I’ve been teaching crocheting for over twenty years, ranging in age from a very motivated seven year girl to a my oldest student who was 91. They all eventually learn to read patterns and become familiar with the stitches, but one of the things that seems to confuse my students are the unwritten rules in crocheting. The rules that all pattern writers just assume that you are aware. So this is written with the intention that it can be printed out and used for reference to all the new crocheter’s out there.
Rule 1: Turning Chains
Turning chains are used to bring the work to the same height as the stitches. They are made by a chain stitch with the size depending on the stitch.
sl = 0 ch; sc=1 ch; hdc=2 ch; dc=3 ch; tr=4ch; dtr=5ch; ttr=6ch and so forth. I am including a link for a more detailed post on this rule. (Tips about Turning Chains)
Rule 2: The first stitch does not always count as a stitch.
Unless the directions state otherwise, certain stitches do not count the turning chain as a stitch. The sl, sc, and hdc the turning chain does not count when you are counting these 3 stitches. For all other stitches, the turning chain counts at the first stitch, which means when you are crocheting the first stitch you are actually starting in the second stitch.
Rule 3: When you are crocheting the loop that is on your hook, it will never count as a stitch.
Rule 4: Working a stitch does not always mean you work through both loops.
Unless otherwise told always work both loops. However, if it says any of the following:
The front loop: It is when you work the loop that is on the front of your work, or the one closest to you.
The back loop: It is the one toward the back of your work, or the loop that is furthest from you.
The post: is the long part of the stitch which some refer to the the stem or the post of the stitch. You can either work a front or back crochet.
In-between stitches: This is when you work in-between the stitches of the row below.
For those of you who have been crocheting any length of time, these are rules I am sure you have already memorized. However, for those of you who have just started your journey I hope this helps to clarify some things for you.
I am planning on printing a copy of this to hand out to my future students and give it to them with the crocheting abbreviation handout.
Until next time keep those hooks flying.