Although English is spoken in both the UK and the US, knitting and crochet are different in these countries. To say this is confusing is an understatement. Some countries use the US system and some use the UK system. You will find that some patterns tell you if the pattern is written in UK terms or US terms and some patterns will give both the UK and US terms. However, there are lots of patterns which do not make this clear.
A good place to start is to look at the tension or gauge section. If they are using the US system, then it will probably say, Gauge: 22 sts and 28 rows to 4 inches, and if they are using the UK system, then it will probably say, Tension: 22 stitches and 28 rows to 10 cm. If you are not sure whether your pattern is a UK or US pattern, have a look and see if it mentions ‘single crochet’. Single crochet is a US term and is not used in UK patterns. You could also look at the crochet hook sizes since the UK and US system is different for crochet hooks.
The main differences in UK and US crochet patterns are:
- stitch names
- crochet hooks
- clothing names
Crochet Stitch names
UK and US crochet terms are different – well, actually the crochet itself is the same but the terminology is different. For some reason a particular crochet stitch will be called one thing in the UK and be given a different name in the US.
The chain stitch is the same in both languages. However, other crochet stitches have different names in the UK and the US and so, apart from the chain stitch, the crochet stitches are known by different names.
A good way to remember the UK and US crochet stitches is to realise that the UK stitches are one step up from the US ones. For example, the UK treble crochet is the same as the US double crochet. Perhaps the best to to deal with this problem is to use a conversion chart.
Other crochet and knitting terms may be different too. For example, in the UK word ‘tension’ is known in the US as ‘gauge’. So, look out for different crochet terms.
The US patterns will usually work in imperial measurements such as inches and UK patterns will usually work in metric measurements such as centimetres. Some countries use the US system and some countries use the UK system. For example, crochet patterns in Australia use the UK system. Some patterns will give both imperial and metric measurement to avoid confusion. So, for example, when giving the tension or gauge measurements, the pattern will say ‘10 cm or 4 inches’.
US crochet hooks with usually have a letter and a number, whilst UK crochet hooks are usually given in metric sizes. So, a D/3 crochet hook is the same as a 3.25 mm crochet hook. This can be shown in the form of a conversion chart for crochet hooks.
For some reason words are spelt differently in the US. For example, the word ‘colour’ in the UK is spelt ‘color’ in the US.
Even some names for clothing are different. Here are some examples:
• UK Balaclava; helmet = US cold weather hood
• UK tammy; Tam O’Shanter = US beret
• UK slipover; tank top; vest; sleeveless cardigan = US vest
• UK trousers = US pants
• UK pants = US underwear; boxers
UK and US yarns are given different names. Yarn types in the US will be something like fingering, sport, worsted, or bulky, whilst UK yarns will be 4 ply, double knitting, Aran, or chunky.