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.
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: 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.
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 Bluprint 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?
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.
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.