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.
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70 Responses to “Here’s a Guide to All the Knitting Abbreviations You Might See”

  1. GLORIA MASLEY

    Love the creativity and your wonderful useful shortcuts & extremely healthy hints. Thank you!

    Reply
  2. sissister.ds

    Love getting reminders especially when You put the craft away and come back later 😀

    Reply
  3. Audrey Allen

    Would like to know how to be learning more about this opportunity knit and more learning from crochet also

    Reply
  4. Vicki Ciepiela

    I would love this list so I could print it out, I’m trying to learn to knit and this would come in very handy!!!

    Reply
  5. Anne Strehse

    Still trying to learn how to knit correctly and learn all the short terms for stitches.

    Reply
  6. Kim

    Thank you so much! I will save this. Even if I know a stitch, if I haven’t used it in a while I might forget.

    Reply
  7. Karen McMullen

    I am brioche knitting and can’t read the charts.. suggestions how to read and learn?

    Reply
  8. Linda

    I have been knitting for a few years. I have knitted a market bag and am starting the straps. I cast on 13, then it says to Sl2pyb. I’m guessing you slip 2 then purl with yarn in back. I’m not sure if that is correct, or how to knit it. Is that correct?

    Reply
    • Cnape

      I think it means to slip 2 purlwise with the yarn in the back. So with yarn held in the back, slip 1 purlwise , slip 1 purlwise. Then move on to the next stitch. Usually patterns will include a list abbreviations used in the pattern.

      Reply
    • Tracy

      It’s a form of double decrease (also called SP2P). You slip 1 stitch knitwise, purl 2 together, and then pass the slipped stitch over 🙂

      Reply
  9. 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

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

      Reply
  10. 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

      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
  11. Barbara Durham

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

    Reply
    • Faye

      Knit 3, yarn over, slip one, knit one, pass stitch over. If this is in brackets it means it is to be repeated and there should be instructions after the bracket telling you how many times to repeat. Usually when you do a yarn over or yarn forward, which increases stitch count, it will be followed somewhere nearby with a way to decrease, otherwise your knitted fabric will keep increasing in width

      Reply
    • 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
  12. 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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  13. 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

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

      Reply