red stop sign

Tips from a Tech Editor: Work to the stop

Often in crochet patterns we are asked to work a pattern or a stitch type until some stopping point.  Then we are given different instructions for after that stopping point.  When writing crochet patterns, it can often be confusing for designers as to where to stop.

“Do I tell them to work all the way and into the last stitch? 

Or do I tell them to work TO the one that they’re not using?”

The latter is the answer.  Think about driving instructions and a stop sign.  The active verb is to drive (make a stitch) and you drive to the stop sign.  You should stop just before the stop sign.  Usually, if you drive past the stop sign, you’re now in the danger zone of being hit by another car. 

red stop sign
Photo by Pixabay on

It’s the same with crochet.  If we have 5 chain-spaces across a row and you’re working a half shell in the first and last space and a full shell in the middle spaces the instructions might look like this:

  • Work half shell in first ch-sp, shell in each ch-sp to last sp, work half shell in last ch-sp.

You tell them to work up to the stopping point, then tell them what to do in that stopping point and beyond. 

Always tell them to work to the stopping point. Then tell them what to do in the next stitch or space (same as the stopping point) and any sts after that.

Other examples:

  • sc in each st to last 5 sts, hdc in last 5 sts
  • [dc in next st, ch 5, sk 5] to last 4 sts, dc in next st, ch 2, sk 2, dc in last st

Maybe you’re working an item that has a central design that is different from either side. Maybe a garment with a cable down the middle. You could be working a stitch pattern to a marked stitch indicating the beginning of the central cable, then work the same stitch pattern after the cable. I love using stitch markers for patterns like this because even if you are working multiple sizes, you don’t have to write out all the stitch counts for every size in every row of the pattern. In one line you can tell them were to establish the stitch markers. Let’s pretend the central pattern is worked across 12 sts for all sizes. Give them a note like the following:

  • Count 20 (25, 30, 35, 40) sts from end, place marker after last counted stitch. This will indicate the beginning of the cable pattern. Count 12 sts and place marker after 12th stitch. This will indicate the end of the cable pattern.

Then your pattern can be written uniformly for all sizes.

  • Next # Rows: Ch 1, [(sc, dc) in next st, sk next st] to stitch marker, work next row of cable pattern, [(sc, dc) in next st, sk next st] to last st, dc in last st, turn.

We’re working TO the marker, you can’t work IN a stitch marker, so this can be another reminder of telling them where they stop. They stop before the point where they shouldn’t make another stitch before looking back at the instructions. So, they work to the stitch marker, then check for new instructions, then work to the last st, then get new instructions for the last st.

For any other writing crochet questions that you have, check out my Gumroad ebooks.

Or any of these posts on:

How to write Gauge

How to write crochet Yarn Description

How to write stitch counts

How to write: Repeats on a square

How to write crochet: Repeat punctuation

You are always welcome to comment on this post with a question, or email me directly. See How to Hire Emily header for more contact info.

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