In this era of the world wide net, we are able to befriend crocheters from all over the world. While many of them are fluent in English (er…American), many more are not. And, those of us in the US are typically not fluent in the language of any other country. English is the language of the internet – but crochet has a language of its own and it becomes unintelligible when run thru one of those lovely free translation sites. So, what is the universal language of crochet (ULC)? It must be something that we can all read no matter what continent we’re on. It must be both mathematical and esthetic.
Thus, we enter the world of representational language. In crochet, we have several representational modes. We have symbols – those widely used squiggles that indicate where to put one’s hook and what stitch to make. There are charts for filet – symbols to show us how to create a flat design in sc, dc, and tr. Next are graphs – similar to charts but typically used with yarn to create a picture of different colors in a field of solid color. Again, we are given symbols to indicate what stitches go where and in what color(s). Schematics are useful in all of the above, but especially in creating garments using any method. Schematics can show us what size and shape a sleeve should be and how to attach row A in slot B. Schematics are one of the most useful tools any designer can add to a pattern to clarify its meaning.
It took me quite a while to comprehend the benefit of symbols and schematics. I was resistant. VERY RESISTANT. See, I was an English Teacher in a former life. Why would I need any help interpreting a written pattern? Well – a picture – or schematic – is definitely worth a million words. And symbols replace words, making patterns originating any place in the world accessible to all of us. Just visit a Russian or Japanese crochet site to see the value of learning to read and interpret symbol crochet!