Abbreviations, Symbols or Expressions for Basic Machine Knitting

It would be nice if there was a universal standard machine knitting abbreviations list that would be applicable to all knitting machines. However, this is not the case. Each variety of knitting machine, each designer and each knitting machine publication has their own favorite set of abbreviations and symbols. Fortunately, most lists are very comparable, and usually each magazine or publication includes a page of abbreviations that are used within their media.

Abbreviations that I use when drafting knitting instruction patterns for the fashion industry or my cottage industry students and training programs.

And here we go again: I’m going to give you another set of abbreviations that I use when drafting knitting instruction patterns for the fashion industry or my cottage industry students and training programs. I will not include all the common abbreviations - or conversions between metric and English systems in this article, but I will include those that I frequently use, or, perhaps some “expressions” unique to production terms that you may not be familiar with.

I have included a category on this web site for knitting patterns that I have written for training purposes in the field of machine knitting that have been popular items for gifts and for sale. Hand knitters are searching for these basic patterns as well. Therefore, I am converting my machine knit patterns into hand knitting patterns and terminology. I will post them as they are completed.

Instructional patterns often get 'too wordy' and take up too much space, so it is a common practice to use abbreviations for the common terms used in pattern writing. The following is a table of machine knitting terms that I use in knitting machine patterns that I draft for my cottage industry training programs.

Table of Abbreviations, Symbols or Expressions for Basic Machine Knitting

ABBREVIATION MEANING OF ABBREVIATION
approx approximately
AWP or UWP Advanced (or Upper) Working Position, the needle position on some knitting machines used in patterning or when placing nds that you want to go from HP to WP
BB back bed (passap term, this is ribber for other brands of knitting machines)
BO bind off
Blk St black strippers (passap term)
beg beginning
BH button hole
carr carriage
CC contrast color
cm centimeter (metric system term)
Crochet chain crochet chain stitch usually formed with the latch tool rather than a crochet hook
CO cast on
COL carriage on left
cont  continue
COR carriage on right
C1 color 1 (or 2, 3, etc.)
DB double bed
dec decrease
dir direction
E every x rows
ea each
EN, or ER every needle, or every row
EON, EOR, EOS every other needle, every other row, every other stitch
# of ends example: 2 ends of yarn: the number of strands of a specific yarn that you put together to come up with the weight or thickness that you wish to create to achieve the given stitch and row gauge
ex example
F finished edge that has no loops, dropped sts, etc. (production pattern term)
FB front bed
FF full fashion
FNR full needle rib, every nd in wp on MB & RB with RHD
g grams (metric system term)
G-bar garter bar
HP holding position (BX with pushers in rest position)
inc, + increase
K, k knit
K1 knit one piece (or K2 , knit 2 pieces, etc.) or depending upon context: knit 1 stitch
KM knitting machine
KWK knit across, wrap the hole, knit back
L left
lb pound, which is equal to 16 ounces (oz)
LO Latch off latch tool bind off (done on or done off the machine).
LTBO latch tool bind off: a specific method for an elastic Bind Off procedure done on or done off the machine.
MB Main Bed (Front bed on Passap)
MC or MY Main Color or Main Yarn
mm millimeter (s) 
ndl/ndls or nd/nds needle/ needles
NWP non working position
O St orange strippers (passap term)
O L overlock or serge edge with a sewing machine
P, p purl
patt pattern (s)
Pr prongs on a linker
PU pick up
R/Rs row/rows
RB ribber bed (back bed on the passap)
RC or rc row counter
R.C. ravel chord
rem remaining
rep repeat
RHD racking handle down (when using 2 beds, the nds are in a relationship whereas they fit in between each other when they move forward to receive new yarn to form a stitch)
RHU racking handle up down (when using 2 beds, the nds are in a relationship whereas they are directly across from each other when they move forward to receive new yarn to form a stitch)
RP rest position
Rt right
SB single bed
scrap off Knit several rows with waste yarn, then remove the knitting from the machine.
SR short row (a shaping technique for increasing or decreasing sts ~ see triangle symbols)
St S or T stitch size or tension
st/sts stitch/stitches
tog together
WP work position
WY waste yarn
yd (s)  yards
# number
# ____ Ndl number that is on the edge of that particular shaping procedure.
RC000 turn the row counter to 0 (zero)
X On a pattern diagram means to mark that spot with a piece of contrast yarn as a visual aid for assembling
X Within a shaping direction, it means the number of times a procedure is to be repeated
Scrap/ravel Technique used for casting on. Cast on with scrap or waste yarn. Then knit one row with ravel cord or a type of yarn that acts like ravel cord. This acts as a separator between the scrap yarn and the main yarn. This is also used as a separator when knitting in a string.
Knitting in a string Kniting several pieces of knit fabric that are separated by scrap/ravel cord or scrap yarn. The ravel cord in this case is a yarn that will pull out easily when separating the pieces
Stabilizers/Separator Threads  
mono monofil
thr  thread
lyc lycra®
el elastic
Gr grilon®
Symbols that denotes that you are to use the short row or graduation method of increasing or decreasing stitches Symbols that denotes that you are to use the short row or graduation method of increasing or decreasing stitches, the knitting directions are placed in between the 2 triangles
Symbol on a production pattern. T3 means use stitch size 3, which should yield a stitch gauge of 7 stitches per inch and 12 rows per inch Symbol on a production pattern. T3 means use stitch size 3, which should yield a stitch gauge of 7 stitches per inch and 12 rows per inch.
divide symbol CF divide center front (usually at the neckline shaping)
divide symbol CB divide center back (usually at the neckline or zipper shaping

Also see Conversions Made Simple by Jeannie Merritt ~ A Three part Series of knitting machine knitting and hand knitting terminology. It is a comparision chart of defining hand knit terms and abbreviations with its translation into machine knit terms. This series can be found in Inknitters Magazine starting with Summer 2005, Vol.5 No.17. Part 2 is in Fall 2005 and Part 3 in Winter 2005.

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