Reading knitting patterns is the key to breaking out of beginner knitting and learning to knit with confidence. These blog posts, accompanied by your use of the Video Knitting Dictionary as you knit new projects, will help you learn to do so in no time.

Video Knitting Course: Free Video Knitting Dictionary

Video Knitting Dictionary ebook Cover

A video knitting dictionary is a must if you're going to successfully knit patterns on your own.

K2tog, psso... Refer to this video knitting dictionary every time you come across a knitting term or abbreviation you don’t understand or want to try.

or to access this class.


Definition: Back Loop

The leg of the stitch that is behind the needle. In knitting instructions the back loop is referred to in the abbreviation tbl (through the back loop).

Whichever leg is behind the needle is referred to as the back loop.

Definition: Beginning of Round

The place where you started the round. Usually your tail yarn can be found here.

Definition: Contrasting Color

The color of yarn that is not the main color. Often this is a secondary accent color, but not always. See main color, above.

Definition: Decrease

Combine two or more stitches into one so that your project gets narrower.

Definition: Gauge

“How big your stitches are and how big they should be to make your project come out the right size.

Gauge is measured in stitches per inch or as the number of stitches in 4 in./10 cm.”

Definition: Getting Gauge

Achieving the gauge called for in your pattern. To do so, make a swatch and check your gauge. If it does not match the gauge specified in your pattern, adjust your needle size up or down and knit a new swatch. Repeat this process until your gauge matches the target gauge.

Definition: In Pattern

According to the same stitch pattern you’ve been following.

Definition: Increase

Add more stitches to your needle to make your knitted project wider.

Definition: Knitwise

With the needle going into the stitch from front to back, as if to knit.
Contrast with Purlwise.

Definition: Leg

One half of a loop of yarn on the needle. The front leg is the half closest to the tip of the needle. The back leg is the half furthest from the needle tip.

Contrast this with back loop.

Definition: Main Color

The color of yarn that you or the pattern designer has designated as the main color. This color doesn’t necessarily have to be more dominant in the pattern than any other color. It’s just important to keep straight which one is which, usually by writing it down.

Definition: Multiple (Noun)

The number of stitches in a repeating section of a stitch pattern. Multiples are used to calculate various options for cast-on numbers, so that you can knit a stitch pattern in more than one width.

Definition: Purlwise

With the needle going into the stitch from back to front, as if to purl.
Contrast with knitwise.

Definition: Right Side

The side of your knitting intended to be visible when the project is worn.

Definition: Round (Noun)

The circular row of stitches formed when you work around your stitches one time. Applies to knitting in the round.

Definition: Stitch

A stitch is

  1. Any loop of yarn that is on your needle or
  2. Any loop of yarn that was on your needle and is now part of the knitted fabric.

In knitting patterns, “stitch” is abbreviated as “st” and “stitches” is abbreviated as “sts.”

Definition: Turn Work

To flip your knitting so that the other side is facing you. On flat knitting, you have to turn your work after you finish every row. In pattern instructions, “turn your work” is shortened to “turn.”

Definition: Work Even

Work the stitches exactly as they are: knit a knit stitch, purl a purl stitch, and slip a slipped stitch.

Definition: Wrong Side

The side of your knitting intended to be hidden when the project is worn

Definition: Yardage

Yarn length. This can refer to
1) How many yards of yarn a ball of yarn contains or
2) The length of yarn required to knit a project.


Blog Post: Why Gauge Matters and Needle Size Doesn’t

Yarn and NeedlesBy Liat Gat – Founder / Gauge, Reading Knitting Patterns / December 17, 2010 / 15 Comments

In knitting as in so many other pursuits, results matter. Whether you use a pattern’s suggested needle size or not, if your gauge is off, your garment won’t fit. The reason for this is because different people knit differently given the same needles.

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Blog Post: Three Reasons You Must Learn To Read a Knitting Pattern

Reading a Knitting Pattern woman holding pattern square cropBy Liat Gat – Founder / Reading Knitting Patterns / August 17, 2010 / 7 Comments

Learning to read a knitting pattern is one of the most important things you can do to increase your confidence and enjoyment of knitting. Here are three reasons why learning to read patterns will help you grow as a knitter.

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Blog Post: How To Read A Knitting Pattern: Substituting Yarn Fiber and Weight

Gray Malabrigo Chunky skein square cropBy Liat Gat – Founder / Reading Knitting Patterns, Yarn / December 14, 2010 / 6 Comments

Don’t let not having the exact yarn called for in a pattern stop you from knitting that pattern! Here’s how to understand the yarn requirements of a pattern, and make substitutions in yarn brands, weight, and fiber.

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Blog Post: How To Read A Knitting Pattern: Size, Measurements, and Ease

Knitting pattern sweater schematic measurements sqBy Liat Gat – Founder / Reading Knitting Patterns / December 10, 2010 / 4 Comments

Choosing the right size of garment to knit when you begin your pattern involves understanding how measurements and ease work in knitting. Here’s how to understand the sizing section of your knitting pattern.

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Recommended Book: Complete Idiot’s Guide to Knitting and Crocheting by Barbara Breiter and Gail Diven

Complete Idiots Guide to Knitting and Crocheting 3rd Edition square

This is the book I used when I learned how to knit. It’s got tons of illustrations, straightforward explanations, and best practices for knitting correctly and understanding what you’re doing. A great starter text.

Buy Complete Idiot’s Guide to Knitting and Crocheting online


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