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Glossary of Knitting Terms

If you've ever gotten stumped by an instruction on a knitting pattern or just wondered what knitters were talking about, this glossary will help.
  1. Sock Knitting Terms (10)
  2. Spinning Terms (4)

Aran Knitting
Aran knitting is a classing style of knitting using lots of cables and embellishments.

Ball Winder
A ball winder is a very useful device that makes it a lot faster to wind a skein into a ball of yarn.

Binding Off
To finish your project, you must get the stitches off your needle, a process known as binding off.

Cable Back
Cable back is a knitting term that is telling you to make a specific kind of cable, one which slants to the right.

Cable Front
Cable front is a knitting term you might see in abbreviation. It's telling you to make a specific kind of cable.

Cardigan
The cardigan is a common garment in knitting, but it actually has a relatively short history. Learn more about where the cardigan came from and how it got its name.

Carry Along
Some yarns are marketed as carry alongs, but what does that mean and how do you use them?

Casting On
The first step in all knitting projects is casting on.

Combination Knitting
When it comes to how you form your knit stitches, there are several different ways to do it, including the combination method.

Decrease
When shaping a knitted garment, you'll often have to decrease the number of stitches. Here's what that means.

EZ
"EZ" might mean "easy" to some people, but to knitters it means something different when you see it on websites and message boards. Learn what EZ means to knitters.

Faggoting
Faggoting or faggoting lace is a classic style of lace that is distilled to its essence--almost completely increases and decreases.

Fair Isle
Fair Isle and stranded knitting are terms that are often used interchangeably in the knitting world, but they don't mean exactly the same thing. Here's the difference between Fair Isle and stranded knitting.

Frog
Sometimes when a mistake happens and you don't notice it for a long time, you have to rip out many rows, a process known as frogging.

Garter Stitch
You often see the term garter stitch in patterns, but what does it mean?

In Pattern
What does it mean when you're asked to bind off in pattern? It's really an easy maneuver.

Increase
What does it mean when a knitting pattern says you should increase? How do you increase in knitting? Here's a basic definition.

Intarsia Knitting
Intarsia knitting is a technique that is used to make blocks of color on a knitting project, whether a sweater, a pillow or an argyle sock.

Interchangeable Needles
Interchangeable knitting needles are very handy for knitters of all skill levels, particularly those who like circular knitting.

KIP
A lot of knitting blogs refer to KIP, but what is it?

Kitchen Cotton
Kitchen cotton is a generic term for a specific kind of yarn used in many knitting projects for the home.

Kitchener Stitch
Have you ever wondered if there was a real person behind the knitting term kitchener stitch? Here's one theory as to how the name came about.

Knit Through the Back Loop
Knitting through the back of a stitch produces a twisted stitch, which is a very cool look if you're doing it on purpose.

Knit Two Together
Knit two together (k2tog) is a basic and quick way to decrease stitches, which slants slightly to the right. It is the decreasing method that most people learn first.

Knitting
The knit stitch is the basis of all knitted items. Knit as a verb is the action of knitting.

Long Tail
Long tail refers to a method of casting on that is very popular.

LYS
What the heck is an LYS and why should I be going there?

Make One
Make one or M1 is a common increase that's mostly invisible. It can be a little tricky the first couple of times, as it is a little tight, but once you get the hang of it you'll be using make one everywhere you don't want your increases to be obvious.

Muggle
Stolen from the world of Harry Potter, muggle has a meaning for knitters, too.

Pass Slipped Stitch Over
Pass slipped stitch over, often abbreviated PSSO, is an easy way to get rid of a stitch that's often used when two stitches are being decreased at once.

Pat
What does pat mean in knitting instructions?

Purl 2 Together (p2tog)
Purl 2 together or P2tog is not as common as the knit 2 together decrease, but it is just as simple to make when you need to get rid of a stitch on the purl side of a fabric.

Purl 2 Together Through Back Loop (p2tog tbl)
Purling 2 together through the back loop will seem like you're doing it wrong the first couple of times, but if it feels wrong that probably means you're forming this decrease correctly.

Purl in the Front and Back (pfb)
Purling in the front and back of a stitch is an easy way to increase, but it doesn't feel particularly natural or intuitive when you do it. Here's how the stitch is made.

Purl Through the Back Loop
Purling through the back loop is not as common as knitting through the back loop, but it produces a similarly twisted stitch. Find out what it means to purl through the back loop.

Purling
Purling is basically the opposite of knitting, and to make good garments and other knitted items, you need to master both stitches.

Raglan
The raglan is a common shape in knitting, giving a sweater or top a sporty look. This is a knitting term that comes from the name of a British Lord who commanded troops in the Crimean War.

Roving
Roving is a pretty common term in the spinning world, but it also has a meaning for knitters who never intend to spin their own yarn.

Row Counters
Row counters are a handy tool to use when working a pattern that has repeats that are too complicated to be figured out without keeping track of what row you're on, or simply when you want to see how much progress you've made.

Shibori Felting
Shibori is a felting technique borrowed from the world of textiles in which items are attached to the knitting before felting to make areas of different texture or that remain unfelted.

Short Row Heel
Make room for your heel in a sock without a gusset by forming a short row heel.

Slip Slip Knit (SSK)
SSK or slip, slip, knit is an easy way to decrease the number of stitches on your knitting needle. This makes a decrease that leans to the left.

Stitch Markers
Stitch markers are indispensable little knitting accessories that help you keep track of where you are on your row.

Stockinette Stitch
Many patterns will tell you to work in stockinette stitch without explaining what that is. It's very simple when you know what it means.

Superwash Wool
Superwash wool is a special kind of wool that some knitters love for its ease of use.

Tink
Tinking is a method for fixing mistakes in the row you are working or have just worked.

UFO
You'll often hear knitters talk about UFOs, but they aren't referring to those disks that fly in the sky.

Yarn Over
Yarn over, abbreviated YO, is an easy way to increase your stitches by making a hole in your knitting.

Yarn Swift
A yarn swift is a non-critical but fun addition to your knitting tool chest.

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