Guide to Crochet Terms and Abbreviations

Woman crocheting
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Crochet abbreviations are typically specified at the beginning of a pattern, or in the front or back of a crochet pattern book. It is always best to refer to the specific abbreviations given for the pattern you are working if they are available since abbreviations can differ across various designs. That said, if you happen to come across a pattern that is missing its abbreviations, this list of common crochet terms and their abbreviations can serve as a helpful resource for knowing what to do.

Most Common Crochet Terms and Abbreviations

Here is a list of the most common crochet terms and their abbreviations, listed alphabetically for convenience:

  • beg = beginning, as at the beginning of the row.
  • BL = This typically refers to "back loop" crochet and may also be seen as BLO ("back loop only"). On occasion, BL can also refer to blocks or bobbles, specific to the pattern using it in that manner. As always, check the pattern's stitch list, usually found at the beginning of any pattern, for this information.
  • BP = This refers to "back post" meaning that you are working the stitch around the post, rather than through the loops and more especially around the back post. This is typically paired with the abbreviation of the stitch being used. For example, bpsc would be back post single crochet whereas bpdc would be back post double crochet. See "FP" below for related crochet term/abbreviation.
  • ch(s) = chain(s). This is one of the most common abbreviations that you will see since nearly all crochet patterns begin with chains. Many also include chains throughout the design. As a beginner crocheter who is first learning the language of the craft, this is one of the crochet terms you'll quickly remember.
  • cl = cluster. There are many different types of cluster stitches; your pattern should specify the type being used. For example, 3 tr cluster would be a cluster of three treble crochet stitches. That said, "cl" refers generally to clusters.
  • dc = double crochet, which is one of the most common basic stitches in crocheting.
  • dec = decrease, which is a technique used for shaping in crochet.
  • dtr = double treble crochet. This is one of the taller basic crochet stitches, slightly taller than the standard treble crochet.
  • FL = "front loop", also abbreviated FLO or "front loop only", in contrast to BL/ BLO as described above.
  • FO = finished object. This term is not necessarily used in crochet patterns but it is a common abbreviation used among crafters when talking about their work online.
  • FP = front post, as compared to "back post" described above.
  • half dc or hdc = half double crochet, a basic crochet stitch in between the single crochet and double crochet in height.
  • inc = increase, another technique used in shaping, just like decreasing (dec) is used.
  • incl = include / including / inclusive.
  • oz = ounce/ounces, which is likely to be seen on yarn labels or in the portion of crochet patterns explaining how much yarn is needed. This may be measured in other ways including grams (g), meters (m) or yards (yd).
  • PM = place marker.
  • pc = popcorn, a textured crochet stitch similar to clusters and bobbles. Patterns using these stitches usually explain how the designer intends the stitch to be made at the beginning of the pattern where you will also see the crochet abbreviation preferred by that designer.
  • rep = repeat; this is frequently seen in combination with symbols that indicate the portion of the pattern to be repeated. Examples:
    = The pattern will specify how many times to repeat a series of instructions following an asterisk, or between asterisks.
  • ( ) = The pattern will specify how many times to repeat a series of instructions that are given inside the parentheses.
  • [ ] = The pattern will specify how many times to repeat a series of instructions that are given inside the brackets.
  • rev - reverse, typically used in combination with other abbreviations such as rev sc for reverse single crochet stitch.
  • rnd(s) = round(s), used for counting when working in circles or otherwise working in the round (in contrast to working in rows).
  • RS = right side; crochet has both a "right side" and "wrong side" when worked in rows, and either one may be facing so it can be helpful to distinguish them as some patterns do.
  • sc = single crochet, one of the most basic and often-used crochet stitches.
  • sk = skip; for example, you may skip the next chain and work into the following one, indicated by the term sk ch (ship chain).
  • sl st = slip stitch, the method used to join rounds in crochet as well as a stitch used on its own
  • sp(s) = space(s).
  • st(s) = stitch(es).
  • tog = together; this is sometimes used in place of dec(rease) where you might say something like "sc2tog" to indicate a decrease in single crochet stitch.
  • tr = treble crochet / triple crochet, another basic crochet stitch commonly used by crocheters.
  • tr tr = triple treble crochet, another tall crochet stitch, taller even than the dtr described above.
  • UFO = unfinished object; like the FO this is used in written conversation between crocheters more so than in patterns.
  • WIP = work in progress, similar to the UFO although typically the WIP is currently in progress while the UFO has been set aside and is not being worked on.
  • WS = wrong side, the opposite of right side (rs) as described above.
  • YO = yarn over, a step used in making almost all crochet stitches; not typically seen in crochet patterns but seen frequently in crochet stitch tutorials.

Inconsistencies in Crochet Abbreviations

Most crochet abbreviations are fairly consistent from pattern to pattern, but you should be aware that there are occasional inconsistencies. This is especially true when you compare vintage patterns with contemporary patterns.

There are also situations where instructions would differ between patterns, even if the word is abbreviated consistently. For example, cluster stitches are likely to vary from pattern to pattern, since there are many variations of them that have been used by different designers over time. This is also true of popcorns and other textured stitches. The instructions for working each specific stitch should be included in the pattern you are working on. They are often included at the beginning of a pattern under the term/ category "special stitches".

Finally, it is important to note that there are differences between UK and US crochet terms (and their abbreviations).