Machine Knitting Abbreviations and Terms

These abbreviations are found in many British and US knitting machine publications. Abbreviations and terms are not standard throughout the industry. Different brands use differing terms, and knitting books and magazines also use different terms to explain the same technique. This can be a source of confusion, especially to the less experienced knitter. Most techniques are interchangeable (the exception occasionally being Passap to Japanese models, and vice versa). The knitter just needs to know the other terms used, and how to perform the technique on the machine personally owned. Hopefully the following list will help.

alt alternate(ly)

At the Same Time Two techniques will be performed at the same time, such as shaping the neck and shoulder. Read ahead so that you understand the pattern instructions.

Approx approximately

BB back bed. This is the main bed for Japanese machines, and the ribber for Passap.

beg begin(ning)

BO bind off

carr carriage

CC contrast color

CO cast on

COL, CAL carriage on left (a few magazines use COL to mean color)

COR, CAR carriage on right

con contrast

cont continue(ing)

dec decrease

DK double knit

ea each

E/N every needle

E/R every row

EON every other needle

EOR every other row

EOS every other stitch

ev every

feeder 1 (a) main yarn feeder. Usually holds main color.

feeder 2 (b) secondary yarn feeder. Usually holds contrast color.

FB front bed. This is the ribber for Japanese machines, and the main bed for Passap.

FF full(y) fashion(ed)

FF dec fully fashioned decrease. To decrease 1 stitch, use the two prong transfer tool and move the two edge stitches inwards by 1 needle. This may also be done using the three prong tool.

FF inc fully fashioned increase. to increase 1 stitch, use the two prong transfer tool and move the two edge stitches outwards by 1 needle. Pick up the top of a stitch from the row below and hang on the empty needle.

fig figure

foll following

FNP first needle position

FNR full needle rib

g grams

G-bar, G.B. garter bar

G-carr, G.C. garter carriage

H/P half pitch

HP hold position. This is usually pos D or E, depending on brand of machine. The needles are placed in the most forward extended position, and the carriage is set to hold or partial knit. See knitter manual for specific details. Needles in HP will not knit.

inc increase

K knit(ting)

KWK knit across, wrap, knit back

L(t) left

LHS left hand side

MB main bed

MC main color

MT main tension. The number setting on the tension or stitch dial. This is the tension the main body of the garment requires, and is determined from the gauge swatch.

MT -1, -2, -3 Main tension less 1, 2, 3 full numbers. Frequently used for ribbing or bands.

MT +1, +2, +3 Main tension plus 1,2,3 full numbers.

MY Main yarn. Frequently called main color (MC).

n(s) needle(s)

ndl(s) needle(s)

NWP non-working position, position A. Needles in this position do not knit, no matter how the carriage is set.

opp opposite

OWP out of work

oz ounces

pos position. Usually refers to a relative position on the needle bed, such as a,b,c,d, and sometimes e. The needle’s position on the bed, together with the carriage settings, determines whether the stitch will knit, slip, tuck, or hold.

P purl

patt(s) pattern(s)

PU pick up

r(s) row(s)

R(t) right

RHS right hand side

RB ribber bed or rear bed

rem remaining

rep, rept repeat

R.C. ravel cord

RC row count(er)

rnds rounds

RT rib tension

SR, or SHR short row. Also known as partial knit. This is a technique often used in necklines, shoulders, darts, sock heels, and sideways knit skirts. Frequently used together with the abbreviation KWK. This may be either an increasing or decreasing shaping. To decrease, selected sts are placed in hold, by bringing the needle all the way forward to pos D or E, depending on the brand of machine, and setting the carriage to hold; knit 1 row, wrap the yarn under the first holding needle, and knit back to original side. To increase, selected sts are returned to upper working position, about halfway back on the needle bed, so that they will catch and knit when the carriage passes over them.

SS stitch size. The number on the tension, or stitch dial.

st(s) stitch(es)

St St stockinette stitch. Plain knitting on all machines. This is knit 1 row, purl 1 row.

T, tens, TD (occasionally SD for Stitch Dial) tension. The number on the tension, or stitch dial.

tog together

UWP upper working position

WP working position

WY waste yarn

x times

YM yarn marker. Usually a short length of CC yarn placed over the edge st, or over specified needles before knitting the next row. This creates a visual marker on the fabric. Useful as a reference point when assembling the garment, and is removed from the completed garment.