How To Read Crochet Symbols Charts Easily

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Crochet Symbols Charts can be a little overwhelming. However, with my handy guide on how to read crochet symbols charts easily, you will master the basics in no time!


Do you remember when you first learned to crochet? And do you remember the exact moment when you realized there are two different crochet terms – UK and US?

We have all been there! The light bulb moment when it all starts to make sense. We all have funny stories to tell and questionable projects to share when it comes to different crochet terms.

I think that is a learning curve that every crocheter goes through when they first pick up the crochet hook. The moment you realize that there are two sets of crochet terminology. We all have our own preferences.

You will probably spend a considerable amount of time trying to work out which crochet terms the designer used in the written pattern you are currently working on. Most of the time the designer clearly states which terms they used in the written pattern.

However, some patterns do not state which terms were used. This is when you would normally look for a single crochet stitch. If the pattern uses single crochet and the abbreviation sc, you know it is written in US crochet terms.

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But what if there was a much easier way?

Crochet Symbol Charts Explained

Universal Crochet Language
– Crochet Symbols

What if there was a universal crochet language everyone would understand right from the start? No guesswork and doubts before you even try to work out what the pattern instructs you to do.

While we are quite far away from having one universal set of crochet terms there is a way to speak the universal language of crochet. That is crochet symbols charts. You do not need to speak another language or be able to read some super complicated code.

I have put together a handy guide for every crocheter on how to read crochet symbols charts easily. We will start with learning some basic crochet stitches and work our way up to more advanced stitches.

We will also practice what we have learned and read a crochet chart together. And right at the end, I will give you more tips and tricks to successfully master the crochet symbols charts.

Crochet Symbol Charts Explained with Video

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1. What are Crochet Symbol Charts?

Crochet symbols charts are a visual 2D representation of a written pattern where each crochet stitch has a specific symbol that represents it. It translates written crochet patterns with symbols. You can either arrange these row by row or round by round. Sometimes these crochet charts are color-coded so they are easier to follow and read.

Crochet charts do not use any language so they are completely universal. They can be used in different countries and they translate the same and lead to the same final project. This is especially useful as there are no barriers for crocheters all over the world to be able to crochet the same pattern.

2. How to read basic crochet stitch symbols

Looking at a crochet chart that displays a certain crochet pattern can be a little daunting. However, if you break it down into smaller simple steps anyone can learn to read crochet charts.

If you have never read a crochet chart before I suggest starting with the basics. Firstly, you need to learn the basic stitches which most of the patterns will use. Once you master these basics, looking at the crochet chart will not be so scary.

I recommend learning the beginner-friendly stitches from the chain, single crochet through to taller stitches up to double treble crochet stitch.

All the crochet stitch symbols are thoroughly explained on the Craft Yarn Council Website which can be found HERE and the picture below.

Crochet Symbol Charts Explained

3. How to understand crochet stitch symbols that are more advanced

Once you learn the basic crochet symbols for each stitch you can move onto more advanced crochet stitches. They are based on the basic stitches. These stitches are usually made up by combining different basic stitches. You can combine them into decrease stitches or to bigger groups like shells, clusters or picots etc.

Certain more advanced crochet stitches like clusters, puff, or bobble stitches have one thing in common. They are all worked into the same stitch and end up as one stitch after being finished. This means by working a cluster of double crochet stitches you are creating a 3D stitch that will literally pop out.

Other popular advanced stitches are shells. These are a cluster of stitches that all start in the same stitch. However, you finish each stitch of the shell separately creating a flat wide stitch that fans out.

There are also crochet symbols for textured stitches that are not worked into the top of the stitch. The front and back post stitches have a little hook at the bottom facing in a different direction. This indicates whether you need to work around the post of the stitch from front or back.

Learning and remembering these symbols will take some time and practice. However, it is worth the effort.

4. Practice on a Crochet Symbol Chart Pattern

Now you have learned the basic crochet symbols for stitches, you can put your knowledge into practice. Let’s take a look at a simple heart crochet symbol chart pattern.

If you step back and look at the chart you kind of can see the heart shape already. Most crochet charts will accommodate the size of the different crochet stitches. This means that when you step back away from each crochet chart, you should be able to see the finished shape emerging from the chart.

It is very helpful when you visualize the end result and know what finished shape you are working towards.

Crochet Heart Pattern in Crochet Symbol Chart

Can you try to understand the above chart? I go through it step by step in the video above. But here is the written pattern for it: 4th chain from the hook: 3 tr, 3 dc, Ch 1, 1 tr, Ch 1, 3 dc, 3 tr, Ch 3, sl st into the same Ch as all the other stitches

5. MORE Tips to read and understand Crochet Symbol Charts

Right vs Left Handed Crocheters

It is important to remember that most crochet charts are designed for right-handed crocheters who follow the chart anti-clockwise. Does it mean left-handed crocheters can not use them? Absolutely not! You can easily mirror the chart which then becomes suitable for left-handed people who follow it clockwise.

Take Notes

Secondly, when it comes to working from a crochet chart, this is when technology might fail you a little. You want to print your chart out on a piece of paper. This will allow you to draw and take notes on which part you have worked already. You can cross the stitches off or use a highlighter to mark them as done.

Colors in Charts have a Meaning

I advise you to read pattern notes and the chart key carefully before you begin. This is where the designer will explain any special symbols used in the chart. Some charts are multicolor which can mean that you need to change yarn colors too. However, sometimes they are just color-coded to be easier to read.

Chart vs Graph vs Diagram

Some people confuse the terms chart, graph, and diagram. So what are they? A crochet chart uses crochet symbols to translate a written pattern. A crochet graph consists of small squares that represent a stitch used in the pattern to create a picture. Tapestry, mosaic, or corner to corner techniques use crochet graphs. Diagrams are simple drawings of the finished project like garments that explain the construction and measurements.

And lastly, practice makes perfect! The more you look at different charts and symbols, the more they will start making sense.


I truly hope you will find this handy guide helpful in learning how to read crochet symbols charts. If you think this is something your crochet friends would like to learn too, why not share the link with them or on social media?

THE CROCHET CLUB – CROCHET PATTERN, TIPS & TUTORIAL VAULT

You can have the most amazing pattern and yarn in the world, but if you don’t have the knowledge on how to crochet in a way that makes you proud, then all your work is for nothing.

Maybe you have a dream of having perfect straight seams or have less yarn to weave in?

Let me introduce you to THE CROCHET CLUB – AN ALL-ACCESS MEMBERSHIP! It is exactly what it says on the tin. If you sign up for the membership I will teach you different techniques and tips on how to improve your crochet projects!

You will get access to all my patterns in PDF formats and full support from myself to guide you through the tricky bits. I will also teach you what YOU want to learn! Join me in THE CROCHET CLUB – AN ALL-ACCESS MEMBERSHIP!

Be sure to join my Crochet Facebook Group and join other crocheters in learning the different crochet charts. We are a very active and friendly crochet group so come in and join like-minded crocheters.

I’m also always here to support you through this and any other pattern and tutorial. Simply ask in my group and me and other amazing and kind crocheters will help you along.

Crochet Symbol Charts Explained with Free Heart Pattern
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One Comment

  1. These symbols charts will help me IMMENSELY as I see so many patterns I’d like to try but the only patterns I can find with them are these charts since most of them come from foreign countries and they give you no instructions whatsoever!
    Thanks a bunch for these!!

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