Crochet Terms: The Differences between US vs UK Crochet Terms Explained | thecrochetfox.com

Crochet Terms: The Differences between US vs UK Crochet Terms Explained

One of the things I love the most is surfing the internet for new crochet patterns from designers all over the world. Fun as it may be, this throws up a few issues when wanting to try out the crochet patterns. The main problem being the crochet terms.

In an ideal world, crochet terms would be standardized. Unfortunately, it is not so. There are some major differences between US and UK crochet terms. And if you get them mixed up, you will probably not end up with what you intended to crochet.

To make it even more confusing, both US and UK terms use the same stitch names. However, the catch is that it is the same name for different stitches. Here is an example:

US Term
 UK Term

Single crochet

Double crochet

Double crochet

 Treble crochet

What are the same US crochet terms and UK crochet terms?

There are only 2 terms that are the same in both American and British crochet patterns:

US Term
UK Term

How to

Chain (ch)

Chain (ch)

  • Yarn over hook

  • Draw up hook

Slip stitch (sl st)

Slip stitch (sl st)

  • 1 turning chain

  •  Insert hook into stitch

  • Yarn over hook

  • Pull yarn through stitch and loop on hook in one movement

What are the differences between US and UK crochet terms?

The main difference between US and UK crochet stitch names is that the British terms always have one number higher than the American term.

Why you may ask?

In US terms, you count the number of yarn overs (yo) when pulling up your first loop. Conversely, in UK terms, you count the number of loops on your hook.

Confused?

To make it easier for you, we have included a table below that not only gives you the different terms but also how you perform the stitch.

US Term
UK Term

How to

Single crochet (sc)

Double crochet (dc) 

  • 1 turning chain

  • Insert hook into stitch

  • Yarn over hook

  • Draw up a loop

  • Yarn over hook

  • Pull yarn through both (2) loops

Half double crochet (hdc)

Half treble crochet (htr)

  • 2 turning chains

  • Yarn over hook

  • Insert hook into stitch

  • Yarn over hook

  • Draw up a loop (3 loops on hook)

  • Yarn over hook

  • Pull yarn through all 3 loops

Double crochet (dc)

Treble crochet (tr)

  • 3 turning chains

  • Yarn over hook

  • Insert hook into stitch

  • Yarn over hook

  • Draw up a loop (3 loops on hook)

  • Yarn over hook

  • Pull through 2 loops

  • Yarn over hook

  • Pull yarn through remaining 2 loops

Treble crochet (tr)

Double treble crochet (dtr)

  • 4 turning chains

  • Yarn over hook twice

  • Insert hook into stitch

  • Yarn over hook

  • Draw up a loop (there are now 4 loops on the hook)

  • Yarn over hook

  • Pull through 2 loops

  • Yarn over hook

  • Pull through 2 loops

  • Yarn over hook

  • Pull yarn through the last 2 loops

Double treble crochet (dtr)

Triple treble crochet (ttr)

  • 5 turning chains

  • Yarn over hook three times

  • Insert hook into stitch

  • Yarn over hook

  • Draw through stitch (there are now 5 loops on the hook)

  • Yarn over hook

  • Pull through 2 loops (there are now 4 loops on the hook)

  • Yarn over hook

  • Pull through 2 loops

  • Yarn over hook

  • Pull yarn through 2 loops

  • Yarn over hook

  • Pull yarn through the last 2 loops

Double crochet cluster (dc-cl)

Treble cluster (tr-cl)

  • Yarn over hook

  • Insert hook into stitch

  • Yarn over hook

  • Draw up a loop

  • Yarn over hook

  • Pull yarn through 2 loops

  • Yarn over hook

  • Insert hook into same stitch

  • Yarn over hook

  • Draw up a loop

  • Yarn over hook

  • Pull through 2 loops

  • Yarn over hook

  • Pull yarn through remaining 3 loops

Gauge

Tension

Gauge (tension) is the number of stitches and rows per inch (or centimeter) that result from a specified yarn worked with a specified crochet hook size. For more information on gauge, please see our article: name+link

Yarn over (yo)

Yarn over hook (yoh)

Bring yarn over hook from back to front and grab it with hook.

Skip (sk)

Miss

Do not work into the next stitch(es) that the pattern tells you to skip (miss). Instead work into the following stitch after the skipped (missed) stitch(es).

How do you determine which terms your crochet pattern uses?

Unfortunately, not all pattern designers tell you whether they have used US crochet terms or UK crochet terms. So, what do you do then?

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The easiest is to skim through the pattern and see if the term “single crochet” is mentioned. This term is not used in British patterns, so you most likely have an American pattern if this term has been used. The exception being vintage crochet patterns.

But, what if no “single crochets” are mentioned in the pattern? If that is the case, you will need to dig a bit deeper.

Does the pattern ask you to “miss” stitches instead of “skip” stitches? That is another good indicator that the crochet pattern uses British terms. Another clue might be the word “tension”. If the pattern refers to tension instead of gauge, then it is most likely British (see note on Canadian patterns below).

Another way to check whether your pattern is using US or UK terms is to check out the spelling. Here is a couple of examples:

  • Color (US) vs colour (UK)
  • Gray (US) vs grey (UK)

What about Canadian and Australian crochet patterns?

Whereas most crochet patterns tend to be either American or British, there are also some great designers in Canada and Australia.

Australian pattern designers tend to use UK terms. Conversely, Canadian designers tend to use US terms. However, you may find that Canadian patterns use the phrase “tension” for “gauge”. They may also use the UK term “yarn over hook (yoh)” instead of the US term “yarn over (yo)”.

Do you love crocheting vintage patterns?

There are so many beautiful vintage crochet patterns you can get your hands on. Unfortunately, they will often not state the terms they are using.

However, they are often written by British or Australian designers, so start by looking for the terms that are characteristic for British patterns.

Tip for Successfully Translating Crochet Terms

If you have determined that the pattern you want to crochet is using terms that you are not familiar with, you will need to translate them.

Just translating the terms in your head can easily become confusing, so it might be better to print out the pattern. Then you can make changes on the paper copy with a pen or pencil.

Luckily, nowadays many pattern designers publish their patterns in both terminologies. So, even if you do have to translate older patterns, going forward you will hopefully need to translate less and less crochet patterns.

Now that you’ve read about the important differences between US and UK crochet terms, why not check out this article about getting your crochet gauge right: Crochet Gauge: The Ultimate Guide to Getting Gauge Right.

One Comment

  1. I am working on a vintage pattern that uses terms I’m not familiar with, I’m trying to do some guess work but it’s not working out. The two that I need help for are: 2sc widening, and sc in next 2d st. The word widening I’m guessing could be – increase. The second one could refer to d for double, but I don’t have any double crochet in this pattern as of yet. Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated. My daughter-in-law picked out this pattern and I would hate to disappoint her.

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