Glossary Of Knitting Terms

American: see English knitting.

Bar Increase:  with left needle, lift the bar of unworked yarn between two stitches from the back of work.  Work that bar by knitting it normally, resulting in a twist of the bar below - one new stitch.  One stitch increased.

Bind Off: the methods to create a finished edge to a knitted fabric by binding or knotting  live stitches.

Bobble: any combination of stitches which together appear as a ball on the right side of the fabric.

Brioche: a style of ribbing involving knitting into the row below.  Creates a warm, lofty fabric.

Cable: a technique of knitting stitches out of order to create lines of interwoven stitches within the fabric.

Carry: in colorwork, bringing the yarn color not in use for the current stitch behind the working color until it is needed, creating a horizontal strand on the wrong side of the fabric. 

Cast On: any one of many methods by which the foundation row or first row of a knitted garment ends up on one or more needles. Also a method by which stitches are created mid-row.

Circular needles: needles with two pointed end shafts connected by a metal or plastic filament.

CO: see cast on

Continental: a knitting method in which all working yarns are carried in the left hand, resulting in fewer and smaller hand motions to achieve each stitch.  Believed to have orignated in Germany, it is not universally used in Europe, but is the primary knitting form taught.  People who use this method sometimes call it picking, indicating the style in which working yarn is picked up to make a stitch, and call English knitting throwing. See also English and American knitting.

Double pointed needles: aka DPNs. a single needle shaft with working points at each end. Usually used in sets of 4 or 5 for projects knitted in the round.

DPNS: see double pointed needles

English: a knitting style in which working yarns are carried in the right hand, resulting in larger motions and more of them than in the Continental style.  Believed to originate in England, it is the style most used by self-taught and American knitters. Sometimes called throwing, in reference to the relatively large motion of bringing the yarn around the right needle. See also Continental.

Entrelac: a technique resulting in the illusion of a woven fabric oriented on the diagonal. Considered an advanced technique.

Fair Isle: a style of color work where two or more colors are knitted into a single row. Each of the yarns is carried behind any stitches of another color creating a fabric that is two or more strands of yarn thick. Considered an intermediate to advanced technique.

Fiber: another term for knittable thread, including tapes, ribbons, yarns, roving, plastics, and metals.

Finishing: a catch-all phrase to include seaming, weaving in ends, adding buttons, zippers and other fasteners, embroidery and embellishments after the principal knitting is complete.

Frogging: see ripping (rip it, rip it sounds a lot like ribbit, ribbit)

Gansey: see Guernsey

Gauge: the diameter size of a needle; the weight of a yarn; the number of stitches per inch vertically (row gauge) or horizontally when knitting in pattern. see also swatch

Graft: a technique by which two horizontal rows of knitting are woven together with an invisible seam made with a tapestry needle.  Also called Kitchener stitch.  Considered an intermediate to advanced technique.

Graph: a style of pattern where stitch and color placement are indicated by symbols on a graph, not in words.  Graphs are common for Fair Isle, intarsia, and Guernsey knitting.

Guernsey: a traditional Channel Islands fisherman's sweater.  Also Gansey.  These sweaters are knit on very small needles, usually 0-2, from the top down in a single color.  They are often patterned across the shoulders with ribbed or plain knit bodies.  They are meant to be windproof and weather resistant.  Guernseys are often made from oiled wool or cotton, and always from a dense yarn with a high twist.

In the round: a knitting style which creates a seamless tube, performed on circular or double pointed needles.

Intarsia: a color work technique in which each color is worked separately and no yarns are carried behind stitches of another color. Considered an advanced technique.

KAL: knit along

K2tog: Knit two stitches together from the left needle as if they were one stitch.  Creates a decrease of one stitch slanting from left to right. /

KFB: knit into the front of a stitch, do not drop it from the left needle, then knit into the back of the same stitch. Drop the original stitch from the left needle.  One stitch increased.

Kitchener: see graft

Knit along: a knitting project made by each member of a group at the same approximate time. Easy and complex projects are chosen, providing group members the opportunity to compare notes and experiences while everybody has the project fresh in their mind or on their needles.

Live stitch: a stitch which has not been bound off; a stitch which is on the needle to be worked (as in picked up stitches)

LYS: Local yarn shop; an independent yarn shop differentiated from an arts and crafts supply store.

M1: knit one stitch and make one stitch out of one stitch from the left hand needle.  Includes all make ones: kfb, bar increase, YO, CO1

Picking up stitches: a technique in which stitches that are finished and off the needle are picked up on a working needle, and worked again as live stitches.

PSSO: On right side of work, slip one stitch.  Knit next stitch on left hand needle, and pass the slipped stitch over the knitted stitch, both of which are now on the right hand needle.  Creates a decrease of one stitch slanting right to left.  \

Ribbing: any combination of stitches resulting in a series of vertical textured lines on the right side of the knitting. (Frequently K2 P2, or K2 P1, for example)

Right Side: the side of the knitted fabric intended to be the front, outer or public side.

Ripping: To remove stitches or rows of knitting by unraveling in order by tugging on the yarn. Also called Frogging, and Tinking

Shaping: increasing or decreasing stitches to create contours in a fabric or garment. An intermediate technique.

Slip: Transfer a stitch from the left needle to the right without knitting it.

SSK: Slip and turn two stitches around, place them back on the left needle, then knit them together.  Creates a decrease of one stitch slanting from right to left. \

Stash: A knitter's collection of yarn-in-waiting, not yet knit into projects.

Swatch: a knitted sample, often made to check gauge, texture or drape before committing to a large project.  Gauge swatches are recommended to be four inches square or larger to get accurate measurments.

Synthetic: a fiber that does not occur in nature, such as nylon.

Tinking: see ripping

UFO: unfinished object

WiP: work in progress

Wrap: any one of a number of ways to wrap yarn around a stitch or stitches creating horizontal texture.

Wrong Side: the side of a knitted fabric intended to be the back, inside, or unseen side.

Yarn Over: wrap the working yarn around the right needle once, then continue knitting from left needle.  When the yarn over is reached in the next row, it is knitted as a regular stitch, resulting in a defined hole in the work.  One stitch increased.  A lace and picot technique. 

YO: see yarn over