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120+ Knitting Terms & Abbreviations Explained


Klara Nilsson | Updated on September 28, 2021

In this alphabetically ordered knitting abbreviations chart, we explain over 120 common knitting terms, symbols, and abbreviations to help you decode your next knitting pattern and get stitching.

Knitting Notebook and Pen

Knitting abbreviations are used in knitting patterns to help designers and publishers pack a lot of information into a small space. Without them, the patterns you read would be three times as long – but what do they all mean?

As you learn to knit, interpreting these abbreviations will become second nature. But while you’re just a beginner, there are a few key terms you’ll need to know to complete the majority of projects.

Here’s an example from Sweater No. 17 by DaisyandPeace on Etsy:

**P1, K1b; repeat from ** to last st, P1”

This one line in the pattern includes 5 abbreviations and symbols, and instructs you to purl one stitch, knit one stitch below, and repeat until the last stitch, which you purl.

The most common abbreviations you’ll come across in the early stages of your knitting are k and p, or K1 and P1. The abbreviation k simply means “knit”, and the number afterwards specifies how many stitches to knit. Likewise, the abbreviation stands for “purl”.

If you’re just getting started with knitting, all of these terms and symbols might seem a lot to remember. That’s why we’ve put together this chart of 125 commonly used knitting abbreviations and terms that you’ll find in almost all modern knitting patterns.

We’ve ordered them alphabetically below to help you decode your next project and keep on stitching. These definitions reflect US, UK, and European knitting terminology.

What’s In This Guide?

Chart: 125 Common Knitting Abbreviations

In the tables below, you’ll find an alphabetically-ordered list of the most common knitting abbreviations, terms, and definitions from contemporary knitting patterns all over the world.

Knitting Abbreviations A-C

Knitting Abbreviation
Explanation
alt
Alternate/Alternating
approx
Approximately
beg
Beginning
bet
Between
BO
Bind Off (Cast Off)
byo
Backward Yarn Over
C4B
Slip the next 2 stitches onto the cable needle and leave them at the back. K2, then K2 from the cable needle.
C4F
Slip the next 2 stitches onto the cable needle and leave them at the front. K2, then K2 from the cable needle
CA
Colour A
CB
Colour B
CC
Contrasting Colour
cdd
Centred Double Decrease
cl
Cross Left
cm
Centimeter
cn
Cable Needed
CO
Cast On/Cast Off
Cont
Continue
Cross 2 L
Cross 2 stitches to the left
Cross 2 R
Cross 2 stitches to the right

Knitting Abbreviations D-K

Knitting Abbreviation
Explanation
Dec
Decrease. Eliminate one or more stitches. Usually the pattern will tell you exactly how to do this.
DPN
Double-Pointed Needles
DTR
Double Treble
EON
End of Needle
EOR
End of Row
FC
Front Cross
FL
Front Loop
Foll
Follow
g
Grams
g st
Garter Stitch
Inc
Increase. Add one or more stitches.
K
Knit Stitch
k1B
Knit into the stitch 1 row below.
K1tbl
Knit the next stitch through the back of the loop.
K2tog
Knit two together.
K2togtbl
Knit two together through back loops.
K3(4)tog
Knit the next 3(4, n) stitches together.
kfb
Knit into the front and back of a stitch.
krl
Knit through right loop.
ksp
Knit 1, then slip back to the left hand needle. Lift the second stitch on the left hand needle back over the original stitch and replace the returned stitch on the righthand needle.
kwise
Knit-wise

Knitting Abbreviations L-M

Knitting Abbreviation
Explanation
LC
Left Cross
LH
Left Hand
LP
Loop
LT
Left Twist
m
Meter
M1
Make 1 stitch
M1K
Make one stitch knitwise (single knit increase)
M1l
Make one left-leaning stitch
M1lp
Make one left-leaning stitch purlwise
M1P
Make one stitch purlwise (single purl increase)
M1R
Make one right-leaning stitch
M1rp
Make one right-leaning stitch purlwise
Maintain
Maintain the center block of the pattern. Add or remove stitches at each end of the center without disturbing the pattern.
MB
Make Bobble
MC
Main colour
mm
Millimeter

Knitting Abbreviations N-P

Knitting Abbreviation
Explanation
No
Number
Oz
Ounce
p
Purl Stitch
p tbl, P1 tbl, or P1b
Purl through the back loop
p2sso
Pass 2 slipped stitches over
p2tog
Purl 2 stitches together
p2togtbl
Purl 2 stitches together through back loops
pat or patt
Pattern
pfb
Purl 1 into the front and back of stitch
pm
Place Market
pnso
Pass the next stitch over
prev
Previous
psso
Pass slipped stitches over
pwise
Purlwise

Knitting Abbreviations R-S

Knitting Abbreviation
Explanation
Rem
Remaining
Rep
Repeat
Rev st st
Reverse Stockinette Stitch
RH
Right Hand
Rnd
Round(s)
RS
Right Side
S2KP2
Slip 2 stitches as if to knit them together, knit 1, pass 2 slipped stitches over knit stitch
sk
Skip
sk2p
Slip 1, knit 2 together, pass slipped stitch over (a double decrease)
SKP
Slip 1 knitwise, knit 1, pass slip stitch over knit stitch
sl
Slip
sl st
Slip Stitch
Sl1
Slip next stitch knitwise
Sl1k
Slip 1 Knitwise
Sl1p
Slip 1 Purlwise
sm
Slip Marker
ssk
Slip next 2 stitches knitwise one at a time, then knit them through back loops together
ssp
Slip, Slip, Purl
SSPP2
Slip 2 stitches knitwise then slip them as if to p2tog through back loops. Purl 1, pass 2 slipped stitches over purl stitch
sssk
Slip 3 stitches knitwise, knit these 3 stitches together through back loops
sssp
Slip 3 stitches knitwise, return these 3 stitches to left needle and purl these 3 stitches together through back loops
st
Stitch
st st
Stockinette Stitch

Knitting Abbreviations T-Y

Knitting Abbreviation
Explanation
tbl
Through back loop
tfl
Through front loop
tog
Together
w&t
Wrap and Turn
Work Even
Continue with no increases or decreases.
WS
Wrong Side
wyib
With yarn in back
wyif
With yarn in front
yb
Yarn Back
yd
Yard
yf
Yarn Front
yfwd or yf
Yarn Forward
yo
Yarn Over
yo2
Yarn Over Twice
yon
Yarn Over Needle
yrn
Yarn Round Needle
Share A

Knitting Chart Symbols

Some knitting patterns now use stitch charts in the place of written instructions. These charts typically use a standardized set of symbols curated by the Craft Yarn Council, as well as cable symbols and occasionally unique symbols in certain projects.

If you’re knitting a pattern with unique symbols, always check the pattern key to make sure there are no variations in the standardized definitions. For the most part each symbol represents a stitch as it looks on the right side of the work.

You can find a full list of standardized knitting chart symbols on the Craft Yarn Council website, as well as in the images below:

knitting chart symbols
The standardized chart symbols normally used in knitting patterns.
cable knitting chart symbols
Additional knitting chart symbols and cable knitting symbols.

 

What Do Brackets and Asterisks Mean in Knitting Patterns?

If you’re reading a pattern that contains instructions written in brackets, the designer is instructing you to complete the directions within the brackets as many times as specified.

When instructions are in asterisks, the designer is instructing you to knit the stitches in between the asterisk symbols as many times as specified.

What Does SSK Mean in Knitting?

The abbreviation “ssk” stands for “slip, slip, knit”. This results in a symmetrical left-slanting decrease that is the exact mirror of k2tog, which stands for “knit 2 stitches together”.

To work an “ssk” on the knit side (not the purl side), slip the top stitch on the left-hand needle to the right-hand needle twice.  

Put your left-hand knitting needle into the front of those two slipped stitches and simply knit them both together.




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