Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Crochet terms

We're into the purple again today,
"England and America are two countries separated by a common language."

George Bernard Shaw

Irish dramatist, socialist (1856 - 1950)

Oh, yes? GBS was obviously given to a spot of crochet now and then. To the bafflement of many a person new to crochet not only do they have to untangle hook from yarn but learn two new languages at the same time.

Crochet terms are confusing. Before you start any pattern you need to work out what language it's written in. American, English or Japanese. Some of the best Japanese patterns are shown in crochet symbols. It's all a bit bewildering if you're just starting off.

Some of the best advice I've read was from Edie Eckman. It's important to realise;

Crochet is made up of just three movements.
  1. Put your hook somewhere
  2. Wrap your yarn around the hook
  3. Pull the hook through something
She makes it sound so easy. Experts always do. With experience you can use these movements in an endless variety of ways. Using different materials, colours, hooks and stitches you can come up with original work every time.

Before you get that experience you need to know the basics.

Put your hook somewhere first. Start with a knot. No need for a hook you can tie this with your hand.

Poke your hook through it.

Wrap the wool around the hook once and pull it through the knot.

This is called a chain stitch (ch).

Your pattern will tell you how many you need to make.

To make a ring you poke your hook through the first stitch you made,

Wrap your wool around the hook and pull the hook through both the stitches to close the ring

In patterns you'll see that as slip stitch (sl st) into the first chain (ch) to form a circle.

Those two terms are common in English and American

The most common stitches you'll find are double crochet and treble crochet and this is where it all gets complicated. I'll show you in a chart.

English/ American

chain stitch  (ch)  chain stitch   (ch)
slip stitch   (sl st)  slip stitch    (sl st)
double crochet (dc) single crochet (sc)
treble crochet   (tr)  double crochet (dc)
half treble crochet (htr)  half double crochet (hdc)
double treble crochet (dtr)  treble crochet  (tr)
triple treble crochet (tritr)  double treble  (dtrc) 

As you see it all goes weird with the English double crochet and American single crochet. There is no single crochet in English terms.

I always think it's easiest to think of the stitches as the number of loops you have on your hook. This is why I use English terms.

double crochet -
poke your hook in, wrap the wool over, pull through - 2 loops on the hook, wool over the hook and pull through the 2 loops.

treble crochet - 
wool over hook, poke the hook in, wrap the wool over, pull through - 3 loops on the hook, wool over hook, pull through two loops, yarn over again, pull through last two loops.

Good patterns will tell you what terms they are using. Free pattern sites often don't. Great free patterns can be found at Garn Studio which is great for knitting and crochet. It gives a choice of terms too.

Lion Brand is also a good site for patterns and for tutorials. It also has a stitch section. This uses American terms only.

Have fun with it and let me know how you get on.

Hopefully a bit better than me and Blogger today. it's decided to reformat everything I've done! Plus it hasn't let me preview. So if you've come to me and the page has been a mess you know why!




Mary Jane's TEAROOM said...

As someone who intends to learn to crochet this is a nice clear explanation....I bought the 'Happy Hooker' last year and this whole thing seemed so confusing!....I have to be honest and say it did put me off...although I still intend to have a go in the Summer..
I couldn't do a preview either the end I pressed publish and hoped for the many Blogger problems at the moment!
Susan x

Baban Cat said...

Frustration all around today. My camera is useless at closeups, I had poor internet connection so it kept dropping, Blogger playing up. Oh blogger!
You do such lovely knitting so crochet will come as a shock. You work with a single stitch so no unravelling. Give it a go.
Cat x