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A Crocheter’s Guide to Pattern Reading- free download

How to Read a Crochet Pattern - from Shiny Happy World and FreshStitches

Do you know how to crochet, but feel like patterns are a foreign language? You’re not alone!

Many of us crocheters learn how to do the stitches from a family member or friend, and don’t learn to read the patterns until much later. And it’s true, reading a pattern can be scary… but well worth learning how! Once you can read crochet patterns, you’ll be able to make anything!

The patterns you find here at Shiny Happy World are written in a little more “plain English” than you may see elsewhere – but we still use abbreviations and common conventions. I’ll walk you through the instructions for making Howie the Penguin’s wings below. (Howie is a free pattern you can find here.)

The instructions are in regular black text. The “translation” is below it in pink. 🙂 If there’s a link in the translation, that’s taking you to a tutorial demonstrating that skill.


Make 2.

This is just telling you that you need to make two wings. Make one from start to finish – then make a second one just like it.

With MC, ch 2

With the main color of yarn, chain two.

Round 1 sc 6 times in 2nd ch from hook (6)

The instructions number each round in the project. Single crochet 6 times in the second chain from the hook. The 6 in parentheses tells you that there are 6 total stitches in this round.

Round 2 sc twice in each st (12)

Single crochet twice in each stitch (that’s an increase), for a total of 12 stitches in round 2.

Rounds 3-4 sc in each st (12, 2 rounds)

This line of instructions applies to two rounds. Single crochet in each stitch for a total of twelve stitches, and repeat for a total of two rounds.

Round 5 [sc twice in next st, sc in next st] 6 times (18)

These brackets look scary, but they’re actually easy. They just tell you that everything in the brackets will be repeated. So for round 5, single crochet twice in the next stitch, then single crochet one in the next stitch. Repeat that sequence [single crochet twice in the next stitch, then single crochet once in the next stitch] for a total of 6 times. It will be a total of 18 stitches in the round.

Rounds 6-9 sc in each st (18, 4 rounds)

Single crochet in each stitch for a total of 18 stitches in the round. And repeat that round for a total of 4 rounds.

Round 10 [sc2tog, sc in next st] 6 times (12)

Single crochet 2 together (that’s a decrease), and then single crochet in the next stitch. Repeat that sequence for a total of 6 times. There should be 12 stitches total in the round.

Fasten off with long tail.

You’re done! Fasten off, but don’t cut your yarn short. Leave a tail of at least a foot.

That one little pattern for a wing includes most of the major conventions you’ll run into in patterns. It has starting, fastening off, increasing, decreasing, repeating sections, and repeating rows. Beyond that – or for patterns from other companies who abbreviate a bit more or use different abbreviations – this tip sheet will help you out a lot.

Click here to download this page as a pdf (much better resolution)!

Now that you can read crochet patterns, what are you going to make?

Here are handy links to all the posts about working with crochet patterns. . .

Return to the main table of contents for Let’s Learn to Crochet Amigurumi.

Move on to the lessons for working the first round of your crochet pattern.

Happy stitching!


  1. Jackie SAYS...

    Very nice! Printed! Thank you!

  2. Seven SAYS...

    I just have to say I love this. do you have it for knitter. Love it love it love it

  3. Tata SAYS...

    I dont understand the abbreviation of “1 VP” or “1CP”
    “PSN -polustolbik with trebles” . I red this word from Italian chochet pattern which were translated in English and can’t understand what it means, please help. Thankyou

    • Hi Tata- Hmm, that sounds like a translation might have gone wrong, because those aren’t typical English abbreviations. I would attempt to contact the designer/translator of the pattern.

      • Tata SAYS...

        Thank you for your reply, Stacey.
        I got this “crocheted doll Suzette DIY pattern” from which may be originated by Italian, so I couldn’t understand translation has been translated by auto googleweb. Could you please help to find out if there is the English pattern?

        • Hi Tata-
          My suggestion would be to find a crochet Italian phrasebook, and attempt to read the original Italian terms. Terms are probably something that Google Translate doesn’t handle very well.

          • Tata SAYS...

            thank you, I will try to copy some phrases in Italian, and send to you for translation, it’s ok for you to help me?

          • I’m sorry, Tata, but I don’t provide pattern support for patterns written by others. I would recommend finding a crochet instructor local to you that you could hire for such detailed help.

  4. Debrenia SAYS...

    Hi Tata, don’t know if you have found “PSN -polustolbik with trebles or not but you can find a video on Youtube. Search polustolbik with trebles or copy and paste to Bing, I didn’t try Google it may work also. The pattern is Russian so the copy and paste woks better. The video is spoken in Russian but the demonstration is very good. I’ve already made one Pupa Suzette and starting another one. Also ” 1VP” sometimes called “air loop” is a simple chain stitch. Hope this helps.

  5. Barbara Biafore SAYS...

    Unable to find Free Koala Pattern Offer I received in email.

  6. Erica Bretherick SAYS...

    I downloaded a very useful hook conversion chart from here, I’m in UK and I wondered if you have a yarn conversion chart ? If not do you know where I can find one ? Google is not being helpful LOL

  7. Marianne Saraceno SAYS...

    Is there a pattern for the doll with curly hair shown in the header of this post?

  8. Kat SAYS...


    very helpful guide, thank you!

    Could you please help with these instructions: ” 1dc in second chain from hook, 1dc in each ch and in each st from previous row to end, turn (24)” .

    I am not sure what 1dc in each st from previous row means.

    Thank you!

    • Double crochet once in each stitch from the previous row.

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