American and British Crochet terms


As if having different names for crochet stitches wasn’t bad enough, Americans and Brits re-use the very same terms to mean different things! Ack! Well, there’s no doubt that it’s confusing, but the least we can do is make a little chart to help out!

Although this list isn’t comprehensive, we’re covering the stitch terms we use in our FreshStitches patterns (which, not coincidentally, happen to be the most frequently used terms).

American/British crochet stitch terms

American term
British term
slip stitch (sl st)
slip stitch

single crochet (sc)
double crochet

half double crochet (hdc)
half treble crochet

double crochet (dc)
treble crochet

treble crochet (tr)
double treble crochet

So, if the two countries use the same terms, how do you tell which kind of pattern you have? There are a couple of clues. If you see the word ‘single crochet’, then you have a pattern using the American naming convention, since this term isn’t used in British patterns. This turns out to be pretty helpful, since it’s a very common stitch, and is pretty likely to turn up somewhere in the pattern. Another pretty useful clue is to look at the country that the pattern is published in. If the pattern is published in the US or Canada, then you’re looking at the American system. If the pattern is published in the UK, Australia or the (non-Canadian) Commonwealth, then you’ve most likely got the British system. This isn’t foolproof (since some patterns are written using American terms for export), but it’s a good clue. And lastly, the British are sometimes nice enough to write at the front of their patterns, ‘this pattern is written using British terms and measurements’…. and you can’t get a better clue than that! (Americans- and I can say this because I am one- often fail to write a similar statement at the beginning of our patterns because we forget that another system exists. I know, it’s terrible, but I’m being honest.)

Hopefully, this will help you out next time get a pattern from across the pond (in either direction). I’ll end this post with one of the biggest mysteries facing us in crochet… since the British term basically uses one term “bigger” than the American term (a single crochet is called a double, a double is called a treble…), why isn’t the ‘slip stitch’ called a ‘single crochet’? I hope that doesn’t keep you up at night…

Oct 10, 2009 | Posted by in Tips & Techniques | 3 comments

Comments (3 Responses)

  1. Louise Hendrix says:

    I am using a pattern from the Fibre Craft site, and it calls for SHdc stitch. I have been unable to find anything except for sequins, and this pattern does not use sequins. The S and H are in caps, whether that means anything…Can you help me? thanks, Louise

  2. Yarnbazaar says:

    Great site. Very informative. The terms are very confusing but definitely great.

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