The following are abbreviations commonly used in the knitting community in addition to Knit Picks’ standard abbreviations and terms. These are the U.S. terms for these stitches. In the U.K. different names are used for some stitches.
|A quotation mark or an inch mark (like a quote but straight) is used to abbreviate the word inch or inches. 4” is equal to 4 inches.
|A single asterisk is often used to denote a repeated section of the directions; for example, * may appear near the beginning of a row and at the end of the line you’ll be told to go back to * and repeat the stitches again.
|You may sometimes encounter a set of asterisks surrounding a portion of instructions; in this case you will repeat the instructions between the first * and the second * as many times as is indicated directly after them.
|Parentheses often denote repeated instructions between the ( ), worked as many times as is indicated directly after them; they are also used to separate sizes, for example stitch counts for X-Small (Small, Medium, Large, X-Large, XX-Large) may be written as 10 (12, 15, 18, 22, 28) sts.
|Sometimes brackets are uses in the same way are parentheses, so you will repeat the instructions between the [ ] as many times as is indicated directly after them. You may find brackets and/or parentheses and/or asterisks used in the same row, as nested repeats, for example: K1, (P2, [K2tog, YO] four times) to end. In that case you would K1, P2, then work [K2tog, YO] four times, then go back and work P2 and [K2tog, YO] four more times and keep doing that to the end of the row.
|An abbreviation for alternate.
|An abbreviation for approximately.
|An abbreviation for begin or beginning.
|An abbreviation for between.
|An abbreviation for bind off.
|An abbreviation for beginning of round.
|An abbreviation for cable needle.
|C1 (C2, C3, etc.)
|An abbreviation for color one and other numbered colors.
|An abbreviation for contrast color.
|An abbreviation for centimeter or centimeters.
|An abbreviation for centered double decrease, a 2-stitch decrease.
Slip first and second stitches together as if to work a K2tog decrease; knit 1 st; pass 2 slipped stitches over the knit stitch. (See our Three Common Decreases guide for a tutorial.)
|An abbreviation for cast on.
|An abbreviation for continue.
|dec or decs
|An abbreviation for decrease or decreases.
|An abbreviation for double pointed needle.
|An abbreviation for double stitch, worked when using the German short rows method. See Common Techniques, below, for more details.
|An abbreviation for front loop or front loops.
|An abbreviation for follow, follows, or following.
|A slang term for the act of unraveling or ripping out knitting.
|An abbreviation for gram.
|inc or incs
|Abbreviations for increase or increases.
|An abbreviation for instruction or instructions.
|Common abbreviations for knit. See our Learn to Knit: Knit Stitch guide to learn more.
|An abbreviation for knit two stitches together, a 1-stitch decrease. See our Three Common Decreases guide to learn more.
|An abbreviation for knit three stitches together, a 2-stitch decrease. This is executed the same as a K2tog but with three stitches instead of two.
|An abbreviation for knit into front and back of stitch, a 1-stitch increase.
|An abbreviation for knit into front of stitch, then back, then front again, a 2-stitch increase.
|An abbreviation for knit through back loop, typically used to intentionally twist a stitch. For this instruction, you will pass your right needle through the back side of the next stitch from right to left. You will then complete the knit stitch as usual.
|An abbreviation for knit-wise. If your instructions tell you to do something knit-wise, then you will insert your right needle tip into the next stitch as if you were going to work a knit stitch.
|An abbreviation for left hand.
|lp or lps
|Abbreviations for loop or loops.
|M or Ms
|Abbreviations for marker or markers.
|An abbreviation for make one stitch, a specific 1-stitch increase that can lean left or right. It is a traditional increase worked in between two stitches, not an alternate for the abbreviation inc.
|An abbreviation for make one left-leaning stitch, a more specific version of the M1 increase.
Inserting lefthand needle from front to back, pick up the horizontal strand between the stitch just worked and the next stitch, and knit through the back loop. (See our Basic Increases Video to see it in action.)
|An abbreviation for make one right-leaning stitch, a more specific version of the M1 increase.
Inserting lefthand needle from back to front, pick up the horizontal strand between the stitch just worked and the next stitch, and knit through the front loop. (See our Basic Increases Video to see it in action.)
|An abbreviation for main color.
|An abbreviation for millimeter.
|ndl or ndls
|Abbreviations for needle or needles.
|An abbreviation for ounce.
|An abbreviation for purl. See our Learn to Knit: Purl Stitch guide to learn more.
|An abbreviation for purl two stitches together, a 1-stitch decrease. See our Three Common Decreases guide to learn more.
|An abbreviation for purl three stitches together, a 2-stitch decrease. This is executed the same as a P2tog but with three stitches instead of two.
|pat or patt
|Abbreviations for pattern, typically used in reference to stitch patterns.
|An abbreviation for purl into front and back of a stitch, a 1-stitch increase.
|An abbreviation for place marker.
|An abbreviation for popcorn, a common textured stitch pattern.
|An abbreviation for previous row or previous round.
|An abbreviation for previous.
|An abbreviation for pass slipped stitch over. This action is usually taken after you have slipped a stitch and then worked one or more stitches following that slipped stitch. You will then pass the slipped stitch(es) over the stitch(es) to the left and off of the tip of the right needle. Passing slipped stitches over creates a left slanting decrease in your work.
|An abbreviation for purl through back loop, typically used to intentionally twist a stitch. For this instruction, you will pass your right needle through the back side of the next stitch from left to right. You will then complete the purl stitch as usual.
|An abbreviation for pick up, which is the act of picking up edge stitches or finished stitches to begin working into them.
|An abbreviation for purl-wise. If your instructions tell you to do something purl-wise, then you will simply insert your right needle tip into the next stitch as if you were going to work a purl stitch.
|An abbreviation for row, the equivalents of rounds when working flat.
|An abbreviation for remain or remaining.
|An abbreviation for repeat.
|Rev St st
|An abbreviation for Reverse Stockinette Stitch, the stitch pattern created when purling on right side rows and knitting on wrong side rows.
|An abbreviation for right hand.
|rnd or rnds
|Abbreviations for round or rounds, the equivalent of rows when working in the round.
|An abbreviation for right side. This indicates the side of your knitting that will face outward when the project is complete.
|An abbreviation for skip.
|An abbreviation for slip one knit-wise, knit two together, and pass slipped stitch over. This is a 2-stitch decrease.
|An abbreviation for slip one knit-wise, knit one, pass slipped stitch over. This is a 1-stitch decrease.
|An abbreviation for slip. Slipping a stitch means to move it from the left needle to the right needle without working it.
Always slip stitches purl-wise with yarn held to the wrong side of work, unless noted otherwise in the pattern. Generally to avoid twisted stitches, slip stitches knit-wise only if they will be worked again in the same row, like in the SK2P and SKP decreases, and slip stitches purl-wise if they won’t be worked again until the following row.
|An abbreviation for slip one knit-wise. This means you will insert your right needle into the next stitch as if to knit it, but then you will slip it off of the left needle onto the right needle without working it at all.
|An abbreviation for slip one purl-wise. This means you will insert your right needle into the next stitch as if to purl it, but then you will slip it off of the left needle onto the right needle without working it at all.
|An abbreviation for slip marker.
|An abbreviation for slip, slip, knit two stitches together, a 1-stitch decrease. (Slip 1 stitch knit-wise) twice; insert lefthand needle into the front of these 2 stitches and knit them together. (See our Three Common Decreases guide for a tutorial.)
|An abbreviation for slip, slip, purl two stitches together through the back loop, a 1-stitch decrease.
|An abbreviation for slip, slip, slip, knit three stitches together, a 2-stitch decrease. This is executed in the same way as the SSK. The only difference is that you slip a third stitch before you complete the knit. Completing a SSSK creates a double decrease that leans to the left.
|An abbreviation for Stockinette Stitch, the stitch pattern created when knitting on the right side and purling on the wrong side.
|st or sts
|Abbreviations for stitch or stitches.
|An abbreviation for through back loop. See K TBL or P TBL for more information.
|An abbreviation for through front loop.
|An abbreviation for together.
|An abbreviation for wrap and turn, when working short rows. See Common Techniques, below, for more details.
|An abbreviation for work even, which means to work in the established stitch pattern without extra increases or decreases.
|An abbreviation for wrong side. This is standard terminology for the side of the project that will face inward or may not be seen and is in reference to how it will appear when completed. On a sweater, it would be the interior. On a bedspread, it would be the side that faces down towards the bed.
|An abbreviation for with yarn in back. When you see this direction, you will want to have your working yarn hanging down the backside of your knitting, as it does when you are making knit stitches.
|An abbreviation for with yarn in front. When you see this direction, you will want to have your working yarn hanging down the front of your knitting, as it does when you are making purl stitches.
|An abbreviation for yarn back. When you see this instruction, you will want to bring your working yarn from the front of the work to the back, making sure that it passes under the needle tips. See WYIB.
Note that ybk is sometimes used as an alternative term for yarn over or YO in patterns from other publishers. If you’re not using a Knit Picks pattern, use context clues or the abbreviations list/notes to confirm that a yarn over is not intended.
|yd or yds
|Abbreviations for yard or yards. When a pattern calls for approx 5 yds of waste yarn, it means you will need approximately five yards of waste yarn to complete the instructions.
|An abbreviation for yarn forward. When you see this instruction, you will want to bring your working yarn from the back of the work to the front, making sure that it passes under the needle tips. See WYIF.
Note that yfwd is sometimes used as an alternative term for yarn over or YO in patterns from other publishers. If you’re not using a Knit Picks pattern, use context clues or the abbreviations list/notes to confirm that a yarn over is not intended.
|An abbreviation for yarn over, a 1-stitch increase that creates an eyelet. To complete a yarn over, you will bring your yarn from back to front (if it was initially in the back) or from front to back (if it was initially in the front) over the needle tip. After doing so, you will continue to work as the pattern indicates.
If you were working knit stitches, for example, you will see that when you bring your yarn to the front and complete the next knit stitch, an extra strand of yarn will now lie over the needle. This is the result of the yarn over.
|An abbreviation for yarn over needle. This is an alternative abbreviation for yarn over (YO).
|An abbreviation for yarn around needle. This is completed the same way as a yarn over (YO).
These frequently-used techniques are wonderful additions to any knitter’s skillset, and more detailed tutorials for many of them can be found here in our Learning Center.
Stockinette Stitch (St st, flat over any number of sts)
Row 1 (RS): Knit all sts.
Row 2 (WS): Purl all sts.
Rep Rows 1–2 for pattern.
St st in the round: Knit every rnd.
Rev St st is the opposite—purl on RS, knit on WS.
Garter Stitch (in the round over any number of sts)
Rnd 1: Purl all sts.
Rnd 2: Knit all sts.
Rep Rnds 1–2 for pattern.
Garter Stitch flat: Knit every row.
(One Garter ridge is comprised of two rows/rnds.)
1x1 Rib (flat or in the round, over an even number of sts)
Row/Rnd 1: (K1, P1) to end of row/rnd.
Rep Row/Rnd 1 for pattern.
2x2 Rib (flat over a multiple of 4 sts plus 2)
Row 1 (RS): K2, (P2, K2) to end of row.
Row 2 (WS): P2, (K2, P2) to end of row.
Rep Rows 1–2 for pattern.
2x2 Rib (in the round over a multiple of 4 sts)
Rnd 1: (K2, P2) to end of rnd.
Rep Rnd 1 for pattern.
|Knitting in the Round
DPN and circular needles can be used to work in the round and create a tube of knitting.
The Magic Loop technique uses one long circular needle to knit around a small circumference. The Two Circulars technique uses two long circular needles to knit around a small circumference.
|Backwards Loop Cast On
|A simple, all-purpose cast on that can be worked mid-row. Also called Loop or Single Cast On.
|Long Tail Cast On
|Fast and neat once you get the hang of it. Also referred to as the Slingshot Cast On.
|Cable Cast On
|A strong and nice looking basic cast on that can be worked mid-project.
|Knitted Cast On
|A basic cast on that can be worked mid-project.
|3-Needle Bind Off
|Used to easily seam two rows of live stitches together.
|A technique to cross knit stitches and create a cabled look, such as 1-over-1 and and 2-over-2 cables.
|Felted Join (to splice yarn)
|One method for joining a new length of yarn to the end of one that is already being used.
|A neat, invisible seaming method that uses the bars between the first and second stitches on the edges.
|Provisional Cast On (crochet method)
Used to cast on stitches that are also a row of live stitches, so they can be put onto a needle and used later.
DIRECTIONS: Using a crochet hook, make a slip knot, then hold knitting needle in left hand, hook in right. With yarn in back of needle, work a chain st by pulling yarn over needle and through chain st. Move yarn back to behind needle, and rep for the number of sts required. Chain a few more sts off the needle, then break yarn and pull end through last chain. (CO sts may be incorrectly mounted; if so, work into backs of these sts.) To unravel later (when sts need to be picked up), pull chain end out; chain should unravel, leaving live sts.
|Provisional Cast On (crochet chain method)
Same result as the crochet method above, but worked differently, so you may prefer one or the other.
DIRECTIONS: With a crochet hook, use scrap yarn to make a slip knot and chain the number of sts to be cast on, plus a few extra sts. Insert tip of knitting needle into first bump of crochet chain. Wrap project yarn around needle as if to knit, and pull yarn through crochet chain, forming first st. Rep this process until you have cast on the correct number of sts. To unravel later (when sts need to be picked up), pull chain out, leaving live sts.
|Judy’s Magic Cast On
This method creates stitches coming out in opposite directions from a seamless center line, perfect for starting toe-up socks.
DIRECTIONS: Make a slip knot and place loop around one of the two needles; anchor loop counts as first st. Hold needles tog, with needle that yarn is attached to on top. In other hand, hold yarn so tail goes over index finger and yarn attached to ball goes over thumb. Bring tip of bottom needle over strand of yarn on finger (top strand), around and under yarn and back up, making a loop around needle. Pull loop snug. Bring top needle (with slip knot) over yarn tail on thumb (bottom strand), around and under yarn and back up, making a loop around needle. Pull loop snug. Cont casting on sts until desired number is reached; top yarn strand always wraps around bottom needle, and bottom yarn strand always wraps around top needle.
|Tubular Cast Ons
|Stretchy cast on methods with a neat looking edge for 1x1 Rib; great for starting top-down socks.
|Jeny’s Stretchy Slipknot Cast On
An extremely stretchy cast on method that does not require a long tail, great for starting top-down socks.
DIRECTIONS: Place a slip knot on needle. Make another slip knot with working yarn, but instead of placing it on needle, pull working yarn through slip knot, and place that loop on needle. Make sure this loop sits very close to previous st. Pull working yarn until new st is tight. Rep for all CO sts.
|Stretchy Bind Off
|DIRECTIONS: K2, *insert LH needle into front of 2 sts on RH needle and knit them tog—1 st remains on RH needle. K1; rep from * until all sts have been bound off.
|Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off (for 1x1 Rib)
|DIRECTIONS: Reverse YO, K1, pass YO over; *YO, P1, pass YO and previous st over P1; reverse YO, K1, pass YO and previous st over K1; rep from * until 1 st is left, then break working yarn and pull it through final st to complete BO.
|Tubular Bind Off
|Another good option for binding off toe-up sock cuffs in 1x1 Rib.
|Kitchener Stitch (also called Grafting)
Seamlessly join two sets of live stitches together.
DIRECTIONS: With an equal number of sts on two needles, break yarn leaving a tail approx four times as long as the row of sts, and thread through a blunt yarn needle. Hold needles parallel with WSs facing in and both needles pointing to the right. Perform Step 2 on the first front st, then Step 4 on the first back st, then continue from Step 1, always pulling yarn tightly so the grafted row tension matches the knitted fabric.
Step 1: Pull yarn needle K-wise through front st and drop st from knitting needle.
Step 2: Pull yarn needle P-wise through next front st, leaving st on knitting needle.
Step 3: Pull yarn needle P-wise through first back st and drop st from knitting needle.
Step 4: Pull yarn needle K-wise through next back st, leaving st on knitting needle. Rep Steps 1–4 until all sts have been grafted together, finishing by working Step 1 through the last remaining front st, then Step 3 through the last remaining back st.
|Wrap and Turn (W&T) Short Rows
Work until the st to be wrapped.
If knitting: Bring yarn to front, Sl next st P-wise, return yarn to back; turn work, and Sl wrapped st onto RH needle. Cont across row.
If purling: Bring yarn to back of work, Sl next st P-wise, return yarn to front; turn work and Sl wrapped st onto RH needle. Cont across row.
Picking up Wraps: Work to wrapped st. If knitting: Insert RH needle under wrap, then through wrapped st K-wise; K st and wrap tog.
If purling: Sl wrapped st P-wise onto RH needle, use LH needle to lift wrap and place it onto RH needle; Sl wrap and st back onto LH needle, and P tog.
There are several options for how to handle short rows, so you may see different suggestions/instructions in a pattern.
|German Short Rows
Work to turning point; turn.
WYIF, Sl first st P-wise. Bring yarn over back of right needle, pulling firmly to create a “double stitch” on RH needle.
If next st is a K st, leave yarn at back; if next st is a P st, bring yarn to front between needles.
When it’s time to work into double st, knit both strands tog.
There are several options for how to handle short rows, so you may see different suggestions/instructions in a pattern.