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Learning Symbol Crochet!

Look at this!  Look! At! It!

Yes, I know that it's a granny square and I tend to make a lot of them.  But!  I made this one following symbols from the Complete Guide to Symbol Crochet.

I've seen a lot of symbol patterns on Pinterest, of all places.  Folks will just pin patterns for squares or shawls or insanely intricate doilies and the only instructions available are just some little ovals and crosses and Xs scattered around.  It was like trying to read a foreign language, because it kind of is.

When I first learned to crochet, all of the abbreviations confused me.  As did the asterisks and the instructions "repeat from *" like I was just going to automatically know that meant!  Symbols?!  Whoa Nelly, what is this witchcraft?!

But. 

It's National Crochet Month and I want to try new things.  Plus, sometimes I like to think that one day I'll learn to make a doily.  And since a lot of doily instructions include the patterns being set out in symbols....well, it seemed like a good time to try it out.  I have to confess that I've read through the Complete Guide to Symbol Crochet a few times to check out stitches.  The booklet has a directory of stitches, and that includes instructions on how to work them. 

There are a few 'practice' patterns, and I picked the granny square pattern because it's something I'm comfortable with.  I had already known that instructions would be printed out alongside the symbols, but what I hadn't realized was that symbols would be set out for each row of the granny square.  I was really, really comfortable with that.

I was able to work along just fine.  All of the sudden, on the third row, the corners move!  I probably would have been confused if I had been reading these instructions, but following along with the symbols actually made it easier to see what I should be doing and where.

It's so exciting!  I can follow a chart!  A fairly rudimentary one, but hey!  I tried a new way to read patterns and know about a new way to make a granny square.  I learned something during National Craft Month!  Super awesome!

Maybe I should try a doily before my luck runs out...

13 thoughts on “Learning Symbol Crochet!”

  • Judy Quick

    I learned to crochet with doilies! Some of them were very detailed. In my opinion, they are the easiest thing for a beginner to crochet.

    Reply
    • Jen

      I have never heard anyone say that, but that's interesting! It certainly does sound like a good way to learn plenty of techniques and keeping your project manageable and small.

      Reply
  • Darlene

    Doilies are easy with a written pattern. NOT with symbol crochet1

    Reply
    • Jen

      Ha ha, don't kill my dreams! I think I might be safe with the pattern in this book because the instructions are printed alongside each symbol chart. Maybe it will help me figure out which method I like best!

      Reply
  • Deb in Canada

    I learned to crochet with written books. When I discovered a book with symbols, had to try it. Once I learned what all the symbols meant, I tried several patterns. I wish all my patterns were written this way. So easy to pick up where you left off too. Just match the pattern with what you have crocheted.

    Reply
    • Jen

      I tend to forget what symbols mean which stitches, but you're right about being able to match your project with the pattern! I can really see the appeal.

      Reply
  • Carolelo

    I agree with Deb! I've basically used written patterns most of my crochet life (55+ years) but learned to do symbol crochet and it is much easier! So concise and you don't need pages of instructions! The best part is you can do any symbol crochet diagram regardless of the source country!

    Reply
    • Jen

      The very first time I ever considered learning to read symbols was when I opened a Japanese pattern on Pinterest--it was like the pattern was in TWO foreign languages! This is pretty handy, and I'm starting to wish I'd learned this earlier!

      Reply
  • Kimberly Samuel

    Symbol crochet can be challenging at first. I use colored pencils to lightly color over the symbols to help me keep my place. This helps a bunch when the pattern is complicated. :)

    Reply
  • crochetbowler

    Jen, you are encouraging and inspirational. I have been avoiding symbols because it looks like gibberish to me. However, I just may try it.

    Reply
    • Jen

      Ha, well thank you! I promise it's not as scary as we were all thinking before we tried it. All together, the symbols looked like wild gibberish to me too. But one step at a time, it really starts to make sense!

      Reply
  • Janet

    Same here, Crochet bowler, I've been avoiding trying to learn symbols but now that I've read this plus Kimberly Samuel's tip about coloring the symbols, guess I have to give it a try.

    Reply
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