Thursday, September 21, 2006

Understanding Crochet Abbreviations

By Christina VanGinkel

Crochet is a hobby that many people enjoy for various reasons, but mainly because of the simplicity involved in creating beautiful items from a seemingly innocuous balls of thread or yarn. If I had to list one aspect of crochet though that, I could see as being difficult for a new hobbyist to learn, that would have to be the varied abbreviations that those who write crochet patterns use. What many novices misunderstand though is that there is not really anything difficult about the lingo used, it is about as straightforward as any set of abbreviations could be. To explain the proper way to read a pattern, one only has to understand the terms they represent.

The terms single, double, and treble, in crochet refers to how much depth each stitch is creating in a given stitch. The term single crochet refers to exactly what it sounds like, a single depth of what a stitch could create, and a double means the single stitch has been doubled within one stitch by creating another loop within the single stitch itself (It does not mean two single crochet stitches). The triple, or referred to by some as the treble stitch, is in essence, three times the depth of a single crochet stitch, again making note that it does not refer to three single stitches, but instead means that the crocheter will loop the thread or yarn three times instead of the single time it is looped in the single crochet stitch. Each loop is then moved off the hook individually, creating a step each time you remove one of the loops, building up the depth that equals the stitch. So, what it boils down to is a simple shortening of the related terms to their shortened abbreviations, i.e., SC or sc means single crochet, DC or dc means double crochet, and TR or tr, or sometimes trc means a triple, or treble crochet stitch. At this point, you might be grasping that the abbreviations that crochet enthusiasts use really are as simple as they seem, and they really are.

If you pick up a crochet pattern at this point and glance through it, with just the knowledge that you just learned, you might be able to read the complete pattern, without any more explanation, but if you are the sort who likes such details clearly spelled out, read on for some further abbreviations and their meanings. This by no means an inclusive list of every single crochet abbreviation ever included in a pattern, but it is sufficient enough to get you up and running, able to read a basic to moderately difficult pattern.

beg is equivalent to beginning, or the start of a row or round
rw is equivalent to row
rnd is equivalent to round
rep is the abbreviation for repeat and is used when the pattern calls for a row or round to be repeated exactly as the previous round or row
bet means between, as in working between tow stitches in a previous row
bk lp is referring to the back loop. If you work a row of single crochet and look down at the tops of the stitches you just made, you will be able to see the loops. The one facing you, the one closest to you as you hold it is the frnt lp or frt lp, and the back loop is the one furthest from you when you are looking directly at it.
ch equals chain
cont means to continue on as beforedec means to decrease stitches, which will be explained within each pattern as to how many
inc means to increase stitches. Again, each instance of such a change in a pattern will be explained within each individual pattern
cl or cls refers to a cluster of stitches
hdc refers to a half double crochet stitch. Depth wise, it is between a single and a double crochet stitch. The first half of the stitch is made as if you were about to create a double crochet stitch, but instead of slipping off the loops one at a time, you slip them off all at once.
lp refers to loop
pc is a popcorn stitch, and is a decorative stitch
sk is the abbreviation to skip a stitch
tog refers to holding together
yo refers to holding the yarn or thread over the hook

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