Complete Guide to Crochet Abbreviations & Terms

Most crochet pattern instructions are written out in words. In order to follow these, you must be able to understand the simple abbreviations and standard conventions. You are expected to know how to make the basic stitches and to be familiar with basic fabric-making procedures; anything more advanced or specialized is always spelt out in individual pattern instructions. Common abbreviations with which you should be familiar include.

Crochet Abbreviations

Abbreviation Description
alt alternate
approx approximately
beg begin/beginning
bet between
BL or BLO back loop or back loop only
bo bobble
BP back post
BPdc back post double crochet
BPdtr back post double treble crochet
BPhdc back post half double crochet
BPsc back post single crochet
BPtr back post treble crochet
CC contrasting colour
ch chain stitch
ch- refer to chain or space previously made, e.g., ch-1 space
ch-sp chain space
CL cluster
cont continue
dc double crochet
dc2tog double crochet 2 stitches together
dec decrease
dtr double treble crochet
edc extended double crochet
ehdc extended half double crochet
esc extended single crochet
etr extended treble crochet
FL or FLO front loop or front loop only
foll following
FP front post
FPdc front post double crochet
FPdtr front post double treble crochet
FPhdc front post half double crochet
FPsc front post single crochet
FPtr front post treble crochet
hdc half double crochet
hdc2tog half double crochet 2 stitches together
inc increase
lp loop
m marker
MC main colour
pat or patt pattern
pc popcorn stitch
pm place marker
prev previous
ps or puff puff stitch
rem remaining
rep repeat
rnd round
RS right side
sc single crochet
sc2tog single crochet 2 stitches together
sh shell
SK skip
sl st slip stitch
sm or sl m slip marker
sp space
st stitch
tbl through back loop
tch or t-ch turning chain
tog together
tr treble crochet
tr2tog treble crochet 2 stitches together
trtr triple treble crochet
WS wrong side
yo yarn over
yoh yarn over hook

Base (Foundation) chain

The beginning of a piece of crochet and proceeding further to develop the project.

Turning/starting chain

One, or more chains, depending upon the length of stitch required, worked at the beginning of a row (or end of the previous row) as preparation for the new row; sometimes counts as the first stitch in the new row Called ‘starting chain’ when working in the round’.

Group

Several stitches worked into the same place; sometimes calved ‘shell’, ‘fan’, etc.

Cluster

Two, or more, stitches. often started in different places, made leaving the last loop of each temporarily on the hook until finally one loop is drawn through them all, joining them together into one stitch at the top.

Picot

A run of chain stitches normally brought back on itself and fixed into a decorative loop with a slip stitch, or single crochet.

Note: Terms such as ‘group’, ‘cluster’, ‘picot’, and even ‘shell’, ‘fan’, Tower, ‘petal’, leaf, ‘bobble’, etc, do not denote a fixed arrangement of stitches, Exactly what they mean may be different for each pattern. The procedure is therefore always spelt out at the beginning of each set of instructions and is valid only for that set unless stated otherwise

Yarn over

The stitch making instruction to wrap the yarn from the ball over the hook (or manipulate the hook around the yarn) in order to make a new loop: always done in an anticlockwise direction unless otherwise stated.

Work straight 

Work over an existing row of stitches without ‘increasing’ (i.e. adding stitches and so making the fabric wide) or_ ‘decreasing’ (i.e. reducing the number of stitches and so making the fabric narrower). Precise methods of increasing and decreasing vary according to each stitch pattern and circumstances and are detailed in pattern instructions.

Right/wrong side the ‘right side’ is the surface of the fabric intended to be the outside of the finished article and therefore shown in the photographs: the ‘wrong side’ is the inside. If there is a difference, the instructions state which side is facing you as you work the first row and that surface of the fabric is identified and fixed from then on.

Hint: Crochet stitches are not the same back and front and so the two sides of fabric may well be quite different. Even when a stitch pattern has no particular ‘right side’, however, it is wise to make a positive decision in respect of all separate pieces of the same article, so that the ‘grain’ of the rows can be matched exactly, when you join the pieces together.

Front/Back 

‘front’ and ‘back’ mean the front and back surfaces of fabric for the time being as you hold and look at it; these change over every time you turn the work

Note: In garment pattern instructions the terms ‘Front’ and ‘Back’ denote the different pieces of the garment.

Multiple

All but the simplest crochet stitch patterns are built around repeated sequences of stitches. In order to make sense of the instructions, you must have exactly the right number of stitches in your base row. This number is a multiple of the number of stitches required for one complete sequence — sometimes plus an extra edge stitch, or two — and is given at the beginning of each set of instructions.

The number of chains you need for the base chain, in order to be able to create the appropriate number of stitches in the base row is also given. For example, ‘Multiple of 2 sts + 1, (add 1 for base chain)’ = make 4, 6, 8, etc chains for a base row of 3, 5. 7, etc. stitches: or ‘Multiple of 8 sts + 3, (add 2 for base chain)’ = make 13. 21, 29. etc. chains for a base row of 11, 19. 27, etc, stitches.

Colour Note

Capital letters A, B. C, D, etc, are used to indicate different yarn colours: when only two colours are involved and one of these is intended to dominate, the terms ‘main (my and ‘contrast (C)’ may be used instead.

Asterisks (*) and Brackets

These are used to simplify repetition. Instructions are put inside brackets and these are to be worked the number of times stated, for example, ‘Itch, skip 1ch. 1dc into next st1 5 times’. A sequence of stitches after an asterisk means that the whole sequence between that asterisk and the next semi-colon is to be repeated as many times as necessary to reach the end of the row. For example: ’41ch, skip 1ch, 1dc into next st, 1ch, skip 1ch, 1dc into each of next 3 sts. repeat to end turn’

Charts

Filet crochet patterns, mesh based on a regular grid of double crochet and chain stitches, are much easier to low from a squared chart when you stand the basic procedures (see page This type of chart is also used to include different colours in Jacquard and Fair Isle terns, which are usually based on a plan and crochet fabric.

Stitch Diagrams

Accurate stitch diagrams show the overall picture at a glance are the same time indicates precisely every de of construction. To follow them you need to be familiar with the symbols which repeat each individual stitch.

Hint: Always read through the whole before starting to crochet This will give a valuable overall picture of how the pattern works and how the whole &tic* put together.

Measurement Description
” or in inch
cm centimetre
g gram
m meter
mm millimetre
oz ounce
yd yard

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