Crochet Thursday: Get to Know Your Abbreviations

Posted by on Aug 22, 2013 in Crocheting, Knitting | Comments

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.

Woman Smiling, Wearing Rainbow Scarf with Various Crochet Stitches

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.

For example:

(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.

Special abbreviations

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.

Which crochet abbreviation confused you the first time you saw it?


  1. Rosemary says:

    Thanks for putting these altogether in one place. Are you planning to show pics/explanation of some of these as there are a few that even though I’ve done considerable crocheting, I’m not familiar with. What’s a back post single crochet and a front post single crochet? I’m also unsure about the “reverse” ones.

    1. Karen Kelty says:

      Hi Rosemary! Yep, in the coming weeks, we’ll feature crochet posts every Thursday! So check back every week. Those are great suggestions for future topics to cover :)

  2. Pamela says:

    What is magic circle?

    1. Karen Kelty says:

      Hi Pamela, a magic circle, also known as a magic ring, is an alternative way to begin crocheting in the round. Check back on the blog in a couple weeks for a tutorial on how to do it!

  3. Hi
    I appreciate this information but please is there a site that converts American terminology to European?

  4. Roz says:

    Like Dany, super resource, but I would also appreciate knowing how they all relate to English terms
    thank you

  5. Karla Baker says:

    Is there an actual pattern for the star shaped afghan (crochet in the round) anywhere? Thank you.

  6. Susan Scheppele says:

    I know how to do a FPtr. But I came across a pattern asking for dFPtr without giving the stitch instructions. In searching the web I see it may mean “drop FPtr” but still there is no
    instruction for it. Help. :)

    1. Ashley says:

      Hey Susan,

      dtr refers to double treble crochet, so it’s possible your abbreviation means that you should crochet a double treble crochet in the front post. Does your pattern have contact information on it so you can verify that with the designer or pattern company before you get started?