Knitting Abbreviations: Knitting Terms Explained

No matter how long you’ve been knitting, simply learning knitting abbreviations can be tricky because they are so extensive, let alone to understand all their meanings. Luckily the majority of patterns use the same universal abbreviations (with brief descriptions of the most common and extra details about the most complex), so once you’re familiar with knitting terms, their meanings can become second nature.

Common Abbreviations

Practically all knitting patterns use abbreviations, but a pattern would turn into a glossary thicker than the yellow pages if they were all listed together in full. To make instructions more concise, the terms are often shortened or referred to as letters.

To minimise confusion, stress and knitting based nightmares we’ve put together a list of common knitting abbreviations with descriptions and meanings.

C4Bslip the next 2 stitches onto the needle, leaving behind work. K2 from cable needle
C4Fslip the next 2 stitches onto the needle, leaving at the front of the work. K2 cable needle
CLK2tog stitches on the left-hand needle, then P2tog into stitches. Slip them off the left-hand needle
cocast on
dtrdouble treble
incincrease a single stitch by knitting into the front and the back of the very next stitch
K1belowknit 1 row below
K1tblknit stitch through the back of a loop
K2togknit a couple of stitches together
K2togtblknit a couple of stitches together through the back loops
K3(4,n)togknit 3(4,n) stitches together
kfbincrease a single stitch by knitting into front and back of the following stitch
M1pick up a horizontal loop before the next stitch and neatly knit it into the back
M1Ppick up a horizontal loop before the next stitch and neatly purl into the back
MBmake bobble
P2togpurl a couple of stitches together
P3(4,n)togpurl the next 3 (4,n) stitches together
P2togtblpurl a couple of stitches together through their back loops
pssopass slipped stitch over
RSright side
Sl stslip stitch
Sl1slip the next stitch
Sl1Kslip the next stitch knitwise
Sl1Pslip the next stitch purlwise
sskslip the next couple of stitches knitwise. Passing them back onto the left needle and knitting through back loops
st ststockinette stitch
WSwrong side
ybbring yarn into the back of the work
yfbring yarn into the front of the work
yfwdyarn forward (1 extra stitch)
yoyarn over the needle (1 extra stitch)
yonyarn over the needle (1 extra stitch)
yrnyarn around the needle (1 extra stitch)

Popular Symbols

Symbols are sometimes indicated on knitting patterns, meaning that it’s just as important to be aware of them as it is for the above letter abbreviations and terms.

                 Symbol                                                 Description

                       *                                                repeat instructions following the single asterisk

                       **                                                      repeat instructions between asterisks 

                       { }                                                          work instructions within brackets 

                       [ ]                                                            work instructions within brackets 

                       ( )                                                         work instructions within parentheses 

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