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 takes up a lot more space.
You will note that some abbreviations are for single words or what to do with a single stitch, while others describe a series of tasks performed in sequence.
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. 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. These come from Yarn Standards.
|alt||alternate||psso||pass slipped stitch over|
|beg||begin (or beginning)||pwise||purlwise|
|bet||between||rem||remain (or remaining)|
|CA||color A||rev St st||reverse stockinette stitch|
|CB||color B||RH||right hand|
|cn||cable needle||skp||slip, knit, pass slipped stitch over|
|CO||cast on||sk2p||slip one stitch, knit two together, pass slipped stitch over|
|dec||decrease/decreases/decreasing||sl1k||slip one knitwise|
|dpn||double-pointed needle(s)||sl1p||slip one purlwise|
|fl||front loop(s)||sl st||slip stitch(es)|
|foll||follows (or following)||ss||slip stitch (in Canadian patterns)|
|g||gram||ssk||slip, slip, knit those two stitches together|
|inc||increase||sssk||slip, slip, slip, knit three slipped stitches together|
|k2tog||knit two together||St st||stockinette stitch|
|kwise||knitwise||tbl||through back loop|
|m||meters||wyib||with yarn in back|
|M1||make one stitch||wyif||with yarn in front|
|M1 p-st||make one purl stitch||yds||yards|
|MC||main color||yfwd||yarn forward (yarn over)|
|oz||ounce||yrn||yarn around needle (yarn over)|
|P (or p)||purl||yon||yarn over needle (yarn over)|
|pat(s) or patt||pattern(s)||yo||yarn over|
|pm||place marker||[ ]||work instructions in brackets as many times as directed|
|pop||popcorn bobble||( )||work instructions in parenthesis as directed (also used to indicate size changes)|
|p2tog||purl two together||**||repeat instructions after asterisks as directed|
|prev||previous||*||repeat pattern following asterisk as directed|