Knit Speak – A Knitter’s English

Are you a KIP – er? That UFO in your stash, what’s that all about? And that pattern instruction, was it WYIF or WYIB?


If you knit, then you have probably run into all sorts of abbreviations, especially from knitting patterns. Some, like K for knit, and P for purl are rather obvious indicators of what to do at any given moment; they blaze brightly as beacons of the knitting row and where to go next.

Yet, in this world of instant communication, where IM-ing, and Ipods, and now, iPhones are all the rage, knitting has a jargon all its own, as well!

So, the next time you visit a knitting forum, try a few of the following abbreviations out and see what you get. It’s the new patois of the “purlers”, if you will.

We all know, or should, YO’s and PSSO’s, but what about OTN? As in, ‘what WIP have you got OTN?’ How many WIP’s have you got going at one time? I like to complicate my life and have at least 3 or 4 going at one time.

What about that poor UFO sitting there in the corner, unloved and unknitted? Did you run into a problem with the DPN’s and don’t know what to do? Or, possibly, the pattern said to go TBL or YON and you aren’t really sure how to do that!

Did you know there are TOAD’s in the knitting world, too? Oh, not the amphibious types that you have to touch, only something which was much loved once upon a time! Probably too much FROG -ing involved, and you just couldn’t take it anymore. I know, I’ve been there, too.

The next time you are in the LYS looking for the MC for your next project, choose yarn that is easy to work with so you don’t spend all your time TINK -ing. And, no, I didn’t say ‘thinking’, that’s just par for the course.

So, before I end, let me tell you what all these abbreviations mean. KIP is knitting in public, UFO means unfinished object, WYIF is with yarn in front, so WYIB is ……., YON means yarn over needle, DPN is double pointed needle, TBL is through the back loop, while OTN is on the needle. WIP means work in progress, and MC is main color. LYS is your local yarn store, and the dreaded TOAD is trashed object abandoned in disgust! And to FROG is to rip it, rip it, rip it! Which leaves TINK, and that’s knit spelled backward, so it’s all about un-doing your knitting.

Pretty neat, if I DSSM!