Decoding Knitting Lingo: A Language of Creativity Unveiled | Morris & Sons Australia

Knitting Lingo


At the beginning or end of knitting patterns there is always an abbreviation section, telling you the meaning of terms used in the pattern such as ssk (slip, slip, knit) or k2tog (knit two together) but knitting enthusiasts have a whole other language of terms you might overhear that aren’t clearly defined in patterns.

Here is a little story to show you how these terms work in conversation and their definitions below so you can start dropping knitting lingo the next time you KIP!

One bright and sunny day I decided to head to my LYS to pick up a beautiful skein of yarn and some DPNs to begin a sock KAL with my friends. Both astoundingly and to be expected, my SABLE just had nothing quite right for me to use. At the shop I used a swift to turn my skein into a cake so I could CO immediately on the train home. I began K1P1 and away I went until tragically a few days later I realised my WIP was too small. That’ll teach me to always swatch! Now it’s time to FROG and start again. Just when I think I’m on the right track I notice my rib has become moss a few rows back. Now I must TINK to fix it up. Moving forward again and suddenly, I have a yarn barf and now an UFO. Time to TOAD and go buy some more yarn!

KIP- Knit in Public

LYS- Local Yarn Store

Skein- A hank of yarn wrapped in a twist

DPNs- Double Pointed Needles

KAL- Knit A-Long

SABLE- Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy

Swift- An umbrella like device used to hold skeins of yarn while they are wound

Cake- Yarn that has been wound into a cylinder

CO- Cast On

K1P1- Knit 1, Purl 1

WIP- Work in Progress

Swatch- A knitted square to check tension

FROG- Pulling out, or ripping out, your knitting. Rip it, rip it

Rib- A pattern of knit and purl where you knit every previous row's knit stitches and purl every previous row's purl stitches

Moss- A pattern of knit and purl where you knit every previous row's purl stitches and purl every previous row's knit stitches

TINK- Knit spelled backwards, to undo knitting stitch by stitch

Yarn Barf- When a tangle of yarn comes out the middle of a cake

TOAD- Trashed Object Abandoned in Disgust


  • Posted on by Helen
    Made me smile didn’t know there could be knitters as clumsy as me ha-ha❤️
  • Posted on by Danny
    Thanks for the laugh
  • Posted on by Renate
    I never liked acronyms so some of those were unfamiliar. But reading the explanations they did make me smile – eg TOAD FROG and BARF . THanks for the entertainment.
  • Posted on by Alison Stritch
    Love your story and abbreviations.I can ID w/SABLE……I would have to live another lifetime,AND be born with knitting needles in my hands.Ouch! Poor Mum! Xxxx

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