The basic element in studying crochet patterns and instruction is learning to understand the style of writing and interpreting crochet abbreviations. However, just remember that you don’t have to learn and memorize the symbols and abbreviations immediately because you can always refer to your list when needed.
Crochet directions generally make liberal use of parentheses ( ) and asterisks (*) to show pattern repetitions. For instance, when the pattern instructs you to “repeat from *” you need to examine and look back at the instruction of the row that you currently are working on and then locate the asterisk (*). Crochet the instruction instantly following that asterisk (*).
Generally only one asterisk (*) in a row is found and the “repeats” will bring you to the row ending so that there is no supplementary instruction required for where you should end the repeats.
There are a few patterns that uses a “single asterisk (*)”at the start and at the end of “the repeat”. So that when you arrive to the succeeding “single asterisk (*), you are aware that it is the spot where that “repeat” will be stopped.
At certain times patterns uses “single asterisk (*) and a “double asterisk (**), where the “double asterisk (**)” is normally used to indicate where you need to end the repeat; for instance, a pattern instructs you to “repeat from * to **”. You need to search for, going backwards in the instructions of the round which you are working on and locate the asterisk (*). Then you need to crochet the instructions at once succeeding that asterisk (*) and then continue till such time you arrive to the double asterisk (**), then you need to stop and begin to crochet once more at the course where you stop or left off before making the repeat.
Here are things to keep in mind when looking at a crochet pattern:
1. Crocheting patterns and instructions are worked usually in rounds or rows. Every pattern will spell out if you are doing or working in rounds, rows or mixture of both.
2. Almost all crochet patterns and instructions are generally ranked according to difficulty level such as advanced, intermediate, easy or beginner. Select a pattern with a difficulty level that suits your abilities, to avoid frustration when trying to finish a pattern that has advanced level. As you continue on working and increase your crochet experience, then you can work on to the next difficulty level.
3. It is important to count the stitches you have made as you go on with your work so will be able to keep track of how many more are needed on each round or row as required by the pattern.
4. You will need to verify your gauge. To do so, crochet a sample of about 4 X 4 inches size in the pattern that is used your crochet instructions. When your gauge turned out to be larger than that indicated by the pattern, then use a smaller hook; when your gauge turned out to be smaller, then try using a much larger hook.
5. Enrolling in a crochet class can be very helpful when you are beginning to learn crochet.
When just starting out, never be discouraged for not being able to understand each pattern and its abbreviations. Reading and understanding crochet patterns will take constant practice.