Best Beginners Guide to Crochet Symbol Charts

Join me in this series as we demystify crochet symbol charts together. I’ll guide you through a step-by-step process while introducing you to commonly used symbols. We’ll tackle the Wispy Willow Granny Square in real-time, using just the symbol chart.

By the conclusion of this series, you will have gained a solid introduction to common symbols, and you will be well on your way to confidently reading crochet symbol charts for all your patterns.

One of the most common questions I get from my fellow crocheters, is how to understand crochet symbol charts. I am a very visual person and would rather use a chart than written patterns.  I love lots of visual aids, like charts and diagrams, and I include these in all my full patterns.  My creative process for making a new square, once I have played around with some ideas,  I will chart the square first and then I will write the pattern from the chart.
Crochet Symbol Charts
I feel that the crochet charts are like a map to the square, a birds eye view of the finished piece, a blueprint to creating it.  So I wanted to share my process in a little mini series, so that all of you could also experience the joy of following a visual blue print to a crochet square.  I love being able to look a the chart as I go and check that I am in the right place, see how the square is coming together and see where I am going next.
I am also offering a Printable PDF download of the Wispy Willow Square Chart, so you can follow along with me, as we create this square.  You can find the link for that below.
This 6 part series will walk you through one of my most popular squares, The Willow Square, in real time as we follow the chart and only the chart.  I have broken it up into bite size videos, that make it easier to absorb the information.  Like any new language, it can be alot to take in all at once, and practice is always the best way to let it sink in.

The Stitch Symbols

Below you will find a brief description of the symbols, with an image to show you what they look like.  The videos will walk you where to find the symbols and how to work the actual stitches they correspond to.  In Part 1, I will introduce all these symbols, and then as we work through the rounds, I will review the symbols being used at the beginning of each video.  The Chart Symbols are also in the Free PDF Download

Foundations: Crochet Symbol Charts

To start with let’s discuss the foundations.  When you work in the round, you will need a foundation that creates a circle.

The two we are going to explore are the Magic Ring and a Chain Foundation.

crochet symbol charts

Magic Ring: is used when you want to close up the center ring so there is no space.  It is something like working all your first round stitches into a slip knot and then closing it up.  In Part 2 of the series I will walk you through how to make a Magic Ring

Chain Foundation: These are the most common way to start a circular piece and can be made with any number of chain stitches.  In our Square we will explore a chain 4 foundation.  This is simply 4 chain stitches, slip stitches into a ring.  Then we work Round 1 into this ring.  The difference is mostly just that there will be a space in the center unlike the magic ring where you can close it up.

Start Here with Part 1 that explains the symbols and all the basics you need to get started.

Get The Free Wispy Willow Chart PDF Here

Beginning Chains: Crochet Symbol Charts

Every Round will start out with a Beginning Chain.  The size of the chain, depends on the stitches that follow.

The four we will explore are:

crochet symbol charts

Beginning Chain 1: This is used for starting a round of single crochet.  It squares up that first single crochet stitch, but is not counted as it’s own stitch.

Beginning Chain 2: Used for a round of half double crochet stitches.  This first chain 2 is vertical and counts as you first half double crochet stitch.

Beginning Chain 3: Used for a round of double crochet stitches.  This first chain 3 is vertical and counts as you first double crochet stitch.

Beginning Chain 4: Used for a round of treble crochet stitches.  This first chain 4 is vertical and counts as you first half double crochet stitch.  You will also see this used if you have a round with double crochet followed by a chain 1 space, so the first chain 4 will then count as you first double crochet + chain 1.

Each of the Beginning Chain’s are vertical and relate to the height of the stitches used in the round.

In Part 2 we get started on the foundation and round 1

Stitches: Crochet Symbol Charts

Now we get into the symbols you will use the most.  The basic stitches.  The ones we will be using are:

crochet symbol charts

Single Crochet: This symbol looks like a “plus” sign and is two equal length sticks that cross at a right angle at their centers.

Half Double Crochet: This is the first of the ” T ” shaped symbols.  It is a simple ” T ” with NO cross sticks and is often shorter than the other ” T ” shapes due to the height of the half double crochet being shorter.

Double Crochet: Also a ” T ” shape but with one cross stick, often at an angle.  slightly taller than the Half Double Crochet

Treble Crochet: The third ” T ” shape and this one has two cross sticks on it.  Also slightly taller than the others

The ” T ” stem lengths will vary on a chart depending on the layout.  Sometimes they will be longer than normal, since they are trying to point out what stitch or chain space to work into and may have to stretch (especially at corners) in order to do this.

In Part 3 we continue with Round 2 and 3

Get The Free Wispy Willow Chart PDF Here

Chain Spaces: Crochet Symbol Charts

These chain stitches are used to create space around your piece, unlike the Beginning Chains, they will be lying on their sides, or curved around a corner, or a picot shape.

crochet symbol charts

Chain 1: a simple single chain, to create a slight space between stitches and often used as a simple way to increase.

Chain 2: a chain 2, gives a little more space and can create a slight lacey effect.

Chain 3: a chain 3 is often used as a bridge effect, to link shell stitches or other tall stitches while creating a lacey effect and keeping the piece balanced.

Corner Chain 3: Used to turn a corner.  This will look curved on a chart, indicating you will be turning a corner.  This can also be a chain 2 or a chain 4 depending on the size of the piece and the height of the stitches in the rnd.

In Part 4 we continue with Round 4 and 5

Other Symbols: Crochet Symbol Charts

Finally we will look at a few symbols that don’t fall into the other categories:

crochet symbol charts

Slip Stitch: represented by a solid, single dot.  This is most commonly used to join rounds, so will appear at the end of a round, sitting next to the stitch or chain you are to slip stitch into.

Round Number: Each round has a number, you will find these somewhere close to the beginning chain of the round and it will have a circle around it to make it stand out.

Corner Sc group: this is just a group of stitches that has been slightly altered to make it fit easily into a chart.  Alot of groups are just short forms of common stitch techniques.   This one is used at the corner and is a ( single crochet, chain 2, single crochet ) all worked into one stitch or chain space.

In Part 5 we continue with Round 6 and 7

We wrap it all up with Part 6 in rounds 8, 9 and 10 for the edging 

Get The Free Wispy Willow Chart PDF Here

More Information on Hooks Sizes, Yarn Weights and Crochet Language

Crochet Chart Symbols see Craft Yarn Council

Hook Sizes see the Craft Yarn Council’s Page Here

For Standard Yarn Weight Information See this Page

A Handy PDF from Annie’s on the difference between UK and US Crochet Terms

A Nice Explanation from LoveCraft’s on The UK and US differences

Thanks for joining me and getting creative.

“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way – things I had no words for.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

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