Knit black cowl with rainbow speckles on pretty girl, by Susan Carlson of Felted Button | Colorful Crochet Patterns

::How To-- Read ALL of the Pattern::

For me, I know that as a student in school, I typically "forgot" to read the instructions carefully on an assignment and often found myself half-way through it before realizing I was doing it all wrong! If you've ever had the same tendency with a crochet pattern--skipping over that beginning "boring" part--this post is FOR YOU!
 
I'm so tickled that Tracy of CrochetHappy, a talented crochet artist, is here as a guest today to share her expertise about reading patterns! (And a HUGE THANKS to Tracy in advance!!)
 
Hi, my name is Tracy!
I like to support Independent Crochet Designers and provide fresh new patterns for my readers!


I've got patterns on the brain today …


Do you always skip over the first half of a patterns directions and start at ‘the good stuff’?
How many of us actually read that top half of a pattern?


I’m a skimmer. I freely admit, I quickly skim across those top few instructions because I’m excited to get to the starting point where I make that magic loop and my hook meets yarn.


That has caused some problems for me though so I have learned to slow down and take a look at what the pattern designer has to say in that top portion. After all, they went to a lot of time and trouble to put it there. I should at least read it.


Guess what, it’s some pretty helpful information.


Here’s the top portion for one of my favorite scarf patterns:


Alana Lacy Scarf Copyright ©2010 CrochetDreamz.



Materials
1. DK weight, size 3 yarn. Cotton preferable. What If I didn’t read this and had already picked out a beautiful worsted weight yarn and had my heart set on it?
2. Hook G (4.25mm).  Would this size change if I used the worsted weight yarn? A G hook with that worsted might create stitches that are too tight for this pattern...try a larger hook.  
3. Yarn needle to weave in the tails


Gauge
2 shells = 4 inches long Here’s where I answer the questions above and it’s very simple. Make the time--crochet a swatch..a sample square. If 2 shells crocheted in that worsted = greater than 4 inches, your scarf is going to be bigger than the one designed.
Also..and this is a very big ‘Also’, Because every single person crochets with a different tension, you might need to change the size of your hook to obtain the gauge listed. Try different size hooks until you find one that produces the stitch the way you like it with a similar gauge size to the pattern.


Here’s where you have to decide:
    • Change yarn choice to a DK weight?  or  Stick with the Worsted weight and make adjustments to the pattern to accommodate the difference in size.
    • Find the proper hook size for this pattern...a G is specified but if you crochet tighter or looser than the designer, you may need to switch up, or down, a size to obtain the same gauge size.


Finished Measurements ...if you chose to switch to a DK weight yarn and you have found the right size hook to = gauge swatch size.. this is what you can expect.
58 inches long and 6 ½ inches wide not measuring the tassels. Just keep repeating the rows if you want to make it wider. Each row will add ¾ inches to the width. Let’s say you decided to make your scarf a shawl .. this will tell you how many more rows you will need to obtain the width.


Yardage
Takes around 250 yards. If you plan to make the scarf wider add 30 yards for each row. Each row adds ¾ inches to the width of your scarf. Not only does this tell you how much yarn you will need to make your scarf, but it also tells you how much it will take to make it wider for that shawl you've decided to do!


Stitch Abbreviations
~THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT~
Pattern is in standard American terms. Don’t just assume that the pattern is written in the terms of your own country. The internet has crossed borders, connecting us with our UK, AU, ND & Asian crochet counterparts. You REALLY must look at this portion carefuly now!
hdc- half double crochet
tr- triple crochet
sl st- slip stitch
ch- chain
sk- skip
st- stitch


I want to show you something ..
These 2 examples are taken from 2 patterns that I have in my personal stash/collection.
example 1 ..
    • Note - Instructions are given in UK/Australian terminology.
example 2 ..
    • Even though I am Australian, and thus supposedly use British Terminology, I find the US terminology makes more sense. So I use single, double, half-doubles and then trebles.
Really, would you have caught that if I hadn't pointed it out? If you are skimming, or ignoring the top half of your patterns, that answer is a great big NO.  


The difference between UK and US terms is tricky because they both use the same terminology .. but for different size stitches!
US single crochet = a UK double crochet
US double crochet = a UK triple crochet


So you might be just crocheting along, (having picked a DK weight yarn and using a G hook) thinking you are following the pattern exactly, and wondering why your scarf looks nothing like the one in the picture! If you are using US terminology in example 1, or UK terminology from example 2 .. it’s not going to look like that picture!


What about all the other things I typed in pink?? Ignoring any one of those things is going to give you a different result than what the pattern photo shows. Trust me on this .. I KNOW! Remember me admitting to being a ‘skimmer’? Yep, lessons learned and all that!


If you are willing to throw the dice and take a chance on what turns out, head straight for that magic circle and dive right in. Sometimes, that adds a bit of fun to it all!  
-BUT-
If it matters what the project looks like,  Slow Down .. Read the Instructions--ALL OF THE INSTRUCTIONS :)

 
Thanks, again, Tracy!
 
{On the Board} -- Creativity is intelligence having fun.--Albert Einstein
 
 

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