Handy Dandy Crochet Guide: Abbreviations

14 Sep

My sister in law over at With Duck and Goose has requested a beginner’s guide to crochet, and as I am (still) avoiding my sock tutorial, I shall willingly oblige!  I started out thinking this was going to be one post, but I do believe it’s going to turn into a series… there are just way too many warm fuzzies involved in crochet to squish them into one little post.

I’ll start with some basic abbreviations, complete with links to video tutorials.


sc = single crochet (nice, tight stitch often used for stuffed animals, dishcloths, & as foundation stitches)

dc = double crochet (a pretty little stitch, and one of the fastest to work up).

tr = triple/treble crochet (loose & airy; a row of these would be perfect to weave a ribbon or drawstring through)

sl st = slip stitch (often used to finish things off, or to move between stitches without leaving a visible stitch)

ch = chain (basic beginning stitch.  Most patterns begin with a foundation row of chains)

hdc = half double crochet (looks like a single, but with a bit more bulk)

There are tons more stitches, obviously, but most of the fancy ones are made up of combinations of the stitches listed above.  If a pattern calls for a stitch that isn’t one of the above listed, most likely the pattern will specify the abbreviations at the beginning.  For example, a pattern may have abbreviations in it like cl, or dtr, but it should tell you that cl stands for “cluster” and dtr for “double triple crochet.”  If you have an entire book of patterns, the abbreviation guide is often at the beginning of the book instead of before each pattern.

Some other handy abbreviations to know:

st = stitch

yo = yarn over (pull an extra loop of yarn onto your hook.  you’ll usually see this one in instructions for specific stitches)

sk = skip (used when you are to skip stitches in a pattern, usually with a number & stitch specification: “sk 2 dc” = “skip two double crochets”)

rep = repeat

rnd = round

sp = space

dec = decrease.  In a pattern you’ll see something like “sc-dec” or “dc dec,” which mean “single crochet decrease” and “double crochet decrease,” respectively). You may also see this written as “dc 2 tog”  or referred to as an “invisible decrease.”

inc = increase (same thing here… you’ll see a basic stitch attached: “hdc inc” or maybe “tr inc“)

lps = loops (Sometimes patterns call for you to crochet into a loop rather than a stitch, and this will be indicated).

tog = together

asterisks = repeat. Patterns are often made up of a few different series of stitches repeated a certain number of times.  If you see something off-set by asterisks (something like *dc, sk 2, dc in next 2 st*), it means that you should repeat the pattern (in this case, one double crochet, skip two stitches, two double crochets) until you reach the end of the row.

parenthesis = repeat a specific number of times. A number will be specified in the pattern.  This, then: (dc, sc, dc) x3  means that you should crochet a double-single-double pattern three times.  Be Careful! Sometimes a parenthesis is just a parenthesis (but it will always give you useful information, say, how many stitches total are in the row, or what piece of the finished project you’re currently working on).

And, because I know you’re excited about it, some insider crochet slang:

FO = finish off (as in, “you’re done, now weave in your ends”).  In Crochetlandia, you can also refer to your finished project as an FO.  (For example, when I ask you to send pictures of your FOs, I’m not interested in the last stitch you made… I want to see how your project turned out)!

Frogging = starting over.  A sad, sad experience during which you unravel some or all of your work (while weeping, usually) and start over.  Frogging can also mean fudging a pattern (ie: realizing you’re off the pattern & trying to save it without unraveling by adding random stitches), so “Melissa frogged the last six rows of her afghan” could either mean that poor, poor Melissa had to unravel six rows, or it could mean that she screwed up the pattern & altered the last 6 rows to try and save the project.  Either way, Melissa is frustrated and cranky, and probably in need of a glass of wine.

TRY OUT YOUR NEW SKILLS! Here’s a pattern for a thin cobble stitch (which could be a scarf if you repeat it enough, I suppose), followed by the longhand translation in italics.

1: ch 25, turn.  Crochet 25 chain stitches, then turn your piece around.  The end of your piece has just become the beginning.

2: sk 1ch, sc across, ch 1, turn.  Skip one chain, then single crochet in each of the remaining chains across.  Chain one and turn your piece around.

3: *sc, trc* (24), ch1, turn.  Alternate between single crochet and triple crochet across your row.  You should have 24 stitches when you reach the end of the row. Chain one and turn.

4: sc across, ch1, turn.  Single crochet across the row.  Chain one and turn your piece around.

5: (rows 3 & 4) 10x, ch1, turn.  Repeat rows three and four (in order) ten timesChain one and turn.

6: sc across, FO.  Single crochet across the row and finish off.

Anyway, there you go.  Let me know if there’s something I need to clarify, or something I left out that you’d like to see!  })i({


4 Responses to “Handy Dandy Crochet Guide: Abbreviations”

  1. Brenda September 14, 2010 at 6:48 am #

    Tell us about the cool project pictured on this page!

  2. ferabeth September 14, 2010 at 10:01 am #

    It’s a trivet I made as a gift for a friend. The pattern is free, and can be found at http://www.freecraftunlimited.com/flower-hot-pad.html if you’re interested. Cool, right? And way too pretty to be a trivet, I think. I was considering making a bunch and turning them in to something else… })i({

  3. withduckandgoose September 14, 2010 at 12:43 pm #

    thanks for the beginner’s guide. my head exploded a little bit, but i’m excited to have a decent, reliable place to look at when i’m trying to figure this out. thank you!!

  4. ferabeth September 15, 2010 at 4:52 pm #

    Uhm, yeah. My head exploded too. I thought it was going to be a rather short post, actually. I was wrong-o. *grin*

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