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Common Knitting Abbreviations

This glossary of knitting abbreviations is the ultimate tool for beginner knitters!

By: Audrey Huggett, Editor for AllFreeKnitting
Common Knitting Abbreviations

Knowing how to read knitting patterns and knitting charts is something that many knitters take for granted—once you know how to do it, reading a pattern is almost second nature. For beginners, however, knitting patterns can present a little bit of a challenge.  The biggest obstacle novice knitters encounter are the frequently used knitting abbreviations. At first glance, many of the symbols used in knitting patterns can look like gibberish to the untrained eye. Committing a couple of common knitting abbreviations to heart is the first step towards becoming a pattern expert.

Knitting designers use abbreviations for a very good reason—pattern length. If every word in your pattern was written out in full, many patterns would be unmanageably long! Since most knitters adhere to a standard list of abbreviations, designers are able to convey a lot of information about their pattern without writing out every single word. Once you’re familiar with knitting abbreviations, reading a knitting pattern is a breeze.

It helps that most of the abbreviations are logical in origin. “K,” for example, is the symbol for “knit” and “p” stands for “purl.” Since designers want their patterns to be easily accessible to as many people as possible, it is very much within a designer’s interest to make his or her pattern straightforward and easy to read.

Below we've included a chart of the most common knitting abbreviations with a few links to our video tutorials for how to do those stitches. If you aren't familiar with some of these terms and what they mean, be sure to check out our knitting dictionary!

Knitting Abbreviations Chart

Download This Chart


Abbreviation Definition
alt alternate
beg beginning
bet between
BO bind off
cast off (UK)
CA, CB color A,
color B
CC contrasting
cn cable needle
CO cast on
cont continue
dec(s) decrease(s)
dpn double point
EON end of needle
EOR end of row
FC front cross
fl front loop(s)
foll follow(s)
grp(s) groups
inc increase(s)
K knit
k2tog knit two
kwise knitwise
LH left hand
lp(s) loop(s)
M1 make one stitch
MB make bobble
MC main color
P purl
pm place marker
pop popcorn
p2tog purl two
prev previous
psso pass slipped
stitch over
pwise purlwise
rem remain(ing)
rep repeat(s)
RH right hand
rnd(s) round(s)
RS right side
sk skip
skp skip, knit, pass
stitch over
sk2p slip one, knit two
together, pass slip
stitch over the knit
sl slip
sl1k slip 1 knitwise
sl1p slip 1 purlwise
sl st(s) slip stitch(es)
ssk slip, slip, knit
st(s) stitch(es)
twist two to the left
twist two to the right
tbl through back loop
tog together
won wool over needle
wrn wool around needle
WS wrong side
wyib with yarn in back
wyif with yarn in front
yd(s) yard(s)
yfwd (UK)
yarn over
yarn forward
yrn yarn around needle
yon yarn over needle

The Knitting Dictionary

For more explanations of common knitting terms, be sure to check out our article of knitting terms explained!

The Knitting Dictionary

The Knitting Dictionary
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These two abbreviations are the same. Which is correct? k1b = knit 1 in the row below k1b = knit through the back loop

what does ssk mean when knitting & how do I do it

ssk = slip, slip, knit. You slip two stitches from the left needle onto the right needle then insert your left needle in front of the two slipped stitches and knit them together. It is like k2tog but makes the stitch slant in the opposite direction which gives a more symmetrical finish.

What does *k1tb1, p4 mean? I have never seen this before.


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