How to read a crochet chart – Part II
What an overwhelming response there was to How to read a crochet chart Part I! If you haven’t had a chance to read it, I hope you will. This post is going to expand on what we learned and get into what clusters and groupings look like when reading a chart.
In How to read a crochet chart part I we learned that each stitch has a corresponding symbol. We also learned that each row on a chart has an indicator number at the end to help you keep track or the row you’re on (that’ is only for square charts, circular charts don’t have number, but we’ll get to that in another lesson).
Now, we’re going to add a few extra symbols to our arsenal and talk about what the chart looks like when we’re grouping the stitches together.
Once you’ve taken the time to familiarize yourself with symbols for the various stitches you’ll begin to enjoy seeing a new chart and deciphering what you need to do. Figure 1 shows the basic stitches and what having them in multiple groupings means. So, for example the symbol for “sc2tog” shows two single crochet symbols joined at the top. Here are a few key things to keep in mind when looking at the symbol key:
- when stitches are worked together, they are separate at the bottom and joined at the top
- when stitches are worked in a cluster, they are joined both at the bottom and the top
- when shells or fans are made the stitches are clustered at the bottom and fanned at the top
I draw your attention to those because sometimes it may be confusing if you don’t know that to determine whether you’re working a cluster or working the stitches together. When you see stitches worked in groupings this is what they mean.
- If the stitches are separate at the bottom it means each stitch is worked in it’s own stitch below then worked together at the top
- If the stitches are grouped together at the bottom it means that all the stitches are worked into the same stitch below
Let’s take a look at a real pattern and break down the elements so we can better understand. In figure 2 you see a crochet swatch pattern. We’re going to break that pattern down in a chart. We’re going to look at the different elements and see how they relate to the chart symbols and what they tell us.
Figure 3 shows the starting chain and the first row for this pattern. Looking at the chart, and going back to what we learned in Part I we know we need to:
- Chain 35
- DC in the 4th ch from the hook
- Ch 2
- Sk 6 ch
- DC in the next st
- Ch 2
- DC in the same st as the last DC
- Ch 2
- Rep across
- Ending with DC, ch 2 DC in the last st
Please take some time to read the instructions while looking at the chart to make sure you understand how this is working. As you become more comfortable you’ll begin to see what needs to done more quickly, however, in the beginning take your time and make sure you understand.
Figure 4 moves to the next row of the pattern which calls for more groupings. Now, if we look at the symbols chart in Figure 1 and the image in Figure 2 we know that we need to create some fans. Row 2 begins the fans. Looking at row two on the chart we know we need to:
- Ch 3
- sk 1st dc
- 3 dc in ch 2 space
- sk next dc and ch-2 sp and dc
- 7 dc in next ch-2 space
- Rep for pattern
- Ending with 4 dc in top of turning ch
Wow! Wasn’t that fun? I don’t know about you, but when it starts to come together it really is a great feeling! Figure 5 shows that the pattern is a repeat pattern so once you get past row 3 you’ll be able to continue to the end.
When looking at row 3 we know we need to:
- Ch 4
- DC in the first dc
- Ch 2
- Sk 6 dc
- DC in the next dc
- Ch 2
- DC in the same dc as last dc
- Rep ending with dc, ch 2, dc in top of turning ch
The pattern is a repeat pattern of rows 2 & 3 so you can continue until you have the length desired and bind off. That’s it! You have now had the opportunity to work with groupings in a chart and figuring out what they mean.
Create a crochet piece by using the chart you’ve just learned. Practice reading where to put the stitches so you’ll be more fluent when you get to more complicated charts.
Next week we’ll talk about circular charts, crocheting in the round.