Knitting Blog

Do You Know All These Silly Knitting Phrases?

Knitters have their own language, and I’m not just talking about technical terms like knit and purl. If you read knitting forums or blogs, you probably see some odd abbreviations and terms like frogging, SABLE and UFO. Because these terms are just for fun, you won’t find them in the stitch dictionary!

You don’t need to know these terms in order to knit, but it certainly can be fun to use them and know what they mean.

Knitting in the Round

How well do you know knit-speak? Read on for fun, non-technical (but need-to-know) knitting terms.

FO: Finished object

This is the term you use to describe projects that you’ve finished, used especially when sharing projects online. (Yay for finished projects!)

Frogging your knitting

Frogging: Ripping out your knitting

Frogging, or ripping out stitches, is painful for even the most experienced knitter. The name frogging comes from the saying “rip it, rip it” — like the sound a frog makes!

When we talk about frogging, we’re not just talking about one or two stitches — or even one or two rows. We’re talking several rows or even an entire project. If you’re ready to rip back some rows, check out our tips for safely frogging your project.

ISO: In search of

You’ll see this term a lot on Ravelry when knitters are looking for a specific yarn to buy or trade in a forum. You might see “ISO sparkly fingering-weight yarn,” for example.

KAL: Knit-along

A KAL is when a group of knitters come together to work on a specific project at the same time. It’s so fun to see others’ progress and be able to talk about the pattern. KALs can happen in person, but they can also happen online. Check out our free Fall Knit-Along 2016: Accessories with Kate Atherley and knit along with other Craftsy members.

KIP: Knitting in public

You’ll see this term a lot during special events like Worldwide Knit in Public Day. When you’re ready to try KIP, check out our favorite portable projects and get ready to show off your stitch skills.

OTN: On the needles

This can be used to describe what you’re currently working on. You might say, “New pair of socks OTN.” (See also: WIP)


SABLE: Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy

As I look at my drawers stuffed full of yarn, I know this term applies to me! How about you?

In-progress knit sock

Second sock syndrome (SSS): The inability or lack of desire to knit sock #2

SSS can apply to anything that’s knit in pairs, like mittens and gloves. Usually SSS occurs when you finish one sock and just can’t motivate yourself to knit the second one. Some knitters avoid SSS by knitting two socks at the same time.

Tink: Going back to fix a mistake

Tink is “knit” spelled backwards. Tinking means undoing your knitting to fix a mistake you made. The difference in tinking and frogging is that tinking is just going back a few stitches or maybe even a row or two — frogging is a bit more devastating and involves ripping out several rows or an entire project.

TOAD: Trashed Object Abandoned in Disgust

This is when you totally give up on a WIP or UFO. The reason for trashing it is usually because you messed it up so badly that there’s no rescuing it, thus the “D” for “disgust.”

UFO: Unfinished object

Nope, these are not the unidentified flying objects you spot in the sky. These are those projects that you’re halfway through but haven’t picked up in ages. UFOs are painful, but we all have them. You can also refer to an unfinished object as a WIP, but usually UFO means that you’ve temporarily or permanently abandoned the project.

Knitting Work in Progress

WIP: Work in progress

You can have a couple of WIPs at the same time, but a WIP can easily turn into a UFO if you stuff it in the back of the closet with no intentions on looking at it for a while.

Are there any fun knitting terms you’ve seen or used? We’d love to know if we left anything off the list!

And Now for the Technical Stuff…

knitting abbreviations

Don’t forget those terms you need to know when knitting! Download this exclusive one-page guide and never get stumped by a weird abbreviation again.Get my FREE guide »


Karen Kuntz

Lol!!!! SABLE is making me laugh!!!!!! However if I live to 110…………………!! 🙂

Jan DeRemer

SABLE may also express “stash above and beyond life expectancy.” Alas, this is what my husband found when cleaning out some high up cupboards in our RV. I had no idea they could hold so much yarn! I also had no idea what I had planned when each yarn was purchased! The result was that I promised not to purchase any more until the sable was. Smaller and more manageable!

Carol Younkin

I can relate! I lovingly say that I cannot die unto I have knitted every last inch of yarn in my SABLE, but just to be sure I live to a ripe old age of 110 or more, I need to add more yarn on a regular basis. Right?

Angela Welsh

I’m loving TOAD! Also glad to know that I’m not the only one who does this!


PIGS: Projects In Grocery Sacks. I have several of these!


Oh Thank you!! That is so me!!


“Body bag”. Item used to store UFOs!


All are wonderful. I had thumb surgery 6 weeks ago and was just given permission by my therapist to knit 15 minutes at a whack! I called my sister and she said, “And rest one minute and knit again.” I doubt that is what the therapist had in mind.


ADVICE FROM AN OAP with delicate hands: This is based on my own experience so PACE YOURSELF SENSIBLY and please note I wish you many years of knitting. I have to take care of my hands but am now comfortable with occasional left handed -knitting on larger wooden not metallic needles with thick yarn. Casein needles (expensive but available via the Internet) are reported to be very therapeutic. Special supportive hand warmers to cover the wrist and lower finger joints. Prices vary from the Poundshop variety upwards, but check they fit well or wear fingerless mitts for SUPPORT. At the end of each row stretch and “flick” the fingers a few times and NEVER restrict the circulation to the wrist eg pressing down on the inner wrist without thinking.
Keeping the joints warm and relaxed with gentle stretching and gentle massage the joints but NEVER strain the wrist.
I have used a splint but the velcro catches on yarn. Wearing gloves or using a wheat bag on joints before they become uncomfortable is important. Prevention is better than cure. Shrug the shoulders regularly etc to improve circulation. Before you fall asleep check your hands are not cramped but relaxed.
Roll on 2017


I’m a little late to the party. I have seen several comments on patterns and Ravelry forums that use the word “fiddly”. I have never seen or heard anyone who is not a knitter use this word. Depending on the context, it can mean difficult, cumbersome, intricate, so there’s not really a consistent use, other than it doesn’t seem to be a compliment. Any thoughts or definitions?


Fiddly refers to something you have to fiddle with to get right


LYS = Local Yarn Shop


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