Crochet patterns often include a chart of crochet symbols, either with or without accompanying written instructions. These symbols are a visual representation of the crochet pattern, each one representing a crochet stitch. Once you become familiar with them, crochet symbol charts provide a quick and easy way to visualise how a crochet pattern is going to develop and what it will look like when it’s finished. It’s especially helpful if you are a visual learner and find images easier to understand than written instructions, or if you want to try a crochet pattern that is written in another language.
Standard Crochet Symbols
The first step to understanding crochet symbols is to learn what the symbols mean. Most patterns will include a symbol key so that you can refer to it as you work through the pattern. Helpfully, the symbols often look like the stitch it represents. For example, a chain stitch is an oval. You can see a list below:
How To Read A Crochet Chart
Crochet patterns that are worked backwards and forwards in rows will be represented by a chart that is followed by starting at the bottom right-hand corner. Right side rows will be worked from right to left, and wrong side rows will be worked from left to right. Crochet patterns that are worked in the round, such as the Granny Square pattern shown below, start at the centre and work outwards in an anti-clockwise direction.
You can see in this example of a Granny Square above, the chart begins with a Magic Ring, represented by the swirl at the centre. Three chains are then worked, indicated by the three ovals, before then making seven treble crochet stitches into the Magic Ring. You make a slip stitch to close the round and then move to round 2. Continue to take one symbol at a time, while also keeping an eye on how each round will unfold, and you will make good progress. When you first start learning how to read crochet symbol charts, it’s helpful to choose patterns that include written instructions as this will give you extra information and help you to understand what each of the symbols mean. And finally, it’s important to check whether a pattern uses UK or US crochet terms and symbols before you start. While the symbols generally look the same, the stitches they represent are different.