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Knitting Terms Explained

Like all hobbies/pursuits and activities Knitting comes with it's own language. Not as complicated as 'Klingon' but as a Beginner Knitter it can easily feel intimidating. You will find a variety of knitting slang terms being used in online knitting spaces like forums, comment threads or even Instagram posts. You may also overhear them being used in your local yarn store or in knitting groups.

Please note this is not a complete list, I will continue adding to this post over time and feel free to add your knitting term discoveries in the comments!

As you know Learn to Knit Online is built entirely on the intention to break down any intimidation or mystique around knitting so let's talk and translate knitting jargon...


A common term used to describe a knitters yarn collection.

e.g. "My stash is out of control" aka "I have way too much yarn" or maybe "My yarn needs a good tidy"

Stash Diet

The term knitters use when they are trying to exercise self control and avoid buying more yarn, generally until they have used up a good majority of what they currently have 'stashed'.

e.g. "I would love to explore the new yarn store with you but I am on a stash diet" aka "I cannot go to that new yarn store as I have too much yarn already and know I will just buy more"

Authors note: This is me, constantly.


When someone is clearing out their yarn collection either by donating or gifting yarn they have decided they don't want or are unlikely to use.


The term used to describe feeling the yarn in your hands. Having a 'squidge' is literally squeezing the yarn to really feel it's softness and volume. To test how cosy it feels.

e.g. "The merino looked so good I had to have a squidge" aka "The merino looked so good I had to feel it" or "That merino's squidge factor is high" aka "That Merino feels gorgeous"

P.S. For a 'squidging' demonstration and other important yarn shopping tips watch my "How to Shop for Knitting Yarn" video guide here


The term used to describe a twisted loop of yarn, the most popular way to display yarn.

e.g. From a yarn store employee: "Would you like me to wind this for you or leave it in the skein?" aka "Would you like me to turn this loop of yarn into a ball ready for you knit straight away, or leave it as is?"

P.S. You can watch how to undo and re-twist a skein of yarn in my "How to Shop for Knitting Yarn" video guide here


Term used to describe yarn wound from a skein into a type of ball...a cake has flat top and bottoms and round sides. It is made using a swift (see below) and a ball winder.

P.S. You can see examples of balls, cakes and skeins in my "How to Shop for Knitting Yarn" video guide here


A swift is a yarn winding tool, it looks much like the underside structure of an umbrella. The skein of yarn is untwisted and stretched around it with the end wrapped around a separate tool, a ball winder. By turning the ball winder handle it winds the ball from the rotating swift and into a cake (see above).

Ripping Out

The term used to describe manually undoing stitches aka by pulling the yarn out of the stitches, ripping out the stitches.

Frogging / Frogged

Directly connected to Ripping Out, a term used to describe the act of undoing stitches or even the status of a project. The idea being that if you say 'Rip it' enough times you sound like a frog, so if you are 'ripping out' a significant amount of stitches or even doing it regularly you are 'frogging' a project. It may be that you have given up on a project and ended up undoing it entirely, in this case you 'frogged' it.

e.g. " I have frogged this scarf so many times I am about to give up" aka "I have undone the stitches of this scarf so many times I am about to give up" or "I started that sweater but ended up frogging it as I wanted the yarn for something else" aka " I started that sweater but ended up undoing it as I wanted to use the yarn for something else"

P.S. If you want to know how to undo either knit or purl stitches, you can find my free tutorials here


An abbreviation (if you have taken my Intro to Knitting Pattern Reading Class you will know Knitting is full of abbreviations that initially seem intimidating but are really just paper saving and make us knitters feel cool).

This one means Local Yarn Store e.g "I am so excited there is a new LYS opening in my neighbourhood" aka "I am so excited there is a new Local Yarn Store opening in my area".


An abbreviation for Work In Progress. An unfinished knitting project. Most knitters will joke about how many WIPs they really have. I currently have 2...which is pretty good going for me...a cardigan and a hat. It is not uncommon for some knitters to have anything from 2-5+ WIPs.


Another abbreviation, us Knitters love them! This one means Finished Object and refers to a finished knitting project.


This one means an UnFinished Object aka an abandoned knitting project as opposed to a Frogged project which has been actively undone. e.g. "I have 3 WIPs and at least 4 UFOs, the guilt is real" aka "I have 3 Work In Progress projects and at last 4 unfinished pieces..."


You guessed it another abbreviation and this one means, Knit in Public. Often used in stories about how knitting in public started a fun, lovely or moving conversation between the knitter and an observer. Of course sometimes Knitting in Public can spark confusion from some observers that you are not the type/age of person they expected to be a knitter...ugh, it's 2021 people, some people knit (aka the best people knit), close your mouth and move on :)

And that is it...for now! Have you come across any Knitting Slang that had you completely baffled or maybe very entertained? Please do share in the comments!

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If you are a beginner knitter or simply want to brush up on your basic skills, check out my Beginner Knitting course or pick the specific skills class you need with the Single Knitting Class options.

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