Get the Lowdown on American vs. British Crochet Terms

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Let's say you find a vintage crochet pattern for an awesome bag. You follow the pattern, stitch by stitch, but the resulting bag is off, somehow. Where did things go wrong? Surprise! You were working from a pattern written with British crochet terms.

This can happen a lot now that the Internet provides access to crochet patterns from around the world. Understanding how the two styles of pattern writing match up can save you some heart ache in the future.

What's the Same?

A chain stitch is a chain stitch. Same is true for slip stitch. Isn't that a relief?

What's Different?

British and American crocheters sometimes use different terms for the same thing. For instance, British crocheters may not understand how Americans use "gauge," while Americans will be confused by the British term "tension."

Stitches are another complication: British stitches are one step up from American stitches. So the American single crochet is the same as the British double crochet. The American double crochet is the same as the British treble crochet.

Stitch Comparison

Single crochet (American) : Double crochet (British)
Half double crochet (America) : Half treble crochet (British)
Double crochet (American) : Treble crochet (British)
Treble crochet (American) : Double treble crochet (British)
Double treble crochet (American) : Triple treble crochet (British)
Gauge (American) : Tension (British)
Skip (American) : Miss (British)

Is Your Pattern American or British?

Here on Bluprint, most designers will note whether they're using American or British terms. Some designers even offer more than one version of the pattern.

But sometimes the origin of the pattern may not be clear. One quick way to tell if it's an American pattern is to look for the term "single crochet," which doesn't exist in British crochet.

If you don't see "single crochet" anywhere, look for other wording. Does the pattern ask you to "miss" stitches instead of "skipping" them, or refer to "gauge" as "tension"? If so, it's probably British.

Translation Tips

If you've figured out that you've got a British pattern on your hands, you'll need to do some translating. You can simply print out the pattern and mark changes with a pen or pencil. Keep the chart above handy.

Yes, this is all a minor hassle. But having access to a whole new world of crochet patterns is worth it. So keep calm and crochet on!

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