71 Abbreviations and Symbols That Every Knitter Should Know

These are the most important knitting abbreviations & symbols you can’t knit without

Do you find yourself knitting only the simplest projects because you struggle to read patterns?

I’m fairly adept at reading knitting patterns. However, every now and then I come across a pattern that feels more like a calculus equation than a knitting pattern! I’m convinced that a big reason for this is knitting abbreviations and symbols.

While many pattern writers are good about explaining the abbreviations they use, many others assume you know. The good news is that these abbreviations are fairly standard. All you really need is a good guide. And that’s where the guide below comes in!

Now, this guide is by no means complete; you can find literally hundreds of abbreviations and symbols in the knitting world.

But the ones below are the ones you’re most likely to encounter in a knitting pattern.

Common Knitting Symbols

– inch(es)

( ) – work instructions within parentheses as written

* – repeat instructions following the single asterisk as written (Example: K2, *p3, k1, repeat from * to end)

** – repeat instructions following the asterisks as written (see above example but replace * with **)

[ ] – work instructions within brackets however many times (Example: [k2, p2] 3 times)

Knitting Abbreviations for Supplies

CA – color A (main color)

CB – color B (secondary color)

CC – contrasting color

cm – centimeter(s)

cn – cable needle

DPN(s) – double pointed needle(s)

g – gram

MC – main color

mm – millimeter(s)

oz – ounce(s)

yd(s) – yard(s)

For more on knitting techniques, learn about Increases and Decreases and how to knit the cable stitch!

Knitting Abbreviations for Techniques

alt – alternate

beg – begin/beginning

bet – between

BO – bind off

ccd – center double decrease (slip two stitches together, knit one, and then pass both of the slipped stitches over the knitted stitch)

CO – cast on

cont – continue

dec – decrease/decreases/decreasing

EON – end of needle

EOR – end of row

foll – follow/follows/following

inc – increase/increases/increasing

k or K – knit

k1, s1, psso – knit one, slip one, pass slipped stitch over (decreases 1 stitch)

k2tog – knit 2 stitches together (decreases 1 stitch)

k2tog tbl – knit 2 stitches together through the back of the loop (decreases 1 stitch)

kfb – knit into front and back of a stitch (increases 1 stitch)

kwise – knitwise (or “as if to knit”)

LH – left hand

lp(s) – loop(s)

M1 p st – make one purl stitch (increases 1 stitch)

M1 – make one stitch (a knit stitch if not specified – increases 1 stitch)

p or P – purl

p2tog – purl 2 stitches together (decreases 1 stitch)

pat(s) or patt – pattern(s)

pfb – purl into front and back of a stitch (increases 1 stitch)

pm – place marker

psso – pass slipped stitch over

pwise – purlwise (or “as if to purl”)

rem – remain/remaining

rep – repeat(s)

rev St st – reverse stockinette stitch (meaning the purl side is the right side)

RH – right hand

rnd(s) – round(s)

RS – right side (that is, the side that should face outward)

sk – skip (meaning you won’t work this stitch)

sk2p – slip 1 stitch, knit 2 together, pass slipped stitch over the knit 2 together stitch (decreases 2 stitches)

Skp – slip 1 stitch, knit 1 stitch, pass the slipped stitch over the knitted stitch(decreases 1 stitch)

sl st – slip stitch(es)

sl – slip

sl1k – slip 1 knitwise (meaning you’ll insert your needle into the stitch as if you’ll knit it, but you’ll simply slip it to the working needle instead)

sl1p – slip 1 purlwise (meaning you’ll insert your needle into the stitch as if you’ll purl it, but you’ll simply slip it to the working needle instead)

ssk – slip1 stitch, slip 1 stitch, knit these 2 stitches together (decreases 1 stitch)

sssk – slip 1 stitch, slip 1 stitch, slip 1 stitch, knit 3 stitches together (decreases 2 stitches)

St st – stockinette stitch/stocking stitch (meaning the knit side is the right side)

st(s) – stitch(es)

tbl – through back loop

tog – together

WS – wrong side (that is, the side that should face inward)

wyib – with yarn in back (that is, holding the working yarn at the back of the work)

wyif – with yarn in front (that is, holding the working yarn at the front of the work)

yfwd – yarn forward (bringing the yarn from the back of the needle to the front)

yo – yarn over (increases 1 stitch)

yon – yarn over needle (increases 1 stitch)

yrn – yarn around needle (increases 1 stitch)

[Note: the difference between a yarn over needle and a yarn around needle is that with the former, you’re simply moving the yarn from one side of your needle to the other (and draping the yarn over the needle as you go). While with the latter, you’re actually wrapping the yarn once around the needle.]

Did I leave any abbreviations out? Let me know in the comments!

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71 Abbreviations & Symbols Every Knitter Should Know

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