Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Crochet abbreviations and pattern instructions

Yo, insert hook in st, yo, pull through st, yo, pull through 2 lps on hook, (yo, insert hook in same st, yo, pull through st, yo, pull through 2 lps on hook) 3 times, yo, pull through all 5 lps on hook, ch 1.

Looks like another language, doesn't it?! Actually it's the written version of the basic double crochet you learned earlier with the video tutorial! Pattern instructions look very confusing and intimidating to the first time observer.

For those who cannot copy a piece of crochet work visually, one needs to know how to follow basic pattern instructions to learn new stich patterns or to create something using crochet. The many different crochet stitches are merely different and various combinations of single, double, or triple crochet, etc., but grouped together different ways to achieve the finished result. Using different materials and hook sizes also affect the end result, but that's a topic for another post.

There are many good books and Internet illustrations for learning various stitches, and if a certain stitch appeals to you, practice and master it, and from there you can make a basic scarf, sans a formal pattern. You can click on the following link for instructions on how to work a variant of the "shell stitch", also known there as the brick stitch:

The next step is to figure out how to make sense of the symbols and abbreviations used in pattern instructions. I wish I could say that there is a standard for crochet pattern instructions, but there doesn't seem to be. Some patterns use stars for pattern repeats, others brackets, others use parentheses, and so forth. Eventually you'll get the hang of it.

Here is the list of terms and abbreviations used in crochet patterns, listed in alphabetical order, as referenced from the following site - an excellent source for crochet, knitting, and more! Please see the Crochet Dictionary on this site for additional information including definitions of terms and pictures.

First special marks

Symbol Description
[ ]
( )

Sets off instructions that are to be repeated within a pattern
example: [dc, sk 2 ch, sc] across
That means you would repeat the stitches specified within the brackets across the row in that order.

A pattern might also use both parentheses and brackets
example: [2 dc in next st, (dc, sk 2 ch, sc) four times] across.
This means that you would work 2 double crochet in the next stitch, then you would work a dc, sk 2 ch, sc, dc, sk 2 ch, sc, dc, sk 2 ch, sc, dc, sk 2 ch, sc. Then you would start over - 2 dc in next st, then the repeating (dc, sk 2 ch, sc). Each time you go back to the 2dc at the beginning because it is included in the repeat.

* the asterisk will be placed in front of the stitches that need to be repeated.
Example: *dc, sk 2 ch, sc, repeat from * four times

* * one asterisk will appear at the beginning of the instructions to be repeated and one at the end
Example: *dc, sk 2 ch, sc *, repeat from * to * four times

" inch(es)


alt alternate
approx approximately
beg begin, beginning
bet between
BLO back loop only
bo bobbleBP = back post
BPdc = back post double crochet
CC contrasting color
ch chain stitch
CL cluster
cont continue
dbl double
dc double crochet
dc2tog double crochet 2 stitches together
dtr or dbl tr double triple
dec decrease
dir directions
dk dark
DNT/dnt do not turn
dtr or dbl tr = double triple
ea each
ex sc extended single crochet
fig = figure 1 (picture of stitch)
FLO = front loop only
FP = front post
FPdc = front post double crochet
fig = figure 1 (picture of stitch)
fo = finish off
foll = following
gm or gr = grams
gr = group
hdc = half double crochet
hk = hook
htr = half triple crochet
in = inch
inc = increase
incl = including
inst = instructions
lp(s) = loop(s)
lsc long single crochet
lt = light
MC = main color
med = medium
mm = millimeter
no. = number
oz(s) = ounce
p picot pat or patt pattern stitch
pat st = pattern stitch
pc st = popcorn stitch (also pop, pc, ps)
pm place marker
prev = previous
rem = remaining
rep = repeat
rnd(s) round(s)
rs = right side
rsc reverse single crochet
sc = single crochet
sc2tog single crochet 2 together
sk = skip
sl st = slip stitch
sp(s) space(s)
st(s) stitch(es)
tch = turning chain
tog = together
tr = triple (treble) crochet
x times = (such as repeat 5x)
ws = wrong side
yo = yarn over
yoh yarn over hook


  1. Thank you! I've never before been able to follow a pattern for this simple reason - but it's sparked some incredibly unique creations!

  2. hmm.. i think ill stick to everything but crochet! =)

  3. Exactly like learning another language, I'll be off to see that video, but I a also bookmarking this for future decoding.