3 Myths About Reading Crochet Patterns that Simply Aren’t True

3 myths about reading crochet patterns that simply aren't true

Myth #1 : “I only know 2 stitches, I can’t work with written patterns”

Myth #2: “I’m a visual learner, written patterns won’t work for me”

Myth #3: “Working with patterns will block my creativity”

Have you ever found yourself using one of these excuses to hide behind and avoid diving into reading crochet patterns? You’re not the only one. I see those pop up ALL the time! And if I’m being honest, I’ve hidden behind them for way too long.

I don’t want you to miss out on the magical universe of crochet patterns for as long as I did! In this post I’m debunking these myths and hopefully giving you the confidence to start working with crochet patterns.

No time right now? Pin this post for later!

read crochet pattern roadmap

Myth #1: I only know 2 stitches, I can’t use a pattern

This one is a big one! So many people think you need to learn all the stitches before you can start making projects from a pattern. But that’s completely false. So many gorgeous patterns only use one or 2 basic stitches !

Here are a few examples:

With only 3 stitches: the chain, single crochet and double crochet you can make all of these projects! And if you only know the single crochet stitch you can already make 5 of them.

Don’t let the wide variety of stitches scare you away from working with crochet patterns!

How do you know which stitches are involved in a pattern?

My favorite trick for this is to look at the list of abbreviations. Since all basic stitches are abbreviated throughout the pattern, the list of abbreviations will give you a clear idea of what to expect. If there are several stitches you don’t know in the list, you might want to go back to your search and look for something simpler. But if it’s just one or 2, this is a great opportunity to learn new stitches! (a quick Youtube search will give you plenty of video tutorials to learn these new to you stitches).

If more advanced stitches are used, these will generally be explained in a Special Stitches section. No need to panic though, as advanced stitches are made by combining the basic stitches in different ways. Once you’re comfortable with the basic stitches, you’ll easily learn how to combine them to form the more complicated stitches. In addition, good patterns will give detailed explanations or refer to a separate tutorial for more advanced stitches.

Myth #2: I’m a visual learner, patterns won’t make sense to me

For stitches and techniques, I totally agree, a quick video is so much faster to learn and understand than a wordy description. But for a complete design, they are nearly impossible to get complete. A lot of videos don’t give you the final dimensions, gauge, sizing but dive right into the step-by-step instructions. However, knowing these and taking them into account when you crochet a project is crucial to your project’s success.

Nowadays, a lot of written crochet patterns also have step-by-step pictures and/or links to video tutorials for specific stitches and techniques. These are great patterns to start out with so you can transition to written patterns without all the frustration and confusion.

Learning to read patterns is like learning any new skill, it doesn’t always come naturally but with a little practice, perseverance, and the right approach, you can do it! My FREE Master Crochet Patterns Roadmap is going to help you avoid the pitfalls that I spent so much time in (two steps forward, one step back all the way!) and give you the [6-step] process for following a crochet pattern successfully. This roadmap literally shows you the exact steps you should take (and in what order!) + common mistakes to avoid to go from a tangled mess of yarn to a pretty project that actually looks like the pattern pictures.

Myth #3: Patterns block your creativity

Patterns should be a source of inspiration. You never have to follow a pattern from A to Z. There’s no one behind your shoulder, ready to yell at you if you decide to change something. You’re always free to tweak and adapt it to your vision and make it your own.

In addition, patterns are great for learning new skills, techniques or constructions you didn’t know where possible. Every time I use a pattern I nearly always learn something new, then I get obsessed and instantly get 5 project ideas using said technique or construction.

For me, it’s quite the opposite. I find patterns to be a great source of creativity. Whether it’s a stitch, a detail, a technique, I find working with a pattern a great source of creativity. It gives you a canvas for you to paint on.

Even while following the pattern to a T you can still express your creativity by your choice of colors and yarn. Actually, your choice of pattern in itself is already a personal creative choice.

Bonus Myth #4: I need to be good at math to read patterns

Patterns can look like a lot of math. When you’re working with a pattern that has many sizes and has a lot of shaping, there are quickly numbers all over the page.

It can be so intimidating at first! I used to skim through a pattern and run away as quickly as I could just because I felt overwhelmed by all the numbers. And I’m a Math person (with a background in electromechanical engineering), I actually like numbers.

What you need to understand is that the designer did all the math for you. You only need to follow the numbers, not calculate anything. In my workshop, Proficient in Patterns, I share all the tricks to make the numbers less overwhelming and easier to follow.

Actually, as a pattern user, if you meet gauge* you don’t need to do any math at all.

*your gauge is how many stitches and how many rows you have (using your selected yarn, hook and stitch) in a 10 cm or 4โ€ square

It’s only when you start tweaking the design or gauge that you need to run some simple calculations (no need to panic here either, pinky promise!) to make your project work out. No need to get ahead of yourself though! Start by getting familiar with following patterns before you go and make changes.

Now that you know these myths aren’t true, are you ready to get started with reading crochet patterns? Grab my roadmap below to get started NOW.

read crochet pattern roadmap
free knitting and crochet cheatsheets

You Might Also Like

  • Cindy Mitchell
    May 11, 2021 at 10:53 pm

    I like learning any of the new stitches used in a pattern. I make a 4×4 square to become familiar with them before starting the pattern of makes it easier for me. No need to stop midway to figure out what I have to do.

  • Miriam A Olsen
    May 11, 2021 at 11:21 pm

    The part about math isn’t always true. I have had many poorly written patterns that I have had to figure out the math on because either the designer wrote down the directions incorrectly or didn’t include a stitch count at the end of a row. It depends on the pattern and the designer.

  • Tweet