The DIY Knitting Glossary
A cheat-sheet of knitting terms to help the beginning knitter keep things straight.
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.
* 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
BO bind(ing) off (also known as cast[ing] off)
CC contrasting color
CO cast(ing) on
dec decrease or decreasing
dpns double-pointed needles
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
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 st stockinette stitch
RS right side
WS wrong side
wyib with yarn in back
wyif with yarn in front
Yf yarn forward
yo yarn over
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.