You Must Learn How to Read Crochet Charts!

Vicki Hodge

Posted on January 08 2017

I know - they look so complicated!  But when you've cracked the code, they're worth it.  I promise!

When you search for something on the internet you have access to the largest library in the world and the results come up in all shapes and forms - and languages!

Although the pages get translated for us, crochet has a language of its own and it becomes unintelligible. So, we need a common language and in preference to Klingon I'm happy to go with charts!

The picture below shows the most frequently used symbols with their U.K. and U.S. definitions.  The symbols have been created to look like the stitches - no, honestly! The dc symbol has one horizontal bar to show one yarn over, and the tr has two bars for two yarn overs. They also roughly show how the different heights of the stitches will look put together.

Crochet Chart Symbol Explanation

So, now you know what each symbol means you need to know how to follow them when they're put together in a chart.  Depending on whether you are working in rows or rounds the charts will be slightly different for each of these.

Working in rows

Begin reading the chart at lower right hand corner - there is usually a solid arrow pointing to the beginning. The right side row number is placed on the right-hand side of the chart, which means you work from the right side to the left side. On wrong side rows, the number is on the left-hand side, so you follow the chart from left to right. So, the chart should be read from right to left on row 1, and from left to right on row 2.

Working in rounds

Read the chart counter-clockwise, without turning between rows unless the instructions specifically instruct you to do so. For in-the-round patterns, the chart will always be read from right to left when working in the round. So, the numbers for the rows will be on the right hand side only.

Left-handed crocheters

Charts are generally laid out from the right-handed crocheter’s point of view, but a left-handed crocheter can read them just as well but reverse the direction of the pattern, and work from left to right instead of right to left. To work in rounds, a lefty still follows the pattern counter-clockwise, but works the piece clockwise, thus reversing the direction of the pattern.

And there we go!  A shared language!  Not only can you understand a pattern written by anyone in the world you can also become a designer!  What!  Yes, the design world is now your oyster too!  When you draw out your own chart the symbols will give you a good idea of how a finished garment should look.  Imagine the possibilities!



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