How to Read Crochet Charts

I recently received a request for a chart for our popular Clapochet pattern. Ask and you shall receive!

Reading Crochet Charts

I also thought this would be a good opportunity to explain how to read crochet charts for those of you who are new to the idea.

Crochet charts are quickly becoming much in demand because they are a way of writing a pattern that simultaneously allows the reader to somewhat visualize what the finished pattern should look like. And since there are often no words written on a crochet chart, they are a great way to share your pattern across all languages!

While a seasoned crocheter can likely look at a crochet chart for the first time and instantly understand what it means, newer crocheters or people who are not so visual may have trouble deciphering one. Here's how to do so.

1. Determine where the pattern begins. Often these charts will have a big, fat arrow indicating the starting point (as above), or sometimes it will actually say something like "start here."

2. The chart is read in the direction of the crochet. This means that for projects worked in rows, odd numbered rows will be read from right to left and even numbered rows will be read from left to right. Projects worked in the round are usually read from right to left in their entirety. Often the chart maker will indicate somehow which way each row should be read (we used little arrows in the chart above).

3. To save space, pattern repeats are often indicated by brackets. Our Clapochet pattern is 80 rows long and includes instructions for customizing size. It would have been impractical to try to make an 80-row chart, and it would have been difficult to read, to boot. Whenever there are rows to be repeated, we have indicated them with brackets above.

4. Last but certainly not least, since there are no words on a crochet chart, stitches are indicated by universal symbols. While the number of symbols is as numerous as the number of crochet stitches themselves, as you begin to work with crochet charts, you will begin to recognize the most common ones. If there are any symbols used that are less commonly known, the chart maker will often include a key to help you decipher them. Below are the most common symbols used in crochet charts.

Reading Crochet Charts

And that's really all you should need to know to get started in crochet charts. Don't believe me? Give it a try!

CONTINUE ON to Working in Front or Back Loops Only.


  1. Thanks for your post, Lately I noticed that so many patterns I like are charts. So many beautiful & complex patterns are still difficult to read. I suppose practice is the key!