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Knitting Glossary

If you've encountered a term or abbreviation in the Knitting section that you're not familiar with, please have a look below. If you don't see it here, please let me know and I'll add it.
circ, circs, circulars
circular knitting needle(s), a flexible cord with a small rigid pointed portion on each end - can be used to make tubular fabric instead of multple double pointed needles, or can be used instead of a pair or single pointed needles to knit back and forth in rows
colourway
colours - usually used to describe the colours of a particular multicoloured yarn or thread - sometimes used to decribe the colours used in a particular project, ie the blue colourway or the orange colourway of the same sweater
cont
continue
darn in ends, darn in yarn ends, darn in thread ends
to use a yarn needle or darning needle to weave any loose ends of yarn or thread into the fabric, both to keep them hidden from view and to keep your fabric from ravelling out
darning needle
a large blunt metal sewing needle with a large eye, can often be used with yarn or thick thread in place of a yarn needle - also used to sew or otherwise join pieces of fabric together
decrease round or row
the round or row in which you decrease the number of sts worked, often by working 2 of them together into one
dpn, dpns
double pointed knitting needle(s), needles having points at both ends - normally used for working in the round, such as when making socks, sleeves, mittens, etc., usually come in sets of 4 or 5
dropped stitch
to purposely, or more often accidentally, drop a stitch from your knitting needle without working it, and then continuing on with your work - this decreases the number of sts you're working on, usually leaves a hole, and can throw off a pattern stitch
garter stitch
the fabric created, when knitting back and forth, of knit sts worked on every row (or purl sts on every row), forming surfaces composed of small v's across one row and horizontal bumps the next - both sides of the fabric look the same
gauge
a measurement of the number of stitches and rows in fabric, usually per inch or per 4 inches (2.5 cm or 10 cm), also known as tension
graft, grafting
to almost invisibly join two rows of knitting together, such as at the toe of a sock - also known as the kitchener stitch
i-cord, icord
idiot cord, or intelligent cord - using dpns, cast on a few stitches, knit across, do not turn; instead push stitches to other end of ndl, bring yarn around back of needle and knit those same few stitches again; repeat til desired length
inc
increase, to add to the current number of stitches to widen the fabric
incl
include
k
knit, the knit stitch
k2tog
knit 2 sts together in the usual way
k2tog tbl or k2togtbl
knit 2 sts together through the back loops - can be used instead of ssk
kitchener stitch
to almost invisibly join two rows of knitting together, such as at the toe of a sock - also known as grafting
m1, make 1
to insert an additional stitch, usually as invisibly as possible
marker, insert marker, place marker
insert a commercial stitch marker, small loop of yarn or thread, paperclip, safety pin, bobby pin or similar item to mark this particular place in your work
mm
millimeter, a unit of measurement which is often used to size crochet hooks and knitting needles - its use removes the problem of converting different countries' sizing systems (For the curious, there are about 25 mm to an inch)
ndl, ndls
knitting needle(s)
ndl 1, ndl 2, ndl 3
when working in rounds with double pointed needles, such as when making a sock, the first needle used in the round is referred to as needle 1, the second as needle 2, the third as needle 3 - if you prefer using circulars, you can place a marker where the needles would change if you'd been working with dpns
p
purl, the purl stitch
p2tog
purl 2 sts together the usual way
p2tog tbl or p2togtbl
purl 2 sts together through the back loops
ravel, ravel out
to undo completed stitches, either purposely or accidentally
rearrange
used in reference to tubular knitting with double pointed needles - rearrange the stitches, keeping the beginning of the round where it is, divided amongst the remaining needles as per the number given - ie rearrange 12/14/12 means to place 12 sts on the first needle, 14 on the second, and 12 on the third
rep
repeat, to do the instructions over again, usually the section to be repeated is enclosed in asterisks or parentheses, or is referred to by row or round number
reverse stocking st, reverse stockinette st
the fabric created, when knitting back and forth, of knit rows alternating with purl rows, forming one surface composed of small v's and one of horizontal bumps - the side with the horizontal bumps is reverse stocking stitch
rip out, rip back
to purposely undo some of your work, usually to go back to the spot an error was made in an attempt to fix it before continuing on with your work - ripping it all out refers to ravelling out the whole piece of fabric and starting over from the beginning
rnd, round
when making tubular material, working stitches all the way around until you're back where you started (or as directed by the pattern)
row
working stitches all the way across a flat piece of work until you reach the other end (or as directed by the pattern)
single points, single pointed needles
a pair of knitting needles having a point on one end and a knob or other stopper at the other end, usually come in pairs - used to knit back and forth to make flat fabric
sk, skip
to pass over the next stitch(es) without working it (them)
skein
one of the forms yarn or thread can be in when purchased, looks something like a short piece of very thick rope
sl, slip
slip a stitch as if you were going to purl it
sl1, k1, psso
slip 1, knit 1, pass slipped stitch over - slip 1 stitch to the other needle as if to purl but without knitting it, knit the next stitch, pass the first (slipped) stitch over the knitted one and drop it off the needle - a way of creating a left slanting decrease which can be used in place of ssk
sl as if to knit, slip as if to knit
slip a stitch as if you were going to knit it
sp, space
a small opening, either occurring naturally in the stitch pattern or placed there purposely during a previous round or row
ssk or slip, slip, knit
slip first st as if to knit, slip second st as if to knit, put both sts back on left hand needle, knit the 2 stitches together the usual way - can be used instead of k2tog tbl - there are other variations as well
st, sts
stitch, stitches
steek
a process in which, instead of being knitted in the appropriate shape, the fabric is cut, often having the raw edges sewn or otherwise kept from ravelling out (either before or after the cutting) - usually used where sleeves are to be attached or to turn a pullover into a cardigan
stocking st, stockinette st
the fabric created, when knitting back and forth, of knit rows alternating with purl rows, forming one surface composed of small v's and one of horizontal bumps - the side with the v's is stocking stitch
swatch
a practice sample of work made in the pattern stitch(es) using the yarn or thread and needles you intend to use - the purpose is to try out the yarn or thread, practice the stitch(es), check colour combinations, but most imporantly, to check your gauge
tension
a measurement of the number of stitches and rows in fabric, usually per inch or per 4 inches (2.5 cm or 10 cm), also known as gauge
tbl
through the back loop(s)
turn
when working in rows, turn your work around so the other side of the fabric is now facing you
variegated yarn
yarn which changes colour over its length
work even
contine knitting, purling, etc. in stitch pattern established, without increasing or decreasing the number of stitches
work in ends, work in yarn ends, work in thread ends
to use a yarn needle or darning needle to weave any loose ends of yarn or thread into the fabric both to keep them hidden from view and to keep your fabric from ravelling out
yardage
the length of yarn or thread contained in a particular ball or skein of yarn
yarn fwd, yfwd
yarn forward, to bring the yarn between the tips of the needles to the front of the work (the side facing you) before completing the next step
yarn needle
a large blunt sewing needle, often plastic but sometimes metal, with an eye large enough to thread with yarn or thick thread - you can often use a darning needle instead - also used to sew or otherwise join pieces of fabric together
yon
yarn on needle, to bring the yarn over the top of the needle to the front of the work (the side facing you) before working the next step
yrn
yarn round needle, to bring the yarn completely around the needle and back to the side it originated from (either the side facing you or the side facing away from you) before working the next step
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