Crocheting For Dummies
You’re never too old or too young to discover crochet. The skills you master, the benefits you receive, and the beautiful heirlooms you create can last a lifetime and be passed on to future generations. To get started with crocheting, you need to decode crochet symbols and abbreviations so you can follow patterns with ease, and you need to find out what gauge is (and why it’s so important).
Common International Crochet Symbols and Crochet Stitch Abbreviations
Check out the following quick reference guide to the International Crochet Symbols and the abbreviations (in parentheses) for common crochet stitches. Note: The info in brackets describes the version of the crochet stitch that the symbol represents.
Abbreviations for Common Crochet Terms
So they stay free of clutter, crochet patterns feature a lot of abbreviations for common crochet terms. Here’s a sampling of typical crochet abbreviations you might find on a pattern:
contrast color (CC)
follow or following (foll)
gram or grams (g)
inch or inches (in.)
main color (MC)
right side (RS)
round(s) (rnd or rnds)
stitch(es) (st or sts)
turning ch (tch)
wrong side (WS)
yarn over (the) hook (yo)
Making and Measuring a Gauge Swatch before You Crochet
Making sure your stitches are consistently the right size is very important when crocheting. To get the shape and size you want, you must check the gauge provided in your crochet pattern; gauge is the ratio of a given number of stitches or rows to inches (or some other unit of measurement), such as seven stitches per inch or four rows per inch. You use this ratio to keep your stitches consistent and the size of your design on track.
Follow these steps to make and measure a gauge swatch before you crochet:
Make a swatch of the stitch pattern using the materials and hook size called for in the pattern.
Your gauge swatch should be 1 to 2 inches larger than the measurement given in the Gauge section of the pattern. For example, if the gauge given is 4 inches, you should make your swatch 6 inches so you can get an accurate 4-inch measurement across the center of the swatch.
Block the swatch by lightly spraying it with water and then smoothing it out flat on a towel.
Measure the stitches and rows across the center of the swatch and then compare your measurements to those listed in the Gauge section of the pattern.
Usually gauge is measured across the center 4 inches. Using a ruler, count the number of stitches and rows across the center 4 inches of your swatch. That number is the gauge.