10 Tips for Reading A Crochet Pattern by Kristin Omdahl
I get asked all the time about how to improve your crochet pattern reading skills. Here is a list of 10 Tips for Reading a Crochet Pattern that I think will make crocheting more enjoyable for you! xoxo, Kristin
Familiarize yourself with crochet abbreviations and symbols used in the pattern.
A professionally written pattern should have this information included in the pattern. If not, you can search other resources like crochet books, videos or websites. You could also contact the designer.
Read the entire pattern before starting, to ensure you understand the steps involved.
Not all patterns are written the same nor are all crochet projects made the same. It is important to familiarize yourself with all the steps, the construction style, and whether or not you will need additional tools or accessories to complete the project successfully.
Note the gauge and recommended crochet hook size to ensure your finished piece will be the correct size.
Gauge listed in a pattern is a good starting point from which to discover your own gauge – it is not set in stone! Personal style, tension as well as yarn weight and fiber content all contribute to the gauge. Make sure you block your gauge swatch to discover how your yarn is affected by water, too. Keep record of which yarn and hook size you used to achieve correct gauge.
Take note of any special stitches or techniques used in the pattern.
Trying new patterns is a great way to improve your crochet skillset! Keeping record of what you learned and where you learned it is a great way to organize what you learn so you can recall when necessary. Make a crochet journal, binder or other type of notebook to document your experiences with your crochet patterns. This is especially useful when crocheting a pattern multiple times.
Pay attention to the stitch count at the end of each row or round to ensure you haven’t missed any stitches.
Paying attention to your stitch count is a great way to stay on track in a pattern. Often when a beginner loses their stitch count it is because of not recognizing the correct stitch placement at the beginning or end of each row or round. If the count is really high, you may even want to count more than once. It is easy to miscount and think you made a mistake when you actually did not.
Use stitch markers to help keep track of where you are in the crochet pattern.
Stitch markers are so helpful and for a variety of reasons! Try to use different colored stitch markers so the colors can represent different things like: front or back of work; beginning of row or round; separate repeats of the stitch pattern; or length of rows from a specific place (like underarm).
Check for any notes or special crochet instructions included in the pattern.
Referring back to #2 here, reading the pattern thoroughly before beginning is a great practice for all crocheters. And, depending on the complexity of the design, special notes or instructions can be paramount to having a successful experience with a crochet pattern.
Keep track of rows or rounds completed to avoid losing your place in the pattern.
While you can mark up your printed pattern, it is a better practice to write on a separate piece of paper so you preserve your pattern for multiple uses over time. You can also purchase a row counter, too. Or place a stitch marker at even intervals: every 10 rows for example.
Make a sample swatch before starting your project to ensure you are comfortable with the pattern and gauge.
There are so many benefits to making a sample swatch before beginning a new project! You can familiarize yourself with the stitches, the stitch pattern repeat and the techniques required to make the project. You can block the swatch to see how it is affected by water. You can decide if you like the feel of the fabric (is it too stiff or too drapey, for example). And you can measure it to be sure your project will turn out the correct size and use the correct yardage of yarn.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help or clarification if you are unsure about any aspect of the crochet pattern.
Whether you purchased your pattern directly from a designer, or a yarn company or even a local store, you should be able to contact the source for questions. You can also search for help on Google, YouTube or Ravelry for additional help. Or ask a friend!
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