American vs. European Crochet Terms

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In an online world where eBay, Amazon, and Pinterest have made finding unique crochet lace patterns so much easier, it’s important to realize, not all patterns speak the same language.

I first came up against this issue when I was making a beautiful rose motif in an old 1920 magazine reprint from the Lacis Museum of Lace.  It was a beautiful Irish lace piece.  I was in love!  But no matter how many times I started, for the life of me, my rose and the “Rose of Sharon” did not match!  That was when I learned a very important lesson.  American patterns are different from European patterns.  It’s not a hard difference to learn, but they are different.

What are the differences between American and European Crochet?

American Crochet Terms UK Crochet Terms
Single crochet Double crochet
Half double crochet Half treble crochet
Double crochet Treble crochet
Treble crochet Double treble crochet
Double treble crochet Triple treble crochet
Gauge Tension
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Many modern patterns will specify which type of pattern they are using. Books will have a stitch guide in the front or back as a reference detailing exactly what each of their standard stitches is meant to look like. However, as a rule of thumb if you’re using 1920 or earlier lace patterns or Irish lace patterns, take special note.

If you’re still in doubt with an ambiguous, gorgeous, must-have pattern, this is the biggest tip– European patterns do not use sc. If the pattern calls for single crochet, you know it’s an American style crochet pattern.

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Sweet Scalloped Edge Pattern

Sweet Scalloped Edge
This little scalloped edge is a simple classic, excellent for a beginner’s pattern.

There are three rows:

First row, chain stitch a length a few inches longer than the pillowcase you want to edge.
Ladder row
Second row, skip 7 chains of the row you just finished. Double crochet in the next chain. Chain two, skip two chains of the foundation row, double crochet. Repeat across to the end.
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Third row, chain one, turn. Seven double crochets in the next double crochet from the previous row. Single crochet in the next double crochet, scallop made. Repeat to the end.

There is a slight difference between the scallop style of the pillowcase picture and the scallop picture above. If you prefer more of a pointed scallop, try this simple alternative:

Alternative pointed scallop for third row– three double crochets in the next double crochet from the previous row, chain two, three more double crochets in the same stitch. Single crochet in the next double crochet, scallop made. Repeat to the end.