Here’s a Guide to All the Knitting Abbreviations You Might See

When you first begin knitting, reading patterns and charts may be the most challenging aspect. After all, to a novice “K5 yo, k2tog, ssk, knit to end” looks like utter gibberish. But don’t stress — keep this guide close and you’ll be able to decode even the trickiest line.

Common Knitting Abbreviations

  • bo – bind off
  • co – cast on
  • dec – decrease
  • inc – increase
  • k2tog – knit two together
  • k – knit
  • kfb – knit in the front and back of the same stitch
  • kwise – knitwise
  • M1L – make a new stitch by lifting the yarn in the space between the stitches and knitting into the back loop
  • M1R – make a new stitch by lifting the yarn in the space between the stitches and knitting into the front loop
  • p2tog – purl two stitches together
  • p – purl
  • pfb – purl in the front and back of the same stitch
  • pwise – purlwise
  • sl st – slip stitch
  • ssk – slip two stitches on the right needle and knit them together
  • ssp – slip two stitches on the right needle and purl them together
  • st st – stockinette stitch
  • yo – yarn over
  • Less Common Knitting Abbreviations

  • dpn – double pointed needles
  • k2tog tbl – knit two together through the back loops
  • ktbl – knit through the back loop
  • p2tog tbl – purl two together through the back loops
  • pm – place marker
  • psso – pass the slip stitch over
  • ptbl – purl through the back loop
  • skpo – slip, knit, pass slipped stitch over the knitted one
  • wyib – with yarn in back
  • wyif – with yarn in front
  • Cable Knitting Abbreviations

  • c2b – slip stitch purlwise to a cable needle and hold that needle in the back of your work, knit the next stitch, then knit the stitch off of the cable needle.
  • c2f – slip stitch purlwise to a cable needle and hold that needle in front of your work, knit the next stitch, then knit the stitch off of the cable needle.
  • Comments
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    31 Responses to “Here’s a Guide to All the Knitting Abbreviations You Might See”

    1. Karen
      Karen

      It is helpful for beginners if you would indicate, for “slip stitch” instructions, exactly which way to slip the stitch: slip stitch as if to knit, or as if to purl. Thank you!

      Reply
      • Kim de Vall
        Kim de Vall

        unless the pattern instructions say otherwise I slip purlwise (right-to-left) every thime to avoid twisting the stitch

        Reply
    2. J. L. Ken
      J. L. Ken

      I’ve been knitting for 45 years and it was a very enjoyable activity. I would love if I could make the Japanese seamless method that I received but came only with Japanese directions.

      Reply
      • Robin M Tuaniga
        Robin M Tuaniga

        Go to the local Japanese Cultural Ctr. Maybe even Okinawan Ctr (in your area) and ask if someone would be willing to translate for you 👍🏽

        Reply
    3. Barbara Durham
      Barbara Durham

      Been trying to knit past beginner stage for a while. This should help.

      Reply
      • Rebekah Hahn
        Rebekah Hahn

        Simply move the yarn to the back of your work like you would to knit and then slip the next stitch or whatever it asks you to do.

        Reply
    4. Elena Gallarza
      Elena Gallarza

      In Nicky Epstein cable patterns she uses abbreviations such as 1/1 RPC or 1/1 LC or RC. What does this mean? Thanks

      Reply
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    5. Sharon Schaller
      Sharon Schaller

      I have one of your patterns I got on your website with yarn I ordered. There are abbreviations in the pattern I don’t know what they mean. I found pm above, but I don’t know what sm means. Could you please help?

      Reply
      • Rebekah Hahn
        Rebekah Hahn

        Sm means “slip marker” (just move the marker to the other needle and keep going)

        Reply