Can't understand patterns

Is there a good website that shows you how to learn patterns? Or the different stiches?
I can crochet a scarf and a normal stitch blanket, but I want to learn how to crochet other things, but I’ve tried and tried and can’t understand the directions everytime I find something I want to make. I read and read and it all sounds like a different language to me.
Any suggestions?:notworthy:

There’s a glossary tab at the top of the page that includes most abbreviations found in patterns, many with videos. To read a pattern, just start step by step with the first row and do each stitch as it tells you.

If you like, you can post a row or two you don’t understand and we can help you with it.

Many here recommend this website for crochet videos:

There are also very good pictures and instructions at Crochet Cabana. There’s a page on reading patterns too with a good link to an article at Annie’s Attic.

They all suggest starting with a simpler pattern. If you choose one that has an on-line link, we could walk you through it if you have any problems reading the pattern.

Whoops, I didn’t notice you were wanting crochet instructions. Obviously…

Hi Angelina! All of we knitters, had to start somewhere!!
My Grandmother started teaching me when I was five! Everything
then was basic knit and purl upon which just about everything. Later I taught myself how to do Irish knits with the real oily Irish wool. Stick with it, it will give you great joy and and what you accomplish will bring great joy to those you knit for. Blessings, Grandy3

I started with a simple crochet book. Inside the front cover of just about every crochet book I have is a basic description of the stitches as they are used in the book (which is good because American and English crochet use the same terms to mean different things). Familiarize yourself with each stitch they describe, then pick a pattern. I found this easiest to do with an afghan sampler book, so I was working one square at a time. Follow the instructions stitch by stitch. If you don’t remember how to do the next stitch or what the abbreviation means, flip back to the inside cover and read it again. After doing this enough times, you will remember the difference between a SC, DC, HDC and TC, and you won’t need to keep flipping back to the beginning of the book.

Once you find the method for keeping the different stitches separate in your mind, it’s much easier to read a pattern. This is how I think of it:

[B]Crochet: the act of pulling the working yarn through a PAIR of loops[/B]

Sl st (slip stitch): an attaching stitch, no crochet
SC (single crochet): only crochet once, so you’re working with 2 loops
HDC (half-double crochet): this is one and a half crochets, so you pull the working yarn through 3 loops not 2.
DC (double crochet): you’ll pull through two sets of loops, which requires a single YO
TC (triple crochet): you’ll pull through three sets of loops, which requires two YO

Don’t worry about things like FPDC and BPDC, decreases, popcorn or any other pattern stitches until you get the basic stitches down. Once you have the basics down, the pattern stitches become much easier.


a very good book to have if your going to do it that way is :
it is sold at most craft stores and wal-marts too (or was sold here).

But it has a picture of all the stitches and a how to on them.
and if you will just do a bunch of squares (coasters) you can then learn them fairly easy then.
I would say chain up about 15 then work about 15 rows.
but as for videos I don’t know anymore where to find them. Annies Attic used to have a neat video and description for each but have found they dont’ have it anymore. and they have NO pictures any more either.

Here ya go hun, has videos, the names of the particular stitches and their symbols. Hope this helps!!

Thank you to all of you that replied.

You mean where you see gibberish like “ch 3, 2 dc in next sc, ch 2, skip 2 sc, 3 dc in next sc”??

Some of that is learning the abbreviations, and there are more for crochet than for knitting, unfortunately. In this case:
dc=double crochet (can mean something different in American and British systems)
sc=single crochet (again, has different meanings in the American and British systems)

When my mom was worried about learning to knit socks, a fellow customer at the knit shop told her - just follow the directions exactly and the pattern would work out just fine. My mom was pleasantly surprised to find that she was right. Same thing for crochet. Sometimes I look at patterns and think “How on earth is that going to work?”, but I follow it anyway and 99 times out of 100 it works OK.

There are 2 main ways that crochet patterns work:

  1. you make a long chain and build off of that, making rows like you do in knitting. This is what you’d do for filet crochet (emtpy blocks and filled in blocks), many afghans, and scarves.
  2. in circles. Here you make a short chain and use a slip stitch to attach the last chain to the first chain. Then you go around in circles, making more stitches in each row (if you want something flat) until you get the size you want. Usually, you use this method to make thinks like little doilies, or granny squares or other motifs that you crochet together to make something big and flat. You also make hats this way, starting with an itty bitty circle at the crown of the head and working out and down from there.

Once you realize that you have these two options, and once you understand all the abbreviations and basic stitches, it all comes together pretty easily. For example, you might make five stitches in the top of a single stitch in the row before and it all spreads out to make a fan shape. Then you skip however many stitches the pattern tells you and make five stitches in the top of a single stitch and you have two fan shapes right next to each other. You often use chain stitches to make spaces or holes in your work.

Here’s a pattern I found online - I’ll paste it in and then translate in italics.

For starting chain, ch 28. [I]Chain 28.[/I]
Row 1: sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc in ea ch across. [I]In the 2nd chain from hook, make a single crochet. Single crochet in each chain across. Turn your work. [/I]
Row 2: ch 2 (counts as first dc), dc in next 2 sts, * ch 3, skip 2 sts, sc in next st, ch 3, skip 2 sts, dc in ea of next 3 sts *, repeat from * to * across. [I]Chain 2 (this counts as your first double crochet), and double crochet in the next two stitches. Chain 3, skip 2 stitches and make a single crochet in the next (3rd) stitch. Chain 3, skip 2 stitches, and double crochet in each of the next 3 stitches (the 3rd, 4th, and 5th). Repeat between the *s until you are at the end of the row. Turn your work. [/I]
Row 3: ch 2 (counts as first dc), dc in next 2 dc, ch 1, * sc in ch 3 space, ch 3, sc in next ch 3 sp, ch 1, dc in next 3 dc, ch 1 *, repeat from * to * across. [I]Chain 2 (counts as first double crochet), and double crochet in the top of the next 2 double crochet. Chain 1. Single crochet in the chain-e space, chain 3, and single crochet in the next chain-3 space. Chain 1, double crochet in the next 3 double chrochet. Chain 1. Repeat the steps between the *s until you reach the end of the row. Turn your work. [/I]
Etc. (this pattern has 18 rows, I believe)

After some practice you do learn the language, though it looks like some sort of secret code to begin with. :slight_smile:

Don’t fret!! I, too, used to be SO baffled by crochet patterns. I found knitting patterns easier to learn. But once you learn the abbreviations for everything in crochet, it does get easier.

My advice is to take it one step at a time. Start with something really small (such as a coaster) and work your way up. Before you know it, you’ll be reading patterns like a pro!

And if it helps any, I still sometimes have trouble understanding something. Even those who have been reading patterns for AGES still get stuck sometimes. That’s what is great about this place – you can always come here and ask for help. 9 times out of 10, somebody here will be able to shed some light on it.

Heh, my grandmother crocheted for DECADES and always told me she couldn’t make heads or tails of printed patterns. She either made up her own stitches or learned new ones from her friends.

This is also the left-handed grandmother who learned to crochet by sitting across from her right-handed mother, and thought knitting was too hard because she couldn’t figure it out the same way.

Ironically, I am also left-handed, and as many times as she tried to teach me, couldn’t figure out crochet to save my life (my right-handed dad ended up teaching me more successfully).

Later I learned to knit (right-handed, continental) on my own, just because she had said it was too hard for lefties to learn. Eventually I am going to figure out printed crochet patterns too…

For an avid crocheter like me trying to learn knitting, crochet patterns are pretty much as easy as picking up the Sunday paper and starting to read, but “K3,PB1,K2,*P4,K2,PB1,K2;repeat from * to last st, K1” is like :?? … I am like a deer in the headlights right now and just run back to my crochet WIPs for comfort!

it does eventually work out for you. one way or another.
I have been crocheting for about 37 yrs now. (actually learned in 71 got frustrated and didn’t pic it back up til 74??) And still can’t read a pattern and say : ohh ok that will work.
I have to just grab the hook and yarn and go row for row …
have found ones marked easy to be hard … ones marked hard to be easy …
so grab a hook and yarn and pattern and go for it … lolol