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 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 p 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?
- Knitting Abbreviations Chart
- Abbreviations R-S
- Abbreviations T-Y
Chart: 125 Common Knitting AbbreviationsIn 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
|Bind Off (Cast Off)|
|Backward Yarn Over|
|Slip the next 2 stitches onto the cable needle and leave them at the back. K2, then K2 from the cable needle.|
|Slip the next 2 stitches onto the cable needle and leave them at the front. K2, then K2 from the cable needle|
|Centred Double Decrease|
|Cast On/Cast Off|
|Cross 2 stitches to the left|
|Cross 2 stitches to the right|
Knitting Abbreviations D-K
|Decrease. Eliminate one or more stitches. Usually the pattern will tell you exactly how to do this.|
|End of Needle|
|End of Row|
|Increase. Add one or more stitches.|
|Knit into the stitch 1 row below.|
|Knit the next stitch through the back of the loop.|
|Knit two together.|
|Knit two together through back loops.|
|Knit the next 3(4, n) stitches together.|
|Knit into the front and back of a stitch.|
|Knit through right loop.|
|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.|
Knitting Abbreviations L-M
|Make 1 stitch|
|Make one stitch knitwise (single knit increase)|
|Make one left-leaning stitch|
|Make one left-leaning stitch purlwise|
|Make one stitch purlwise (single purl increase)|
|Make one right-leaning stitch|
|Make one right-leaning stitch purlwise|
|Maintain the center block of the pattern. Add or remove stitches at each end of the center without disturbing the pattern.|
Knitting Abbreviations N-P
|Purl through the back loop|
|Pass 2 slipped stitches over|
|Purl 2 stitches together|
|Purl 2 stitches together through back loops|
|Purl 1 into the front and back of stitch|
|Pass the next stitch over|
|Pass slipped stitches over|
Knitting Abbreviations R-S
|Reverse Stockinette Stitch|
|Slip 2 stitches as if to knit them together, knit 1, pass 2 slipped stitches over knit stitch|
|Slip 1, knit 2 together, pass slipped stitch over (a double decrease)|
|Slip 1 knitwise, knit 1, pass slip stitch over knit stitch|
|Slip next stitch knitwise|
|Slip 1 Knitwise|
|Slip 1 Purlwise|
|Slip next 2 stitches knitwise one at a time, then knit them through back loops together|
|Slip, Slip, Purl|
|Slip 2 stitches knitwise then slip them as if to p2tog through back loops. Purl 1, pass 2 slipped stitches over purl stitch|
|Slip 3 stitches knitwise, knit these 3 stitches together through back loops|
|Slip 3 stitches knitwise, return these 3 stitches to left needle and purl these 3 stitches together through back loops|
Knitting Abbreviations T-Y
|Through back loop|
|Through front loop|
|Wrap and Turn|
|Continue with no increases or decreases.|
|With yarn in back|
|With yarn in front|
|Yarn Over Twice|
|Yarn Over Needle|
|Yarn Round Needle|
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:
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.
Find out how to choose the size of your needles and convert sizes between different measurement systems.
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