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In a crochet pattern, if you are supposed to double crochet in 6 stitches in a row it is typically written as “dc in each of next 6 sts” or “dc in next 6 sts”. This is wordier than the equivalent instructions in knitting which would simply be “k 6”. Why don’t we just write “dc 6” in crochet patterns?*
Some people see the more explicit instructions in crochet patterns as being condescending. It seems like pattern writers are treating crocheters like little children who can’t follow directions unless they are completely spelled out.
What I, and others, think though, is that it’s because of the nature of crochet. Unless it’s the most basic of crochet patterns, you can’t always assume you are working one stitch in each stitch across. Many crochet stitch patterns involve skipping stitches, working in front of stitches, working behind stitches, or working multiple stitches in the same spot. It’s necessary to spell things out so explicitly because you can’t take for granted where the hook goes next.
One of the benefits of the wordier crochet patterns is that, at least anecdotally speaking, crocheters tend to be willing to try out more advanced techniques on their own. The more detailed pattern instructions seem to provide a safety net for trying new things.
What do you think? Have you noticed the “wordiness” of crochet patterns? Do you think it’s helpful or a hindrance?
*I’m a crochet tech editor. If you ever send me a pattern where you have written “dc 6”, I will send it back to you corrected as “dc in next 6 sts” or “dc in each of next 6 sts”.
I think it is exactly for the reason you mentioned. In crochet patterns, there is always a question of where to put the hook. In knitting patterns, it is always assumed the needle goes into the next stitch in the normal way UNLESS you state otherwise.
I hadn’t really thought about this being why crocheters might take more risks/learn more on their own, but that could definitely be part of the reason.
This is why learning to read charts can be so valuable. They show the same idea in a graphic manner, without ambiguity or excessive wordiness. A picture really is worth a thousand words!
I think you’re are right on the mark. I have been a technical writer/editor (for engineers) in years past. I don’t even know if knit patterns have charts to accompany them like some crochet patterns do, but they are quite helpful to me. And, I agree with your editing assessment regarding the ‘6DC’. Needs to be more specific – and that’s not condescending.
jd in st louis
Your explanation is so eloquently put, I think charts sit so comfortably with crochet but if a non charted pattern then the explanation definitely has to be clearly explained.
Having designed some patterns I found I had to increase the words in the instructions. Customers didn’t understand. Basically I had to write every tiny detail. Years ago, people seemed to understand a more shortened form of instruction but not these days. They expect full words and full graphics for nearly every section.