While the setup of knit and crochet patterns can vary depending on the company or the designer, most follow the same general layout:
• Size or measurements of the finished item
• Materials list
• Stitch guide and special stitch instructions
• Notes about the pattern
• Instructions to knit or crochet
The skill level of a pattern gives you an idea of how difficult it is. Skill levels are generally listed as beginner, easy, intermediate, and advanced/experienced.
The size of the project will either be listed in dimensions or in clothing sizes, if applicable. Often, patterns for clothing will also list measurements such as bust size or length so you can determine which size to make.
The materials list will include everything you need to complete the project: the yarn, recommended hook or needle size, and any additional notions such as stitch markers, a cable needle, a yarn needle, or buttons.
The gauge listed in the pattern is what helps ensure your finished project will be the size indicated in the pattern. Before starting your project, be sure to make a gauge swatch. Do not start your project until you have achieved the exact gauge listed in the pattern, or else your project will not be the correct size.
Some patterns use uncommon stitches, specialty stitches, or patterns that are unique to the project. Instructions for these stitches or patterns will be listed in the Stitch Guide section. You may want to make a small swatch to practice these stitches before beginning your project.
This section contains special notes, instructions, or information about working the pattern. Be sure to read this section so you don’t miss any crucial information.
Instructions in a knit or crochet pattern are written in either rows or rounds, depending on the project and how it is constructed. Before you begin your project, it’s a good idea to read through the instructions. This will give you an idea of how the pattern will work up and alert you of any difficult areas. Many patterns use abbreviations, and you will quickly pick up on the standard abbreviations as you gain experience knitting or crocheting.