Amigurumi For Beginners: How To Read Crochet Patterns

Learning how to read crochet patterns seems daunting at first. It’s really quite simple! In this post I’ll review the different types of patterns briefly and hopefully answer any questions you might have in the process.

Written Patterns & Diagram Patterns

Crochet diagrams are less common. They may be easier to understand for non-native English speakers as they are purely visual. Learning how to read diagrams allows you to read patterns produced by crochet designers from all around the world!

Written patterns are comprised of abbreviated instructions for each row of crochet.

While written patterns are more commonly used, I think its handy to know how to read both types. Some of my favorite patterns have been in crochet diagram form.

You can see the differences between each type below:

comparing patterns
The crochet diagram on the left and the written abbreviations on the right are the same pattern written in a different form.

What do the symbols and abbreviations mean?

This table translates the plain English crochet term into a diagram symbol and abbreviations that you will find in crochet patterns.

This table shows what each symbol and abbreviation mean.

Some “quirks” of written crochet patterns include:

  • (#) – Any number inside parentheses at the end of a row indicates the number of crochet stitches that are inside of each row.
  • Repeat from *to* – This indicates that the instructions in between the asterisks are to be repeated a certain number of times.
  • Magic circle (also called magic ring) – This is a technique used to begin a round in many amigurumi patterns; it results in a more tight looking stitch. It is a little bit tricky to perfect. You can learn more about the magic circle in this video. If you can’t get the hang of the magic circle it’s totally OK; this technique isn’t necessary and you can just start by crocheting in the round as you typically would.
  • Invisible decrease  This is another more specialized technique that makes decreases less visible. You can find a photo tutorial for invisible decrease here. Again, it is not absolutely necessary for making amigurumi.
  • Different abbreviations – Sometimes crochet designers will use different abbreviations for the same crochet term.
  • UK vs. US terms – Because I’m in the United States, I’m using the US crochet terms. Crocheters in the UK use a different set of terms which are easy to learn but can throw you off in a pattern. Make sure you know which terms a pattern uses before you pick up your hook.

The Pattern In Action

Here I write out what I did in each row of the patterns I showed up above.

row 1
row 1: in a circle, make 6 single crochet slip stitch to first single crochet of row
row 2
row 2: chain one, increase in each single crochet, slip stitch to first single crochet of row
row 3
row 3: chain one, *single crochet, increase* repeat from *to* six times slip stitch to first single crochet of row
row 4
row 4: chain one, single crochet in each stitch of the row, slip stitch to first single crochet of row
row 5
row 5: chain one, *single crochet, decrease* repeat from *to* six times
row 5 flat
This is a closer look at the completed pattern, it’s flattened so you can see each row.



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Happy crocheting!

5 Replies to “Amigurumi For Beginners: How To Read Crochet Patterns”

  1. This is great! Thanks for the invite (from one of the crochet groups on FB) I am going to try the “Baby” Amigurumi and i keep procrastinating because I’m intimidated. lol…appreciate your help!

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