Some crochet patterns include a chart to help with stitch placement but to the uninitiated they can look complex and confusing. Worry not – we’re here to demystify these helpful pattern additions.
A crochet symbol diagram is in essence an X-ray of the finished crocheted item. With the advent of digital illustration software, and paper and ink that result in crisper images and clear symbols, crochet diagrams are now becoming more and more popular as they match the visual layout of the stitches themselves, and it’s not much of a stretch to picture in the mind’s eye what a crocheted piece will look like after studying a diagram.
HOW TO READ A CHART
First up, find your key. While you may recognise some of the symbols if you’ve used charts before, different people draw charts differently, and what meant a treble stitch before may mean a half treble now. It will also contain any special information needed to make sense of the chart.
The chart above is for the Patchwork Heart Cushion in issue 1 and has just two types of stitch – your foundation chain and double crochet. The chart simply presents a visual way of seeing when to change colour for the two-colour squares.
You read a crochet chart from bottom to top when worked in rows, or from the inside out when working in rounds. Rows are worked from right to left first, then left to right, continuing as set unless otherwise stated, while rounds are worked anti-clockwise, as you would crochet them.
Small numbers with arrows signify where each round starts – helpful for making sense of more complex charts, while also giving a clue of where to fasten off and join in colours. If there’s a jump between where you end the row and where you start the next, there’s a good chance that the colour has changed – sometimes this is signified in the colouring of the chart, sometimes not!
The chart above is for the Starflower Throw in issue 1. This looks a lot more complex at first glance but once you start to understand the way charts work and what each symbol means, it makes a lot more sense.