Find definitions for knitting terms here. Learn new knitting techniques, cast-ons and bind-offs, and more.



2(3,4,5) Stitch One-Row Buttonhole

Work to where you want the ­buttonhole to begin, bring yarn to front, slip one purlwise, bring yarn to back (Figure 1). *Slip one purlwise, pass first slipped stitch over second; repeat from * one (two, three, four) more time(s). Place last stitch back on left needle (Figure 2), turn. Cast on three (four, five,…


5-to-1 Dec

[Sl 1 kwise wyb] 2 times, sl 1 pwise wyb, drop yarn, *pass 2nd st on right needle over first (center) st, sl center st back to left needle, pass 2nd st on left needle over center st,* sl center st back to right needle, rep from * to * once, p1 or k1, as…



Download a handy PDF file of commonly used abbreviations found in Interweave Knits and Knitscene. Click here to download. 

Alternate Cable Cast-On

If there are no established stitches, begin with a slipknot, knit one stitch in slipknot and slip this new stitch knitwise to left needle. *For a purl stitch, insert right needle from back to front between first two stitches on left needle. Wrap yarn as if to purl. Draw yarn through to complete stitch and…

Applied I-cord

When attaching to an edge without live stitches: With double-pointed needle, cast on number of stitches directed in pattern. With right side of garment facing, *pick up and knit one stitch from edge, slide stitches to opposite end of double-pointed needle, knit to last two stitches, knit two together through the back loop; repeat from…




Insert threaded needle under two rows, right next to the selvedge, and up through both layers of fabric. Count back one row and insert the needle under the next two rows. Continue this circular motion-ahead two rows from where the working yarn emerged from the previous row, and then back one row.


Backstitch Seam

Working from right to left, one stitch in from selvedge, bring threaded needle up through both pieces of knitted fabric (Figure 1), then back down through both layers a short distance (about a row) to the right of the starting point (Figure 2). *Bring needle up through both layers a row-length to the left of…


Binding Off Shoulder Seams Together

Place the front and back shoulder stitches onto two separate needles. Hold them in your left hand with the right sides of the knitting facing together. In your right hand, take another needle and insert the right-hand needle into the first stitch on each of the left-hand needles and knit them as one stitch. Knit…


Blanket Stitch

Embroidery 1) Draw a pair of parallel lines where the stitching will go. Pull the needle through from the back of the fabric to the front at the edge of the lower line. 2) Insert the needle into the fabric at the upper line. bring it back out a the lower line directly below where…


Buttonhole Stitch

Working into edge half-stitch of the knitted piece, *bring tip of threaded needle in and out of a knitted stitch, place working yarn under needle tip, then bring threaded needle through the stitch and tighten. Repeat from *, always bringing threaded needle on top of working yarn.



Cable Cast-On

If there are no established stitches, begin with a slipknot, knit one stitch in slipknot and slip this new stitch to left needle. *Insert right needle ­be­tween first two stitches on left needle (Figure 1). Wrap yarn as if to knit. Draw yarn through to complete stitch (Figure 2) and slip this new stitch to…


Casting on lays the foundation for your knitting project. It is the method by which stitches are formed that you then knit or purl to form your knitted item. Download this PDF to learn more about how to Cast-On. See also: Backward Loop Cast-On, Cable Cast-On, Chain Edge Cast-On, Channel Island Cast-On, Continental Cast-On, Crochet…


Centered Double Increase

Knit into the back and the front of the next stitch on the left needle, then insert the left needle behind the vertical strand that runs between the two stitches just made and knit the strand through its back loop—two stitches increased.

Chain Stitch (Embroidery)

Bring threaded needle out from back to front at center of a knitted stitch. Form a short loop and insert needle back where it came out. Keeping the loop under the needle, bring needle back out in center of next stitch to the right.


Chain-Edge Cast-On

This cast-on method is worked with a crochet hook and can be used in one of two ways: as a decorative cast-on that forms a tidy chain and perfectly matches the bind-off row, or as a provisional cast-on. If the decorative cast-on is desired, use the working yarn for the crochet chain. For a provisional…


Channel Island Cast-On

Make a slipknot with two balls of yarn, leaving long tails (about 1" per stitch). The slipknot counts as one stitch. Cut one of the strands connected to a ball of yarn. Place the single strand over your left index finger and wrap the double strands counterclockwise around your thumb. *Make a yarnover on the…


Couching Stitch

Lay thread(s) to be covered on top of knitted background. Bring threaded needle out from back to front at side of thread(s). *Bring needle over thread(s) and insert it close to other side. Bring needle back out a short distance away. Repeat from *.


Crochet Bind-Off

Insert crochet hook into first stitch on needle, as if to knit. Wrap yarn around hook (Figure 1), pull this loop through stitch on needle, and let stitch drop off needle. *Insert hook into next stitch as if to knit, wrap yarn around hook, pull loop through both stitch on needle and first loop on…


Crochet Chain (ch)

Make a slipknot on hook. Yarn over hook and draw it through loop of slipknot. Repeat, drawing yarn through the last loop formed.


Crochet Chain (Provisional) Cast-On

With smooth, contrasting waste yarn and crochet hook, make a loose chain of about four stitches more than you need to cast on. Cut yarn and pull tail through last chain to secure. With needle, working yarn, and beginning two stitches from last chain worked, pick up and knit one stitch through the back loop…



*Bring threaded needle out from back to front at lower left edge of knitted stitch to be covered. Working left to right, insert needle at upper right edge of same stitch and bring it back out at lower left edge of adjacent stitch, directly below and in line with insertion point. Repeat from * to…



Daisy Stitch

Bring threaded needle out from back to front at center of a knitted stitch. *Form a short loop and insert needle back where it came out. Keeping loop under needle, bring needle back out in center of next stitch over. Beginning each stitch at the same point on the knitted background, repeat from * for…


Double Crochet

Yarn over hook, insert hook into a stitch, yarn over hook and draw a loop through (three loops on hook), yarn over hook (Figure 1) and draw it through two loops, yarn over hook and draw it through the remaining two loops (Figure 2).          Figure 1                         Figure 2   


Double Cross-Stitch

Work cross-stitch as described at left, then bring needle out at base of crossed yarn, over cross, and back in at top of cross, then out again at left side of cross and back in on right side. The double cross-stitch in the sample is worked over four knitted stitches.


Duplicate Stitch

Stitches Bring needle out of -knitted background from back to front, wrap yarn around needle one to three times, and use thumb to hold in place while pulling needle through wraps into background a short-distance from where it came out. Horizontal: Bring threaded needle out from back to front at the base of the V…


Embroidery Stitches

See: Backstitch, Blanket Stitch, Buttonhole Stitch, Chain Stitch, Couching Stitch, Cross-Stitch, Daisy Stitch, Double Cross-Stitch, Duplicate Stitch, Fern Stitch, Fly Stitch, French Knot, Jacobean Couching, Running Stitch, Satin Stitch, Split Chain Stitch, Stem Stitch, Straight Stitch, Woven Web


Emily Ocker's Circular Cast-On

This technique comes from Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitter’s Almanac (Dover, 1981).  Make a simple loop of yarn with the short end hanging down (Figure 1). With a crochet hook, *draw a loop through main loop, then draw another loop through this loop (Figure 2). Repeat from * for each stitch to be cast on (Figure 3).…



Knitting Gauge To check gauge, cast on 30 to 40 stitches using recommended needle size. Work in pattern stitch until piece measures at least 4″ (10 cm) from cast-on edge. Remove swatch from needles or bind of loosely and lay swatch on flat surface. Place a ruler over swatch and count number of stitches across…

German short-rows

German Short-Rows

With yarn in front, sl 1 pwise from left needle to right needle. Pull yarn to back of work over needle until both legs of st in row below are on top of needle (as shown), creating a “double st” on both sides of needle (figure 1). When working the double-st on subsequent rows, work…


Grafting Garter Stitch

To graft garter stitch, place live stitches on needles held parallel. Thread tapestry needle with yarn and go through first stitch on front needle as if to purl, then first stitch on back needle as if to purl, leaving both stitches on the needles. *Then go through first stitch on front needle as if to…



Half Double Crochet (hdc)

*Yarn over, insert hook in stitch, yarn over and pull a loop through stitch (three loops on hook), yarn over (Figure 1) and draw through all the loops on the hook (Figure 2). Repeat from *.      



With double-pointed needle, cast on desired number of stitches. *Without turning the needle, slide the stitches to other end of the needle, pull the yarn around the back, and knit the stitches as usual; repeat from * for desired length.  


I-cord Bind-Off

When there are live stitches or picked-up stitches on left needle: With right side facing, cast on number of stitches needed for I-cord (as directed in pattern) onto left needle. *Knit to last I-cord stitch (e.g., if working a two-stitch I-cord as shown, knit one), knit two together through the back loops (Figures 1 and…

I-Cord Cast-On

These instructions are for a 5-stitch I-Cord. Cast on 5 stitches, leaving a 6" tail. Next row K5, do not turn. *Next row Slip 5 sts back to left needle without twisting them, k1f&b, k4, do not turn. Rep from * until there are 5 more stitches on the right needle than the total number…


Invisible Seam

Working from the right side of the garment, place the pieces to be seamed on a flat surface, right sides up. Begin at the lower edge and work upward, row by row. Insert a threaded tapestry needle under the horizontal bar in the middle of the edge stitch on one side of the seam, and…



Jacobean Couching

Make long straight stitches (see page 10) on a knitted background parallel to each other and about 1z2" (1.3 cm) apart. Work another series of straight stitches on top of and at right angles to the previous ones. Then couch the resulting crosses with tiny straight stitches (shown) or small cross-stitches (see page 10).

Jogless Jog (Meg Swansen’s)

Knitting color stripes in the round can result in jogs at the "seam" line where each new round begins. In Meg Swansen's Knitting (Interweave, 1999), Meg offers an ingenious technique for eliminating these jogs when working solid-color stripes of two or more rounds. Work the first stripe (let's call that color A) for the desired…


Judy's Magic Cast-On (JMCO)

Hold two needles parallel in your right hand, one on top of the other and needle points facing to the left. Leaving a tail long enough to cast on the required number of stitches, drape the yarn over the top needle so the tail is in front and the ball yarn in back (Figure 1).…



Kitchener Stitch (St st Grafting)

Step 1: Bring threaded needle through front stitch as if to purl and leave stitch on needle (Figure 1). Step 2: Bring threaded needle through back stitch as if to knit and leave stitch on needle (Figure 2). Step 3: Bring threaded needle through first front stitch as if to knit and slip this stitch…


Knit Stitch: English Method

1. Cast on 20 stitches (or enough to practice several stitches). 2. Hold the needle with the cast-on stitches in your left hand, the empty needle in your right hand. Hold the needles a few inches from the tips, between your thumb and first couple of fingers. 3. With the working yarn in back of…


Knitted Cast-On

Cast-on Place slipknot on left needle if there are no established stitches. *With right needle, knit into first stitch (or slipknot) on left needle (Figure 1) …and place new stitch onto left needle (Figure 2). Repeat from *, always knitting into last stitch made.


Knitting In Reverse

To avoid constant turning of the work, you can knit and purl from the same side. To purl from the knit side: With RS facing and yarn in back, insert left needle into first st on right needle from front to back, wrap yarn over top of needle and then around to back, and pull…



A lifeline is a strand of yarn that is inserted into the work so that, if an error is encountered, it is easy to rip back to that point. Lifelines are often used in lace knitting. Leave lifelines in your work until the piece is complete. To insert a lifeline, thread a tapestry needle with…


Long Tail Cast-On

Leaving a long tail (about 1-2" for each stitch to be cast on), make a slipknot and place on right needle. Place thumb and index finger of left hand between yarn ends so that working yarn is around index finger and tail end is around thumb. Secure ends with your other fingers and hold palm…


Loop Cast-On (Right and Left Slanting)

Right-slanting loop CO (also: Backward-loop CO) *Loop working yarn as shown and place it on needle backward (with right leg of loop in back of needle). Repeat from *.   Left-slanting loop CO *Loop working yarn as shown and place it on needle so right leg of loop is in front of needle. Repeat from…



Make One (M1) Increases

Left Slant (M1L) and Standard M1 With left needle tip, lift strand between needles from front to back (Figure 1). Knit lifted loop through the back (Figure 2). Figure 1 Figure 2 Right Slant (M1R) With left needle tip, lift strand between needles from back to front ­(Figure 1). Knit lifted loop through the front (Figure 2). Figure 1…


Mattress Stitch Seam

Seaming With RS of knitting facing, use threaded needle to pick up one bar between first two stitches on one piece (Figure 1), …then corresponding bar plus the bar above it on other piece (Figure 2). *Pick up next two bars on first piece, then next two bars on other (Figure 3). Repeat from *…


Old Norwegian Cast-On

Old Norwegian Cast-On

Leaving a long tail (about ½” [1.3 cm] for each stitch to be cast on), make a slipknot (this counts as the first stitch.) Place your thumb and index finger between the yarn ends so that the working yarn is around your index finger and the tail end is around your thumb. Secure the ends…


Overhand Seam

Hold pieces to be seamed with right sides together. Working close to the edge, from right to left, *bring threaded needle from back to front through both layers. Repeat from *.



Pick Up Stitches Purlwise

With WS facing and working from right to left, insert right needle under selvedge stitch from farside to nearside, wrap yarn as to purl (Figure 1), and pull loop through (Figure 2).               



Stitches Cut two circles of cardboard, each 1⁄2” (1.3 cm) larger than desired finished pom-pom width. Cut a small circle out of the center and a small edge out of the side of each circle (Figure 1). Tie a strand of yarn between the circles, hold circles together and wrap with yarn—the more wraps, the…

Provisional Cast-On

Place a loose slipknot on needle held in your right hand. Hold waste yarn next to slipknot and around left thumb; hold working yarn over left index finger. *Bring needle forward under waste yarn, over working yarn, grab a loop of working yarn (Figure 1), then bring needle to the front, over both yarns, and…


Purl Stitch: English Method

   Step 1: As with the knit stitch, start by holding the needle with the stitches in your left hand and the empty needle in your right. (This tutorial demonstrates the English method of purling.) Step 2: Pull the working yarn in front of the needles. Insert the tip of the right needle into the…


Reading Charts

Reading Charts Unless otherwise indicated, read charts from the bottom up. On right-side rows, read charts from right to left. On wrong side rows, read charts from left to right. When knitting in the round read charts from right to left for all rows. What does "no stitch" mean? A "no-stitch" box is just a…


Reverse Single Crochet

Working from left to right, insert the crochet hook into a knit edge stitch, draw up a loop, bring the yarn over the hook, and draw this loop through the first one. *Insert the hook into the next stitch to the right (figure 1), draw up a loop, bring the yarn over the hook again…



Satin Stitch

Work closely spaced straight stitches in graduated lengths as desired, entering and exiting in center of or at side of knitted stitches.


Sewn Bind-off

Bind Off Cut the yarn three times the width of the knitting to be bound off, and thread onto a tapestry needle. Working from right to left, *insert tapestry needle purlwise (from right to left) through first two stitches (Figure 1) …and pull the yarn through, then bring needle knitwise (from left to right) through…


Short Row: Wrapping Stitches

Work to turn point, slip next stitch purlwise to right needle. Bring yarn to front (Figure 1). Slip same stitch back to left needle (Figure 2). Turn work and bring yarn in position for next stitch, wrapping the stitch as you do so. Note: Hide wraps in a knit stitch when right side of piece…


Short Rows (Knit Side)

Work to turning point, slip next stitch purlwise (Figure 1), bring the yarn to the front, then slip the same stitch back to the left needle (Figure 2), turn the work around and bring the yarn in position for the next stitch—one stitch has been wrapped and the yarn is correctly positioned to work the…


Short Rows (Purl Side)

Work to the turning point, slip the next stitch purlwise to the right needle, bring the yarn to the back of the work (Figure 1), return the slipped stitch to the left needle, bring the yarn to the front between the needles (Figure 2), and turn the work so that the knit side is facing—one stitch…


Single Crochet

Insert hook in stitch, yarn over and pull a loop through stitch (Figure 1), yarn over and draw through both loops on hook (Figure 2). Figure 1 Figure 2   


SKP Decrease

This decrease produces a fairly pronouced left-slanting decrease. Slip one stitch knitwise, knit the next stitch, and then use the point of the left needle to pass the slipped stitch over the knit stitch and off the right needle.    


Slip Stitch Crochet Seam

Make a slipknot and place it on a crochet hook. *Insert hook through both pieces of fabric one stitch in from selvedge (Figure 1), wrap yarn around hook to make a loop, pull this loop back through the fabric and through loop already on the hook (Figure 2). Repeat from *.      



     A slipknot is a knot that tightens up easily once you place it on the needle. 1. With the tail end of the yarn in your palm, wrap the working yarn around your index and middle fingers, and lay the working yarn across the tail end, forming an X. 2. Spread your fingers slightly…


Ssk (Single Decrease) and Sssk (Double Decrease)

Slip two stitches knitwise one at a time (Figure 1). Insert point of left needle into front of two slipped stitches and knit them together through back loops with right needle (Figure 2). Figure 1 Figure 2   For Sssk (Double Decrease): Slip three stitches knitwise one at a time. Insert point of left needle into…


Ssp (Single Decrease) and Sssp (Double Decrease)

Holding yarn in front, slip two stitches knitwise one at a time onto right needle (Figure 1). Slip them back onto left needle and purl the two stitches together through back loops (Figure 2).             Figure 1 Figure 2   For Sssp (Double Decrease): Holding yarn in front, slip three stitches knitwise one at a…


Stem Stitch

Bring needle out from back to front at center of a knitted stitch. Insert needle into upper right edge of next stitch to right, then out again at center of stitch below.


Straight Stitch

*Bring threaded needle out from back to front at base of knitted stitch(es) you want to cover. Insert needle at top of stitch(es) you want to cover. Repeat from *.


Suspended Bind-Off

This method is similar to the standard bind-off but produces a more elastic edge. This bind-off is especially good for knitters who tend to bind-off too tightly; use it when you want to make sure your bind-off isn't too tight. Slip one stitch, knit one stitch, *insert left needle tip into first stitch on right…


Trapping floats

Tacking Down Long Floats

To prevent long floats that can catch on fingers and distort the stitches, floats should be no longer than 1” (2.5 cm) long. If a float needs to span a wider distance, it’s best to trap or “catch” it with the working yarn to keep it snug against the back of the work. To trap…



Cut a piece of cardboard 4" wide by the desired length of the tassel plus 1". Wrap yarn to desired thickness around cardboard. Cut a short length of yarn and tie tightly around one end of the wrapped yarn (Figure 1). Cut yarn loops at other end. Cut another piece of yarn and wrap tightly…


Three Needle Bind-Off

Place stitches to be joined onto two ­separate needles. Hold them with right sides of knitting facing ­together. Insert a third needle into first stitch on each of the other two ­needles and knit them together as one stitch. *Knit next stitch on each needle the same way. Pass first stitch over ­second stitch. Repeat…


Treble Crochet

Wrap yarn around hook two times, insert hook into a stitch, yarn over hook and draw a loop through (four loops on hook; Figure 1), yarn over hook and draw it through two loops (Figure 2), yarn over hook and draw it through the next two loops, yarn over hook and draw it through the…


Tubular Bind-Off

Step 1: Insert tapestry needle purlwise into first knit loop on the knitting needle (Figure 1). Draw through, then wrap around side of fabric (not over needle) to the back. Step 2: From the back, insert tapestry needle knitwise into the first purl loop (second loop on knitting needle) and draw it through. Step 3:…


Tubular Cast-On for k1, p1 Ribbing

Even Number of Stitches (see below for Odd Number of Stitches) Version 1 With contrasting waste yarn, cast on half the number of stitches required using the backward-loop method. Cut the waste yarn. With the main color yarn, knit 1 row, purl 1 row, knit 1 row. Next row (WS) P1, bring yarn to back,…


Turkish Cast-On

Hold two needles parallel. Leaving a 6" (15 cm) tail in front, bring yarn from front to back between needles. *Wrap working yarn over top of both needles, around front, and under needles to back. Rep from * until number of wraps over top of needle equals half the number of stitches needed. Make sure…


Twisted Cord

Stiches Cut several lengths of yarn about five times the desired finished cord length. Fold the strands in half to form two equal groups. Anchor the strands at the fold by looping them over a doorknob. Holding one group in each hand, twist each group tightly in a clockwise direction until they begin to kink.…



Vertical Buttonhole

Work a ribbed band to 2 rows before the bottom of the buttonhole position, ending on a right side row. *With wrong side facing, work number of sts to the buttonhole opening. Join new yarn (shown shaded here in cream), work to end of row, turn. Work to the buttonhole opening, cross the 2 yarn…



Weaving In Ends as You Knit

     This is a nifty way to work in ends as you knit striped projects, or when you join a new ball of yarn. Insert the needle tip into the next stitch on the left-hand needle, place the old color over the right needle (Figure 1; old color is dark), knit the stitch with the…



Stichese With right side of work facing and working one stitch in from the edge, bring threaded needle out from back to front along edge of knitted piece.


Woven Web

Make a foundation by working five straight stitches of equal length radiating out from the same point on the knitted background. Weave the needle over and under the straight stitches until they are half covered.

Wraps Per Inch

Wraps per Inch If you substitute or spin a yarn for a project, you can compare the weight of the yarn to the project yarn by comparing wraps per inch. To do this, wrap your yarn around a ruler for on inch and count the number of wraps. If you have more wraps per inch,…