How to Read a Crochet Chart
When I looked at my first crochet chart, I saw a lot of lines that made up a rather lovely piece of crocheted art. I had no idea what any of the symbols meant or represented; however, the desire to learn was there. If you find yourself on my blog and reading this post, then I hope you too have a desire to know more about crochet charts. I’m by no means an expert but with the symbols chart that I’ve compiled, I hope it can provide you with a reliable and easy-to-read beginner crochet chart symbols guide. If you would like to view the standardized crochet chart symbols Crochet Council has a standardized list.
Crochet Chart Language
Crochet charts are a wonderful universal language for all crocheters; because, no matter what language is spoken or written, the crochet symbols never change. A good way of thinking of it is by comparing US Crochet terms, UK Crochet terms, and Japanese Crochet terms. All three have different written ways of saying the same word. i.e. US = Single Crochet, UK = Double Crochet, Japanese = 単一のかぎ針編み. But with a crochet chart, single crochet is always either a small + or an x regardless of the author’s written language.
The symbols are designed in a way that best shows what the stitch looks like. A single crochet is squished down, whereas a double crochet is taller and more stretched out.
When you look at a double crochet you see a line going through the middle of the T, that is one yarn over. For a treble crochet, it’s two lines. The number of lines you see crossing the T is the number of yarn overs you need. So if there are, say, 5 lines going through the T, you know there are 5 yarn overs needed. This is nice because the lines don’t require you to know a specific stitch name.
Unless the symbol is shown as a cluster stitch it’s always assumed that you’ll yarn over and pull through 2 loops until you’re left with a single loop on your crochet hook. If the stitch is shown as a cluster stitch then that’s when you pull through all the loops on the hook. The only exception to this is the half-double crochet the yarn over isn’t shown on the symbol.
Decreasing and Increasing
Decreasing is shown by the use of 2 or more stitches with a line at the top. The crochet chart symbols key shows only 2 stitches being decreased but the same principle is used for decreasing 3 or more stitches together.
Increasing is similar to a decrease, minus the line. Increasing can be shown for any amount of stitches. You can see the number of increased stitches by how many are joined at the bottom. In addition, the amount of stitch increases isn’t limited to any specific number.
Chains are represented as ovals because they look like ovals, more so when they’re crocheted into. They can be represented in many forms like turning chains, foundation chains, and starter chains.
Turning chains are worked between each row at the beginning; it’s meant to be a transition stitch. So if you’re working with tall stitches like half-double, double, treble, etc. there isn’t an awkward slope at the beginning of each row.
Starter chains are the first row of a project. You chain a certain amount of stitches then crochet into those chains the next row.
An alternative to a starter chain is the foundation chain. If you dislike crocheting into starter chains (like me) then a foundation chain is a fantastic alternative. It works your starter chain and second row of chains simultaneously.
Front Posts and Back Posts
At first, the symbols for the front posts and back posts look the same. However, their difference is with which way the curve is pointing. The front post is pointing clockwise. Telling you to stick your hook from the front side of a stitch around the back to the other front side of the same stitch. It sounds complicated but I promise it’s super easy once you try it out.
It’s pretty much the same with a back post. Except you’re putting your hook through the back of your stitch, around the front, to the other backside of the stitch. A really good beginner stitch to get the hang of front posts and back posts is the waffle stitch. I LOVE waffle stitch blankets, especially with rainbow colours. A waffle stitch is a nice relaxing pattern to follow, especially if you’re working on a more complex pattern, the waffle stitch gives a nice mental break.