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Glossary of Knit and Crochet Terms

Crochet and knitting can have some unfamiliar terms, as well as some words that are used differently from everyday speech. Take a look below to find definitions for words you're unsure of.

  • Afghan: A crochet or knit blanket of any size.
  • Ball: A type of put-up. Balls are compact, rounded and designed to have the strand of yarn pulled from the outside.
  • Basic yarn: A plain yarn suitable for most projects, including blankets, garments, accessories, and home décor items.
  • Blocking: Using moisture and sometimes heat to set a crocheted or knitted piece into its final shape.
  • Boucle yarn: A type of yarn that is “bumpy”, usually formed by mixing a thin ply and a textured ply.
  • Cable: A design element formed by working stitches out of the order in which they appear originally in the row. May be done in crochet or knit.
  • Cable needle: A short needle used to temporarily hold stitches when knitting cables. Usually either in a hook/U shape or with an offset middle section.
  • Cast on: Putting stitches on a knitting needle to begin a knitting project.
  • Chenille yarn: A type of yarn that is “fuzzy”, made with many short fibers twisted into a central cord. Usually very soft.
  • Crochet hook sizing: For steel crochet hooks: the higher the number, the smaller the size/lower the millimeters. For regular crochet hooks: the higher the number, the larger the size/higher the millimeters.
  • Crochet thread: A slender thread designed for crocheting, especially suited for lacy projects such as doilies. The higher the number, the thinner the thread. Popular sizes are Size 3 and Size 10.
  • Decrease: Reducing the number of stitches in a round or row.
  • Drape: How a knit or crochet fabric hangs, stiff to flowing.
  • Dye lot: A batch of yarn or thread that was dyed and processed together. Different dye lots may have slightly different colors, so when making a project care should be taken to always get enough of the same dye lot to finish the project.
  • Fair Isle: A knitting technique using multiple colors in the same row or round, carrying the unused color behind the other colors. It often is used to produce complicated-looking patterns.
  • Fashion yarn: A yarn with a special quality to it, such as metallic fibers or a special construction. May not be suitable for as many uses as basic yarn.
  • FO (Finished Object): A completed crochet or knit project. Term found in online discussion forums.
  • Frog/frogging: To undo work by pulling the working yarn so the stitches come out. So called because you "rip it, rip it" ("ribbit, ribbit").
  • Gauge: The number of stitches over a certain measurement, usually 4 inches (10cm).
  • Grafting: Sewing together knitting in such a way that the fabric is continuous, with no visible seam. Often used when making socks.
  • Hand: The feel of the yarn.
  • Increase: Adding stitches to the round or row.
  • Intarsia: A knitting technique creating blocks of color using separate strands of yarn.
  • Lifeline: A string you thread through the stitches on your knitting needles, so if you later need to frog you will not drop any stitches.
  • Multicolor: A yarn that has multiple colors in a sequence along one strand.
  • Right side: The main side of the fabric; the side of the fabric that will be showing when the project is complete.
  • Ply: A section of yarn that is twisted with other sections to form one strand of yarn. Plies used to be a measure of the weight of yarn but that method is obsolete in the United States.
  • Put-up: How the yarn is wound for sale. Put-ups may be in balls or in skeins and may be different sizes.
  • Ribbon: A type of yarn that looks and feels like it is made out of ribbon.
  • Roving: A yarn that is one ply and lightly spun.
  • Ruffle yarn: A type of yarn designed to form a ruffle when crocheted or knit. Often one ball of this yarn makes a scarf. May be knit or crocheted in a special manner to create the ruffle.
  • Skein: A type of put-up. Skeins are cylindrical and designed to have the strand of yarn pulled from the center.
  • Slip knot: An adjustable knot that is usually used at the start of knitting and crochet projects.
  • Stash: The collection of yarn that an individual has.
  • Steel crochet hooks: Very slender crochet hooks made of steel and designed for working with crochet thread.
  • Stitch holder: A device, usually resembling a large safety pin, to hold knit stitches that are not currently being worked.
  • Stitch marker: A small marker to show a specific point in a row or round. May be entirely round (for knit projects), may have a slit, or may open and close like a small safety pin.
  • Tapestry needle: See yarn needle.
  • Throw: A crochet or knit blanket, typically smaller than a twin bed size
  • Tink/tinking: To undo knitting by working backwards and reversing one stitch at a time. Slower and more difficult than frogging. May also be called "unknitting".
  • UFO (UnFinished Object): An unfinished crochet or knit project. Typically a project that is not currently being worked on. Term found in online discussion forums.
  • Weight: The size of a strand of yarn or crochet thread. Yarn and crochet thread are classified by how many times a single strand can be wrapped next to itself in one inch. For yarn: The higher the weight number, the thicker the yarn. For crochet thread: The higher the weight number, the skinnier the thread.
  • WIP (Work In Progress): An unfinished crochet or knit project that is currently being worked on. Term found in online discussion forums.
  • Wrong side: The side of the fabric that will not be showing when the project is complete.
  • Yarn bombing: The act of putting crocheted and/or knit pieces in public areas, such as on benches, trees, and statues. Also called yarn graffiti.
  • Yarn needle: A plastic or metal needle with an eye large enough to hold a strand of yarn and blunt tip for seaming crocheted or knit items and for weaving in ends.

Glossary of Knit and Crochet Terms