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UK vs. US crochet terms: what's the difference?

The difference between UK and US crochet terms

UK and US crochet terminology

It would be great if crochet terms were standardised in the English language! Unfortunately, that's not the case. There's a difference between British English crochet terms (UK terms) and American English crochet terms (US terms). Patterns from British magazines and Australia-based designers often use the UK terms, while American designers often use US terms. With crochet patterns being available readily on the internet, it's necessary to convert a pattern into the terminology of your choice.

And that's where a lot of people get confused. Because both terminologies use the same stitch names like double crochets, trebles and double trebles, but are indicating different stitches! A UK double crochet is a US single crochet, while a US treble is a UK double treble. Confused? I understand completely. That's why I made a conversion chart for UK and US crochet terms, which you'll find below. You can use this to convert any US crochet pattern to a UK crochet pattern and vice versa.

Why is there a difference between UK and US crochet terms?

I don't know why there's a difference between the two terminologies. I do know where the difference comes from though: the UK terminology is based on the number of loops on your hook, and the US terminology relies on the number of yarnovers when pulling up your first loop. For example, a US double crochet (UK treble) has two yarnovers, but three loops on hook after pulling up a loop from the stitch. A US single crochet (UK double crochet) has only one yarnover after inserting it into the stitch but has two loops on hook after pulling up a loop.

Crochet terms conversion chart

US terms

US Abbreviation

UK terms

UK abbreviation

chainchchainch
slip stitchssslip stitchss
single crochetscdouble crochetdc
half double crochethdchalf treble crochethtr
double crochetdctreble crochettr
treble crochettrdouble treble crochetdtr
double treble crochetdtrtriple treble crochetttr

The information in the table above also goes for any derived stitch instructions, like crocheting multiple stitches together. A US pattern will use 'sc2tog' while the UK equivalent would be 'dc2tog'.

How do I know if a pattern is written in US or UK terms?

Usually, the designer indicates it either with the stitch abbreviations or in the pattern description itself. In the rare instance that you do not have this information, you can discern between the two terminologies this way:

  • Look up the stitches. If there's a single crochet (sc) in the pattern list, you know you're looking at a US pattern. Single crochets only exist in US terminology, and not in UK terminology. Same with a half treble crochet (htr), that stitch does not exist in US terminology, only in UK terminology. In US terms it's a half double crochet (hdc).
  • Look up the crochet diagram and compare this with the stitch description. Finally, check the table above and see which stitch is described and whether your pattern is written in UK or US terms.
  • Check other words besides the stitches. UK terminology often uses 'miss a stitch' instead of the US equivalent 'skip a stitch'. Furthermore, 'gauge' is the preferred word in UK terminology, while 'tension' is used in the US. This is not a foolproof method, but it might give you some clues!

I hope these tips help you to easily convert your patterns. And when in doubt, you can always try to get in touch with the designer or publicist!

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