patterns and projects

Whether you’re about to embark on your first crochet venture, or take on a brand new creation, the LoveCrochet team have lovingly put together some expert tips on what to consider when taking on your next pattern.

Choosing a size | How to measure yourself: The basics | Reading a pattern | UK and US crochet terms | Understanding size in a pattern


Choosing what size to make

Garment patterns will give instructions for most sizes, but deciding on the correct size can be difficult, as it will depend on the design and purpose of the garment. You might also have a preference for a looser or snugger fit.

A simple way to assess size is to measure a pre-existing garment that fits well. This will allow you to make length and width choices or adjustments from the pattern to create a bespoke fit.

How to measure yourself: The basics

For a good fit, measure yourself in just your underwear, using the following method:

Bust/chest: Around the fullest part of the bust/chest

Waist:Around the natural waistline, at the narrowest point of your middle just above your belly button

Hips:Around the fullest part of the bottom

Sleeve length:From the cuff to the under-arm

Arm-hole depth:This is easier to measure from a pre-existing garment – holding the tape measure straight, or using a ruler, measure from the bottom of the underarm to the shoulder.

Designer insight

You've taken the crochet world by storm with your footwear patterns, and modern crochet designs! Where do you start with your designs?

“I take inspiration from getting out in the world and looking at how shapes, patterns and textures interplay.”

“Usually, my designs start with some foundation of geometry -- how basic shapes might work together to form a shoe or a scarf or you name it. Then I just start experimenting (and often tearing things out many, MANY times!) until I have a piece that feels good to wear and is beautiful to look at.”

“I really love the wizardry of making something functional, pretty, or ideally both, out of a simple ball of yarn.”

-- Make and Do Crew

Reading a pattern

Crochet pattern instructions may seem impossible to understand at first sight, but most of the abbreviations and symbols are international.

Written patterns

These patterns are written using an abbreviated form of words and spelling:

Common crochet terms

AbbreviationFull term
approxapproximately
begbeginning
betbetween
blp/bloback loop only
BPback post
CCcontrast color
chchain
dcdouble crochet
dec (xx2tog)decrease(s)(d)(ing)
dtrdouble triple crochet
flp/flofront loop only
follfollowing
FPfront post
hdchalf double crochet
incincrease(s)(d)(ing)
MCmain color
pattpattern
remremaining
reprepeat
ribribbing
rnd(s)round(s)
RSright side
scsingle crochet
sl stslip stitch
st(s)stitch(es)
togtogether
trtriple crochet
WSwrong side
yoyarn over the hook

UK and US crochet terms

US and UK crochet terms are different - so before you begin a pattern, check which terminology it uses.

Common crochet terms

US nameUK name
single crochetdouble crochet
double crochettreble (tr)
half double crochethalf treble (htr)
triple crochetdouble treble (dtr)
slip stitchsingle crochet

Charts

Chart are a pictorial representation of each stitch in relation to all the other stitches, laying out the pattern design.

This very basic chart gives a guide to the most common crochet symbols:

LoveCrochet

Understanding sizing in a pattern

Most patterns provide a schematic, or diagram, showing the basic overall finished shape of the project. This includes the finished dimension of each part of the pattern for every size, and how it fits together. It is useful to highlight all the width and length measurements you need.

Understanding tension

Tension, or gauge, refers to how loose or tightly a stitch is made. Everybody has their own personal tension, and you’ll know whether you crochet tightly or loosely, or somewhere in between.

All patterns are written to a specific gauge, and this will be illustrated in a pattern. If you don’t achieve this gauge, your finished piece will not match the size specified in the pattern. The best way to test your tension is to crochet a 10cm square, known as a gauge swatch, and count the number of stitches and rows it takes you to create the 10cm square. If you create fewer or more stitches and rows than the pattern gauge specifies, you will need to alter both your hook size (larger to increase your stitch size, smaller to reduce your stitch size) to match the pattern gauge.

Designer insight

Your signature crochet designs are bang on trend - why does crochet work so well for fashion?

“Having studied fashion and living in NYC gives me a lot of inspiration to design chic and sophisticated pieces. I call what I do a "modern approach to a timeless art form" because handmade knits are an age-old staple, but there's been a huge resurgence with yarn crafts recently that's really introduced them to a younger, more fashion-forward audience.”

“As technology gets faster and more and more advanced, there's also a movement in the other direction that is aiming to return to a more simple way of life. The "slow fashion" or "slow living" trends are increasing in popularity as people seek out meditative practices and peaceful, rewarding experiences in the midst of sensory overload in their daily lives.”

“The trend of more conscious consuming also has people getting more interested in creating their own wardrobes and being less frivolous with their clothing. That being said, our lives are busier than ever and in order to keep up with it we have limited time each day to dedicate to more thoughtful practices. I think crochet in particular has seen a lot of attention lately because of the speed that the craft offers.”

-- Two of Wands

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