I love to crochet, and to collaborate with others about it. To see what others have made and to show my own creations and tell what I learned along the way. Knitting groups have been around forever I think, and it seems likely to me that people have always shared ideas in this way. The Information Age has brought this to a new level, there are literally thousands of crochet sites with tips and even free patterns, contributed from around the world; its a shared language.
Except that it’s not!
As I’m from England, I consider British English to be English, as its the original, and American English to be something completely different. The rest of the world doesn’t always share this view however and this can be frustrating at times.
Its exactly the same for the language of crochet. The needle sizes have the same names but applied to different sizes – everywhere uses metric these days but older patterns may not. The yarn weights are very different in what is available and also how it is referred to. Worst of all, the stitches have the same names on both sides of the Atlantic, but they are used to refer to different stitches!
Lost in Translation
There are plenty of free crochet patterns on the internet and if you see a pattern, looks easy enough and the stitch names sound familiar, then you would probably try it out. Unless it clearly states or you are paying a lot of attention, you might not even realise that there is something wrong.
I deal with this problem by referring to the trust conversion chart from the KCG or by looking at the instructions in the first chapter of a book that I know is either British or American. I’m not sure what is used in the rest of the world (the Southern Hemisphere, for example), I hope its one of the two systems I already know!
Have you had any bad experiences with this naming-the-same-thing-the-same-name-but-meaning-different-things phenomenon? Add your comments here, I know it isn’t just crochet stitches that has this problem.
Thanks for that link! I knew there were differences, because my craft book told me a bit about it and I’ve so far managed to muddle my way through the American patterns I’ve tried. But every so often I get rather confused about what I’m supposed to be doing! Those conversion charts are fab! :)
Glad the charts were helpful, I have printouts in with all my crochet stuff for regular reference as I’m often confused. There are more British crochet books coming out all the time but its not uncommon to see US versions over here too.
I have problems understand crothet hooks. I printed a pattern that had the American size of hook I think it was K.When I tried to translate into British it said hook 3. If I were to translate into metric it gave 6.55mm. I don’t know how thick the hook for the American was but the difference in metric and British were of a substantial deffernce.
Can you help please
Brenda – the 6.5mm sounds about right. Using the conversion chart linked from the article, it gives the American hook size K as 7mm in metric. The British needle sizing of three would be a 6.5 mm diameter. I think that the ambiguity is because the conversion from imperial to metric isn’t exact – try it with the 6.5mm but do make the gauge swatch first to check its turning out OK.