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

05.May.20 / Kirsten Ballering

UK and US crochet terminology

It would be great if crochet terms were the same all over the world, wouldn't it be? 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 UK terms, while American designers often use US terms. So that means you have to check which one you're looking at!

The difference between UK and US crochet terms

With crochet patterns moving from magazine-only to being shared on the internet, it's necessary to recognize which terminology is used, and to have the tools ready to convert a pattern in the terminology of your choice.

And that's where it gets complicated. Both UK and US terminologies use the same stitch names 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 what the difference is based on: the UK terminology refers to the number of loops on your hook, and the US terminology refers to the number of yarnovers when pulling up your first loop.

For example, a US double crochet (UK treble) has two yarnovers (hence, double in US terms), but three loops on the 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 the hook after pulling up a loop (hence, double in UK crochet terms).

Crochet terms conversion chart

US terms 🇺🇸

US Abbreviation

UK terms 🇬🇧

UK abbreviation

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?

Normally, the pattern specifies whether it's written in US or UK terms. You can find this information either in the stitch abbreviations, the general description or in the pattern notes. In the rare instance that you do not have this information, you can discern between the two terminologies this way:

  1. Check the actual 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).
  2. 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. Also check out my guide on crochet stitch symbols.
  3. Check other words besides the stitches. UK terminology often uses 'miss a stitch' instead of the US equivalent 'skip a stitch'. And for example, '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 a clue!

I hope these tips help you to easily recognise the language your pattern is written in. And when in doubt, you can always try to get in touch with the designer or publicist. If you have any extra tips, feel free to leave a comment below and help your fellow crocheters out!

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