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:
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
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
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.