Glossary

(Note: If you are a knitter or crocheter, you may find useful online resources on my Tumblr site, "Quick Knitting & Crochet References." I used the short post format of Tumblr to drop in links to tutorials and tips, then add as many useful searchable tags to each post. I then chose a simple template with a search box so that we can easily find information quickly. It's essentially a database of the online sites that Mom and I have found most useful in the course of our crafting!)

ETA: I'm now beginning to add weaving and spinning terms! 

A Glossary for Non-Knitters, Non-Crocheters, Non-Spinners 
(and other civilians who have yet to discover the joy of a fiber craft)

Note: Knitting is really just a wonderful combination of loops of string, but there are infinite ways to combine those loops!

Acrylic yarn - Acrylic has come a long way in the last century. It is yarn made from synthetic fibers. It is often blended with natural (animal or plant) fibers. Advantages of using acrylic yarn include generally lower prices per yard or gram, easy care (animal fibers are not generally washer safe), and easy access (big craft stores and your local Wal-Mart). You won't find these in your LYS (see below).

Bind Off (BO) - To finish a piece of knitting you must fasten off the stitches so that they will not unravel. This is called binding off. There are a variety of ways to do this.

Block - To block a knitted or crochet item means to soak or wash it, then pin it or lay it out into its desired shape to air dry. This process tends to allow the stitches to sort themselves out into neat row and columns after they've been scrunched up during the process of making. It can also have pretty dramatic results, such as when blocking lace.

Cast On (CO) - To begin a project in knitting you must "cast on", or place or create, the first row of stitches onto a needle, which can be accomplished in several different ways. Each project will require a specific number of stitches be cast on for the pattern to be made correctly.

Circular needle - These needles are connected by a thin plastic or metal wire to facilitate holding either a large number of stitches or to join the stitches into a tube (such as for the torso of a sweater, or a sleeve for shorter needles).

DPNs - Double-pointed needles, used for working in the round to create a tube (think sock cuff or sleeve).

Finished Object (FO) - This simply refers to a project that has been completed.

Fleece - That's the fur from a sheep that is processed into usable yarn. Each sheep breed produces a slightly different fleece texture. Other animals whose fibers are used in creating yarn are rabbit (angora), goat (mohair or cashmere), alpaca, llama, bison, silk, and Qiviut (muskox).

FO (see Finished Object)

Frog  - To "frog" a project means to rip it out by taking the stitches off the needles and unraveling the yarn.

Garter Stitch - a simple pattern stitch created by using only knit stitches on all rows of your work.

Knit - There are only 2 basic stitch types really: knit and purl. Technically, you could look at them as one and the same, just created from one side or the other. It can blow your mind if you think about it too hard. I love it. A knit stitch makes a "v" in the fabric. A purl stitch makes a little bump or "pearl". Creating them is all in how you stick your working needle into the loop of yarn waiting on the other needle: from the back of the loop with the working yarn in front or from the front of the loop with the working yarn in the back. Of course, there's more that goes on after that point. But now you want to know more, don't you?

LYS - Local Yarn Store. These stores have unfortunately been squeezed into smaller and smaller number by larger craft stores and Internet sales. Your LYS is still the best place to find hands-on help from experienced knitters and crocheters who are aware of the latest designers, yarns, and events. They usually offer classes and social functions, books and pattern booklets that may not be available anywhere else. In addition, they carry natural (animal and plant) yarn almost exclusively. You won't find these yarns in any big box craft store or Wal-Mart. 

Purl - There are only 2 basic stitch types really: knit and purl. Technically, you could look at them as one and the same, just created from one side or the other. It can blow your mind if you think about it too hard. I love it. A knit stitch makes a "v" in the fabric. A purl stitch makes a little bump or "pearl". Creating them is all in how you stick your working needle into the loop of yarn waiting on the other needle: from the back of the loop with the working yarn in front (purl) or from the front of the loop with the working yarn in the back (knit). Of course, there's more that goes on after that point. But now you want to know more, don't you?

Ravelry - A website (www.ravelry.com) that requires an authorized account to join. It features sophisticated databases of patterns, yarns, users, allows detailed organization of users projects and preferences, forums, groups, and further communication among knitters, crocheters, loom knitters, and weavers. It rocks. Seriously. 

Rigid Heddle Loom - This is a (usually) portable loom that is a bit less complicated to warp (prepare to weave) than the larger floor looms. Whereas floor looms have individual wire "heddles" that can be moved into place for the number of threads needed for a project, this type of loom has a "rigid heddle" that is literally a rigid, molded plastic piece with slots and holes through which yarn is threaded.

Startitis - This is the tendency to begin projects, but not necessarily to finish them. This often results in numerous partially completed projects, or WIPs (see below), either being worked on simultaneously or stored for later completion.

Stash - This is a personal collection of yarn not necessarily reserved for future projects. This can be a highly controversial or entertaining topic for fiber crafters.

Stockinette Stitch - A basic pattern of all knit stitches on the front side of the fabric and all purl stitches on the back.

Straight needles - Traditional straight needles with a stopper at one end.

UFO - This probably refers to an Un-Finished Object. It could also be Unidentifiable.

Warp - These are the threads in a woven fabric that are threaded onto a loom to make the vertical part of the fabric. Also, used as a verb, this is the process of threading yarn through the heddle(s) of a loom.

Weft - These are the threads in a woven fabric that are passed between warp threads horizontally. Obviously, once taken off of the loom, the warp and weft can be turned sideways and you may never know which direction the fabric had been woven.

WIP (see Work in Progress)

Work-in-Progress (WIP) - This means just what it says.


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