When I first learned to knit, all the different knitting vocabulary took a while to understand. But once I had it down pat (understood it fully) and started knitting, I felt like a pro! Some may feel that knitting is an activity for grandmas, but people of all different ages get enjoyment out of knitting. I, for one, find it very meditative (relaxing, centering), and it’s a great activity to do in the winter. It’s really fun to be able to create something!

Because winter is still upon us in the northern hemisphere, it’s the perfect time of year to start a new hobby. That’s why we thought we would tackle some knitting vocabulary this week.

If you are already an avid (experienced) knitter, but don’t know the terms in English yet, then this list is for you. Or maybe you’re looking to try something new and think it could be fun to make your own sweater or pair of socks. Whatever the case, check out this list of knitting vocabulary!

Cast on

If you have never knit before, you may wonder how to start a project. How do you get the yarn onto the knitting needles? Every knitting project starts with a simple cast on, which is how you get the stitches (each loop on a needle) onto the needles.

There are many different ways to cast on. Some are easy, while others require (need) a little more skill. But each good knitting project starts with a good cast on. Hey, you have to start somewhere!

For example:

  • I cast on too many stitches, so I had to take a few off the needles before I could start properly.
  • She learned a new way to cast on yesterday that looked much nicer and was much faster than how she had been doing it before.

Bind off

In this case, all good things must come to an end! When you finish your scarf, sweater, blanket, or hat, how do you get the stitches off the needles? You can’t just slide them off, because then the stitches will unravel, and all your hard work will be ruined!

This is where binding off comes into play. Binding off is where you give your project a nice edge (end) and tie everything off. When you finally bind off a project, you feel a huge sense of satisfaction. Your work is done and you can finally enjoy the fruits of your labor!

For example:

  • He finished the blanket he was making, bound it off, and snuggled up under it right away.
  • I hope I have enough yarn left to bind off! I don’t have much yarn left at all, and I want to finish this sweater!

Knit in the round

If someone has ever made you hand-knit socks, hats, or sweaters, chances are they knit it in the round. Knitting in the round is done on what are called circular needles, which are two knitting needles connected by a cord. These needles enable you to knit things in a circle much more easily than on straight needles. Hats, socks, and sweaters are so much easier when they’re knit in the round.

For example:

  • I don’t have any circular needles, so I can’t knit this hat in the round. It’s ok, though, I’ll just knit it flat and sew up one side when I’m done.
  • I used to make scarves and blankets, but now I prefer projects that I have to knit in the round.


Not all projects stay the same size through the whole piece. If they did, that would make for some pretty oddly shaped hats or sweaters! This is why you can increase or decrease the number of stitches in a knitting project.

To increase your stitches, you can knit an extra stitch onto your needles. To decrease, simply knit two stitches together! Make sure you read your pattern so that you’re increasing or decreasing in the right places.

For example:

  • I thought the pattern said to increase by three stitches, but it said to decrease by three stitches! I’ll have to rip that part out.
  • Can you please show me how to increase again? I have to add six stitches to this row.

Cable stitch

Cables are a really fun part of knitting. They’re very easy, and they look cool when they’re done! Have you ever seen a sweater with decorative stitching that looks like a rope or a braid? Then those are cable stitches!

In order to make a cable, you have to have a cable needle, which is a small double pointed needle that helps make the stitch. Cables are one of the easiest and fanciest looking things you can do in knitting, IMHO.

For example:

  • Did you see that sweater with all the different kinds of cables? I wonder how long that took to make!
  • She would like to learn how to knit cables, but doesn’t know where to start. Do you have a book that might help?

Do you like to knit? What are some of your favorite projects? Share with us, along with any other knitting vocabulary you might know, in the comments below!

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Check out these other popular blogs: Dating Vocabulary in EnglishWhy You Could Use a Bespeaking ProofreaderItalian Loan Words in English, or these 5 Great Antonyms in English!

Erin Duffin lives in Hamburg, is an English teacher, blogger, yoga instructor, and can’t wait to curl up on the couch with her latest knitting project.

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