Last week we talked about the basics of reading a pattern. Just when you thought you were getting a grasp on the abbreviations and terms in patterns, the world goes and throws another layer of difficulty at you. Not all countries use the same terms to describe the same stitches.
The US and Canadian patterns are basically the same, however, UK terms are slightly different. The easiest way to explain the differences is to show you in a chart.
|ch - chain||ch - chain|
|sl st - slip stitch||sl st - slip stitch|
|sc - single crochet||dc - double crochet|
|hdc - half double crochet||htr - half treble crochet|
|dc - double crochet||tr - treble crochet|
|tr - treble crochet||dtr - double treble crochet|
|dtr - double treble crochet||ttr - triple treble crochet|
As you can see, the terms start out the same at the top of the list with chain and slip stitch called by the same term in both countries. But then the two lists diverge. The Brits decided not to include the term single crochet in their crochet dictionary, but rather skipped right on to double crochet. So, if you are from North American crocheting from a crochet pattern written in the UK, when you read double crochet, you actually want to make a single crochet. When you read treble, you are going to work a double. And so forth. Our friends across the pond must learn what a single crochet is and then do their conversions to US terms.
While the conversion looks all clear and simple on the chart above, the execution of this feat is actually a little harder. The mental gymnastics involved in converting the terms as you go can be daunting, and you may find that more than once you forget to convert and use the wrong stitch. These mistakes will create some odd patches in your work if you do this too many times.
If the pattern is not too complicated, like an easy one or two row repeat with just a few basic sts, you can probably get away with sitting a conversion chart nearby and referring to it often until you get the hang of the pattern and no longer need the pattern or conversion chart.
For difficult patterns, you probably don’t want to spend days and weeks doing the mental gyrations necessary to crochet the pattern correctly. To avoid time-wasting, aggravating mistakes, I recommend you do some prep work before you begin your pattern. I print off the pattern or make a copy if it’s in a book, then use a bright-colored pen to go through the pattern and write the conversions over the top of the stitches that are different. I do all the hard thinking before I begin so I can relax and enjoy myself when I get hook in hand. That way I minimize mistakes and maximize the fun of working from a new pattern.