US and UK crochet terms explained: What is the difference between them and why should you know?
Every crochet beginner at some point will come across US and UK crochet terms. Some will learn the difference straight away and others will ignore and steer clear of the 'alternative' until they see something they really want to make. However, I want to show you how easy it is to learn the differences and I will explain why I want you to learn them.
Firstly, imagine that you didn't know about any of this and have just made your first crochet sweater. You are so excited to throw it on but you realise when trying it on that something isn't right. The piece feels way too big. What could be causing the mishap?
Was the crochet book or pattern using US or crochet terms? Oh dear.
I've done it myself. I've made things that are far too small and tight because they were written in US terms and I had just finished watching a tutorial in UK terms. Whoops. We all live and learn. Did you know that as well as your hook size and yarn choice, it is also crochet terminology that can severely impact the finished result of your item? (gauge and tension are the same, by the way) I'll explain why here:
US and UK crochet terminology chart
|UK term||US term|
|Double crochet (Dc)||Single crochet (Sc)|
|Half treble crochet (Htr)||Half double crochet (Hdc)|
|Treble crochet (Tr)||Double crochet (Dc)|
|Double treble crochet (Dtr)||Treble crochet (Tr)|
|Triple treble crochet (Trtr)||Double treble crochet (Dtr)|
Why is there a difference between these terms?
I have a theory that UK crochet terms are based on how many loops you have on the hook after inserting it into the chain for the first time. For example, when you insert the hook into the stitch to make a US single crochet, you have two loops on the hook. When you insert the hook to make a US double crochet, you have three loops on the hook. This would explain why it is called a treble in UK terms, with treble meaning three times.
This would then mean that the US terms are based on the movements of the hook, for example:
Insert hook, yarn over and pull through both loops on the hook. It was an unbroken motion, whereas US double crochet would go like this:
Yarn over, insert hook, yarn over and pull through 2 loops (just like single), yarn over pull through another 2 loops. We essentially doubled the motion of single crochet, and that might be why it is called double crochet.
It's only a theory anyway, but I hope that you find the chart useful.
Knowing the difference between US crochet terms and UK crochet terms won't always be this hard.
Just remember that if you see 'single crochet' on a pattern or video tutorial, then the pattern is definitely using US terms, as single crochet does not exist in UK terms.
In the grand scheme of things, there are only 5 stitches to learn, Chain stitch is the same and slip stitch is the same. I would advise any crochet enthusiast to learn both sets of terms. There are several reasons for this:
- Crochet patterns are global now.
- Only learning one set of terms restricts your access to all crochet patterns and we wouldn't want that.
- It would help you to read vintage crochet patterns easily.
Fortunately, most crochet designers will state clearly in the description or the pattern if the pattern is written in US or UK crochet terms. I use both when working with other people's patterns but I publish my patterns using US terms. On pattern platforms such as Ravelry and Lovecrafts, you can filter patterns based on whether they use US or UK crochet terms.
Although this is a good feature, I would always recommend that you learn and use both sets of terms, as a crochet terminology chart is only a click away. Nothing makes me sad quite like a crocheter tell me that they couldn't make the item because they "couldn't be bothered" learning the other terms. There is a whole world of crochet out there and I want you to see it for yourself. Do not let it limit your crochet dreams.