Here you will find an extensive list of knitting abbreviations and terms including both US and UK terminology.
When you first read a knitting pattern you may think that it has been written in another language.
And it sort of has been – but it is a simple enough language to understand.
Patterns use abbreviations that are shortened ways of telling you what techniques to do.
Knitting Abbreviations Explained
For example, knit is abbreviated to K and purl is abbreviated to P.
The letters are often next to a number that will tell you how many stitches you should knit.
For example, K6 means ‘knit 6 stitches’.
This shorthand makes the patterns shorter and simpler for you to follow.
If the instructions were all written in full, then the patterns would be pages and pages long!
What Is The Difference Between US and UK Knitting Terms?
Once you start to learn how to read knitting patterns and practising knitting techniques you will become more and more used to the shortened abbreviations.
If you see an abbreviation that you don’t understand, you can check the reference guide below (see the downloadable PDF at the bottom of this page).
Knitters in the UK and the US use slightly different terms such as ‘stocking stitch’ in the UK and ‘stockinette stitch’ in the US.
But the biggest difference is that the US and the UK use different systems for yarn weights and needle sizes.
Apart from that, the differences are small so you can use patterns from anywhere!
Get Started – Knitting Abbreviations + Terms List
If you want to learn more about how to start knitting, please visit this post – Knitting Lessons
The list below is a starter guide to general abbreviations and terms.
- There are links to video tutorials for some of the techniques below.
- Download the free PDF at the bottom of this page.
- Take a look at the general terms below to get started.
[ ] work instructions within brackets as many times as directed
( ) work instructions within parentheses as many times as directed
* repeat the instructions following the single asterisk as directed
** repeat instructions between asterisks as many times as directed or repeat from a given set of instructions
alt – alternate
approx – approximately
beg – begin, beginning
bet – between
bk2tog – brioche knit 2 together; knit next knit stitch together with its paired yarnover
bk3tog – right-slanting brioche decrease
bp2tog – brioche purl 2 together; purl next purl stitch together with its paired yarnover
bsk2p – left-slanting brioche decrease
cable – a decorative stitch that looks like a twisted rope or braid
CC – contrast color
cco – cable cast on
cm – centimeter(s)
cn – cable needle
CO – cast on
cont – continue
dec – decrease, decreases, decreasing
dpn – double pointed needles
fl – front loop(s)
foll – follow, follows, following
g – gram(s)
inc – increase, increases, increasing
LH – left hand
lp(s) – loop(s) (Video Tutorial)
m – meter(s)
M1 – make 1 stitch
m1L – make 1 left; left-slanting, single-stitch increase
m1R – make 1 right; right-slanting, single-stitch increase
M1 p-st – make 1 purl stitch
MC – main color
mm – millimeter(s)
oz – ounce(s)
p or P – purl (Video Tutorial)
p tbl – purl through the back loop
p1b – purl 1 below
p2tog – purl 2 stitches together; a single-stitch decrease
p2tog tbl – purl 2 stitches together through the back loops; also known a ssp; a one-stitch decrease
pat(s) or patt – pattern(s)
pm – place marker
pop – popcorn
prev – previous
psso – pass slipped stitch over
pwise – purlwise
rem – remain, remaining
rep(s) – repeat(s)
rev St st – reverse stockinette stitch
RH – right hand
Rib – Knit1, Purl 1 (Video Tutorial)
rnd(s) – round(s)
RS – right side
s2kp – slip 2 together knitwise, k1, pass slipped stitches over (psso); a centered two-stitch decrease
sk – skip
sk2p – slip 1, knit 2 together, pass slip stitch over (psso), then knit 2 together; a two-stitch decrease
skp – slip, knit, pass stitch over; a single-stitch decrease
sl – slip
sl st – slip stitch(es)
sl1k – slip 1 knitwise
sl1p – slip 1 purlwise
sl1, k1, ppso – slip one, knit one, pass slipped stitch over; a single-stitch decrease
ssk – slip, slip, knit these 2 stitches together; a left-slanting, single-stitch decrease
ssp – slip, slip, purl; one-stitch decrease; also known as p2tog tbl
sssk – slip, slip, slip, knit these 3 stitches together; a left-slanting, two-stitch decrease
st(s) – stitch(es)
St st – stockinette stitch, stocking stitch (Video Tutorial)
tbl – through back loop
tog – together
WS – wrong side
wyib – with yarn in back
wyif – with yarn in front
yd(s) – yard(s)
yf or yfwd – yarn forward
yo – yarn over
yrn – yarn around needle
yon – yarn over needle