Apr 20, 2017

Knitters' Insider Terms: Deciphering the Code

Recently, we took a quick look at some of the acronyms and abbreviations knitters use in blogs, comments, social media venues and everyday conversations. 

Today, let's tackle another part of the picture, and look at the meaning of some of the most common insider terms knitters use.


Audition. To experiment with different color combinations and/or textures to see which ones play well together.

Cold Sheep. To stop buying yarn and focus on using yarn from stash.

Destash. To sell, donate or give away yarn to reduce the size of the stash.

Dismount. To decide to purchase yarn after a period of cold-sheeping.

Frog. To rip out completed work, because "rippit, rippit" sounds like a frog.

Frog pond. To put a project aside, with the intention of frogging it in the future.

Hibernate. To put a project on hold indefinitely.

Knitworthy. The ultimate compliment, describing someone who appreciates your handiwork and for whom you'd cheerfully knit.

Marinate. To put a project aside for a time, while you figure out the next steps.

Mileage. Refers to how much yarn a specific project may require, how quickly a project progresses, or literally how many miles of yarn a knitter has knit.

Moderate Merino. To take a balanced approach, acquiring yarn as needed without overdoing it. 

Non-knitworthy. Describes someone who doesn't appreciate your handiwork and for whom you wouldn't knit.

Odd ball. Refers to unusual or challenging one-of-a-kind yarns.

Orphan. Refers to one-of-a-kind skeins lurking in the stash. 

Partial. Refers to leftover skeins that are partially used.

Reknit. To rework all or part of a project.

Simmer. To put a project on the back burner and let it evolve slowly.

Singleton. Refers to any lone skein. 

Stash. Large or small, it refers to your personal collection of yarn not in active use. 

Stashbuster. Projects or patterns designed to use large amounts of stash yarn.

Stashbusting. To focus on using yarn from stash.

Stash enhancement. A phrase used to describe recent yarn acquisitions, often used to describe new yarn for which you have no immediate project or plan.

Stitchworthy. Essential stitches to have in your repertoire.

Swatch. As a verb, it describes the act of knitting a fabric sample to test a stitch, establish gauge and determine how the yarn behaves. As a noun, it describes the finished fabric sample itself.

Time out. To put a frustrating project on hold until you have the patience to deal with it. 

Tink. Knit spelled backwards: hence, to undo completed work stitch by stitch.

Unknit. Same as tink: to undo knitted work stitch by stitch.

Unvention. Coined by renowned knitter, Elizabeth Zimmerman, it describes a new-to-you stitch or technique that has most likely been discovered (invented) by other knitters before you.

Yarn chicken. To continue knitting, even though it appears you'll run out of yarn before you finish the piece.

Yarneater. Describes projects or stitches that eat up lots of yarn.

Obviously, this list isn't all-encompassing, but hopefully it captures the most common terms used in knitterly conversations and online venues. Of course, we haven't even begun to tackle the abbreviations and acronyms used in patterns and stitch dictionaries, but we'll save that topic for another day. 

As always, if you spot a term that's missing, just let me know and we'll add it to the list.

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