Learn how to read a crochet pattern while creating a cute hat

Crochet Tam Hat

Learn how to read a crochet pattern while creating a cute hat

“I learned how to crochet, but I can’t read a crochet pattern.” I hear that a lot when people find out I crochet or write patterns. At first I was confused by that statement, after all, how could you crochet but not read a pattern. Turns out it’s the same thing to be able to speak a language, but not read it or write it, there are different skill sets at work and they all need to be enlisted. Many people have had the privilege I didn’t of learning how to crochet directly from a loved one.

So, for those who have a hard time reading a crochet pattern, here is a quick-and-dirty course on how to read a crochet pattern, while creating a fun hat to add to your wardrobe. I’m assuming you already know how to crochet and that reading the crochet pattern is what you’re learning. When you first look at a crochet pattern it may look like a totally different language, however, once you understand how it’s written you’ll get the hang of reading a pattern.

First thing a pattern should list for you are the items you’ll need to complete your project. It’ll tell you approximately how much yarn, and what yarn to use, as well as the size hook you need and any additional notions needed to complete your piece. Some patterns, like the one here, will list the stitches used in the pattern. Having that information helps the crafter know whether or not they will be able to complete the project or if they need to learn a new stitch first.

In all crochet patterns you will find abbreviations for the stitches used. In this pattern the stitch abbreviations are spelled out so when you encounter them you know what to do.

Once you’ve gathered your materials, and you’ve determined the stitches are doable, now comes the fun part, starting on the pattern. I always find it’s easier to go line by line, and if I don’t understand something work on it or research it until I do understand then move on. If you look at the pattern as a whole, you may become overwhelmed and decide you can’t do it, even before you start!


Most crochet projects begin with the chain. There are variations, but let’s stick to the basics. The question “How many chains do I need?” will be the first question answered in the instructions on a crochet pattern. In this pattern the instruction is to CH. 4 (CH = Chain). The next instruction is to join in ring with Sl St (slip stitch). If you continue to follow the pattern you’ll find it’s full of abbreviations. Follow each line closely in order not to get confused or lost. Now let’s write out the pattern so you can learn the abbreviations as you go:

Rnd (Round) 1: 6 SC (single crochet) in center of ring (keep inserting your hook into the center of the ring after each stitch until you have made 6 stitches)

Rnd (Round) 2: 2 SC (single crochet) in each ST (stitch) (12 sc = at the end of this row you would now have 12 single crochet) place marker at the end of the round (or in the stitch after you’ve made the 12th single crochet) to mark off beginning (sometimes abbreviated “beg”)

Rnd (Round) 3: *2 SC (single crochet) in next st (stitch), 1 sc (single crochet) in next st (stitch), repeat (often abbreviated “rep”) from * around row (18 sc)

Since I’m sure you’ve gotten the hang of the abbreviations and instructions here, let’s jump down to the instructions following Rnd 6: (please review the previous instructions if you aren’t sure you got it before moving on)

Continue in this pattern (meaning keep increasing the stitches between the “2 sc” stitches in each row) until there are 22 st (stitches) between 2 sc (or the diameter measures 10 inches). Work even (meaning no more increase in the number of stitches no more 2 sc in one stitch) for 4 rows. Begin decreasing by skipping every 12th st (do single crochets in 11 stitches then skip the 12th and start counting again) until opening measures 6 inches, or desired head size. Work 6 rows even

Ch 1 after last st and turn (turning means to turn to the other side so that you are going back over the stitches you just made).

Now, that was a lot to take in, so I hope you took some time to ensure you were following the pattern with the abbreviations spelled out while learning the way a pattern works. In the next part of the pattern you’ll be turning your work in order to go back and forth along the brim. Most patterns are written in the back and forth motion, unless you are “working in the round” as we just did with the hat. At the end of each row, there will be instruction as to how many to “chain” in order to rise to the next level. The numbers vary depending on the stitches you’re using. For example, if you are using a “sc” then you will only ch 1 at the end of a row because that “rise” is enough to keep the stitches even. If you are working a “DC” (double crochet) then the instructions will likely ask for a “ch 2 or 3″) so the chain will be long enough to “rise” and sometimes be counted as the first stitch.

Let us now work the second section of the pattern:

As you follow the pattern row by row, make sure your count matches what is written on the pattern, that way you can ensure the outcome will be what you’d like. When “skipping” the first stitch, you’re decreasing (often abbreviated “dec”) the number of stitches that you’re working with. Doing the decreases at the ends of the rows is usually what gives the shaping.

Once you have followed this pattern, I hope you feel more confident in your ability to read a pattern. If you find this one may be too complicated, then try the Fashion Stole pattern, it is worked in rows and a bit easier to follow than this one. I would just suggest you use a smoother yarn, a worsted weight such as two strands of Caron Simply Soft or Red Heart Soft, than the one suggested so you’re able to see your stitches.

As always, feel free to contact me if you have any questions on this brief tutorial or if I can answer any questions for you. I can be found on my Facebook page, and the Etsy Shop. To see a clearer print of this pattern go Here.

Enjoy the process and enjoy wearing your new hat!

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