How to read a crochet chart – Part I
One of the things that comes up over and over again when I share patterns, especially foreign patterns that use charts, on the Facebook page is that many people don’t know how to read crochet charts. I’m not at all surprised it’s not something you just pick up along the way, you have to have a really good reason and sometimes a really good teacher.
I’ve decided to create this series for two reasons:
- Because I want to keep sharing amazing crochet patterns that I find
- Because I want my friends to be able use the charts to create amazing crochet
So, this is part I of the new “How to read a crochet chart” on Yarn Obsession. The subsequent parts will show up each week until we’re all happily reading crochet charts like we read the written crochet instructions!
Using a crochet chart is a more universal way of sharing patterns because it doesn’t rely on the written language. There are some variances in the chart symbols, but it is still more universal in meaning just like the man and woman on the bathroom doors.
On a crochet chart each stitch is represented by a symbol (as outlined in the chart in Figure 1 ——>) those symbols are arranged so that as you move along the row from left to right you can follow what’s happening.
At the ends of each row a small number represents the row number you’re on. That helps to keep you on track whether you’re crocheting right-handed or left-handed. Once you’re able to understand how those work you’ll be able to build upon the basic symbols with additional symbols (which we’ll get into in later lessons) to create more intricate pieces just by using a chart.
Let’s start with a very basic chart like the one in Figure 2. It shows a row of chains at the bottom and then it shows a number “1” to the right. The row of chains (highlighted in red) is the number of chains you’ll need to begin. So for this example you’ll need to chain 10 with two of the chains serving as your turning chain. The number “1” indicates we are now starting on the first row of your work.
Now that you’ve completed the chain you’re now ready to start on the first row. According to the symbol chart, this pattern calls for Half Double Crochet (HDC) stitches. So, in the third chain from the hook, you’ll put your first HDC and each chain after that to the end (highlighted in red in Figure 3). When you get to the end of row 1, there are two “chain” symbols going up and a small number “2”. That means you’ll need to chain 2 and start on row 2 (remember the number “2” represents the row not the chains or number of stitches). Row 2 essentially repeats the HDC pattern from row 1. You’re done! You’ve just read your first chart! That wasn’t so hard now was it? I know it takes some getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be reading plenty of charts and your pattern library will grow!
Your assignment before we move on to Part II of the “How to read a crochet chart” is to look in your crochet pattern books and find an easy pattern with a chart and see if you can read it. Also, try making the stitch, without reading the directions but by just reading the chart, and see how you do!
Next week we’ll explore some additional stitches, and groupings!
Keep growing your skills, the next two parts in the series are below!!
I’d love to hear about your assignment in the comments below. Remember, it’s one thing to read, it’s another to put it into action to solidify what you’ve read. You’re learning a new skill so be patient with yourself.