A Creative Community

Knitting Abbreviations and Symbols Legend Key

If you’re new to the art of knitting, you should know how to read and understand the patterns of your desired knitted item. Therefore, we’ve listed here the different symbols and abbreviation charts that can definitely help you throughout the entire knitting process. Never again wonder the actual meaning of knitting symbols and abbreviations. 

Standard Yarn Weight Legend

Before starting your knitting project, you need to buy yarns first. There are mainly 8 categories of threads determined by their weights. The term “yarn weight” refers to the thickness of the thread, not by the ball’s actual weight. A meter of yarn wool may weigh less than a meter of 4 ply cotton because the fibers have contrasting densities.

Below is a legend of the standard weight system you’ll see on a yarn’s band.

yarn weight symbol translation number

Photo from Craft Yarn Council

Lace (0)

This lightweight yarn is used to create lacy, openwork patterns. This is a very fine yarn weight that needs larger needles compared to other categories. Recommended needle size for Lace is 1.5 – 2.25 mm. Using the Lace yarn, you can make your own sophisticated shawl with the Skacel Big Blossom Capelet Pattern .

 

knitting pattern for fine yarnfine yarn knitting pattern example
Skacel Big Blossom Capelet

Super Fine (1)

This is highly popular for knitting projects such as lacy socks, scarves and shawls. It is sometimes called fingering or baby-weight. One skein can go a long way. In fact, you can knit baby clothes with a skein of Super Fine yarn. A 2.25 – 3.25 mm needle is frequently used for Super Fine yarns. Common types include fingering, sock and baby yarn.  Show of your knitting skills by giving the Cobasi Cable Cutie Socks Pattern a go.

Cobasi Cable - Cobasi Yarn

Cobasi Cable Cutie Socks

Fine (2)

Also dubbed as sports-weight, the Fine yarn is used for fitting sweaters, layering pieces and baby clothes. Knitters can use 3.25 – 3.75 mm needles when handling sports weight yarns. An excellent example of this type is the Schoppel-Wolle Ambiente Yarn. It looks great in multiple color work pattern such as Fairisle.

Light (3)

Most common types include DK (double knitting) and light worsted. DK is the most popular weight of yarn for it can be used in varied projects.  Use a 3.75 – 4.5 mm needle when you make sweaters, accessories, blankets and toys such as the Hikoo Sock Puppet.

Hikoo Sock Puppet Project - knitting

Hikoo Sock Puppet

Medium (4)

Worsted, aran and afghan are common types of Medium yarn.  You can make sweaters, blankets and outdoor wear with this yarn. Its suggested needle size is within the range of 4.5 – 5.5 mm. The aran weight yarn is slightly thicker than worsted, which makes it the perfect material for autumn sweaters. You can make the Alpaka Queen Twin Set Pattern  using the Medium yarn.

Bulky (5)

Often called chunky, the bulky yarn is most suitable for scarves, cowls and quick knit projects. Depending on the fiber content, they can add weight to a garment. Knitters often use 5.5 – 8 mm needles when using the Bulky yarn. The Schulana Cottonshine Yarn is a great material for knitting a summer cowl with its fun neon colors. Other types of bulky yarn are craft and rug.

Super bulky (6)

These yarns are perfect for hats and scarves for they knit up very quickly. Use an 8 – 12.75 mm needle when handling Super Bulky yarns. Roving is a common type of the Super Bulky. You get a more fuzzy texture since roving fibers don’t go in the same direction in the carding machine. Use the SpinCycle Knit Fast Die Young Yarn in making your very own Wooliebullie Mitts.

woolie bullie mitts knitting pattern

Wooliebullie Mitts

Novelty

In earlier days, yarn weights were developed from animal based (e.g. wool) and plant based (e.g. cotton) fibers. With the technological advancement, we now have uneven yarns that may have thick or thin loops, curls, twists. In fact, plastic and nylon can be worn comfortably nowadays. You can also make a fuzzy dress or baby blanket with the Hikoo Caribou Yarn.

 

Knitting Master List of Abbreviations

Knitting requires two needles and a continuous strand of yarn. You begin knitting by making a slip knot on one needle and casting on the number of stitches you’ll need for the project. Generally, authors and publishers give a definition of special abbreviations at the beginning of their book or pattern. Craft Yarn Council has collated most commonly used knitting abbreviations.

Abbreviation

Description

[ ]

work instructions within brackets as many times as directed

( )

work instructions within parentheses in the place as directed

* *

repeat instructions following the asterisks as directed

*

repeat instructions following the single asterisk as directed

inch(es)

approx

approximately

beg

begin / beginning

bet

between

CC

contrasting color

cm

centimeter(s)

dec

decrease / decreases / decreasing

dpn

double pointed needle(s)

foll

follow / follows / following

g

gram

inc

increase / increases / increasing

K or k

Knit

k2tog

knit 2 stitches together

lp(s)

loops

m

meter(s)

M1

make one – an increase – several increases can be described as “M1”

MC

main color

mm

millimeter(s)

oz

ounce(s)

P or p

purl

pat(s) or patt

pattern(s)

p2tog

purl 2 stitches together

psso

pass slipped stitch over

rem

remain / remaining

rep

repeat(s)

rev St st

reverse stockinette stitch

rnd(s)

round(s)

RS

right side

sk

skip

skp

slip, knit, pass stitch over – one stitch decreased

sk2p

slip 1, knit 2 together, pass slip stitch over the knit 2 together; 2 stitches have been decreased

sl

slip

sl1k

slip 1 knitwise

sl1p

slip 1 purlwise

sl st

slip stitch

ssk

Slip, slip, knit these 2 stitches together – a decrease

st(s)

stitch(es)

st st

stockinette stitch / stocking stitch

tbl

through back loop

tog

together

WS

wrong side

wyib

with yarn in back

wyif

with yarn in front

yd(s)

yard(s)

yfwd

yarn forward

yo

yarn over

 

Knit Charts: Alternative to Text Instructions

Publishers and authors also use stitch charts aside from using words to describe a pattern stitch.  Stitch charts illustrate how a lace, color work or pattern will look once it is knitted. This means you can easily identify errors when using stitch charts.

Below is Craft Yarn Council’s standard guideline for knit charts.

knit chart - knitting chart legendknitting legend - chart

Pro tip: Before casting on, review the chart key first. Always refer to the pattern key or legend for extra symbol description.

 

Where to buy top quality yarns, patterns and book?

Makers’ Mercantile is your go-to shop for all your knitting needs. They offer a wide range of top quality and colorful yarns, easy-to-experienced knitter’s patterns and books. Visit their website and get one of their fun and classy patterns.

 

REFERENCES:

Images:

01 yarn symbol - Craft Yarn Council - http://www.craftyarncouncil.com/label.html

02 and 02.1 skacel capelet pattern - Makers’ Mercantile - http://www.makersmercantile.com/skacel-pattern-21100123-kid-seta-pattern-big-blossom-capelet.html

03 Cobasi Cable - http://www.makersmercantile.com/cable-cutie-socks-pattern-cobasi.html

04 hikoo sock puppet - Makers’ Mercantile - http://www.makersmercantile.com/sock-puppet-kit.html

05 wooliebullie mitts - Makers’ Mercantile - http://www.makersmercantile.com/wooliebullie-hats-mitts-pattern-by-cid-hanscom.html

06 and 06.1 knit chart - Craft Yarn Council - http://www.craftyarncouncil.com/chart_knit.html

 

Words:

Makers’ Mercantile - http://www.makersmercantile.com/

weights - https://knittingunplugged.wordpress.com/tag/common-types-of-yarn-within-each-category/

Craft Yarn Council - http://www.craftyarncouncil.com/label.html http://www.craftyarncouncil.com/chart_crochet.html http://www.craftyarncouncil.com/chart_knit.html

Lace (0) - http://www.makersmercantile.com/yarn/browse-by-weight/lace.html

Skacel Big Blossom Capelet Pattern #211100123 - http://www.makersmercantile.com/skacel-pattern-21100123-kid-seta-pattern-big-blossom-capelet.html

Super Fine (1) - http://www.makersmercantile.com/yarn/browse-by-weight/fingering-sock.html

Cobasi Cable Cutie Socks Pattern 21100503 - http://www.makersmercantile.com/cable-cutie-socks-pattern-cobasi.html

Fine (2) - http://www.makersmercantile.com/yarn/browse-by-weight/sport.html

Schoppel-Wolle Ambiente Yarn - http://www.makersmercantile.com/schoppel-wolle-ambiente.html

Fairisle - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_Isle_(technique)

Light (3) - http://www.makersmercantile.com/yarn/browse-by-weight/dk.html

Hikoo Sock Puppet - http://www.makersmercantile.com/sock-puppet-kit.html

Medium (4) - http://www.makersmercantile.com/yarn/browse-by-weight/worsted.html

aran - http://www.makersmercantile.com/yarn/browse-by-weight/aran.html

Alpaka Queen Twin Set Pattern 21100419 - http://www.makersmercantile.com/twin-set-pattern-alpaka-queen.html

Bulky (5) - http://www.makersmercantile.com/yarn/browse-by-weight/bulky.html

Schulana Cottonshine Yarn - http://www.makersmercantile.com/schulana-cottonshine-6.html

Super bulky (6) - http://www.makersmercantile.com/yarn/browse-by-weight/super-bulky.html

carding machine - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carding

SpinCycle Knit Fast Die Young Yarn - http://www.makersmercantile.com/spincycle-yarns-knit-fast-die-young.html

Wooliebullie Mitts - http://www.makersmercantile.com/wooliebullie-hats-mitts-pattern-by-cid-hanscom.html

Novelty - http://www.makersmercantile.com/yarn/browse-by-weight/novelty.html

Hikoo Caribou Yarn - http://www.makersmercantile.com/hikoo-caribou.html

needles - http://www.makersmercantile.com/knitting-needles/knitting-needles.html

casting on - http://www.instructables.com/id/Knitting-Lessons-Cast-On-Techniques/