American Independence! Converting British Crochet Patterns
We all know that crocheters speak their own language. Quirky abbreviations aside, if you’ve traveled at all, or perhaps just picked up a crochet pattern from a different country, you’ve probably noticed some oddities. American and British crochet terms look the same on paper, but they MEAN different things.
For instance, the term for single crochet, as we know it in the U.S., is DOUBLE CROCHET in England. In fact, British patterns don’t use the term single crochet at all! If you see single crochet, the pattern is from the U.S. The Brits use different terms for most of their stitches, which can make following a British pattern tricky for an American crocheter.
American single crochet is shown in the above illustration.
But if you know the pattern is British, you can either keep a handy chart of conversions on hand (like this one), or you can remember one simple trick.
In Honor of Independence Day We Give You… Pattern-Reading Freedom:
American crochet stitches = one yarn over FEWER than British stitch names
For example, a British double crochet is worked as an American single crochet; a British half treble crochet = an American half double crochet. And on and on!
Make sure to figure these things out and write the differences into your pattern! Can you imagine picking up a pattern and working the whole project only to find out that you’ve been working the wrong stitches the whole time? SHUDDER.
Now, I should point out that chain and slip stitch mean the same things in both cultures.
As to WHY Americans and Brits use different terms…I haven’t found a conclusive answer to that. One theory is that, since crochet became popular after 1800, the lingo on either side of the pond evolved differently. I asked one crafter why she thought we used different terms, and I was surprised when she shrugged apathetically and said, “Eh, why do we use the Imperial system and not metric? America is weird.”
And that, my friends, is good enough for me.
Free your hooks,
These Hooks Will Work in Any Language!