Welcome to the first installment of Crochet Thursday! If you’re new to crocheting, patterns probably look like a foreign language to you. “Sc2tog, sc to last 3 st, bpdc.” Say what? But once you learn what each abbreviation means, you’ll be able to read crochet patterns easily without even referring to a guide.
The first step to decoding all those crazy lines is to figure out what each abbreviation means.
Bookmark or pin this page so you can come back to it for reference as you’re working through your crochet patterns.
It’s worth noting that not all patterns are alike. While abbreviations for basic stitches (single crochet, double crochet, etc.) remains the same across the board, other abbreviations may be different depending on the designer.
As your crochet skills advance, you’ll find that you probably won’t even need to refer to a list anymore. Until then, this guide will get you started with the basics.
- beg = beginning
- bpdc = back post double crochet
- ch = chain stitch
- ch sp = chain space
- cont = continue
- dc = double crochet
- dec = decrease
- dtr = double treble crochet
- fpdc = front post double crochet
- fpsc = front post single crochet
- fptr = front post treble crochet
- hdc = half double crochet
- inc = increase
- lp = loop
- mc = main color
- pm = place marker
- rem = remaining
- rep = repeat
- rs = right side
- rsc = reverse single crochet
- sc = single crochet
- sc2tog = single crochet two stitches together
- sc3tog = single crochet three stitches together
- sk = skip
- sl = slip
- sl st = slip stitch
- st = stitch
- t-ch = turning chain
- tbl = through the back loop
- tr = treble crochet
- ws = wrong side
- yrh = yarn round hook
Sometimes you’ll see symbols like parentheses and brackets used in a crochet pattern. These symbols are simply telling you to repeat whatever instructions are within the bracket.
(Sk 2 sc, sc in next 3 sts) 4 times.
That means you should skip two single crochet, then single crochet in the next three stitches. You should do this four times. Then you can move on to the next part of the pattern.
Often, patterns will have their own special abbreviations. For example, you might be crocheting a sweater that has a special bobble stitch. The pattern will indicate this abbreviation at the beginning near the gauge information and provide specific instructions for making the stitch. When you come to that abbreviation in the pattern, you can just refer back to the stitch instructions at the beginning. Easy!
Want to get step-by-step help as you work through a pattern?
Enroll in Stacey Trock’s Crochet Sampler Cowl workshop. (That’s her lovely cowl pictured above.)
Stacey’s cowl pattern comes with step-by-step photos and constant pattern help so you won’t get lost. And if you do get lost, you can just ask Stacey for help! You’ll leave the workshop knowing how to read many different types of patterns – just one of many benefits of working a sampler.
Need crochet help right from the beginning? Vickie Howell’s Crochet Lab: Basic Techniques & Patterns is perfect for the beginner crocheter. You’ll learn all the basic stitches, plus make granny squares and a cozy for your tech gadgets.
If you need a knitting pattern refresher, check out our guide knitting abbreviations.