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Understanding Crochet Abbreviations – Dances With Wools

Understanding Crochet Abbreviations


My crochet beginnings go all the way back to 1972, when my mother first set out to teach me to crochet.  It did not go very well, I have to admit.  My mother didn’t have a lot of patience for my fumbling and I became easily frustrated.  Two years later, I set out to learn on my own.  The only problem was, these crochet patterns were all written in some sort of secret code.  Culled from the pages of Mother’s magazines and written by people who were already much better at it than I feared I would ever be, they baffled me.  If only someone had explained all those abbreviations, I might have had an easier time.

Well, take heart, friends.  If you’re just starting out on your crochet journey, then this is the article for you!  I’m here to give you a leg up and de-mystify some of those abbreviations for you.  Let’s begin with some of the simpler and more common ones, shall we?

beg – beginning

bet – between

ch – chain

ch-sp = chain space.  Also written as ch-1 sp, ch-5 sp, etc.

dc – double crochet

dec – decrease *

hdc – half double crochet

inc – increase

lp – loop

prev – previous

rem – remaining

rep – repeat

rnd – round

rs – right side

sc – single crochet

sk – skip the designated number of stitches

sl – slip, as in slip stitch

sp – space

st/sts – stitch/stitches

tog – together

tr – treble crochet

ws – wrong side

yo – yarn over (to wrap the yarn over your hook)

And those are the basics.  Now, let’s delve into the less common terms.  These will be found most often in intermediate or advanced patterns and do offer some confusion to the beginner.  When I was first starting to crochet, I had a heck of a time remembering whether back post was closest to me or farthest away.  Now, there will be no doubt:

BL/BLO – back loop/back loop only.  When seen from the top, each stitch will have a sideways “V” on the top, comprised of two loops.  The back loop is the one farthest away from you.

FL/FLO – front loop/front loop only.  When seen from the top, each stitch will have a sideways “V” on the top, comprised of two loops.  The front loop is the one closest to you.

FP – front post. This means that instead of working the stitch in the top loops of the stich, you work the stitch around the post. You would insert your hook from the front to the back to the front, then yarn over to draw up a loop.  You might also see it written as FPSC, FPDC, or FPTR.

BP – back post. This means that instead of working the stitch in the top loops of the stich, you work the stitch around the post. You would insert your hook from the back to the front to the back, then yarn over to draw up a loop.  You might also see it written as BPSC, BPDC, or BPTR.

There are some very specialized abbreviations and terms pertaining to specific stitches and as you might imagine, each designer has their own way of writing instructions.  Near the top of each pattern should be a list of terms and/or instructions for making any specialized stitches that might be needed to work the pattern.  But these are the basics, used by nearly every designer in their patterns.  I hope this clears it up for you and speed you on your way to learning how to crochet.  Join us next time, when I’ll introduce you to some specialized abbreviations pertaining to Tunisian Crochet.

* A note on decreasing:  Decreasing can be written several different ways.  You might see dec 1 or dec 1 ST, for decreasing one stitch.  Or you might see sc2tog.  This would mean that you single crochet 2 stitches together, as in you would draw up a loop in each of the next 2 stitches and then yarn over and draw that loop through all 3 loops on your hook.  You could even see dc2tog or tr2tog, meaning you should double crochet 2 together or treble crochet 2 together.  They are very similar in concept and are a way to decrease the number of stitches in the row or round.

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