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The DIY Knitting Glossary

A cheat-sheet of knitting terms to help the beginning knitter keep things straight.

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There's more to knitting than just picking up some needles and a ball of yarn: you actually have to use your little gray cells. After you've been knitting for a while, terms and abbreviations become second nature, but when you're just starting out, sometimes those letters just don't make sense. So the DIYnetwork.com editors have compiled a cheat-sheet to help you mind your Ps and Ks.

Knitting Abbreviations

* repeat the instructions immediately following the * (asterisk) the first time, plus the number of times specified

[ ] repeat the instructions within the bracket the number of times specified

alt alternate

BO bind(ing) off (also known as cast[ing] off)

CC contrasting color

CO cast(ing) on

cont continue

dec decrease or decreasing

DP double-pointed

dpns double-pointed needles

foll following

in inch(es)

inc increase or increasing

K or k knit

K2 tog knit 2 stitches together

MC main color

P or p purl

P2 tog purl 2 stitches together

patt pattern

PSSO pass slipped stitch over

SKP slip 1 stitch, knit 1 stitch, pass slipped stitch over knit

sl slip slip one stitch

sl st slip stitch

ssk slip 1 knitwise, slip 1 knitwise, knit these 2 stitches together to form a decrease

st(s) stitch(es)

St st stockinette stitch

rep repeat

rem remain(ing)

RS right side

WS wrong side

wyib with yarn in back

wyif with yarn in front

Yf yarn forward

yo yarn over

Knitting Terms

Below are some common (and some not-so-common) terms that are used in various projects.

Aran knitting
A technique of working combinations of stitches and patterns in a solid color (usually white), takes its name from the Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland.

Continental method
Also known as picking, a knitting method in which the yarn is held in the left hand.

Felting
A process by which knitted wool is soaked in hot water to shrink and tighten the fibers and create a dense fabric.

Gauge
The number of stitches per inch horizontally and vertically when using the recommended yarn weight and stitch pattern

Intarsia (in-tar-zha)
The integration of isolated blocks of color into a project; from the Italian intarsio, or inlaying.

Stitch key
The explanation of the symbols on a chart, similar to a map legend.

Stockinette or stocking stitch
A pattern consisting of alternating rows of knit (plain) and purl stitches; one of the foundations of knitting.

Tail
The loose end of the yarn.

Throwing
Knitting technique in which the yarn is held in the right hand; also known as thrown or English method.

Working yarn
The part of the yarn being worked with.

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