How to read amigurumi patterns: Part 3

How to read amigurumi patterns part 3Continuing with how to read written amigurumi patterns, I will now take you through different ways to write the same instructions. Missed the first two parts of the series? Catch up here: Part 1 & Part 2.

There are no rules or specific guidelines that amigurumi designers must follow when writing up a pattern. I write mine the way I prefer to read patterns, with fewer words, so I know what I have to do at a glance. You won’t often see “make x stitches in the next x stitches” in my patterns. I don’t like having to find the numbers within the words to learn how many stitches I need to make. But, some designers prefer to write more words in order to explicitly tell the reader the exact stitch to work into, removing all ambiguity. I get the benefits of this method, too.

But then, it isn’t just the number of words that can differ from pattern to pattern, but the symbols used and positioning of numbers. Some designers write the number of stitches before the stitch type (ex. 3 sc), while others write it after (ex. sc 3). For some patterns ‘2 sc’ means ‘make 1 single crochet into the next 2 stitches’, but for others it means ‘make 2 single crochet stitches into the next stitch’.

There are also several ways to write out how to repeat a sequence of stitches. In the last post in this series I showed how I use brackets (you simply repeat what is inside the brackets a certain number of times). Other patterns will indicate a repeat using a * instead. In this case, you repeat whatever follows the * a certain number of times, after already crocheting it once. For example:

*inc, 3 sc. Repeat from * 5 times (30)

Written out fully, this means: inc, 3 sc, inc, 3 sc, inc, 3 sc, inc, 3 sc, inc, 3 sc, inc, 3sc (30).

The tricky thing about this method is that the number of repeats (in this case, 5 times) is not the total number of times you do the repeat, but the total number minus 1, because you already made one of the repeats! The pattern is indicating how many MORE times you need to repeat the sequence of stitches after already crocheting the sequence once.

Let’s go through some more examples of different instructions. The first line of each will show how I write an instruction, followed by examples of how other designers may write the same thing.

  • 3 sc
    • sc in next 3 sts
    • sc 3
    • 3 x sc
  • inc in each st around (12)
    • sc twice in each st. (12)
    • (sc 2 in next st) 6 times (12)
    • 6 x inc (12)
    • inc rep (12)
    • inc 6 times (12)
    • 2 sc in each st around (12)
    • [inc] around (12)
    • inc x6 = 12 sts
  • (dec, 5 sc) 6 times
    • *sc2tog, sc in next 5 sts. Repeat from * 5 times.
    • (sc2tog, sc in next 5 sts) 6 times
    • *Dec, Sc 5*, rep 6 times (note: in this case, the two *’s act like brackets)
    • dec, 5 sc rep
    • (sc2tog, sc in next 5 sc) to end
    • [dec, sc 5] around
    • (1 dec, sc in next 5 sts) x6
  •   (inc, 4 sc) 6 times
    • *sc twice in next stitch, sc in next 4 sts. Repeat from * 5 times.
    • (sc 2 in next stitch, sc in next 4 sts) 6 times
    • *Inc, Sc 4*, rep 6 times (note: in this case, the two *’s act like brackets)
    • (2sc in next sc, sc in next 4 sc) to end
    • *inc, 4 x sc* x 6
    • [inc, sc 4] around
    • [inc, sc 4] 6x
    • (2 sc in next st, sc in next 4 st) six times
    • (1 inc, sc in next 4 sts) x6
  • 4 sc, 3 inc
    • sc in next 4 sts, *sc twice in next stitch. Repeat from * 2 times
    • sc in next 4 sts, [sc twice in next stitch] 3 times
    • sc 4, inc x 3
    • sc 4, [inc] 3 times
  • 6 dec
    • *Sc2tog. Repeat from * 5 times.
    • (sc2tog) 6 times
    • dec 6 times
    • [dec] around
    • [dec] 6x

There are even more ways to write each set of instructions than those listed here, but I hope these give you an idea of the variety that is out there and help you with deciphering a pattern you may be having trouble with.

There is no right or wrong way to write an amigurumi pattern, each method works, as long as it is clear within the pattern how to read it. Make sure you read the abbreviations key and notes at the beginning of each pattern you work with, and read the entire pattern thoroughly before beginning to crochet. These simple steps may save you some time and frustration in the long run.

Happy amigurumi making! Let me know if you have any questions on reading patterns.

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Until next time,

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3 thoughts on “How to read amigurumi patterns: Part 3

  1. This is a great article Megan! I am the same as you. I like a brief pattern so I can see at a glance what I need to crochet next. The problem I found is that when I wrote like that, people would email me asking for explanations! So I have started writing it out in a longer explanation. Perhaps it comes down to the experience of the person crocheting? Thanks for taking the time to write these articles. Love getting your newsletter!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Louise! I have not had many emails about how to read my patterns (maybe 1?), but then I do have a little explanation within each pattern on my style of writing, so maybe that helps? I agree, though, it likely depends on the skill level of the crocheter reading the pattern. Some people love more detailed patterns!

      Like

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