I use American crochet terms, and typically specify hooks by the American letter size and the diameter in millimeters.
|Xsc||my abbreviation. make X sc all in the next stitch (2sc = sc inc), and likewise for other stitches.|
|BL||also BLO, blo; back loop [only] (the loop of the stitch you are working into that is further from you)|
|BP||also bp; back post (post of new st is behind top of prev st), seen in sts as in BPdc|
|dc||double crochet (UK: treble crochet)|
|dec||decrease (my convention: unless otherwise specified, means sc dec)|
|f||followed by a stitch abbreviation, foundation (e.g. fsc: foundation single crochet)|
|FL||also FLO, flo; front loop [only] (the loop of the stitch you are working into that is closer to you)|
|FP||also fp; front post (post of new st is in front of top of prev st), seen in sts as in FPdc|
|FO||finish off, fasten off (UK: cast off)|
|hdc||half double crochet (UK: half treble crochet)|
|NJ||my abbreviation. needle join, AKA invisible join, faux slip stitch; see tutorials below|
|sc||single crochet (UK: double crochet)|
|sc2tog||sc two stitches together; i.e., sc dec|
|sc X||my abbreviation. make one sc in each of the next X stitches, and likewise for other stitches.|
|sk||skip (UK: miss)|
|sl||slip (knot, stitch)|
|sp||space (typically ch sp, chain space, the gap under a chain)|
|tog||together (as in dc3tog, double crochet 3 together, a decrease of three stitches to one)|
|tr||triple crochet (UK: double treble crochet)|
|trtr||triple treble crochet (UK: quadruple treble crochet)|
|YO||also yo, yoh; yarn over [hook]|
|enclose stitch sequence to be repeated; “*stitches*, repeat *…* three more times,” “*stitches* four times,” and “*stitches* 4x” all mean to make the sequence a total of four times through.|
|enclose stitch sequence all to be made in same previous stitch (I try to stick to […]).|
|(…)||also holds total stitch count at end of row or round.|
A very complete list of crochet terms and abbreviations, for US, UK, Danish, and German patterns, is at By Number 19. I have a blog post listing the things you’re just supposed to know in a crochet pattern aside from abbreviations. Written, pictorial, and video instructions for stitches are in and linked to from my Learn Crochet series.
Examples of my conventions
A. sc 6, dec, sc, dec, sc 20, 3sc, sc 18 (50)
sc in each of first 6 sts, sc dec, sc in next st, sc dec, sc in each of next 20 sts, 3 sc all in next st, sc in each of last 18 sts (50 sc total)
B. *2sc, sc 5* 4x (28)
make 2 sc in next st and one sc in each of the following 5 sts; repeat those 7 sc three more times (28 sc total)
Please comment or email if you have any questions.
Decreases: There are many decreases, good for different uses. Skipping a stitch is good when you want open spaces in your work. The standard decrease is stable and best when the back of the work will show. Invisible decrease is neat and has other advantages when working in confined spaces, but leaves two little bars on the back. Slip stitch decrease, which is single-crochet-specific, is somewhat short and inelastic, and again quite visible from the back of the work, but more stable than invisible decrease.
Marking stitches: If I am marking the beginning of a round, I lay a short length (2-2.5″) of yarn or embroidery floss onto the previous round and make my first new stitch over it. In the rare event that I am making a flat piece, I use one of futuregirl’s paperclip stitch markers to mark the end of each row.
Needle join: This is a faux slip stitch made with a yarn needle; I’ve seen it called the invisible join as well as the needle join. After completing the last stitch prior to the join, cut your yarn and pull it through the stitch; thread it onto a yarn needle and insert the needle horizontally under the teardrop of the indicated stitch. Pull through and then insert your needle downward through the center of the teardrop of the last crochet stitch – the same spot where the yarn on your needle emerged. I have a blog post with photos which includes instructions specifically for needle join in the second stitch after your last stitch, which smooths out the edge of spiral crochet better than any other technique I’ve seen.
Stitching and chains: I have a whole page on chain anatomy and stitching into a chain. There is also stitching around a chain, AKA in the chain space, in which you insert your hook entirely underneath the chain to pull up the first loop (after any necessary yarn-overs). If you are making something meshy, with gaps left by replacing solid stitches with chains, stitching around the chain helps open up the spaces — stitching into the chain leaves strands behind that puff into the gap. Around the chain is also the method indicated when you begin with a small chain ring and are not explicitly told to stitch into individual chain stitches. This is the method first used in the Learn Crochet series page on single crochet.
Yarn substitutions: My own patterns are no more specific than the yarn weight, but if you want to stitch a pattern that calls for a particular yarn, and it’s not easily obtained, there is now a site to look for similar yarns: Yarnsub. The creators are looking to continually improve it with crocheters’ and knitters’ knowledge of the yarns. You can also look at the projects linked from the Ravelry page for the pattern and see what yarns others have made it with.