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BellaOnline's Knitting Editor

Common Knitting Abbreviations

Knitting is like any other field or hobby it has itís own language. Once you learn this language you will be able to read patterns and knitting instructions without any trouble, but you do have to know some abbreviations and chart notations first. The abbreviations may vary in patterns depending on the country the pattern is from or language it is written in, but most good patterns and books will have a key somewhere in them to explain the abbreviations or symbols used.

A good habit to get into when knitting the always popular gauge swatch, is to practice any special stitches contained in the pattern. In addition, check the manufacturerís website to see if the pattern has been amended to fix any problems.

Abbreviations commonly seen in patterns:

COCast on
K2togKnit two stitches together
P2togPurl two stitches together
RSRight side
SL or SSSlip a stitch
SKP Slip one, knit one, pass slip stitch over
SSKSlip, slip, knit the two stitches together
WSWrong side
YOYarn over
*...*Repeat what appears between the two asterisks

For a more extensive list of abbreviations I suggest consulting the Craft Yarn Council:

Yarn Standards

Knitting Charts

Knitting Charts are a language unto themselves and are a common way to show color work, lace, and any other knit/purl patterns, clearly. The pictures below from Barbara G. Walkers, Charted Knitting Designs, show a written instruction and a charted instruction:

The chart shows what the pattern actually looks like it represents, at a glance what happens in each row.

Here are a few symbols that you may find on a chart.

If a chart shows every row the chart should be read starting from the bottom right to the bottom left, up one row, then left to right, up one row then right to left and so on. If the chart only shows every other row because the wrong side row (or right side row) is the same every time, then read each row starting from the bottom right, from right to left. For a more complete list of symbols for charts, I recommend going to Chart Symbols

Internet Abbreviations,

UFOUnfinished Object (generally means a project that has not been worked on in a while)
WIPWork in progress (currently working on a project, but it isn't completed
FOFinished object
SOSignificant other )often the recipient of the FO)
KALKnit a-long
TinkActually, is knit spelled backwards, but means to take out your stitches one at a time, most often used to fix a mistake
FrogTo rip out stitches, as in, ripit, ripit,...

Knitting abbreviations generally make sense after seeing them for awhile, but if they donít join us in the forum and ask for help interpreting them when you are stumped.

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