What are Knitting Abbreviations?

KBP Teddy Image

Abbreviations in knitting are used to make the pattern easy to read and short enough to fit into a reasonable space on paper.

Abbreviations are used on most knitting patterns to explain the stitch order and method for construction. There isn’t a universally accepted set of knitting abbreviations, so they are explained at the beginning of a knitting pattern to aid the knitting of the item.

An example would be “k2tog” which means knit 2 stitches together. There may be the need to do this hundreds of times in a pattern so abbreviations are used to keep the text short.

Here is a selection of the abbreviations used in the Knitting by Post knitting patterns

Here is a list of the other general knitting abbreviations in alphabetical order

  • alt – Alternate or alternating
  • approx – Approximately
  • beg – Beginning
  • bo – Bind off (American term) Cast off (UK)
  • cc – Contrasting colour
  • co – Cast on
  • coff – Cast off
  • cont – Continue
  • dec – Decrease or decreasing
  • dk – Double knitting yarn (yarn thickness not the method)
  • dpn – Double pointed needles
  • foll – Follow or following
  • g st – Garter stitch – knit all rows
  • lh – Left hand
  • k1below – knit into next stitch 1 row below
  • k1tbl – Knit next stitch through back of loop
  • k2togtbl – Knit 2 stitches together through back loops
  • kfb – Increase by knitting into front and back of next stitch
  • kwise – knit wise
  • m1 – Make 1 stitch by picking up horizontal loop lying before next stitch and knitting into back of loop.
  • m1P – Make 1 stitch by picking up horizontal loop lying before next stitch and purling into back of loop
  • mb – Make a bobble
  • P2tog – Purl two stitches together
  • pat or patt- Pattern
  • prev – Previous
  • psso – Pass slipped stitch over
  • pwise – Purl wise
  • rib – Knit a rib pattern, e.g. k1, p1 for the whole row and repeat for several rows
  • rh – Right hand
  • rem – Remaining
  • rep – Repeat
  • rnd or rnds – Round or rounds
  • RS – Right side
  • sk – Skip
  • sl st – Slip stitch
  • sl1 – Slip next stitch knitwise
  • Sl1K – Slip 1 stitch knitwise
  • Sl1P – Slip 1 stitch purlwise
  • sl st – Slip a stitch
  • ssk – Slip next 2 stitches knitwise one at a time. Pass them back onto left-hand needle, then knit through back loops together
  • st-st – Stockinette stitch or stocking stitch. Knit 1 row then purl 1 row alternately
  • st or sts – Stitch(es)
  • tog – Together
  • WS – Wrong side
  • w&t – Wrap and turn
  • yb – Bring yarn to the back of work
  • yf – Bring yarn to the front of work
  • yfwd – Yarn forward. Wrap the yarn round the needle as though you were to knit it (add 1 extra stitch)
  • yo – Yarn over the needle (add 1 extra stitch)
  • yon – Yarn over needle
  • yrn – Yarn round needle (add 1 extra stitch)

Cable Knitting Abbreviations

As well as the abbreviations above, there are an additional set of abbreviations for cable knitting.

  • C4B – Slip next 2 stitches onto cable needle, leave it at the back of work. K2, then knit the first 2 sts from the cable needle
  • C4F – Slip next 2 stitches onto cable needle, leave it at the front of work. K2, then knit the first 2 sts from the cable needle

Weights and Measures

  • g – gram or grams
  • oz – ounce or ounces
  • mm – millimetre or millimetres
  • cm – centimetre or centimetres
  • ins or ” – Inch or inches
  • yd – Yard

Repeats for Readability

  • * – Asterisk defines a repeat. For example the instructions may say *k3, p3. Repeat from the * to end. This means to knit 3 and purl 3 and repeat the sequence to the end of the row
  • ( ) – Brackets – Repeat the stitches inside the brackets for the number of times given after the brackets. e.g. (k2tog) 3 times means to repeat the k2tog instruction three times.
  • { } – Braces – Same as Brackets above

Have we missed any? Leave us a comment below and we will add them in.

Change Currency