How to read amigurumi crochet patterns ?

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 :

  1.  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.
    E.g. :
    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)

  2. 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.
    E.g. :
    R1 : MR6 (6)
    R2 : inc around (12)
    R3 : *inc, 1sc* x6 ( 18)
  3. 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.
    E.g. :
    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 !

Rendez-vous sur Hellocoton !

How to read a crochet in the round diagram ?

What is really interesting in diagrams, it’s that they use international symbols, so that when you know how to break the code of them you’ll get to understand diagrams from all around the world ! Another advantage is that it’s very visual : you can really SEE what you’re doing. Here are some of the most used symbols :

When reading a crochet in the round diagram, like a granny, the start is at the center, and then you follow rounds counterclockwise.

Breaking the code round by round :

Pay attention to the last group of double crochet’s : unlike other groups, it is made of only 2 double crochet joined to initial chain by a slip stitch to close the round.


ch : chain
st(s) : stitch(es)
sl st : slip stitch
dc : double crochet

START : (figured by a circle in the center) Ch3, join with a sl st to make a ring.

Round 1 : sc4, inserting hook in the middle of the ring.

Round 2 :
Ch 5.
In 1st stitch, dc3, then ch2.
Repeat this on the next 2 sts.
In the last st : dc2 and join to initial chain with a slst in the 3rd st of the ch.
*…* : repeat sequence as many times as indicated

Round 3 :
Change color by joining a new color with a slst in the 2ch space from previous round OR if you don’t want to change color : slip stitch in in the ch2 space from previous round.
Chain 5, make 3dc in ch2 space from previous round.
Then repeat *ch1, and in next space :3dc, ch2, 3dc* x2
Ch1, dc2 in initial space, join with a sl st in the 3rd stitch of chain .

Round 4 :
Change color again (or not, as you wish).
Ch5, 3dc in ch2 space from previous round.
Repeat : *ch1, 3dc in next space, ch1, dc3 in next space, ch2, dc3* until you come to the last space wher you dc2 and join with a slst in 3rd st of initial chain.

Once you have understood the general idea, you can go on for as many rounds you’d like !

Back to summary 

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