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

    1. Without seeing the whole pattern and the stitch counts it is hard to say. Maybe it means single crochet into the next 3 stitches, then increase, and then repeat those steps 4 more times (so 5 times total)? But I can’t be sure!


  1. I’m doing and amigurumi crochet pattern row 5 says -6.(sc) and is some how supposed to be (30) 2 rounds? How can that be? Not sure what the minus sign and the period mean in the pattern.


    1. Hi, I found you by doing a search for help with a particular issue with my first amigurimi and I was good until about line 9 of the pattern. I have frogged this thing so many times and reworked the latter. It just doesn’t matter how I do it doesn’t matter how many times I correct it I’m still coming up short.this is how it is written:
      Sc in the next 11 sts, inc, sc, inc, sc in the next 8 sts, inc, sc, inc, sc in the next 11 sts. (40 sc) Any help for ould be great. Thank you


      1. Hi Tracy! Hmmmm, well, the numbers add up (there are 40 stitches in the round). Maybe you aren’t starting with the correct number of stitches? Do you have 36 stitches before you start this round? Check that first! Then you have 4 increases in this round that you have written out for me, which would leave you with 40 stitches.


  2. I’m trying to make a baby seal but I’m a little lost at row 7 it says (inc, 2 sc)x6, 12 sc(36) do I do 1 increase and 2 single crochets and then 12 single crochets next??


    1. It looks like to me that you would repeat the (inc, 2 sc) 6 times before doing the last 12 sc stitches. So like this: inc, 2sc, inc, 2sc, inc, 2sc, inc, 2sc, inc, 2sc, inc, 2sc, 12 sc


      1. Hello! I came across a pattern for a cat amigurumi. But it says (1 sc, 1 inc)*8 (24). Does these mean that I have to repeat the 1 single crochet for a total of 24 sc 8 times (row)?


        1. Hello! It looks to me like you have to repeat what is inside the brackets 8 times, not just the sc. So, repeat 1 single crochet AND 1 increase a total of 8 times for that one row. Then you should have 24 stitches at the end of the row. It would be like this: 1 sc, 1 inc, 1 sc, 1 inc, 1 sc, 1 inc, 1 sc, 1 inc, 1 sc, 1 inc, 1 sc, 1 inc, 1 sc, 1 inc, 1 sc, 1 inc (24)

          Hope that helps!


  3. Sc in next 4 st, [2 sc in next st, sc in next st] 3 times, sc in
    next 6 st, [2 sc in next st, sc in next st] 3 times, sc in next 2 st
    i have try this so many times i cant get it


      1. Hi! I’m new to crocheting and the pattern I’m using has this step: 1: *sc, inc* (7x), 30 sc, *inc, sc* (7x). (72sc). Can you help me translate this?


        1. Hello Bryn. Welcome to crocheting! Hope you are enjoying the craft 🙂 It looks like for your pattern you repeat what is between the stars 7 times before moving on to the next instructions, so it would go something like this: sc, inc, sc, inc, sc, inc, sc, inc, sc, inc, sc, inc, sc, inc, 30 sc, inc, sc, inc, sc, inc, sc, inc, sc, inc, sc, inc, sc, inc, sc. That should then equal 72 stitches total at the end of the round. Hope that helps!


  4. Hello. My pattern says for trow 3: INC, SC, INC*3, SC INC*4 (12) So I’m thinking I do an increase, 2 SC in one stitch (an increase), then a SC in the next stitch, then -INC @3- i’m thinking is 2 SC (inc) in the next three stitches. Then a SC in the next stitch, then INC @2 so 2 SC in then next 2 stitches. however, I’m coming up with 14 stitches??? not 12. What am I doing wrong.


    1. Hello! Sorry you are struggling with a pattern. Without seeing the pattern it is difficult for me to say. Does the pattern have a description at the beginning telling you what each stitch means? Can you contact the designer of the pattern for help?

      Take care,


  5. Hi, Megan.

    I’m trying to do the Disney Zootopia crochet kit and this is my very first time crocheting. You probably already explained this is your previous tutorials, but I don’t want to read this wrong.

    Can you please explain what [inc, sc 8] two times (20) mean? This instruction is stated to be done in round 6, but the “two times” throws me off. Can you please help? Thank you in advance.


    1. Hi Shawna! The two times just means you do what is inside the brackets twice in a row. So, if you write it out fully, you would: inc, sc 8, inc, sc 8

      That totals 20 stitches for the entire round: 2 stitches for the increase, 8 single crochet stitches, 2 stitches for the increase, 8 single crochet stitches = 20 stitches

      Does that make more sense now?


  6. 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!


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