How to Read Vintage Crochet Patterns and Discontinued Yarns

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Vintage Crochet Patterns – How to Read Them

Do you have a vintage crochet pattern you’d like to try but don’t know how to read it or know what thread to use. I’ve found a couple of sources that might help with reading vintage crochet patterns and identifying threads.

I’ve got to say, I was surprised there wasn’t more information about this online since there are so many public domain vintage crochet patterns available. Maybe it’s something I should look into doing, in my spare time of course. I’ll add more links as I find them and please feel free to add your own ideas in the comments section below.

Deciphering Old Patterns

This site — Crochet Spot has a lot of information on crocheting and welcomes questions about deciphering old patterns. Here’s a post on the same site called How to Read Crochet Patterns with Basic Crochet Abbreviations and some examples. Plus she has an amazing crochet archive of crochet patterns and information going all the way back to 2009.

Abbreviations You Don’t Recognize

Sometimes you’ll run into a vintage abbreviation you don’t recognize, the Roving Crafters blog has a post on Vintage Crochet Terms Translated.

Encyclopedia of Needlework Crochet Star Pattern
Here is the complete Encyclopedia of Needlework by Terese de Dillmont published in 1884 online. This is a classic needlework reference book even for today. I’ve linked to Chapter 9 on Crochet Work.

I’ve added this link because of the many crochet stitches presented and how to do them, which could give some insight into how vintage patterns were written. Also there’s a pattern for a Crochet Star that has some similarities to the Lace Valentine motif crochet pattern post on my blog.

There’s Always a YouTube Video

I found an interesting YouTube video from Interweave Craft, Translating Vintage Crochet Patterns with Karen Brock, that does a good job of explaining how to translate the terminology of yarn, hook sizes, and basic crochet stitches of vintage patterns.

Links for Information on Discontinued Yarns and Threads

YarnSub is run by Wendy Peterson who is a life long knitter. I found this site easy to use. First of all, there is a lot of information about the discontinued yarn which helps in finding a substitute. All you have to do is type in the search box the name of the discontinued yarn and a multitude of substitutes comes up. Each substitute match is rated as a percentage. Wendy also has a newsletter, Facebook page and Twitter account.

This link on Vashti’s Crochet Pattern Companion discusses Cotton Crochet Sizes and Equivalents. Especially check out the comments on this post. Included are good questions and answers about vintage crochet pattern threads.

Another great discussion of Old Thread Ball Sizes is on the Crochetville website.

Purple Kitty has a Discontinued Yarn Chart. The chart doesn’t include The American Thread Company cotton, but it’s still a great reference for vintage projects. Some of the name brands are Bear, Brunswick, Columbia Minerva, Coats and Clark’s, Spinnerin and more.

You’ll find another chart that includes Historical Needle Size vs Modern Size, Expected Gauge, Yarn Names and Substitutes. There is also a good Q&A on the String-Or-Nothing website.

Vintage Crochet Pattern Book Pages About Thread

Pulling information about threads from vintage crochet pattern books is a good way to help find a suitable substitute for discontinued threads.

American Thread Company Mercerized Cottons

American Thread Company Mercerized Cottons Page for Vintage Crochet Patterns

American Thread Yarns

Puritan Crochet Bedspread Cotton

American Thread Puritan Bedspread Cotton for Vintage Crochet Patterns

Gem Crochet Cotton


American Thread Gem Crochet Cotton for Vintage Crochet Patterns


Kentucky Yarns

Kentucky Yarns List Crochet Heart Shaped Potholder Pattern - Vintage Crafts and More

Botany Brand No-Dye Lot Yarns

Botany Brand No-Dye Lot Yarns Chart



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