How to read a crochet pattern

At first glance, crochet patterns can look like a foreign language. That’s because they use a lot of abbreviations to save space, and make it easier to keep track of where you are in the pattern. Over time, you’ll begin to appreciate the brevity of crochet patterns and become a pro at reading them. There are really only 2 things you need to know when reading a crochet pattern:

1. What country are the crochet terms from? Different countries have different words for the same stitches. For example, the British English term double crochet (dc), is actually the same term as the American English term single crochet (sc). As you may imagine, this can get confusing fast. Most patterns begin by defining which country’s terminology they use, as well as any abbreviations used. Here are some common abbreviations used in amigurumi written with US terminology:

  • rnd: round

  • yo: yarn over

  • sc: single crochet

  • inc: increase

  • dec: decrease

  • ch: chain

2. How do you read the actual crochet pattern instructions? Different crochet pattern designers use different formats to convey their instructions. This is also usually defined at the beginning of the pattern. You can expect that there will be repetition of stitches, which is probably the most confusing part to reading a pattern. Some patterns use brackets ((…), […]) or multiplier indicators (*, x), to convey which stitches you should repeat and for how many times.


Crochet patterns by The Woobles are written in US terminology, and follow this format:

Rnd 2: [sc, inc] x 4 (12)

This translates to:

For round 3, repeat the pattern in the brackets 4 times. The pattern is: single crochet in 1 stitch, then increase in the next stitch. Because an increase is actually 2 single crochet stitches in the same stitch, the total number of stitches in this round is 12.