Common Knit and Crochet Abbreviations
Some people are daunted from even starting to knit or crochet when they see a pattern: they often look like another language: sk 2 ch sc in next sp. Like any written language, if you have a good dictionary you are often 80% there, and patterns don't have crazy verb tenses, just abbreviations! Any knit or crochet book worth it's salt will have a list of abbreviations and what they mean somewhere in the book, but I thought I'd compile a list of the most commonly used ones here: we don't always have the book with us, or perhaps only the pattern, the book will assume you know, or have typos (ie the editor left out some of the abbreviations). Below are some of the most frequently used abbreviations to help you decipher your patterns, I will continue to update this page with more abbreviations, and pictures as I can: feel free to add more ideas. I will keep the lists alphabetical for easy reference. Some patterns will have specific versions of common abbreviations, always consult their key if they offer one.
check here first: crochet and knit speak are often similar if not the same, especially if it doesn't have to do specifically with the knit or crochet action!
beg begin, beginning
dec decrease (there are different ways to do this, especially knit or crochet, see if your pattern suggests a way
inc increase: different patterns have different guidelines as to how to do this
pm place marker
rs right side
ws wrong side
yo yarn over: wrap the yarn once around the working needle or hook
(for basics of knit and purl stitches, as well as equipment and supplies, see "Basics of knitting" post)
bo bind off (cast off): how to end a piece. Unless otherwise noted, knit two, pull 1st stitch (to right) over 2nd, knit one more, pull one to right over left, etc.
cn cable needle: cable abbreviations will get their own section below
dpn double pointed needle
g st garter stitch: knit every row
k2tog knit two stitches together: put the right needle through the front of two loops, and treat them as one loop
m make a stitch; somewhat like an increase, though often used to imply crating a stitch a different way
pfb purl into the front and the back of the stitch (a form of increase)
pnso pass next stitch over
psso pass slipped stitch over: usually similar to the bind off, the stitch to the right is passed over the one on the left at the end of the right (working) needle
ptbl purl through the back loop (stitches are usually worked through the front)
p2tog purl 2 stitches together: put right needle through 2 front loops and treat them as one
skpo slip one, knit one, pass slipped stitch over
sl slip (move from one needle to another without working)
ssk slip two stitches in a row knitwise (as if you were going to knit them), insert left hand needle back in front, knit
ssp slip two stitches knitwise (as if you were going to knit them), slip back on left needle, and purl them together
st st stockinette stitch (knit right side, purl wrong side)
tbl through back of loop
wyb with yarn in back
wyf with yarn in front
this needs it's own section, coming soon!
warning: for many international patterns, especially with thread crochet, abbreviations may mean different things, usually to convert from international to US abbreviations minus one (eg chain1= sc, single crochet =dc in international abbreviations). Below are common US abbreviations.
Remember, see "yo" above for yarn over!
ch chain(s): yarn over (hook) and pull through loop on hook (see "yo" above for yarn over)
ch sp chain space
cl cluster: this can be specific to the pattern, but usually means *yarn over, go into stitch or space indicated, yarn over, pull up one loop, yarn over, pull through two loops, repeat from * twice more, yarn over and pull through all four loops on hook
dc double crochet: yarn over, insert hook where indicated, yarn over, pull up yarn, yarn over, pull through two loops, yarn over, pull through two loops
dtr double triple
hdc half double crochet: follow instructions for double crochet, but once you pull up the yarn, yarn overand pull through all three loops.
p, pic picot: varies by pattern, most often chain 5 (# of chains varies by pattern) and single crochet into base chain (5th from hook)
quadtr quadruple triple
quintr qintuple triple
sc single crochet: fundamental stitch. Insert hook in chain or stitch indicated, yarn over, pull yarn up, yarn over and pull through two loops on hook
sh shell: varies by pattern, often means 5 double crochet into same stitch or space
ss slip stitch (see also sl in knitting)
stch starting chain
tch turning chain
tr triple crochet: Yarn over twice, insert hook in space, chain, or stitch indicated, yarn over, pull up yarn, *yarn over, pull through two loops, repeat from * until only one loop remains on hook
ttr triple triple