THE SECRET CODE OF KNITTING - What does it all mean?

Knitting Patterns Decoded

If you have set yourself the task of learning to knit, one of the most confusing aspects can be understanding what all the 'codes' of a knitting pattern mean.

Many knitting patterns will actually have a glossary for reference, as sometimes the style of stitch may vary from knitter to knitter. If the glossary is missing you can really be lost.

I've put together a brief outline of basic knitting terms and pattern instructions to get you started.

Firstly I must stress that even for seasoned knitters, sometimes patterns can seem quite cryptic.

The key is - to read very very carefully the instructions for each row.


Simple Pattern Glossary

CO   Cast On.

This instruction tells you how many stitches you need to start to item. There will generally be a number after this such as CO94.

DIFFERENT SIZES - If you find more than one number, it will be the instruction to cast on a different amount dependent on size. For example C094, 106, 120 will be the instructions for small, medium or large. Further to this, different sizes will generally be indicated with the series of numbers at all relevant sections. So look for which sequence the size you have chosen is listed then follow that instruction. Example if you are knitting the medium size and it is listed as the second number all instructions for medium will be the second number.

K    This indicates a knit stitch.  Watch the video in link to see how to Knit. Also known as plain knitting.

P     This indicates a purl stitch. Watch the video in link to see how to Purl

Garter stitch  This instruction means that all the knitting is done using plain knitting or K stitch.

St St  This abbreviation is used to indicate Stocking Stitch or Stockinette Stitch (interchangeable terms). Knit one row in plain K stitch then the alternate row in Purl stitch. It gives the knitted fabric one smooth side and a knobbled side.

Rib This indicates that a pattern of alternate Knit and Purl stitches are used to make a ridged pattern. The Rib is often used for cuffs or edges. Rib will often be abbreviated to 2x2 Rib, or 1x1 Rib (sometimes called Single Rib). This will be 2 knit then 2 purl, or 1 knit then 1 purl. Watch the video to see how to Rib.

K2Tog   This indicates you need to Knit two stitches together. A common method to decrease your work.

Cast Off or Bind Off  - end the knitting or remove some of the stitches. Watch this video to see how to Cast Off.


If a knitting pattern was written in plain English this is how it would read.

CO 30

Cast on 30 stitches

Knit 8 rows in 2 x 2 rib

Knit 2 stitches, then 2 purl stitches, knit 2 stitches, purl 2 stitches across the whole row in sequence.

Do this for the next 8 rows

Cont. in St.St for till piece measures 30cm.

On the 9th row knit all stitches, then on the 10th row purl all stitches.

Continue in this sequence knitting one row, then purling the alternate row until your knitting measures 30cm from the cast on edge.

Knit 8 rows in 2 x 2 rib

Next row will be knit 2 stitches, purl 2 stitches in sequence across the whole row. Continue in this sequence for 8 rows.

Cast Off

The final row - cast off all stitches and knot at end.


This Glossary is only the basic stitches, but it gives you a idea of where to start.

Happy knitting! :)


Knitting Kits

When I talk with people about knitting and What Jane Knits, the first thing they ask is: Can you knit me a ... scarf/jumper/beanie/thing?

This is fine, and very flattering that they think I am able to just whip up a knitted garment for them. Then I explain, no I don't actually knit the products for people, I supply kits.

Here's your beanie. Hope you like the colour!

Here's your beanie. Hope you like the colour!

I decided to create What Jane Knits as a site for beginner knitting kits for a NUMBER OF reasons

Overwhelmed and Confused: I saw that people were interested in knitting, but not sure where to start. Sometimes they didn't live near a Wool shop or others just felt overwhelmed with the range and options available.

Overambitious and Unlikely to finish: Then there were people who were very keen to start so went to the local store and bought hundreds of dollars worth of yarn and needles and books to make that amazing blanket/throw they had seen in a magazine.

Out of practice: Often people learnt to knit in childhood and haven't touched a knitting needle in 30 years. New babies are often the inspiration to pick up the craft again.

Craft enablers: Sometimes people see the creativity in others and like to encourage them.

Hopefully a What Jane Knits kit will provide a beginner knitter the perfect introduction to knitting.

  • I have sourced quality yarn - mostly Australian merino, but some Italian alpaca.
  • The circular needles allow the beginner to slide their knitting down on the cord when they take a break so the stitches don't fall off.
  • The waterproof, zip-lock little project bag is great to put in a tote and take with you when you travel.
  • Most importantly the patterns are designed to be straightforward and easy to follow. The projects are small to encourage you to finish the product.

Being happy with the results of your labour is so very rewarding. These days many people share their knitted projects on social media... it is all part of the feel good factor associated with creativity. Sharing your work and getting positive feedback, even from strangers is exciting and encouraging! Hopefully Beginners will gain confidence and continue to knit ; gradually learning new techniques and trying more advanced projects.

So whilst I am very happy to knit my friends and family a few gifts, I certainly prefer if they pick up the needles and have a crack themselves! Like any new activity your knitting is unlikely to be immediately perfect - but hopefully the WhatJaneKnits kits will help you get a pretty good result you are happy to share.