UK and US Crochet Terms Conversion Help and Chart

UK and US Crochet terms. When I started to crochet, I had no idea that there were different terms, and it caused a lot of problems! It was so good to learn about it and realise it wasn’t me doing it wrong! And now I know that once you understand the differences and similarities, it’s not too tricky to work from a pattern in either terms.

What’s the difference between UK and US Crochet Terms?

UK terms and US terms use different names for some stitches and the same for others. If they were completely different, it’d be easier. However, they use the same name to describe different stitches. For example, a double crochet is a different stitch in UK and US crochet terms. But some stitches are the same – slip stitch and chain.

Confusing right?

Here’s an example of what can happen if you use a UK terms pattern but work US terms stitches.

This is a pattern from my Corners and Curves book called Sprocket. You see how it’s supposed to be in front. The back one is so very obviously wrong – I used US stitches working from the UK pattern. It felt wrong very quickly, with that big bubble, but I kept going to the end anyway so you can see what could happen if you are not aware of the differences. I can understand folks giving up if the result they get is not anything like what it is meant to be.

But, I promise that once you know the basic difference, you can work from either set of crochet terms.

The first thing to do is work out which you prefer and what terms the pattern you are using is in.

Do I prefer UK or US?

Most will have a preference for one or the other. Myself, I think and design in UK terms. I have heard the same arguments for which one makes more sense.

It doesn’t matter which you prefer, as long as you know which one it is!

Is my pattern in UK or US terms?

A pattern should tell you if it uses UK or US terms. If it doesn’t, there are clues you can look for to work it out.

Clue 1

The smallest crochet stitch (after a slip stitch and chain) is a double/single crochet (UK/US). A single crochet does not exist in UK terms, so if your pattern uses single crochet, it will be US terms.

Clue 2

If the pattern has a chart, you are in luck as the chart symbols are universal! They are the same for UK and US terms. This is the symbol for a treble/double crochet (UK/US):

UK and US crochet terms this is a tr/dc (UK/US)

So, looking at the chart, even if you don’t work from them, and comparing it to the written pattern can tell you what terms it is written in.

Clue 3

Look at the start of the rounds. If there is “ch3” at the start that takes the place of the first stitch, that means that ch3 will likely represent a treble/double crochet (UK/US). I say likely – some patterns use a variety of stitches and techniques in the one round, so this clue is best for simpler patterns.

Clue 4

Check the photo of the pattern and compare it to the first or last round/row of the written pattern. Here’s a photo of the Crop Circles granny square from Granny Square Flair.

Crop Circles pattern from Granny Square Flair

This is the first and last round from the pattern:

R1: ch3 (stch), 11tr, join with ss to 3rd ch of stch. {12 sts}

R6: dc over joining dc, *dc in next 9 sts, htr in next 2 sts, dc in next 9 sts, (dc, ch2, dc) in 2-ch sp**, rep from * to * 2x
and * to ** 1x, dc in same sp as first st, ch2, join with ss to first st. Fasten off. {22 sts on each side; 4 2-ch sps}

Comparing the photo to the words, you can hopefully see the Round 1 stitches are the most common stitch (tr/dc UK/US) and the last one has mostly the smallest (dc/sc UK/US), so this pattern is in UK terms.

How to convert from UK to US, or, US to UK

Once you know your preferred terms and which terms your pattern is written in, it’s time to crochet.

When you first start converting from one set of terms to the other, it can be tricky, so I have this little conversion chart for you to use. You can download it for printing or saving to a device here.

When you first start converting, it is best to alter your written pattern. Write on it and change what you need to.

After a while, you will see that really there are not that many stitches to convert and you will be able to do it on the fly, referring to the chart for the less common stitches. After a while, you will be able to do it without referring to the conversion chart at all. You will be bi-lingual in crochet terms!

Like anything, the more you do it, the easier it is and it all sticks in your head. Give it a try!

I hope you’ll find this useful and it opens up new patterns to you.

4 Comments

  1. adrienne debritt

    This is good – sometimes when you’re new or just getting back into crochet it can be confusing . I think & learnt in UK but I think US terminology is more logical. Thankfully it doesn’t take long to sort it ?

    Reply
    • Shelley Husband

      it can be tricky when you go back to the other at the start. Our brains are pretty clever!

      Reply
  2. Tina

    Thanks so much for all efforts this is amazing

    Reply

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