Tuesday, 30 May 2023

Knitting Abbreviation and Terms Makes Knitting Pattern Easier to Read


Knitting started with the need to provide and clothe one’s family, but to be able to provide and sustain this, you need to have the right knitting needles and the knowledge of reading knitting terms and abbreviations for following the knitting patterns. As a knitter, you need to be familiar with the shorthand style of writing knitting instructions so that you can interpret the patterns and designs. 

Different types of knitting needle materials are used like metal, bamboo, plastic, wooden, and carbon fiber. Wooden knitting needles are warm, smooth, and easy on hands and joints providing a smooth knitting experience. Stitches are also less likely to slide off the wood than on metal and plastic.

The knitting list includes common and standard abbreviations and terms as mentioned according to The Craft Yarn Council. It also includes the knitting terms that are used by US knitters. 

There are many other reasons too why you need to be aware of the knitting terms and abbreviations. 

Reasons for using knitting terms

As you keep knitting more, you will understand the reason for using knitting abbreviations in knitting patterns. 

  • Knitting designers use terms and abbreviations to reduce the knitting patterns instructions which will save space
  • A five-page pattern can be squeezed onto one page by using knitting abbreviations
  • With experience, abbreviations make knitting patterns easier and quicker to read
  • This eradicates the need for reading the instructions closely as just a quick scan will make you understand the pattern
  • This way you can increase your focus on knitting and less on reading the instructions leading to faster knitting
  • Knowing correct terminologies help if you wish to become a knitting designer in the future.

Knitting abbreviations

If you are just learning to knit then at first glance, knitting abbreviations, symbols, terms, and instructions would seem like trying to read a foreign language. Knitting patterns are not written the same way as there is no standard template that is used by knitting designers. However, the knitting abbreviations and terms remain constant. So, the more you use your knitting needles, the early you will understand the knitting abbreviations. 

An Ultimate Guide on Reading Knitting Stitch Charts | Aabhar Creations

Some of the basic knitting abbreviations in the knitting patterns are:

  • alt: alternate
  • approx: approximately
  • bet: between
  • beg: beginning
  • BO: binding off
  • byo: backward yarn over, single-knit increase
  • CC: contrasting color
  • CO: cast on
  • cont: continue
  • dec: decrease
  • dpns/dpn: double pointed needle
  • foll: follow
  • K: knit
  • Pat/patt: pattern
  • Rep: Repeat
  • RS: right side
  • St/sts: stitches
  • WS: wrong side


One of the knitting terms is BOR (beginning of round) which is not a standard abbreviation but is frequently used in circular knitting patterns. The first needles for knitting designed were circular knitting needles even before flat knitting became popular. 

Circular needles roundly provide the function of knitting and may have a cord attached to them. Such needles motivate and carry an inspirational word that helps the knitters in mindful concentration. The swivel top cords make it easy for turning and making rounds without any twisting. This makes the knitting patterns glide ensuring a snug fit.