US vs UK crochet terms. Are we really that bothered?

US vs UK crochet terms. Are we really that bothered?

Crochet culture wars? Hopefully not!

As a designer and former crochet teacher, it has occurred to me more often than not that sometimes the difference in US and UK terminology could confuse beginners. That's why I make sure that makers have easy access to both sets of terms. 

I have been asked to provide patterns in UK terms as well as US once before and while this is something that I would like to do, it's not really affordable to have my entire crochet pattern catalogue re-edited to fit with UK terms as well. 

Why do I use US terms? I'm British! 

Although I'm British, the UK crochet terms just didn't come naturally to me when I was learning. Every UK crochet magazine you can get here has the patterns written in UK terms but I was always looking at the resources at the back to see what the US equivalent was. Eventually, I mastered both but my default has always been US terms. 

I always did and still do insist that it is incredibly beneficial to learn and know both by heart. This is so that you can use any crochet pattern. Why limit yourself? 

The need for preservation

I understand that if you have done things a certain way for a certain length of time, it might seem like the way you do things is under attack. It might seem like there is a takeover of US terms in UK crochet communities. It might seem that UK terms are dying out. 

I don't see it like that. In this age of globalisation and an online community of craft, I love that we are sharing all the time. I have found that a lot of European crochet patterns favour US terms. I have found that a lot of my favourite patterns just happen to be written by US designers. I don't hold that against them. I will happily buy a pattern that uses UK terminology too because if I want to make the thing, I will make it. 

In my opinion, globalisation is a good thing. There's a whole world out there and I am lucky enough to have online contacts from all over it. 

You learn how you learn. Learning is the only thing that matters. 

I didn't learn to crochet from relatives or community craft groups. As a young professional millennial working long hours, they weren't an option for me. My mother and her mother before her were very much done with the image of 'granny hobbies' and couldn't even teach me if they wanted to. I had never witnessed my paternal grandmother engage in any hook or knitting needle activity. She did embroidery and nothing else. My Dad's sister's all secretly did it but at the time I was none the wiser. I had to learn from books and Youtube in my 20s. 

The thing is with Youtube in the 2010's is that some of the best videos I came across were by Americans. The best book I used for crochet was written by an American. That can't be helped! We all learn in ways that are within our preferences. What I actually really loved about Stitch n Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker  was how they did include UK terms too in handy charts. It was easy to just flick back and reference the terms if I was using a pattern from a UK magazine for example. 

It can be expected that a lot of new crocheters will be students of hybridised learning. With the availability of so many crochet resources on a global scale, it is to be expected that newbies will be fluent in both crochet languages. Again, this is a good thing. 

Learn both terms and you'll never be sad 

In the grand scheme of things, there aren't many terms to learn. It's not like having to learn an entire new technique in a different language. It's just a few terms. It might take you minutes, days, hours or years to learn them but you will. 

There are only 5 to learn! You can find them on a handy table here

Live and let crochet. 




Further resources: 

Crochet stitch guide for beginners. 

How to get started with crochet: A Beginner's guide. 

What's the easiest thing to make with crochet? 

How to get your granny squares right every time. 

Where to put your hook in crochet!

Crochet content like this is brought to you completely free of charge with no intrusive ads. If you'd like to support my work but don't need a pattern right now, you can always buy me a coffee? Here's my Ko-Fi link. Thank you for your support! 

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1 comment

As a German living in the UK, US terms have always been easier for me as they align more with German terms. My husband started crocheting a few years ago and he prefers US terms as well, they make more sense to him. At the end of the day, I don’t think it really matters as long as the pattern specifies which terminology is being used so there is no confusion.

Frau Leo

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