Sunday, 15 May 2011

The secret language of knitters and crocheters

Knitting and crochet really can seem like a different language at times. Not only have you got to contend with all the abbreviations in the patterns but there's also the lingo that goes hand in hand with people getting together and forming a cult! The internet has drastically changed how knitters think, feel and communicate and if you've ever spent time on knitting websites, like Ravelry, Knitty and even our website, you'll have come across all kinds of mind-bending abbreviations and cultural slang.

Here's our guide, which is by no means comprehensive, to knitting and crochet abbreviations, some of the most common found in patterns and social knitworking sites:

General Knitting:

K - Knit.
P - Purl.

St(s) - Stitches.
Alt - Alternate.
Beg - Beginning.

Ss – Slip a stitch.
Rem – Remaining.
Rep- Repeat.
St-st – Stocking stitch (also known as stockinette stitch).
Gst – Garter stitch.
Tbl – Through the back of the loop.
Tbs – Through back of the stitch.
Patt - Pattern.
Psso – Pass the slipped stitch over.

Bo – Bind off.
Co – Cast on (or cast off depending on the circumstances).


Dec - Decrease (choose your own). 
K2tog – Knit two stitches together.
SSK - Slip one knit wise, slip one purl wise, knit these two stitch together through the back of loop.
S2togKPsso - Slip two stitches together, knit one, then pass two slipped stitches over.


Inc - Increase.
Kfb – Knit one stitch in the front and then in the back.

Yo – Yarn over.
Yfd/Yfwd – Yarn forward.
Yrn – Yarn round needle (works the same as a yo, in that it makes a hole but is most often used when creating holes between purl and knit stitches rather than knit to knit).
M1 – Make one stitch. Also known as a bar increase. This means you make a stitch between the last stitch and the next, rather than into the next stitch like 'kfb'.

M1l – Make one stitch from the left/front, an increase. From the front, lift loop between the stitches with the left needle and knit into the back of the loop.

M1r - Make one stitch from the right/back, an increase. From the back, lift loop between the stitches with the left needle and knit into the front of the loop.

La-Link - Left-leaning lifted increase: Insert your left needle, from front to back, into the top of the stitch two rows below the stitch just knit. Knit into the back of this stitch

La-Rink - Right-leaning lifted increase: Insert your right needle, from front to back, into the top of the stitch below the first stitch on the left needle. Place this stitch on your left needle, and knit into the back of it.

I particularly like the last video - Cat Bordhi is some kind of genius - and she's got a sense of humour. Love(1)!


Ss - Slip stitch.
Ch - Chain.

Sc – Single crochet.
Dc – Double crochet.
Tr – Treble crochet stitch.
Htr – Half treble crochet stitch.
Dtr – Double treble crochet stitch.

This section explains some of the popular knitting slang that you might come across on Ravelry, Knitty, Craftster or indeed our site!

WIP – Work in progress.
KIP – Knit  in Public.
SIP - Sping in public.
CAL – Crochet Along.
KAL – Knit Along.
Frog – To rip back a piece of knitting or crochet, undoing it completely (so called because you 'rip it, rip it').
Tink - To undo knitted stitches by reversing the knitting motion, effectively un-knitting the stitch. Used when fixing an error on the same row you are knitting. ('tink' is knit spelled backwards).
SEX – Stash Enhancement eXcercise (in other words buying yarn!).
SABLE - Stash Acquistion Beyond Life Expectancy... yeah I know that feeling...
OH – Other half.
DH – Dear husband/Damn husband - depending on the circumstances...
RAVATAR – The picture or image someone uses for their Ravelry ID.

It's certainly not a definitive list but I hope you find it usefu! Happy knitting and crocheting.

Love from,


  1. Thanks for all the abbreviations, but I have a question about something I have seen in patterns, and I didn't see it in your list (unless I missed it).

    But what does this (*) asterick mean in a pattern?

  2. Hiya Z,

    It basically means that you'll need to remember that point to come bac to later on.

    So a pattern might say cast on 20 and rib for 2 inches and then a star. You'd carry on past the star and finish whatever bit you're doing. But later on in the pattern, say if you're doing the front of that jumper, the pattern will say 'follow instructions for the back until *', so you'd do that and then go back to the instructions for the front for everything afterwards.

    Sometimes a pattern might say 'do this, this and this' and then follow the instructions for the back from *.

    And sometimes there might be more than one star, in which case just match up the amounts of stars.

    Hope that helps! Regards, Eleanor.