International Glossary

Welcome to the new home of the International Glossary of Knitting Terms.

This 14-language collection was started on the ancient KnitList knitting mailing list.  I collected translation sheets from patterns and compiled them into a big matrix.  Then native speaker knitters reviewed the terms and provided corrections and additions for their languages.  While I can no longer provide the functionality of its former on-line database format, at least I can make the content available as a PDF.  Apologies for the font size.  I do find that most people don’t print this out, they view it on a screen where they can magnify as needed.

I’m starting with the full 14-language list of terms, with English in the left hand column, but I’ll be releasing the whole list with other languages on the left as I have time to do the sort, reformat and print.

Please note that Acrobat Reader does have search capability. You can start with the English version of the list, use the search function to find the term you need to translate, and read across to the outcome language, even if that language isn’t in the left hand column.

I hope in the future to add visuals to this list, including commonly used US and international symbols, plus symbol sets used in some historical books.

The Glossary

  • English (Modern American)
  • English (Modern British)
  • Modern American/British Abbreviations
  • Historic American Usage
  • Historic British Usage
  • French
  • Italian
  • Spanish
  • Portuguese
  • Brazilian Portuguese
  • German
  • Dutch
  • Swedish
  • Norwegian
  • Danish
  • Finnish
  • Faroese

If you’d like to contribute to an expansion of this project by furnishing another language column for the glossary, please contact me at the address listed on the About page link, above.

7 responses

  1. what does M1A,M1B,M1C mean in a knitting pattern? I know that M1 means make one, but what do the letters stand for? Please help. Thank you.

    1. Knitting instructions are far from standardized, and your notation is a good example of that. I’ll bet somewhere in the instruction leaflet, book, or web page source for your pattern there is a key for these uncommon instructions. Of course, if you’re working a design that’s been divorced from its source or accompanying material, you’ll have to guess.

      Guessing is difficult out of context. You have told me nothing about your pattern. But I’ll try.

      If there were just two M1 variants, I’d guess that one would be a raised bar increase with the initial bar twist made to mimic a left-leaning stitch, and the other would be its mirror image – a raised bar increase with the initial twist made to mimic a right leaning twist. But there are three notations, not two.

      If your pattern is using three colors, and the colors are introduced into the design using M1s, the three notations might stand for M1 with color A, M1 with color B, and M1 with color C.

      Of course, it’s also possible that “M1″ in this context does not mean “make one”. In that case, I can’t even hazard a guess.

      Can you describe what’s supposed to be happening? Are you working a cable pattern, a lace design, or doing shaping around an armscye or neckline? Sorry I can’t be of more help without more info.

  2. […] and Crochet Abbreviations: Lion Brand Yarn http://www.magiedipunti.altervista.o…iano%20WML.pdf International Glossary | String-Or-Nothing Rispondi […]

  3. I was very happy to find the glossary here, I was used to the Wise Needle site and found this resource quite helpful.

  4. I came across an English translation of an Italian knitting pattern that is a bit sketchy in places. For example: “Quando si arriva al giro delle trecce, si effettuano 3 grandi incroci, accavallando 20 maglie per volta.” The translation is “When I made the scarf, I don’t count the rows, so there are many intersections, some close others less, obviously you can work at regular intervals or not.”
    I get the general meaning, but the term that is clearly stilted is “Intersections.” The Italian word is “incroci.” i looked in your multilanguage glossary, where “incrociare” means “to cross,” and “incrociata” means “crossed” [as in “crossed stitch”]. So “incroci” is a plural noun meaning the places where a certain # of stitches are crossed with a cable needle.
    Looking at the photograph, it’s clear that what she is referring to are the places where a certain # of stitches are crossed over (or under) with a cable needle.
    The same word is used earlier in the pattern, too: “When starting the cable row, you must do 3 big intersections, with 20 sts at time.” — 3 big “cable crosses? How do we say that in English? I’m a copy editor and former German translator but not a longtime knitter, so it bothers me that I can’t come up with a good translation. What would you say here? Since you’re a designer yourself and clearly a more experienced knitter than I? I don’t want to offend the designer by saying that I don’t understand her translation!

    1. “Cable cross” is in fact the most commonly used expression for what happens when a bunch of stitches are slid out of sequence and held aside, the stitches following them are worked, then the reserved ones are re-introduced into sequence and knit or purled.

      You can go one more – if the reserved stitches are held in front of the work so that the finished cable crosses with the front leg going from lower right to upper left, you can call it a “front cross” or a “front cable cross”. If it’s the opposite, and the reserved stitches are held behind so that the finished cable’s top leg goes from lower left to upper right, you could call it a “back cross” or a “back cable cross.”

      However terms are not entirely standardized. Some authors use their own jargon, and might say something like 3×3-cross-over or 3×3-cross-under for front and back 6 stitch cables in which 3 stitches pass over or under three others.

      If I were translating this piece for myself, I’d probably skip the prose entirely and go with a chart instead. Although they are not universally used, they are far more intelligible across language barriers. I can knit straight from German, Russian and even Japanese patterns without knowing how to read those respective languages, once I’ve figured out what specific symbol set they use.

      Hope this helps somewhat. – K.

  5. Thanks much! It always helps to get feedback. ;)

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