The anatomy of a crochet pattern
The title is what the designer or publisher named the pattern. Not always clear on what the item is.
II. Description & size.
A. Some patterns and magazines will write an ad-type description before the directions at the top of the pattern.
B. If an item is written for several different sizes, the smallest size is first , then the larger sizes are in brackets. For example: small (medium, large) chain 21(27,33). If you are making the small use the first number, and chain 21, if you are making the medium, use the first number inside the brackets and chain 27, if you are making a large, use the second number inside the brackets and chain 33.
III. Skill level.
Often indicated by stars or a dashed line; the more stars or dashes the more difficult the pattern. Different publishers have different descriptions of skill levels. Not always shown on a pattern.
Well written pattern will have the weight of the yarn as well as brand and color. It will note if you need buttons, buckles, elastic, purse handles, or slipper soles. etc.
How many stitches per inch or cm. Usually use the pattern stitch to determine gauge.
Gauge is most important when making garments.
ALWAYS CHECK YOUR GAUGE!
VI. Notes and special stitches.
This portion will tell you how to make the pattern repeats or form special stitches and increases and decreases.
Usually begins with a note saying where you are starting, then how many chains to make. Patterns usually are written row-by-row or round-by-round.
A. Brackets & Parentheses: In addition to noting directions for different sizes, parentheses are used for repeats. For example:" (2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc) 4 times." Do what is in the bracket the indicated number of times.
B. Stars: * ** & symbols # @ ^, etc. Marks the place for a repeat. Ignore the symbol and follow the directions until you come to the part that says to do the repeat for example: “repeat from * 3 times, then from * to ** once more.”
C. Pay attention to where the commas and periods are. Getting this wrong could change the whole look of the pattern.
D. Hyphenated terms. Describes the stitch instead of telling you to make the stitch. For example “make 3 dc in the next ch-1 sp” is not telling you to chain 1, it is telling you where to make the 3 dc.
This is a map or of the parts. Laid out with measurements. (not an actual schematic. It's just something I drew as an example)
Usually done for lace patterns. Made with symbols representing each stitch.
. Thanks to CraftGossip.com!
A grid with colors or symbols mapping out a design or picture.
The abbreviations for crochet terms. Not always shown in patterns.
Here are some standard abbreviations. Thanks to Teresa Richardson!