Let’s talk about some common knitting abbreviations used in knitting patterns and what they mean!
I think we’ve all been there, you start working on a new knitting pattern…and then you come across a knitting stitch abbreviation or knitting term that you aren’t familiar with.
I actually get a lot of emails asking me questions about this which is totally fine. But if you want a faster answer, you should definitely google the knitting abbreviation and find an article just like this one (in fact, bookmark or pin this post and then you’ll have it for later)!
A lot of times the confusing abbreviation isn’t a totally new technique, it’s just an abbreviation you aren’t familiar with and that’s ok, that’s why searching online is so awesome!
But why do designers use knitting abbreviations?
Imagine if I wanted you to knit 75 stitches and then knit a right leaning decrease. I could write: “knit 75 stitches and then knit two stitches together” OR I could write “k75, k2tog“.
They tell you to do the same thing but the second one is WAY shorter and easier to read. If a designer wrote out all of the instructions in full words, patterns would be pages and pages long.
I think a good pattern should include an abbreviation explanation pattern if there are any abbreviations beyond common ones, but sometimes there isn’t room or it’s hidden at the end of the pattern or something and you still need to look it up, so here we are!
I’m going to cover some of the most common knitting abbreviations, ones that I use a lot in my patterns. It will not be a completely exhaustive list, but it should be a good starter.
I will also add links to each stitch or term that I have step by step instructions or videos for (spoiler alert: it’s a lot of them!) so you can get all the info you need. If you want to check out my entire knitting video library, go here! Let’s get started!
Basic knitting abbreviations:
BO: bind off (check out bind off techniques here) Also known as cast off in the UK, what’s the difference?
byo: backward yarn over
cn: cable needle
CO: cast on (check out several cast on techniques here)
dpn: double pointed needle
kfb: knit front back, knit into the front and back of one stitch
ksp: knit 1, slip stitch back to left needle, lift second stitch on left needle over first and off needle, slip stitch back to right needle
ktbl: knit one stitch through its back loop
LH: left hand
M1: make one
M1L: make one Left, left leaning increase
M1R: make one Right, right leaning increase
MC: main color
pfb: purl front back, purl into the front and back of one stitch
pm: place marker
p2tog: purl two stitches together
p2togtbl: purl two stitches together through their back loops
psso: pass slipped stitch over
p2sso: pass two slipped stitches over
RH: right hand
RS: right side
SKP: slip one stitch knitwise – knit one stitch, pass slipped stitch over
S2KP: slip two stitches – knit one stitch, pass two slipped stitches over
SK2P: slip one stitch knitwise – knit two stitches together, pass slipped stitch over
sl: slip a stitch (If not specified, slip purlwise with the working yarn in back)
sl1k: slip one stitch knitwise
sl1p: slip one stitch purlwise
sm: slip marker
ssk: slip, slip, knit- slip two stitches knitwise, knit these two stitches together through their back loops
ssp: slip, slip, purl – slip two stitches knitwise, put them back on the right needle, then purl them together through their back loops
st st: stockinette stitch
tbl: through back loop
WS: wrong side
wyib: with yarn in back
wyif: with yarn in front
yo: yarn over
( ): knit the stitches inside the parenthesis as many times as specified
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