Reading Crochet Charts

Stitch charts. Crochet diagrams. Crochet charts. Stitch diagrams. These all mean the same thing, a crochet pattern using specific symbols explaining the instructions via imagery instead of written words or abbreviations. For ease of writing I’ll use “crochet charts” to explain how to use these images. Crochet charts are being used more frequently today around the world due to the simplicity and user-friendliness. It is the international language of crochet where any pattern made in any place in the world can be read anywhere else in the world, no translations necessary. After beginning with the key to symbols, like this one Here, you have the power to interpret any pattern. If you aren’t sure just how many crochet charts are out there, Google “crochet chart” and click on images. Wow. Varieties and sorts from simple to extremely complex. But to get there you need to know how to read these charts. So how does one do this?

To start, a simple V-stitch pattern. There are several versions of the V-stitch, some with more open space some with tighter spaces. It depends of what the pattern calls for. Here, this pattern, if it were to be written in American crochet abbreviations it would be the following.

Foundation chain, Ch 20 (or any even number) The chain is never counted as a row.
Row 1. Ch 3 (acts as first dc of Row 1), dc in 5th ch from hook. Ch 1, dc in same ch, sk next ch, [dc in next ch, ch 1, dc in same ch. sk next ch.] Rep the order in brackets across the row. At end of the row, work 1 dc in the last ch. ch 3, turn.
Row 2: turning chain counts as the first dc in row. [dc in sp btwn dcs in previous row, ch 1, dc in same sp, sk next ch] this is the V stitch. One V st in ea dcs sp across the row. dc in last st.
Rep row 2 until the project reaches desired plans, bind off and weave in ends.

Instead a chart looks like the one below. To read the chart, sometimes an arrow ( → ) shows where to begin the pattern. I find that rarely is the case. However you can find the beginning for linear patterns by beginning L to R and B to T. I’ve coloured this crochet chart and numbered the rows so that you can see how the pattern flows. This is the same V stitch pattern as described in the abbreviations above.



Beginning at the Bottom Left corner, you see a chain of single crochet (sc) stitches begin (red). This is the foundation chain. At the Bottom Right corner, you see a chain (ch) 3 rising up into Row 1 (green). This row reads R to L and is the first row of V stitches. At the end of this row you see a single double crochet (dc) with a ch 3 above it. This is the progression to the next row, Row 2 (purple). And so on. You can see how the pattern repeats, moving L to R then R to L and back again L to R. As a chart you can instantly visualize what the pattern will look like, which stitches are involved, how many rows and if you need to look up any stitches you’re unfamiliar with.

Try another crochet chart. This time in just black and white (left chart). This is typically what you will find when searching for pattern charts. You can always colour them in yourself, highlight the rows or mark them in your own way (right chart). But black and white is most likely how you will find many of your patterns. If it is difficult to read, by all means grab the highlighter, coloured pens or whatever you need to mark the chain and rows to make it clearer for you to read. On the coloured on I begin marking the chain as 1 and in red, then moving up the pattern in colour and number. If there are no written directions, this can really help you figure out where to go in the pattern. The objective here is for you to learn to instantly read charts. As always, if you have questions or need clarification, just drop me a note.