Knitlist FAQ 4, knitting terms and techniquesLast updated July 27, 1998
This is FAQ #4 of four knitlist
FAQs (short for "Frequently Asked Questions"). This FAQ includes
information about popular knitlist projects.
The other three FAQs include the rules and regulations of the knitlist;
sources for some of the specific patterns frequently mentioned on the knitlist;
and general knitting information.
Recent changesJuly 27:
Annabel@amsmyth.demon.co.uk>, Brixton, London, England:
Okay, here's my contribution to the list. This technique I came up with several years ago and some of you may like to use it. Work "ssk" as follows: Insert needle in front of first st and in back of next st and k 2 tog. This will look exactly like the traditional "sl 1, k 1, psso", or "slip, slip knit (ssk)", but is done in one movement.
In Fair Isle knitting, usually not more than two colors are ever used at once in a row. The two yarns are carried all the way across the row, using which ever color is appropriate at the time, with the other color carried loosely behind the worked stitches, creating a float or strand. This is also called stranding. Usually, one tries to limit carrying the non-worked yarn over long distances, usually no more than 5 stitches. Otherwise, the stranded yarn must be woven in.
Fair Isle is usually worked in the round, with steeks (see above) at the armholes, and possibly the neckline.
In intarsia knitting, the colors are worked in solid blocks. Usually, because of the nature of the pattern, one cannot easily strand the non-working yarn. In this case, each yarn is worked only in the area that it is needed, and kept in bobbins. When one color is "abandoned" for the next, the yarns must be twisted around each other to keep a hole from forming.
I-cord started out being called Idiot Cord because it resembles what an idiot might make by mistake. But, wait, it can be used many ways for decorative effects. So, now it is I-cord (and it gets a little respect).
firstname.lastname@example.org) has kindly offered her help. Email her, and she'll see what she can do for you. (She is left-handed herself, and has taught knitting for years.)
this link if your browser doesn't support tables.
Lois Baker's FiberLink has a revised version of this chart, including antique needles and lace ones.
For those who like tiny needles, here are needle conversions for steel wire lace needles. Thanks to Judy Gibson for this. (0000 is the same as 4/0.)
A handy conversion from US to metric measurements is that one inch = 2.5 centimeters. (That's approximate; more accurately, it is 2.54 cm per inch.) So, as is usually printed on ball bands, 10 cm (centimeters) is equal to 4 inches. And 1 meter is about 1.1 yards.
If the ball band has a grid of knitting stitches, the top number is usually stitch gauge (for example, 22sts = 10 cm, or 22 stitches per 4 inches), and the side number is the row gauge.
Thanks to Susan Koenig for this suggestion.
With the help of many members of the knitlist, Kim Salazar has compiled a knitting glossary. It contains common knitting and crochet terms in 14 languages. It's available for browsing or download at:
Thought about making something in a certain yarn and are uncertain, about its care, yardage, etc.? With the help of many people, Kim Salazar (she has been busy!) has been compiling yarn reviews. Her web page has reviews of more than 400 yarns. The reviews contain information about a yarn's yardage, fiber content, quality, care instructions, and so forth. The yarn review collection is still a work in progress, so don't be surprised if your yarn of interest isn't there. Please feel free to contribute your own yarn review. Again, Kim's web page is:
The following explanations come from Jo Azary (email@example.com), who has written verbal descriptions of the symbols as they are described in The Principles of Knitting, June Hemmons Hiatt, p. 328, copyright 1988, Simon and Schuster, ISBN 0-671-55233-3.
International care symbols
WashingThe wash tub symbol indicates that the article can be washed by machine or hand. The hand in a wash tub symbol indicates that the article should be washed by hand only, in water 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit).
A wash tub with a number indicates in degrees Celsius the maximum temperature at which the article can be washed.
Dry cleaningA circle containing the capital letter A indicates that the article can be dry cleaned with any solvent.
A circle containing the capital letter P indicates that the article can be dry cleaned with perchlorethylene or white spirit.
A circle containing the capital letter F indicates that the article can be dry cleaned only with white spirit.
A crossed-out circle indicates "Do not dry clean."
A crossed-out circle in a square indicates "Do not tumble dry."
BleachingA triangle containing the lower-case letters "cl" indicates that the article can be bleached.
A crossed-out triangle indicates "Do not bleach."
IroningA diagram of an iron with one dot in the base indicates "Cool, can be ironed up to a temp of 120 degrees C (248 F).
A diagram of an iron with two dots in the base indicates "Warm, can be ironed up to a temp of 150 degrees C (302 F).
A diagram of an iron with three dots in the base indicates "Hot, can be ironed up to a temp of 200 degrees C (392 F).
A crossed-out diagram of an iron indicates "Do not iron."
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Last updated July 9, 1999