Lingo All New Knitters Should Know

Updated: Feb 17, 2021

So, you want to pick up a new hobby, but it starts feeling a bit scary when you go online and don't understand a word that is being said or written. I've been there. The world of knitting is intimidating when you are first starting out, which is why I decided to give you a comprehensive guide to different words, phrases and acronyms that I wish I knew when I first began knitting.

A girl in the center of random knitting phrases


This acronym stands for "local yarn shop/store". An LYS is not the same as a big box craft store like JoAnn, Michael's, or Hobby Lobby. It is a small, privately ran business that reflects the charm of the city in which it is located. LYSes carry all kinds of beautiful yarns that cannot be found in big box stores. Many also offer classes for every level of knitter, and they host community knit nights as well.

Knit Night:

This is basically what it sounds like: a night where knitters/crocheters gather together to work on their individual projects and socialize. Many knitters from marginalized communities have had poor experiences with local knit nights due to racism, homophobia, transphobia, etc. So, I would recommend doing some research about your local knit night group via Google Reviews or Instagram before attending. I mean, the best solution would be for people to stop being dicks, but that hasn't happened yet.

That being said, always be kind towards others at your local knit night and do not make anyone feel excluded because of what they look like, who they are, or what materials they use.


  • DPNs: Double pointed needles. Most commonly used for knitting in the round.

  • Straight: the stereotypical knitting needles used for knitting flat.

  • Circular: two needles connected by a cord that can be used for knitting flat or in the round.

In the Round:

This is when you connect the beginning of your row to the end of your row to knit constantly in a circle, keeping track of the rounds using a stitch marker. You will always be knitting on the right side of your work.


Working back and forth, creating a flat fabric. You alternate knitting on the right side and knitting on the wrong side.


Pronounced both "skayne" and "skeen" depending on who you ask/talk to. This refers to a ball, cake, or hank of yarn.

Cake /  ball of yarn


That twisted up chunk of yarn that looks oh-so-fancy. A lot of luxury yarn is stored this way to put less stress on the fibers in the yarn as well as conserve space. A hank must be wound into a cake or ball before being used.

hank of yarn

Ball Band:

The slip of paper wrapped around a skein of yarn that has information on the yarn's fiber content, weight, yardage, dye-lot, etc.

Photo of a ball band indicating where the fiber content and weight are listed.

Fiber Content:

What fibers make up the yarn and what percentage. I will have to do an entirely separate post to dive into the different fibers and what they are good for.


This does not refer to the literal weight of the yarn, but rather the thickness of the yarn. Some yarn brands represent yarn weight with a number (eg. RedHeart SuperSaver has "4" on the ball band indicating that the "size" or "weight" of the yarn is "4"). Many luxury and indie-dyed yarns indicate the weight using different words. Here is a list of some different weights from smallest to largest:

  • Lace

  • Sock

  • Fingering

  • Sport

  • DK (Double Knitting)

  • Worsted (about a size 4)

  • Aran

  • Bulky (about a size 5)

  • Super Bulky


This doesn't have anything directly to do with weight. Ply refers to the number of fiber strands spun together to make the yarn. Single ply has one strand, 4-ply has four strands.

Dye Lot:

Although you may be buying the same brand and color of yarn, if the dye-lot is different the color could show up slightly differently. So, it is important that you make sure all of your skeins in your project have the same dye-lot.


Work in progress.


Finished object.


Unfinished object.


Ripping back your work.


Knit-a-long / crochet-a-long. A group of makers make something that fit a certain criterion within the same time frame.


An online search engine/forum/store specifically for knitters and crocheters. Many patterns are sold and published on this website. I will write another post just about the magic that is Ravelry.

Luxury Yarn:

Typically used to refer to yarn made from natural materials.


Yarn dyed by an independent dyer.

Continental Knitting:

Holding the yarn and tension in your left hand. I would recommend this style of knitting for anyone who has previously crocheted.

Throwing / English-Style Knitting:

Holding the yarn and tension in your right hand.

This list may seem intimidating, but knitting is actually a very simple and relaxing hobby. If you have other knitting-related words, acronyms or phrases that you would like to be explained, drop them in the comments!

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