Knitting Patterns For Dummies
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You can read and understand knitting patterns easily when you're familiar with common knitting terms and abbreviations. When the knitting patterns use metric measurements, you'll need to know some simple conversion formulas.

Keep charts handy of your body measurements and yardage estimates of commonly knitted items so that you're ready to start a knitting project at anytime.

Terms and abbreviations used in knitting patterns

Knitting has its own writing method, so when you look at knitting patterns you may see a variety of unfamiliar terms and abbreviations. Once you know the following list of common knitting abbreviations, you’re well on your way to easily translating knitting patterns:

BO bind off (cast off)
CC contrasting color
cm centimeters
cn cable needle
CO cast on
dec decrease
dpn(s) double-pointed needle(s)
g grams
inc increase
k knit
k2tog knit 2 together (a decrease)
kfb -knit into the front and back of the stitch (an increase)
knitwise as if to knit
LT left twist
m meters
m1 make 1 (an increase)
MC main color
mm millimeters
oz ounce
p purl
p2tog purl 2 together (a decrease)
pfb -purl into the front and back of the stitch (an increase)
pm place marker
psso pass the slipped stitch over
purlwise as if to purl
rnd(s) round(s)
RS right (public) side
RT right twist
skp -slip 1, knit 1, pass the slipped stitch over (a decrease)
s2kp -slip 2, knit 1, pass the 2 slipped stitches over (a double
sk2p -slip 1, k2tog, pass the slipped stitch over (a double
sl slip
sl st slip stitch
ssk slip, slip, knit (a decrease)
st(s) stitch(es)
tbl through the back loop(s)
tog together
work even work without increasing or decreasing
WS wrong (non-public) side
wyib with yarn in back
wyif with yarn in front
yd(s) yard(s)
yo yarn over (an increase)

How to convert metric measurements on knitting patterns

Reading knitting patterns can be slow work if you’re not used to converting from metric measurements to yards, inches, and ounces. Speed up your knitting projects when you’re figuring out materials by using these metric conversions. hese are approximations, but they’re easy to do in your head and close enough for your knitting needs!

  • Yards and meters: A yard is 36 inches. A meter is 39 inches. Multiply yards by 90 percent (0.9) to get meters (100 yards = 90 meters). Multiply meters by 110 percent (1.1) to get yards (100 meters = 110 yards).

  • Inches and centimeters: Multiply the number of inches by 2.5 to get centimeters (for example, 4 inches ∞ 2.5 = 10 cm). Divide the number of centimeters by 2.5 to get inches (for example, 10 cm ÷ 2.5 = 4 inches).

  • Ounces and grams: 50 grams = 1.75 ounces. 100 grams = 3.5 ounces.

Body measurements chart for knitting projects

Before starting a new knitting pattern, record your body measurements —and those of friends and family — for an accurate fit. Don’t let your knitted projects go unworn because the measurements were off. Here’s a handy chart to record measurements for knitting patterns.

Body Part My Numbers ___________ Numbers ___________ Numbers
Cross back
Sleeve length
Back to waist
Total length
Foot length
Head circumference

Knitting: estimating how much yarn you need

If you’re not working directly from a knitting pattern, then use this chart to estimate your yarn needs. This table shows you some typical knitting patterns and yardage approximations for a variety of sizes. Smaller sizes obviously need the yardage at the low end of the range, and larger sizes need yardage at the high end of the range. Heavily textured knitting projects (think ribs or cables) also need more yarn.

Yarn Weight Category Types of Yarn in Category Gauge (Stitches per Inch) Yards Needed for a Hat Yards Needed for a Scarf Yards Needed for an Adult Sweater
1 Superfine sock, fingering, baby 7 to 8 300 to 375 350 1,500 to 3,200
2 Fine sport, baby 6 to 7 250 to 350 300 1,200 to 2,500
3 Light DK, light worsted 5 to 6 200 to 300 250 1,000 to 2,000
4 Medium worsted, aran 4 to 5 150 to 250 200 800 to 1,500
5 Bulky chunky, craft, rug 3 to 4 125 to 200 150 600 to 1,200
6 Super bulky bulky, roving 1-1/2 to 3 75 to 125 125 400 to 800

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book author:

Kristi Porter is a knitwear designer, author, technical editor and teacher whose work has been featured in Knit Wit (Collins), the Knitgrrl (Watson Guptill) series, the Big Girl Knits books (Potter Craft), No Sheep for You (Interweave), and her own book, Knitting for Dogs (Fireside).

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