A Quick Guide to Knitting Abbreviations

Knitting Abbreviations - online knitting class

Online Knitting Classes – Learn Knitting Stitches and Basic Skills and More

As you get into reading knitting patterns, you will notice that they use a language all of their own. The knitting abbreviations may seem to be unreadable at first glance.

But, with a little guidance and some common sense, reading knitting abbreviations is quite easy.

For reference, all abbreviations here are those endorsed by the Craft Yarn Council. Some other groups use slightly different abbreviations in their knitting glossary.

Basic Knitting Pattern Abbreviations

These are used to denote basic stitches. These are most likely to be in beginner’s level patterns.


St(s) is used for stitches.

K or k is for basic knit stitches.

P or p is for basic purl stitches.

Tog means ‘together’.

Pm means to ‘place marker’


[] means that you work the directions within the [] as many times as directed.

() means that you work the instructions as directed, generally to create a repeating motif.

** is another way of asking you to repeat instructions.

* is yet another way of asking you to repeat instructions.


Rep means ‘repeats’. Is often used in patterns or motifs.

Beg stands for begin or beginning.

Bet means ‘between’.

More Knitting Glossary – Increases And Decreases

There are a great number of ways to increase or decrease stitching in a knitting pattern. Most increases are made by either pulling a bit of stitch up from a lower row or by simply wrapping the yarn around the needle. Each technique gives for a very different finished look. Be sure to use the one called for in the pattern.

Dec means ‘decrease’.

Inc means ‘increase’.

K2tog means to knit two stitches together to decrease one.

P2tog means to purl two stitches together.

Ssk means slip two stitches and then knit those two together as one.

Sssk means to slip three stitches, then knit those three together into one stitch.

Skp means to slip a stitch, knit one and then pass the slipped stitch over the just knit stitch. It decreases one stitch.

Sk2p means to slip one, knit two together, and then pass that slipped stitch over them to decrease two.

M1 means to make one stitch. This means that you generally lift a bit of yarn from the lower row and knit once into it.

YO is the other basic way to increase. Simply wrap the yarn once around the needle. Knit into it the next row.

Advanced Knitting Stitches

These are unlikely to be in beginner patterns. These knitting abbreviations are sometimes seen in sock patterns or patterns with advanced construction techniques.

Color Work

CA means ‘color A’. This is the main color of a project.

CB means ‘color B’. Second color in a project. More letters are used as needed.

CC means ‘contrasting color’. This is used in simple two color projects.

MC is for ‘main color’.

Rnds is for ’rounds’. Used for projects worked in the round.

Construction Techniques

Wyib is ‘with yarn in back’. Used in sock making or textures.

Wyif is ‘with yarn in front’ Used in socks and textures.

Yrn is ‘yarn around needle’. Used for texture.

Yon is for ‘yarn over needle’. Used for texture.

Learn more about knitting:

Knitting Instructions  –

* How to read knitting patterns and charts 

Basic Knitting Instructions – Video Tutorials 


Some knitting instructions from around the web:

Before you start the first project is find a comfortable and quiet place to knit. The beginning of learning how to knit is very difficult for those who have never held knitting needles but everything will be all right.…

Knitting Abbreviations and Knitting chart 



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