Crocheting Blog

British vs. American Crochet Terms: What’s the Difference?

Early in my crochet career, I found a crochet pattern of a bag from a second-hand store. I worked on the bag for weeks, only to discover that my bag turned out much taller in height than the one in the pattern. Why? The pattern was written for British crocheters! And, I’ve been hired more than a few times by British designers who want help “translating” their patterns from a British audience to an American audience.

Perhaps you, too, happened upon a crochet pattern from another country and didn’t even realize that there was a difference. You may have even crocheted the pattern, wondering why your finished project turned out so differently. This is common, especially today when we have access to all different kinds of crochet patterns from around the world via the Internet.

Be prepared to translate any crochet pattern into the terms you’re familiar with using this comparison of British crochet terms vs. American crochet terms.

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Craftsy instructor Kim Werker teaching the fundamentals of crochet in her online class Crochet: Basics & Beyond

What’s the same?

A chain stitch is a chain stitch. Phew! Isn’t that a relief? American and British crochet terms also use the same slip stitch. No need to worry about translating that, either!

What’s different?

As I mentioned earlier, it’s not just the stitches that are known by different names. Often, you’ll see terms that you may not be familiar with. Crocheters following the British terms, for instance, may not be familiar with the term “gauge” while American crocheters will be confused by the term “tension.”

The stitches are an entirely different issue. Here’s one way you can try to remember the difference between American and British terms for stitches: British stitches are one step up from American stitches. So for example, the American single crochet is the same as the British double crochet. The American double crochet is the same as the British treble crochet.

Of course, trying to think of the stitches in this way can get mighty confusing when you’re faced with an entire pattern. Next time you crochet a pattern from a designer that doesn’t use the same terms that you are familiar with, bookmark this handy chart and you’ll never be lost.

American Crochet British Crochet
Single crochet Double crochet
Half double crochet Half treble crochet
Double crochet Treble crochet
Treble crochet Double treble crochet
Double treble crochet Triple treble crochet
Gauge Tension
Skip Miss

How to know which terms your pattern uses

Here on Craftsy, most designers are kind enough to note whether they’re using American or British terms in the pattern. Some Craftsy designers even offer more than one version of the pattern to accommodate different crocheters.

But sometimes the origin of the pattern may not be clear. One way to tell if it’s an American pattern is to look for single crochet. British terms don’t use single crochet at all, so if you see single crochet used in the pattern, it’s likely written in American crochet terms.

If you don’t see single crochet anywhere, check out other wording in the pattern. Does the pattern ask you to miss stitches instead of skipping them? If so, that’s a good indication that it’s British. Does the pattern refer to gauge as tension? That’s another clue that it could be British.

Tips for successful translating

If you’ve determined that the pattern uses a set of terms you’re not familiar with, you’ll need to translate them.

If you can’t seem to translate the terms in your head, print the pattern and simply make the changes with a pencil or pen. Mark through any double crochets and change them to single crochets.You can also simply keep charts like the one above handy.

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36 Comments

Irene Cutting

I have come across ‘h’ in a US crochet pattern and cannot find anything that explains what it means. Can you enlighten me?

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Karen

The only reference I’ve seen is in relation to hook sizes, h = 5.00mm hook

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cindy

What does the ‘o’ in the following mean?
(2dc in next dc, 1dc in each of next 17dc) o (4) times, 1 dc in each of next 75 (3) dc, 1 dc in each of next 2dc…….

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Donna

It means you dont repeat the other repeat for mext size you repeat 4 times. 0 is smaller size what pattern shows an the repeat 4 is the next size up

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Anne

I read somewhere that what Americans call slip stitch, the British call single crochet. Otherwise, where is the British single crochet?

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Pauline Nicholls

In British patterns they don’t use single crochet at all…:-)

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Donna

There is no SC in UK crochet nor does it mean a slip stitch.

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Gemma

There isn’t a single crochet in British terms. UK sl st is the same as US sl st.

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Maureen

Anne–I, too, have a pattern defined as UK/AUS with sc-single crochet called out in the Glossary. The pattern reads, “Ch 6, close the rnd with sc into the first ch.” which I read as a sl st.

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Angeline Studdard

I would like to make the following flower but I cannot find online what the UK acronyms stand for. These in particular “tc” and “sts” aren’t on any of the conversion charts I’ve found.

Any assistance is greatly appreciated!!!

Flower : Make 2
Chain 3, join with a slip stitch into a ring

Round 1: in yellow or white yarn
ch2, make 11tc into ring, slip stitch to join (12sts)

Round 2: in contrast colour yarn
ch2, 4tc into same stitch, slip stitch into next stitch, 5tc into next stitch, slip stitch into next stitch, continue around. Fasten off. There should be 6 petals.

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Angeline

Thank you very much Amy for taking the time to respond to my question. This is definitely good information to have. However, the pattern I’m having the issue with is in UK crochet terminology which is different from US.

Blessings to you too!!!

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Maria Campbell

In this instance I think that tc means treble crochet. Don’t forget to use the British Treble Crochet stitch not the American version.
sts usually means stitches in my experience.

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Melody Baugh

tc – triple crochet (double in American)
sts – stitches
I’m pretty sure that what they mean!

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Victoria

tc in UK terms is trebble crochet and sts is stitches.

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Annie

Also, just in case anyone reading that pattern isn’t familiar with seeing something like (12sts) at the end of a row, it indicates that when you finish that row you should have 12 stitches. It can be a useful note to help you make doubly sure you’re doing things correctly.

You might think “well of course there’s 12 stitches. Why would it help for them to mention it?”
In a row like that it may seem unnecessary, but trust me, in patterns that have rows with many increases, decreases, or repeats, it can be a big help. It also can give you peace of mind that you likely haven’t messed anything up too badly. Especially in a pattern with a lot of rows like a blanket/afghan or a complex sweater.

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aussiebushgirl

I think the “tc” is someone’s way of saying ‘triple crochet’. In US terms this would be “dc”. Just a thought.

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Christina

I am crocheting a jacket (Noro) #7 or #9 and in the pattern they use swirl as a crochet term. Is this the same as round?

Thank you

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Micheymo

Ooops I’m very sorry – all this time I thought I was following British patterns and it turns out I was following American patterns. Well I’ve learnt something today! Xx

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Ann Sampson

Can someone tell me what ss means? I’m using a UK pattern that says- ss in 1st dc ,ss in ch sp. I’d appreciate the help. Thanks, Ann

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Gemma

I think it means slip stitch, which is often abbreviated to sl st, but ss might be an alternative abbreviation. Isn’t there a stitch guide or section in your pattern? Many professionally written patterns have those.

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Sarah Regan

Ann, though I am a novice I am learning with UK patterns (being from UK!) and I think that means – slipstitch into the first double crochet (single in US) and then slipstitch in the chain space..so rather than going into the stitch as normal make your slipstitch into the hole created under the stitches of that row…does that help? Anyone else – am I right?!

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Lisa

Just started to take an interest in crochet and feel lost lol

what does: SC2TOG(decrease) 5 times for a total of 5 SC mean? 🙁

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Rita Melville

I think it means:
single crochet the next 2 stitches together
repeat this 5 times
you will end up with 5 stitches above the 10 stitches below
Hope this works, I am not an expert!

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Margaret

Hi Lisa, I’m in Glasgow and I’m learning too! I go onto you tube and I keep pausing the video lol I’ve made loads of stuff and it helps to see the stitches being created. Good luck and happy crocheting x

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scarissa

I have a pattern that has instruction with back loop only for all sc unless otherwise noted, but in the pattern top loop only is used also. what is the diffrence? I saw a video and it looks to be the same. I was wondering if it was a translation thing.

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Kat

you should google it and maybe will have a youtube video? Without a photo I can’t show you the front loop or back loop…. 🙁

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Misty

I am having trouble with a pattern written in Italian. I can translate good enough but pattern calls to alternate 2 low points and 2 very low points, doesn’t ever give a stitch so I’ve been working a sc in each stitch in the round with increases as noted.

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Lauren

I’m looking for the same information. I don’t know what low and very low mean.

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Andrea

Can someone tell me what weight these gloves take? There is no name of yarn, just “4 ply”. Help!!! Thank you so so much.

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Annie

4 ply usually means fingering or sock yarn (two terms for the same weight of yarn).

This chart might help you out in case you run in to this problem again.
http://www.ravelry.com/help/yarn/weights

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Léa

Got a pattern for a hat from Lidl (in Ireland) It looks translated, and has the language gb/ie symbols in the top corner.

Uses Tension instead of gauge, 6mm hook instead of a letter….and then uses single crochet and half-treble stitches! XD

After a bit of a think, I’ve decided they mean single crochet for the uk double crochet stitch, and to use the uk half-treble instead of the us half double?

Any one else have any ideas?

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Léa

actually that sounded confusing, I figure using

us terms: it should be single crochet and half-double

or using

uk terms: it should be double crochet and half-treble!

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Annie

That’s what I would go with as well, I think.
Goodness that sounds confusing, though, lol! It’s like they switched to American terms for just that one type of stitch and everything else is in British terms. XD

I’d love to know why they did that. If maybe it was a translation error? Or maybe they’re British (or Irish, Aussie, or Kiwi as I believe those countries use British terms as well. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong.) and learned to crochet from an American friend/family member or from American YouTube videos?

That’s crazy! It’s actually amusing to me, but that had to be incredibly confusing when you ran in to that ‘single crochet.’ XD

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NinaWithFreckles

This is cool but slightly confusing. To make matters even more interesting, I have contradictory information. In “Simple Crochet” by Erika Knight it says “Slip stitch is also known as single crochet” so there you have it, the missing link of UK stitch names. Slip stitch, as per the tutorial in the beginning of the book, builds as a new row on a foundation chain of chain stitches. Phew.

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Gemma

I think Erika is mistaken. I’ve never ever heard sl st referred to as sc in British terms, we don’t use the term sc here. Sc is US term for UK dc. UK sl st is the same as US sl st. /shrug

As for the pattern, it seems like either the sc referred to sl st which it shouldn’t have, or it slipped through the net when being translated (pun intended).

Reply

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