My sister-in-law is an amazing crocheter. She is able to glance at a chart, instinctively know what all the symbols mean, and then pick up her hook and create a corresponding crochet masterpiece. She has long encouraged me to learn how to read a crochet chart and at last I have done it!
It has opened up a whole new world for me where language no longer matters.
Here is my first crochet chart make.
The design is based on the Fan Centred Scarf in Judith Durant and Edie Eckman’s Crochet One-Skein Wonder book.
Can you see those beautiful fan shapes at its centre?
- The chart is like a pictorial representation of how your crochet will look.
- Its faster to glance down at a symbol than find & read words on a written pattern.
- Charts are “written” in the International Crochet Symbol System so you don’t need to work out if your pattern is written in UK, US or any other terms.
Here’ are my top tips to help you get started.
1. For your first make, try to find a pattern that has both written and chart instructions. Some may say this defeats the object, but I think it really helps to build your confidence as you can test yourself. You know how, like you used to do when learning a new spelling with that “look, say, cover…..” technique.
2. Alternate rounds or rows are often written in alternating colours such as black and blue so you can easily distinguish between them.
3. Use a pencil or mini post-it to mark off your position on the chart. I prefer a pencil if the complete project is shown and a mini post-it if only a segments such as a pattern repeat is highlighted as you can re-stick it as many times as you need to work the pattern.
4. The chart shows the pattern from the front ie the “right side” of your crochet. When working in rows this can get confusing as when you work the “wrong side” you are working in one direction (right to left) and reading the chart in the other (left to right). If you have a piece of translucent paper (e.g. vellum or tracing paper) you can copy your chart onto that and then flip the pattern as you turn your work so you can work and read from right to left (as a right-handed crocheter).
5. For most stitches (expect for the UK half treble / US half double) the number of diagonal lines across each T tells you how many times you have to wrap the yarn around your hook (yarn over) before you insert it into the stitch.
6. Patterns worked in rows begin at the bottom and work up. They generally begin in the bottom right hand corner – some also have the row numbers labelled where each starts.
7. Patterns worked in rounds begin at the centre.
If you need a reminder of crochet symbols check out this one by Yarn Standards.