3 Crochet Terms that You Might be Misusing

There are three crochet terms that are commonly misused….or so I thought. While researching to find out why these 3 words are being used wrong, I realized something – They aren’t….or are they? My theories about them were on the right track but there is, in fact, additional things I found that I hadn’t considered. Keep reading….


3 Crochet Terms you may be misusing - Find out which words are being used incorrectly. Hint: It's not a pompom!


3 Commonly Misused
Crochet Terms


At some point over the years I just noticed things that didn’t line up with older patterns. Of course this drove the editor in me crazy, so I set out to find a rational answer. What I found was interesting…. There are 3 crochet terms that have changed over the years. I don’t know why or when, but now we are saying them differently! 


Do you know these crochet terms?


Triple crochet stitch – It actually did not originate as the triple crochet stitch. It was originally called the treble crochet stitch. Treble means triple, and you yarn over 3 times during the stitch, which is where the triple comes from. (Plus it’s 3x the height of a sc.) There are certain places it just doesn’t sound right. Example: If you have a triple treble you’re now going to call it a triple triple stitch – which just doesn’t sound right to me. In fact, triple crochet is not technically wrong, it’s just not the original terminology used in patterns.


Pompom – This one may shock some of you. It’s not a pompom! It’s actually a pompon. I have no idea when or how I realized this, but I went searching to be sure I was right. Compare these two definitions taken straight from websters.com.

  • Pompom is “an automatic antiaircraft cannon.”
  • Pompon is “an ornamental tuft or ball of feathers, wool, or the like,used on hats, slippers, etc.”

At the bottom of pompon there is a clause in there that states “pompom” is now used in its place, most likely because we’ve been using it wrong for so many years!


Ravel / Unravel – Because of certain clues I had seen over time, the term ravel was a little confusing to me. Most crocheters use the term unravel in reference to anything that you have to frog (pull out, start over, etc.) or a project that “unravels” and comes apart. I was even more confused when I realized the term ravel is similarly used to mean the same thing. Websters.com had the first definition of both of these written almost identically.

  • Unravel – to separate or disentangle the threads of (a woven or knitted fabric, rope, etc.).
  • Ravel – to disentangle or unravel the threads or fibers of (a woven or knitted fabric, rope, etc.).

Wait?!?! Why are both “a” definitions ultimately the same? The problem solver in me had to figure it out. This basically turned into a word study for me as I dissected the 2 words. (Yes, sometimes I turn into a grammar geek.) While some dictionaries had almost identical meanings, as shown above, the more research I did the more I realized they were/are opposites. In addition to the definitions above, here are a couple others that were listed.

  • Unravel – to take apart; undo; destroy
  • Ravel – to tangle or entangle.

Why are the first and second definition of ravel opposites? I kept digging (some things drive me crazy!) The best I can figure, based on my research, is that RAVEL is the British term for our American UNRAVEL. (source: websters.com) In either case I think you’re safe using either of these words, after all, I might be the first one to ever question it!


In conclusion…

To sum it up, I think the only word that we are using incorrectly is pompom. For the most part, any of the other words can now be used interchangeably. After all, it’s all about the love of crochet.


Happy Crocheting!

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