Knitting Abbreviations {A – Z Glossary, Definitions for Beginners}

Are you having some difficulty working out exactly what your knitting pattern is telling you to do? Here is a guide to the most common knitting abbreviations.

Many of these are actually easy to understand, but here is a summary of what most of them mean. A lot of patterns do give a brief explanation of abbreviations, but this will explain each one in more detail.

Knitting Abbreviations, Knitting Glossary TermsPin
Knitting Abbreviations, Knitting Glossary Terms

Knitting Abbreviations Tutorial

The reason we have these abbreviations is to make the knitting patterns shorter, to save space. A knitting pattern that is written out fully would take up multiple pages, but one with abbreviations can sometimes fit onto a single page or leaflet.

It is a type of shorthand, and in fact, once you are familiar with the abbreviations, you will also be able to read patterns quickly- so you can concentrate less on reading and more on knitting!

Knitting Abbreviations, Knitting Glossary TermsPin
Knitting Abbreviations, Knitting Glossary Terms

I have listed them in alphabetical order so that it’s easy to find what you are looking for! Different patterns may have some variation in the capitalization of the abbreviations, but the letters will be the same.

This list focuses mainly on the knitting terminology used by US knitters.

Printable Knitting Abbreviations PDF

If you would like to download a PDF you print and keep, click below!


Complete Guide to Knitting Abbreviations & Terms


  • Alt = alternate
  • Approx = Approximately


  • Big = Beginning
  • Bet = Between
  • BO = Bind off/cast off
  • Byo = Backward yarn over. Wind the yarn over the needle in a backward direction.


  • C/Cable = Put ​​as many stitches as your pattern says on a double-pointed needle or a cable needle. Then place this to the front or back, depending on what your pattern says. Work the next set of stitches, then work the stitches on your cable needle. The extra needle should be thinner than the main needles you are working with so that the stitches don’t get stretched too large.
  • CC = Contrasting color
  • ch = Chain
  • cm = Centimeter
  • cn = Cable needle. See ‘cable’ above.
  • CO = Cast on
  • Con/cont = Continue
  • Cross = This also refers to working a cable, see above. It may say cross 2 L, which means you must put 2 stitches on your cable needle and cross them to the left. Or cross 2 R, which means they must be twisted to the right. The number of stitches will vary according to the pattern.


  • dec = Decease
  • DK = Double knitting. (thickness of yarn).
  • dpn– Double pointed needles.



  • FC = Front cross, when working a cable.
  • Foll = Following; as in ‘work the following 5 stitches in purl’, for example. It means the next however many stitches.



  • in = Inches
  • inc = Increase or increase
  • incl = Including


  • k = Knit or knit stitch
  • k1B = Knit 1 stitch into the row below.
  • kfb = Knit into the front and back of a stitch.
  • K tbl = Knit through the back loop of a stitch.
  • k2 tog = Knit two stitches together. This will give you a single, right-leaning decrease.
  • kwise (knit wise) = That is, insert your needle into the stitch as though you were going to knit that stitch.


  • LC = Left cross: cross your cable stitches to the left.
  • LH = Left-hand
  • lp, lps = Loop, loops


  • m = Meter(s).
  • M1K = Make one stitch knitwise.
  • M1R = Make one right- a single, right-leaning increase.
  • M1L = Make one left- a single left-leaning increase.
  • M1p = Make one purlwise, a single purl increase.
  • M1rp = Make one right purlwise, a single right-leaning purl increase.
  • M1lp = Make one left purlwise, a single left-leaning purl increase.
  • MB = Make a bobble. This is done by working multiple increases into one stitch, then decreasing back to one stitch.
  • MC = Main color
  • mm = Millimeter.




  • p = purl stitch
  • p2tog = Purl two together, single purl decrease.
  • pat = Pattern
  • pb = Purl into the stitch below.
  • pfb = Purl into the front and back of a stitch. Single purl increase.
  • pm = Place marker
  • pns = Pass next stitch over.
  • prev = Previous
  • psso = Pass slip stitch over.
  • ptbl = Purl through back loop.
  • pwise = Purlwise. That is, insert your needle into the next stitch as though you are going to purl the stitch.


  • RC = Right cross- cross your cable stitches to the right.
  • rem = Remaining
  • rep = Repeat
  • Rev st st = Reverse stockinette stitch, that is, stocking stitch in which the purl side is the right side.
  • RH = Right hand.
  • rib = Ribbing or rib knit
  • rnd(s) = Round or rounds.
  • RS = Right side.


  • SKP = Slip one knitwise, knit one, pass the slip stitch over the knit stitch, this is a single left-leaning increase.
  • SK2P = Slip one knitwise, knit 2 together, pass slip stitch over the 2 together. This is a double left-leaning decrease.
  • sl = Slip
  • sl1k = Slip one knitwise.
  • sl1p = Slip one purlwise.
  • sl st = slip stitch.
  • sp = Space
  • ssk = Slip the next two stitches, one at a time, knitwise, onto the right-hand needle. Then knit these two slipped stitches together.
  • st(s) = Stitch(es)
  • St st = Stockinette stitch.


  • tbl = Through the back loop of the stitch.
  • tfl = Through the front loop of the stitch.
  • tog = Together


  • W = Wrong side.
  • w&t = Wrap and turn.
  • won = Wool over needle
  • wrn = Wool round needle.
  • wyib = With yarn in the back.
  • wyif = With yarn in front.


  • yb (or ybk) = Yarn to the back.
  • yf (or yfd) = Yarn to the front. Or yarn forward.
  • yo = Yarn over. This is an increase that makes a decorative hole. It is made by wrapping the yarn over the needle to form a new stitch.
  • yo2 = Yarn over twice, and wrap the yarn around the needle twice. Will make a double increase.
  • yon = Yarn over the needle, see above.
  • yrn = Yarn round needle, see above.

Repeat Knitting Abbreviations

  • * = Repeat the instruction following the * as directed.
  • ** = Repeat the instruction between * and * as many times as directed.
  • (); []or {} = Work the instructions between the brackets as many times as directed.

Other Knitting Terms

The list above will give you all you need for following a pattern. But if you enjoy reading other knitter’s blogs, or if you follow knitters on social media, there is a whole lot of knitting slang you still need to know about! These terms are part of any serious knitters ‘knitcabulary’!

  • Bistitchual = To be able to create items in two techniques, ie knit and crochet.
  • DS: Destash = To get rid of extra yarn which you feel you will never use. Extremely difficult to do!
  • FART = Fiber acquisition road trip. To visit another town to acquire new and different yarns.
  • FO = Finished Object.
  • Frog = To pull out your knitting when you have made a mistake. So-called because you have to rip it, and sounds like a frog croaking.
  • Hiberknitting = to retreat into your own world of knitting.
  • HOTN: = Hot off the needles.
  • KAL = Knit Along, where a group of knitters all working on the same project.
  • KIP = Knitting in public.
  • Knitflixing = Knitting while watching TV shows.
  • Knitpicking = Weaving in ends of yarn when you have finished your project.
  • Knit Trauma = When you are already working on many projects, but feel the need to buy more yarn, patterns, needles, etc.
  • Knitty Letter = The bits and bobs of detritus that collect around any knitter’s home.
  • KUI = Knitting under the influence. Not always a good idea, could result in a lot of frogging!
  • LYS = Local yarn store.
  • OKD = Obsessive knitting disorder.
  • OTN = On the needles.
  • PHD = Projects half done. Lots of us have way too many of these! Also known as UFOs.
  • Pooling and Puddling = What happens when you use variegated yarn and the colors create big pools of color.
  • Procrastiknitting = I am often guilty of this! Knitting when you should be doing something else!
  • SABLE = Stash acquisition beyond life expectancy.
  • SIP = Socks in progress.
  • Stash = A knitter’s collection of yarn. Usually, way more yarn than he or she needs.
  • Tink = Undoing your knitting slowly, one stitch at a time. Tink is knit spelled backward. You are working backward on your project!
  • TOAD = Trashed object abandoned in disgust.
  • UFO = Unfinished object.
  • vanilla = A simple, easy knitting project.
  • WIP = Work in progress.
  • Yarn Barf = The big lump of yarn that sometimes comes out of a new ball of yarn all at once.
  • Yarn Bomb = Applies equally to knitted or crocheted street art.
  • Yarnie = A lover of anything and everything to do with yarn.

Knitting Abbreviations – In Conclusion

There you go, a serious explanation of all the important abbreviations you will need to follow a pattern, and an amusing summary of the other terms that knitters use! I hope that both sections of this post will be equally useful to you!

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