instructions.
Round 1 : work 6 single crochet in a magic ring (6 stitches in the end)
Round 2 : work 2 single crochet in every stitch around (12 stitches in the end)
Round 3 : work 1 single crochet in 1st stitch, work 2 single crochet in next. Repeat the sequence 6 times. (18 stitches in the end)
- Abbreviated instructions : this kind of written pattern goes straight to the point, using abbreviations rather than long descriptive sentences. It’s easy to follow once you know the basic abbreviations. It’s the kind of writing I choose for my patterns.
R1 : MR6 (6)
R2 : inc around (12)
R3 : *inc, 1sc* x6 ( 18)
- Symbol instructions : half way between the abbreviated tut and the diagram, this kind of writing uses symbols instead of abbreviations. It can be easier to understand for any foreign language speaker.
R1 : 6Ø
R2 : V (12)
R3 : *1X, 1V*(18)
Make sure you read the abbreviations key and notes at the beginning of each pattern before you start crocheting. Even better : read the whole pattern thoroughly before beginning ! It will be time and frustation saving in the end.
Let’s see how it works using my basket pattern :
Round 1 : make 6sc in a magic ring
Round 2 : make 2 single crochet in every stitch of the row (you should have 12 stitches at the end of that row)
Round 3 : make 2 single crochet in first stitch, 1 single crochet in next and repeat that sequence between asterisks 6 times (you should have 18 stitches at the end of that row)
This round is worked in the back loops only . This is what will shape the bottom of your basket : Round 8 : single crochet in every stitch around, working in the back loops only (you should have 42 stitches at the end of that row)
Here the instructions has to be repeated on several rounds :
Round 11 to 15 : single crochet in every stitch around (you should have 42 stitches at the end of that row)
Rounds 16 and 17 are a bit more complicated : they shape the handles of the basket (if you don’t want handles, just keep crocheting as before until you reach the height that suits you).
On round 16 you will create the opening of the handle by joining the 6 chains in the 7th stitch after skipping 6. You’ll have to do it twice because we want 2 handles, of course (you should have 42 stitches at the end of that row)
On round 17 is an instruction that often confuses beginners. You’ll have to work in “chain-6 space”, that is the the space underneath the chain, not into the chain! This typically is the kind of implicite instructions that is not explained in patterns, as they assume you just know it. Well, now you do !
I hope this blog post helped you understand how patterns work !
Please let me know in the comments how your first project is going, and if I forgot to talk about something, or if anything isn’t clear yet !