Knitting Terms and techniques – a Glossary

A massive list of all important knitting abbreviations, techniques, and terms compiled into one big glossary with tons of helpful links to tutorials

Is there an abbreviation in your knitting pattern you don’t understand? Or did some on social media say something you didn’t understand? Well, then you came to the right place. This glossary is loaded with all the important knitting terms and techniques you could possibly think of.

Aside from telling you what all these abbreviations and acronyms mean, I also tried to provide useful links and tutorials. I feel that knowing what something means is too often not enough. You also need to know how to knit it and what to do with it.

I split this glossary in three parts:

  1. General Terms & Abbreviations
  2. Abbreviations for knitting stitches
  3. Knitting lingo you will find online

Click on the links if you want to jump right down. You can press Str + F5 and search this page for a specific term.

Standard knitting abbreviations and terms in patterns and knitting texts

Bavarian twisted stitches = A traditional bavarian way to knit small mini-cables without a cable needle. All cable stitches are knit through the back loop to create an elevated line. Here’s how to knit Bavarian twisted stitches.

BO = Bind off; also known as cast-off (especially in the UK)

Cable = Cable stitch; a traditional way to cross multiple stitches creating intricate designs that look like cables or plaits.

CN = Cable needle used for knitting the cable stitch

CO = Cast on

Dec(s): decrease(s)

DK = double knitting weight yarn

DPNS = Double-pointed needles; you need them to knit in the round using either 3 or 4 needles.

EON: End of needle

EOR: End of row

Fair Isle: Is a traditional method to knit with 2 different colors in one row by creating floats on the backside

inc(s): increase(s) – often appears in more schematic knitting patterns and leaves it to the knitter which knitting increase they choose

I-Cord = Idiot cord; a very simple way to knit a thin cord in stockinette stitch (it’s so easy, even an idiot can knit it)

Intarsia: A knitting technique used to knit with multiple colors in one row through a special joining method and the use of bobbins. Read how to knit Intarsia here.

R = Row or round

Rib = rib stitch, sometimes also ribbing; Often preceded by a number indicating the width of the rib. Like a 1×1 rib.

RS = right side; it refers to the visually dominant side of your project, like the front of a swear

st = stitches

Stranded knitting/stranded colorwork: Very similar to Fair Isle but using more than two colors per row and creating floats across long stretches

Steek/to steek = cut vertically through your to add a zipper/open front. Special preparation and seaming are needed before you can cut it to avoid unraveling.

WS = wrong side or backside of a knitting project.

Popular knitting terms in forums & social media

FO means finished object and is used for any knitting project that you successfully cast off and is ready to be worn. Most knitters will use this

Stash describes your total knitting yarn reserves.

SABLE means stash acquired beyond life expectancy. It describes a knitter who has such a huge stash of yarn that even if they were to knit as much as they could and not buy any more yarn, they still wouldn’t use it up until the end of their life.

UFO is the opposite of an FO and stands for unfinished object. In contrast to WIP, it usually refers to a project that has been idle for a long time.

WIP means work in progress and generally describes just any knitting project you are currently actively working on.

Knitting stitch Abbreviations

DI = Double increase – also known as Make two

CDI = Central double increase – a centered increase (Meaning it is not leaning to one side) that increases by two stitches

C4B/C4F = Cable four back/front. A simple 2×2 cable stitch; Also possible with higher numbers like C6B or even C8B – the number always shows you the total width of the cable in stitches

CDD = centre double decrease; a variation of k3tog

G st = garter stitch, the most basic knitting stitch pattern

K = knit stitch; sometimes used in a context where it means you have to knit a whole row. eg. Row 1: k

K2tog = knit two together; a right-leaning decrease

K2tog tbl = knit two together through the back loop; a left-leaning decrease

K3tog = knit two together; can appear in a couple of different variations, like k3tog centered (also known as centre double decrease

KLL = Knit left loop; a right-leaning increase

KRL = Knit right loop; a left-leaning increase

KFB / K1 F&B = knit front and back; a left leaning-increase that leaves a little decorative bar behind. Also known as bar increase

KFSB = Knit front, slip back; and optimized version of the classic KFB increase; also left-leaning but less visible

KBF = knit back an front; very similar to KFB but leaves a less pronounced bar.

ktbl = knit through the back loop; results in twisted knit stitches; also known as k1b

k1b= knit through the back loop, can also be abbreviated as ktbl

M1L = Make one left; a left-leaning increase

M1 = Make one; the most simple knitting increase; often also used to refer to just any increase

M1R = Make one right; a right-leaning increase

M1BL = Make one back loop; a simple left-leaning increase and a way to cast on stitches at the end of a row.

M2 = Make Two, also known as double increase.

P = purl stitch; sometimes also means you have to purl a row

P2tog = purl two together; a left-leaning decrease for the purl side

P2tog tbl = purl two together through the back loop; a right-leaning decrease for the purl side

P3tog = purl three together

pfb/p1 f&b = purl front back; a purl increase that leaves a little bar

ptbl = purl through the back loop; results in a twisted purl stitch

SL st = slipped stitches; stitches you slipped before

SL or S = slip one stitch without knitting it; may appear in the combination purlwise or knitwise to tell you how you need to insert your needle before slipping

st st = stockinette stitch a very popular and smooth knitting stitch pattern

SSK = Slip slip stitch; a left-leaning decrease

TL/TR = Traveling left/Traveling right; the two simple cable crosses when Bavarian twisted stitches. Also known as T2L/T2R – twist two to the left/right

YO = Yarn over – a simple increase that creates an eyelet; popular stitch in lace patterns

Wyib = with yarn in back

Wyif = with yarn in front; Often appears in combination with a slipped stitch and tells you where you need to hold the yarn. Double Stockinette Stitch is one of these cases.

So, that was my glossary with all the important knitting terms. Feel free to comment below if you need any further help or would like me to add something.

Knitting terms and techniques - the ultimate glossary

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