Begin knitting!

My next knitting challenge! Steeks and stranding. I love fair isle.

We are not sure when knitting began. Knitting has a history of articles dating A.D. 200. The date is uncertain. However, most are in agreement that the location it started is in Arabia.  As with most types of needlework it has been passed on from person to person and from country to country.

Materials and Equipment for Knitting

Not much is required to begin knitting.

**Yarn** or thread and the **correct needles** are the necessities.

Other useful items to begin knitting would include:

  • Counters– these are devices to keep track of stitches, rows, increases and decreases
  • Stitch holders- one type looks like a safety pin. I use an old safety diaper pin. The other is for cable knitting and appears like a double pointed needle that bends into a V in the middle.
  • A needle gauge – to check needle sizes (many needles do not have the number on them)
  • Bobbins- or yarn holders for multicolour knitting like Fair Isle
  • Markers or rings- Markers are put on the knitting needle to separate sections or mark a beginning or end of a pattern. They could also indicate where increases or decreases happen.
  • Tape measure- I use a flexible cloth tape measure. However, any type would work.
  • Scissors-Small embroidery scissors or thread snips work great
  • A container to put it all in- any container or bag will work.


Knitting Needle Conversion Chart

Metric                     US                        UK/Canada

2.0                         0                              14

2.25                       1                               13

2.75                       2                               12

3.0                         –                               11

3.25                       3                               10

3.5                         4                               –

3.75                        5                                9

4.0                         6                                8

4.5                         7                                 7

5.0                         8                                 6

5.5                         9                                 5

6.0                        10                                4

6.5                        10 1/2                           3

7.0                         –                                   2

7.5                         –                                   1

8.0                         11                                 0

9.0                         13                                00

10.0                        15                               000

12.0                         17                                 –

16.0                         19                                 –

19.0                         35                                 –

25.0                         50                                 –


The language of knitting!

There is a language in knitting that is all it’s own. You will need to understand the words, the phrases, the abbreviations and the terms to turn the yarn using the needles into a knitted fabric.

Common Abbreviations and terms for Knitting

alt                    alternate

approx             approximately

b                       back

BC                    back cross

beg                   beginning

bet                    between

BO                    bind off

CA                    colour A

CB                    colour B

CC                     contrasting colour

cm                    centimeter(s)

cn                     cable needle

CO                     cast on

cont                  continue

dec                   decrease

dec L                decrease L

dec R                decrease R

d.p. or dpn       double pointed or double pointed needle

FC                     front cross

fl                       front loop(s)

foll                    follow/following

g                        gram

in(s)                  inch(es)

incl                    inclusive

inc                     increase

inc L                  increase to the L

inc R                  increase to the R

K                        knit

k2tog                 knit 2 stitches together

kwise                 knitwise

kb                       knit into the back of the stitch

LH                      left handed needle

lp(s)                   loop(s)

m                        meter(s)

M1                      make 1 stitch

M1 p-st              make 1 purl stitch

MC                      main colour

mm                     millimeter(s)

oz                        ounce(s)

P                         purl

pat(s) or patt     pattern(s)

Pb                       purl into the back of stitch

pm                      place marker

pnso                   pass next stitch over

pop                     popcorn

p2tog                  purl 2 stitches together

prev                    previous

psso                    pass slip stitch over

pu 1                     pick up 1 stitch

pwise                  purlwise

rem                     remain/remaining

rep                      repeat(s)

rev St st              reverse stocking stitch

*or**                  repeat directions in same order following asterisk

(   )  or *  *         repeat directions found between parentheses or asterisks

RH                       right handed needle

rnd(s)                  round(s)

RS                        right side

sk                         skip

skp                       slip, knit, pass stitch over-one stitch decreased

sk2p                     slip 1, knit 2 tog., pass slip stitch over the knit 2 tog. (2                                           stitches decreased)

sp                         single pointed

sl, s                      slip

sl1k                      slip 1 knitwise

sl1p                      slip 1 purlwise

sl st                     slip stitch(es)

ss                         slip stitch (Canadian)

ssk                       slip, slip, knit

st(es)                   stitch(es)

St st                     stockinette stitch/stocking stitch

tbl                        through back loop

tog                       together

tw                        twist

WS                       wrong side

wyib                     with yarn in back

wyif                      with yarn in front

yd(s)                     yard(s)

yfwd                     yarn forward

yo or o                  yarn over

yrn                        yarn round needle

yon                       yarn over needle

yh or wyib            yarn to back of work

yb or wyif             yarn to front of work

There are two basic stitches in knitting. They are the knit stitch and the purl stitch. It is all the combinations, varieties, and manipulations of theses stitches that create the limitless patterns we use to knit. Directions for making a knitted article follow many of these abbreviations and terms.


Author: Karen Monteith

Karen is a writer, needle artist, nature lover and gardener who loves to share such information and to encourage the needle arts.

2 thoughts on “Begin knitting!”

  1. lol…I have tried knitting a few times in my life and just didn’t find any excitement for it.

    This article gives me hope though and the thought that maybe i should try knitting again.

    Thank you

  2. I love handwork, more so than machine work. I either hand piece hexagons or knit for myself or my family accompanied by my tea when I get up and at the end of the day when we are relaxing. And, sometimes in between..LOL. I find knitting rhythmic and meditative.

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