By Sue Norrad
No matter how experienced you are at crochet or knitting, you may find yourself confused about some instructions in a written pattern. This doesn't only happen to the newbies. I've been crocheting and knitting since I was a young child and I occasionally run into a problem myself.
For newbies, it's important to make sure you understand the abbreviations used in the pattern. Most patterns will list the abbreviations used and their meanings at the top of the pattern. If not, you can find these online. I have them listed here http://crochetandknitting.com/charts.htm
Usually if you are going to run into problems with a pattern it will be in a Row/Round further into the pattern.
What you need to do is read and re-read that line carefully. Then re-read it again but this time imagine in your mind that you are working that line without physically doing so. Now, pick up your hook or needle and try working that line again. A lot of confusion and mistakes are made when you don't take the time to understand exactly what this line is telling you to do. More often than not I find that people are overlooking a portion of the line and going by assumption on how they think it reads.
I sometimes get emails from people asking for help in understanding a Row/Round in one of my own pattern designs. I try to write my patterns in such a way that would make it easy for beginners.
Since the line of the pattern that they are having trouble with makes total sense to me I sometimes get a little confused on how to make it any plainer. I have found that if I simply take that line, break it up and turn it into a list, the questioner will easily see what part of the Row/Round they were not getting right.
So this is something you can do yourself if you are stuck on Row/Round. Most patterns have commas to separate such things as where to change the st count, change to a different st, increase or decrease, etc. Copy and paste that line into notepad or a word processor, hit enter after each comma to turn it into a list. Then pick up your hook or needle and try that line again. You will most likely find that it makes perfect sense to you now.
Another thing you can do when stuck on a line is to read the instructions for the next one or two Rows/Rounds below. Once you get a view of the bigger picture, the troublesome line will make sense to you.
Being a pattern designer myself I don't mind a challenge when it comes to trying to understand a pattern. I like to try to put myself in the mindset of the one who designed the pattern I am stuck on. By doing that and using the tips above I have always been able to figure it out.
If all else fails, you can try to contact the designer of the pattern. Most will be willing to help you out.
By Sue Norrad of http://www.crochetandknitting.com
where I offer my own original crochet and knit pattern designs
for free. You will also find many craft resources such as a Craft and
Pattern Search Discussion Forum, craft tips, charts, and