Knitting Abbreviations and Meanings

An old woman knitting
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There are many common knitting abbreviations used in knitting patterns, sometimes without explanation. It can seem like knitters are talking a completely different language!

This is really frustrating for newer knitters because it's often assumed you know what something like "*k1, p1. Rep from *" across or "cont in St st, dec 2 sts at beg and end of alt-RS rows." Those sorts of things make perfect sense to someone who has been a knitter for a long time, but they can leave a new knitter completely lost and frustrated.

Why Use Abbreviations?

Abbreviations are often used to make patterns shorter and easier to read. The difference between

cont in St st, dec 2 sts at beg and end of alt RS rows

and

continue in Stockinette Stitch, decreasing 2 stitches at the beginning and end of alternate right side rows

might not look like much when it's one line of knitting, but write a whole pattern -- or a whole book of patterns -- that way and it takes up a lot more space.

And while abbreviations can be confusing to newer knitters, the lack of abbreviations can be frustrating to knitters who are experienced at deciphering this simpler style.

And once you understand the common abbreviations and what they mean, you’ll be able to read knitting patterns with ease.

Common Knitting Abbreviations

These are some of the most common abbreviations you are likely to find in knitting patterns. There are others, but in most cases where others are used, there will be a key or an explanation somewhere in the pattern as to exactly what the designer wants you to do.

altalternatepssopass slipped stitch over
begbegin/beginningpwisepurlwise
betbetweenremremain/remaining
BObind offreprepeat(s)
CAcolor Arev St streverse stockinette stitch
CBcolor BRHright hand
CCcontrasting colorrnd(s)

round(s)

cmcentimetersRSright side
cncable needleskpslip, knit, pass slipped stitch over
COcast onsk2pslip one stitch, knit two together, pass slipped stitch over
contcontinueslslip
decdecrease/decreases/decreasingsl1kslip one knitwise
dpndouble-pointed needle(s)sl1pslip one purlwise
flfront loop(s)sl stslip stitch(es)
follfollows/followingssslip stitch (in Canadian patterns)
ggramsskslip, slip, knit those two stitches together
incincreasessskslip, slip, slip, knit three slipped stitches together
Kknitst(s)stitch(es)
k2togknit two togetherSt ststockinette stitch
kwiseknitwisetblthrough back loop
LHleft handtogtogether
lp(s)loop(s)WSwrong side
mmeterswyibwith yarn in back
M1make one stitchwyifwith yarn in front
M1 p-stmake one purl stitchydsyards
MCmain coloryfwdyarn forward (yarn over)
mmmillimetersyoyarn over
ozounceyrnyarn around needle (yarn over)
P (or p)purlyonyarn over needle (yarn over)
pat(s) or pattpattern(s)yoyarn over
pmplace marker[ ]work instructions in brackets as many times as directed
poppopcorn bobble( )work instructions in parenthesis as directed (also used to indicate size changes)
p2togpurl two together**repeat instructions after asterisks as directed
prevprevious*repeat pattern following asterisk as directed

Source: Yarn Standards