How to read crochet diagrams

A crochet diagram consists of symbols, 1 symbol = 1 stitch (or a group of stitches) - the symbol definition explains what kind of stitch it is/how it is worked. The diagram shows all stitches seen from the right side (unless otherwise specified).

A typical crochet diagram looks like this:

1: 1. A.1 is the name of the diagram and refers to the entire diagram - inside the square brackets. Everything inside the square brackets is 1 repeat of the diagram.
2: 2. This is the symbol definition, which explains how each symbol is worked.
Blue arrows: The symbol is worked in or around the stitch directly below itself in the diagram. Sometimes multiple stitches are worked in/around the same stitch.
Purple ovals and arrows: Not all stitches are worked in, for example: sometimes you work a chain stitch and the stitch below is skipped.

A crochet diagram is read opposite to how you would normally read: from right to left, from bottom to top. In other words: you start with the symbol in the bottom right corner, and work your way leftwards and upwards (see RED in diagram below).

If you are supposed to work several repeats of a diagram (ie: if it is to be repeated several times on the row/round), work until the end of the row of the diagram and begin again with the first symbol on the row.

Back and forth:

When you’re working back and forth every other row is worked from the right side and every other row is worked from the wrong side. When working from the wrong side the diagram has to be read the opposite way: from left to right (see red arrow from right side, and blue arrow from wrong side below).

The row typically starts with a given number of chain stitches - the number equals the height of the following stitch, and are included to ensure you are starting from the top of the following stitch (see green circles below). If the chain stitches are included in the diagram (as in this example) all stitches are worked exactly as they appear. Sometimes the pattern includes CROCHET INFORMATION at the top of the instructions, which tells you how many chain stitches to work at the beginning of every row, and whether these chain stitches are replacing the first stitch on row (or in addition). If the chain stitches are NOT included in the diagram: follow instructions under CROCHET INFORMATION.

In the round:

When working in the round, all rounds are worked from the right side: from right to left (see red arrows below). How the round begins and ends are often displayed in a diagram of its own (see A.2 below - green square). Similar to when working back and forth, the round starts with a given number of chain stitches, equal to the height of the following stitch. At the end of the round you typically join the beginning and end of the round with a slip stitch in the last of the chain stitches at the beginning (see blue square below). In other words: the chain stitches in A.2 = the beginning of the round, while the slip stitch in A.2 = the end of the round.

If you are supposed to work several repeats of the diagram (A.1) (ie, it is repeated several times on the round) you work until the last stitch, and then begin again with the first stitch on the same row in A.1. NOTE: in this example it is ONLY A.1 that is repeated, A.2 shows how the beginning and end of the entire round is worked.

Several different diagrams worked consecutively on the row/round:

If you’re working several different diagrams after each other on the same row/round, work as follows: Work 1st row in diagram 1, continue with 1st row in diagram 2, then 1st row in diagram 3 etc. REMEMBER: if you’re working back and forth, the diagrams will have to be worked in the opposite order from the wrong side - ie: start with diagram 3, then diagram 2 and lastly diagram 1. They are also worked the opposite way, as usual.

Circular diagrams:

When working in a circle, ie you start in the middle and work your way outwards, this will often be displayed in a circular diagram. The diagram can either display the entire circle - in this case every symbol is worked exactly as it appears, or the diagram can display a fraction of a circle which is then repeated a given number of times to make a full circle.

Full circle:

In a full circle diagram you begin with the symbol in the middle of the circle: typically a small circle representing a given number of chain stitches, made into a ring with a slip stitch (see red circle below). Similar to when working in the round, the round begins with a given number of chain stitches (equal to the height of the next symbol) and ends with a slip stitch in the last of these chain stitches - ie: equivalent to A.2 in our previous example (see blue square) - NOTE: when the chain stitches are displayed in the diagram these do NOT replace any of the other symbols, and every symbol is worked exactly as they appear. If the chain stitches ARE replacing any stitch, this will have been removed from the diagram.

You work counter-clockwise: from right to left, 1 symbol after the other (see red arrow below). The stitches on the first round are typically worked AROUND the chain stitch ring, meaning you put the crochet hook THROUGH the middle of the chain stitch ring, pick up the strand and pull it back through the ring (working the stitch as usual) - You are not working the stitch IN any of the chain stitches, but rather AROUND the chain stitch ring. At the end of the round, join the beginning and end with a slip stitch, and start with the second round in the diagram: the second closest to the middle (se green arrow).

Fraction of a circle:

If the diagram is only a fraction of a circle, this is because the fraction is repeated a given number of times in the round, to make a full circle. You begin with the symbol at the bottom (see red circle) and work the same way as for FULL CIRCLE, but A.2 will be repeated a given number of times in the round. Similar to when working in the round there is typically a separate diagram illustrating how the round begins and ends (see A.1, blue square below). You begin with the diagram row closest to the chain stitch ring at the bottom, work the chain stitch(es) in A.1, then work the symbol(s) in A.2 (in the first round it is only 1 symbol) and repeat the symbol(s) in A.2 the number of times stated in the pattern.

At the end of the round you join the round with the slip stitch in A.1. When the first round is completed, continue with the next round: second closest to the chain stitch ring (see green arrow below).

Square diagrams / color diagrams:

Some crochet diagrams are displayed in a square diagram, where 1 square = 1 stitch. What type of stitch is worked will typically be explained in the pattern instructions, while the purpose of the diagram is to display what colors the stitches are worked in (see red circle below = symbol definition).

You work as explained above, depending on whether you work BACK AND FORTH, IN THE ROUND or a CIRCULAR DIAGRAM.

Comments (110)

Nadege wrote:

Bonjour, Merci pour l'explication. Je me demandais si on pouvait dessiner un animal à plat sur une feuille, puis transformer ce dessin en diagramme ? J'essaie de reproduire un petit chien que j'ai, mais je ne trouve aucun tuto correspondant à la forme du chien :(

24.02.2023 - 23:43:

DROPS Design answered:

Bonjour Nadège, désolée pour le retard de la réponse. On peut fort probablement faire ce genre de choses, demandez conseil à votre magasin (même par mail) ou bien sur notre groupe DROPS Workshop. Bon crochet!

08.03.2023 - 13:13:

Juliana Northrop wrote:

I am trying to work the shawl in DROPS 214-7 , but I am stuck on diagram A.3 . The pattern says "Work A.2, A.3 (= 4 times in width), A.4 over the tip, ..." What does "= 4 times in width" mean? Am I supposed to work diagram A.3 4 times? If I did, that would only give me twelve stitches. I need sixteen stitches to get to the tip where I work diagram A.4. What should I do? Please help!

23.02.2023 - 14:29:

DROPS Design answered:

Dear Mrs Northrop, this means you have to repeat the 3 sts in A.3 a total of 4 times = work A.3 over the next 12 stitches. Diagrams should be worked from bottom up, ie start first row with row after the one with a star (reading bottom up). Happy crocheting!

23.02.2023 - 15:25:

Jeanet wrote:

Jeg er ved at hækle det sjal der hedder “Alberte autumn” Jeg er nu ved første udtagning på diagram A.5b. Jeg kan ikke forstå hvordan jeg tager 48 masker ud ved at hækle 1 fm ekstra på hver side af de 12 markeringer, - det bliver da kun 24, - eller ?

16.02.2023 - 11:42:

DROPS Design answered:

Hei Jeanet. Regner med at du mener “Alberta autumn” som du finner i DROPS 197-30 og ikke “Alberte autumn” som du skriver. Ved PIL 1 står det at du skal øke 2 fastmasker på HVER side av merketrådene. Du har 12 merketråder og ved å øke 2 masker på hver side blir det 4 økte masker ved hver merketråd = 4 x 12 = 48 økte masker. mvh DROPS Design

27.02.2023 - 07:18:

Jane wrote:

I am doing the French Market basket . Have finished body of the pattern. Now up to the section prior to straps. No idea how to read patter n A3 4 5 rows back and forth … I.e working 7 stitches of A4 the do A5 …., I am regretting taking this on …

07.02.2023 - 09:52:

DROPS Design answered:

Dear Jane, I feel so sorry I cannot find the pattern you are working on, would you please give us the pattern number? Thanks in advance for your comprehension.

07.02.2023 - 10:54:

Pierrette Ribeiro wrote:

Ich verstehe das Diagramm A1 vom So Charmung Taufkleid nicht. Was bedeuten die Zeichen II? Sie sind nicht im Diagramm erkärt, und was ist mit diesen Bögen? Mfg

30.01.2023 - 16:41:

DROPS Design answered:

Liebe Frau Ribeiro, welche Zeichnung meinen Sie? solche || finde ich in den Diagrammen nicht - können Sie uns bitte mehr sagen? Welche Bögen meinen Sie? Die bei der 2. Reihe A.1 z.B.. so ist jedes - eine Luftmasche. = 3 Lm am Anfang A.1B, 5 Lm zwischen jeder fM und 2 Lm am Ende A.1B - siehe auch dieses Video. Viel Spaß beim häkeln!

30.01.2023 - 16:48:

A H wrote:

Are the chart keys and symbols for US or UK terminology? \r\nFor example the double crochet and treble symbols in your \"how-to\" section do not look like the double crochet and treble symbols I am used to. \r\nAnd does your answer hold true for all your crochet patterns?

30.01.2023 - 02:02:

DROPS Design answered:

Dear A H, all our crochet patterns are both available with UK and with US crochet terminology, just make sure to choose the appropriage terminology by clicking on the scroll down menu below the photo and choose either English UK or English US. Happy crocheting!

30.01.2023 - 10:03:

Erica Black wrote:

Thanks for this explanation! I'm new to this whole crochet thing and the charts baffled me. Just finished a skirt for my daughter and I can't wait to try another one!

27.01.2023 - 14:07:

Phenixx wrote:

For the life of me I can\'t figure out the diagrams for shawl pattern 226-47\r\nOh well, maybe one day ... \r\n.

26.01.2023 - 22:27:

Erika wrote:

Habe angefangen den Rose Shawl Design Nr. 229-14 zu häkeln. Das Muster ( 8 Reihen )ist einmal in der Höhe gearbeitet. Wie muss ich jetzt ab (Wiederholung) Reihe 3 - Muster A.2, A.3 und A. 4 erweitern um in die Breite zu kommen? Was heißt A3 insgesamt 3x mehr in der Breite arbeiten??

24.01.2023 - 17:09:

DROPS Design answered:

Liebe Erika, jetzt häkeln Sie genauso wie zuvor mit A.2 am Anfang der Hinreihen, dann wiederholen Sie A.3 bis die 2 letzten Stäbchen (= über die nächsten 32 Maschen = 4 Rapporter A.3 je 8 M), dann häkeln Sie A.4. Und so wird es immer in der Höhe wiederholt mit jeweils mehr Rapporter A.3 zwischen A.2 und A.4. Viel Spaß beim häkeln!

25.01.2023 - 12:26:

Jane Coombes wrote:

I am trying to crochet the Drops belle bobble bag, which I love, but it's the most confusing pattern I have ever seen! Why can't you just explain in words? It seems many of your customers have the same problem. I have purchased your wool & am now very disappointed & will look for another pattern :-(

12.01.2023 - 22:33:

Lesley Wilkinson wrote:

I too fail with crochet diagrams. It took ages to find oblong shawl “Diamond Feather” I bookmarked months ago, and settled down to start this week. Disaster, it’s a diagram. I’ve tried & tried, & cried, read the tutorials, spoken to experts and scoured YouTube, sadly I can not make anything that resembles the photo of this beautiful shawl. DROPS pretty please, don’t ignore this portion of your followers, there is a word for excluding people who differ in how their brains works…

23.12.2022 - 11:35:

Miriam wrote:

I am interested in the crochet pattern Flora viola but am not proficient at reading diagrams nor do I understand how long the yoke is before doing the sleeves front and back. Is it possible to get the written pattern instead of just diagrams?

11.12.2022 - 23:11:

DROPS Design answered:

Dear Miriam, the format is only available as published, we don't make custom patterns. You can check all of the garment's measurements in the measurement schematic, found under the crochet diagrams (you can see how to read it here: Happy crocheting!

12.12.2022 - 00:06:

Cheyenne wrote:

Hallo ik heb een patroon van jullie gedownload ik snap alleen iets niet. Er staat in het patroon dat 1 stokje tussen de twee onderste stokjes gehaakt moeten worden maar dit snap ik niet helemaal dat is dan toch hetzelfde als een normaal stokje

08.11.2022 - 17:50:

DROPS Design answered:

Dag Cheyenne,

Is het mogelijk om je vraag te posten bij het betreffende patroon op onze site? Dan kunnen we kijken hoe e.e.a. bedoeld is en je hopelijk beter helpen. Bij voorbaat dank!

08.11.2022 - 20:07:

Judy Moritz wrote:

I am visually challenged I guess. Could the pattern for the Christmas ornaments (Drips extra 0-1546) be written in stead?

08.11.2022 - 00:30:

DROPS Design answered:

Dear Mrs Moritz, we unfortunately only have a diagram for this pattern. Maybe you yarn store can help you. Happy crocheting!

08.11.2022 - 09:29:

Barbara wrote:

Please explain the chart for drops 195-27 design and how to work it

27.10.2022 - 18:25:

DROPS Design answered:

Dear Barbara, each symbol represent 1 stitch - start diagrams with A.1 (beg + end of round), then repeat A.2 all the round ; repeat the parts written A or B or C on the side - as explained in the pattern; colours are given with the numbers on the left side of diagrams. Read more about diagrams in this lesson. Happy crocheting!

28.10.2022 - 11:56:

Patricia Naranjo wrote:

Hola cómo están? Los felicito por todo lo que presentan en su página, quisiera saber si tienen el patrón para hacer un saquito en crochet con un diagrama nórdico para un duendecito en tela que voy a hacer de más o menos en total de 40 cm de alto, mil gracias

21.10.2022 - 19:14:

DROPS Design answered:

Hola Patricia, nos alegra que te guste nuestra página. No disponemos de un patrón que se ajuste a tus necesidades y no hacemos patrones personalizados. Puedes ver en el siguiente enlace nuestra pequeña colección de juguetes:

22.10.2022 - 18:29:

Cornelia Baerwolf wrote:

Hi , habe mir das Heft Amigurumi Nr.7 gekauft . Möchte gerne die Autos häkeln, komme aber schon mit dem Lesen des Diagramm von den Reifen nicht klar . Ich kann es nicht lesen und auf meine Arbeit übertragen . Häkel viel Amigurumi habe hier mit aber Probleme . Eine schriftliche Übertragung ohne Diagramm gibt es nicht . Danke im voraus .

03.10.2022 - 15:58:

DROPS Design answered:

Liebe Frau Baerwolf, meinen Sie dieses Modell? Wir haben dafür nur Diagramme - aber die schriftliche Anleitung zusammen mit dieser Lektion sollte Ihnen helfen können. Gerne können Sie hier bzw bei der Anleitung mehr Fragen stellen. Viel Spaß beim häkeln!

04.10.2022 - 08:14:

Connie Pilgaard wrote:

Jeg antager at jeres beskrivelse af diagrammer er gældende for højrehånd? Derfor fra højre mod venstre fra start. Er det ikke muligt at kunne udskrive diagrammer til venstre hånd?

24.08.2022 - 17:03:

DROPS Design answered:

Hei Connie. Man leser et strikkediagram motsatt av slik man normalt leser: Fra høyre mot venstre, nedenfra og opp. Du begynner altså nederst i det høyre hjørnet, og jobber deg mot venstre og oppover. Vi har dessverre ingen mulighet på nåværende tidspunkt å lage diagram for venstre hånd. mvh DROPS Design

29.08.2022 - 07:43:

Volbabe wrote:

It\'s so confusing, have read about the diagrams a lot of times, but it really give sense and my brain don\'t get it. Now it's impossible for me to make what i like because those diagrams are everywhere. So sad.

28.07.2022 - 12:22:

Lori wrote:

I cannot find how to start the row after I did the c5 and join together. I read the entire pattern from beginning to end. please help

26.07.2022 - 02:55:

DROPS Design answered:

Dear Lori, could you specify which pattern you are referring to? This is a lesson for all crochet patterns with diagrams.

31.07.2022 - 22:59:

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