British vs. American Crochet Terms: What’s the Difference?

TermsSo I was asked something recently over on my Facebook page which I thought was a VERY interesting question!

Hey there! we are having a conversation on “Official CCC Social Group” a crochet page, about the difference between UK and US naming instructions. I used your Part one CAL, Groovyghan as an example link. I have some UKers that had no idea what I was talking about?! Could you explain why a SC in US is DC in UK?
Thanks so much!

I was taught by my Mum and Nana how to crochet and, living as I do in the UK, was taught using British terminology.  Like many people I didn’t even realise that there was another type of terminology until I really got into crochet as an adult.  

The difference between the two terms was a bit of a bug bear for me at first (until I became more crochet-bilingual) as I found some amazingly lovely patterns that were written in American terms but I found I was forever having to go back to check the terminology section to make sure I was crocheting the right stitch. And once you’ve crocheted a UK double crochet instead of an American one you quickly see that it’s a big, difference as the height of the stitch is taller – this, aside from being really annoying when you realise, affects the whole pattern so you need to get it right!

This had a profound affect on me when I came to design my own patterns. I didn’t want people to have to flick backwards and forwards so I started writing both abbreviations straight into all my patterns (with the UK terminology first) e.g. * 1 htr/hdc in the next st, 1 tr/dc in the next, 3 dtr/tr in the next st, 1 tr/dc in the next st, 1 htr/hdc in the next st, 1 dc/sc in the next st *. I know most people could translate the pattern themselves but I always think it’s nicer to have things done for you!

So what are the differences?

British Crochet American Crochet
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 (ttr) Double treble crochet (dtr)

So why is it different?

I did a bit of searching on the web and couldn’t find a definitive answer (if you know please let me know!) I believe the English call it a double crochet because to perform the stitch you have to wind the yarn around the hook and pull it through leaving TWO loops on your hook, (the same goes for our treble crochet because you get THREE loops on your hook). I think the American terminology comes from the fact you are making a single stitch (rather than how you create the stitch) – so their double crochet is effectively two single crochets – if that makes sense! 

Knowing which is which…

There is a lot of duplication between the abbreviations which can make it tricky to know what terminology it’s written in.  I think in most cases pattern designers these days state somewhere on their pattern what terms the pattern is written in but with older patterns you might have to check in other ways…   

You will pretty much always know if you are working a American terms pattern if they mention single crochet (sc) as that is not used in British terminology.  It’s useful to mention here that Australian patterns are usually written in UK terms.

Another possible way to determine if it’s UK or American is how we describe our hook sizes (though I tend to put both options in my patterns). For UK it tends to be in metric sizes, in US it’s usually done with letters.

British Hook Sizes American Hook Sizes
2.25mm B
2.75mm C
3.25mm D
3.50mm E
3.75mm F
4.00mm G
4.50mm 7
5.00mm H
5.50mm I
6.00mm J
6.50mm K
8.00mm L
9.00mm M / N
10.00mm N / P

Same with yarn thickness; in the UK we would say it was 3 ply, 4 ply, double knit or Aran. In the US it’s usually fingering, sport, worsted (in fact I didn’t know what worsted was for the longest time – another reason why I put all name variations in my patterns!). 


So I hope you have found that helpful, if you have any more useful tips on this subject I’d love to hear them!

23 thoughts on “British vs. American Crochet Terms: What’s the Difference?

  1. Excellent article! For many years I didn’t know about the differences and so had me confused and put off crochet until 5 years ago when, with the help of lots of lovely people, like yourself, willing to share their knowledge, the penny finally dropped. Thank you!

  2. A very useful post! I’ve been crochet-bilingual since looking up patterns on the Internet. No choice in the matter really! I’ve been purely guessing the yarn weights up to now though. Who names this nonsense!? Thanks!

  3. Because my native language is spanish, I have to be very careful to follow instructions. I learned based mainly in graphs which has been very easy for me and more in the US form. Sometimes I read thw written instructions and draw the graphic. Anyway, an addiction like this make people do almost whatever!!!

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