Crochet Symbols- Brackets, Parenthesis, Asterisk

Crochet symbols and abbreviations are a big part of crochet. Symbols and abbreviations can make it confusing if you don't know and learn the crochet language. When you purchase a book, abbreviations and symbols should be somewhere towards the beginning of the book. Sometimes they may be at the end in the form of a glossary. This will be a guide as to how the symbols are used and related to the instructions, in the book you have purchased. Many will be the same as what you have seen and some will be different and new.

Here are some basic repeat symbols that you will see used in crochet. Some symbols used for repeats, are used more frequently that others. Back in the day, when I was first learning to crochet, parenthesis were used for repeating instructions. I have noticed a change in the use of parenthesis today and they are used more as a summation for the specific row or round being worked on.
Detail is import with written instructions. Following the repeat set of instructions, you should find a phrase telling you how many times to repeat the set of instructions.

  • [ ] = work instructions between brackets as many times as instructed

  • ( ) = work instructions between parenthesis as many times as instructed

  • * = repeat the instructions following the single asterisk as instructed

Sometimes it may be confusing figuring out how many times you are supposed to be repeating. There are a lot of people, including myself, who write instructions based off a style, when they were learning to crochet. What makes sense to one person, will come across confusing to someone else. Detail is key. There are a few ways to tackle a confusing row or round.

  1. You can look at the image and see if you can find the row you are on in the image. I have found this very helpful in the past and have been able to resolve my confusion from a picture.
  2. There are many message forums related to crochet and usually someone with knowledge is willing to answer a question.
  3. The other thing you can do is write to the author. I realize that publications go out of business so they may be hard to reach but in most cases the author is just an e-mail away.


  1. Wow, Thank you so much Teresa. You cleared so much up for me. I saw the asterisk but had no clue what they meant. I learned to crochet 100% from your videos. You told me step by step what to do so, when I tried to work a pattern, it never turned out right. You are so very talented and I want to thank you so much for teaching me to crochet. I love it.

    Thanks again, Lisa


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