Following a diagram pattern

When I first saw a crochet pattern I was utterly confused. What did it all mean? What on earth could Ch1, 7dc into loop mean? And what about ‘*(dc, htr, dc, htr, dc) in the ch sp, rep from * around’? Then there were diagram (chart) patterns with all those symbols – forget it! There was no way I’d understand those.

For my first few projects I very carefully followed YouTube videos, and if I couldn’t find a video for what I wanted to make, then I didn’t make it. After a while I dipped my toes into the world of written patterns, and by then they didn’t seem to be so daunting. However I was still scared by the diagrams.

That all changed last week when I found a pattern I wanted to use with a beautiful skein of hand dyed yarn I bought at Aberdeen Yarn Fest. The only stumbling block was that it was a diagram – there was no written pattern. Nevertheless I decided this time I wasn’t going to back down from the challenge, and after reading a couple of articles on how to read the patterns I began my project.

Close up of crochet blanket

The pattern I used is Taiyello by Anne Straus-Laube, a lovely simple shawl that worked up really quickly. Once I began, I realised just how easy it can be to follow diagram crochet patterns. You can see exactly where the stitches are supposed to be placed so there’s no ‘interpreting’ required, as can happen with written patterns, when sometimes it’s not always clear where you’re supposed to place your hook for the next step.

The yarn is Corriedale Sock 4 ply (80% Corriedale, 20% Nylon), made by Love Handyed, bought at Aberdeen Yarnfest that took place in June. I also have a skein of laceweight Alpaca Silk which I just need to find the right pattern for!

I used a 5mm hook, something which I did initially find quite difficult as the yarn was quite thin. Honestly, I’ve given up on projects in the past where I just couldn’t get used to using thin yarn with a much bigger hook. However this time I persisted.

After blocking, the final size of my shawl is around 155cm wide and 68cm deep.

Finished crochet shawl hanging on washing line

I’m not entirely sure why it took so long for me to try following a pattern written in this way, I think I’d built them up in my head because they contain so many symbols. There’s no doubt that I’ve gotten over the fear of using these patterns, so hopefully this opens up a whole new world of pattern possibilities!

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