5 Times I Wish I Had The Knitter’s Dictionary While Learning to Knit

It wasn’t that long ago that I started to teach myself how to knit. Call it fear of asking the wrong questions or call it pride in being self-reliant—it was probably a mix of both—but I decided that I wanted to learn on my own. Looking back, I know I could have saved myself a lot of grief if I had just asked someone to teach me, but if you’re like me, forging this path alone, I can’t recommend The Knitter’s Dictionary highly enough.

This compendium of knitting terms and techniques is like having a hundred knitting blogs at your fingertips. Don’t get me wrong, the internet is a great resource, but having all that information in one knitting-bag-sized book is a real game-changer. I can guarantee there were countless times that I wished I had The Knitter’s Dictionary while I was learning to knit, but just to prove my point, here are five of the most noteworthy.

1. What are all those numbers doing on my yarn?

The first time I stepped foot into my LYS to buy yarn was incredibly overwhelming—and, truth be told, it still is. Color and fiber content aside, there is a lot of stuff happening on a yarn label, and it can be hard for a newbie knitter such as myself to decipher. What does that little number on the yarn symbol mean? Do I always have to use the suggested needle? How much yarn am I supposed to buy? Thankfully, The Knitter’s Dictionary covers these and all the other burning questions that a beginning knitter might have when buying yarn. (Brand and color choice are still, unfortunately, up to you.)


How I feel every time I walk into my LYS and try to pick out yarn. Image by HBO via Giphy.

2. There is more than one way to cast-on/bind-off?

My first knit called for a long-needle cast-on and a standard knitted bind-off, so I looked up a video on each, mastered the techniques as well as I could, and didn’t really look much further into things after that. Little did I know that there is a whole list of different ways to begin and end your knitting, and each way has its unique benefits. Thankfully, now that I have The Knitter’s Dictionary, I can quickly look up all of the different ways to cast-on and bind-off to better plan my knitting.

3. What the heck is ease?!

True-confession time: I flat-out ignored any reference to ease when I was learning to knit, which is a HUGE mistake. As anyone who has knitted a poorly sized garment can attest, ease can be the difference between taking flight in your oversized batwing jumper or looking like you just robbed the sweater section at Baby Gap. The Knitter’s Dictionary will walk you through all you need to know about taking proper measurements and accounting for ease, so that you know you’re knitting for the perfect fit before it’s too late.

Just a few of the measurement areas The Knitter’s Dictionary will lead you through to account for ease. © F+W Media, Inc.

Just a few of the measurement areas The Knitter’s Dictionary will lead you through to account for ease. © F+W Media, Inc.

4. CO, YO, M1, TBL, K2TOG, PSSO…?!?

Like many new knitters, I picked my first pattern (the Bethel Headband from Plum Dandi Knits) based entirely on my perception that it “looked” easy. Little did I know that most knitting patterns are full of abbreviations, which can make following a knitting pattern for the first time feel like you’re deciphering ancient runes. I remember having to constantly pull out my phone to look up what all those letters meant as I went along, so having them all in one handy spot would have saved me a lot more time to knit (and definitely more life in my phone battery.)

5. What is blocking and how do I do it?

I’ll admit that prior to working for Interweave, I never blocked anything. Part of this comes from the fact that I was mostly weaving pieces that didn’t need anything much past some easy wet finishing, and the other part was that I just hadn’t knitted an accessory or garment before. I quickly learned that blocking is incredibly important when it comes to planning your knitting and when it comes to achieving the right fit and drape. Having an illustrated guide to blocking, such as the one in The Knitter’s Dictionary, would have definitely spared me having to sheepishly look up videos from my desk at work.

learning to knit

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Always have all the knitting know-how you need with The Knitter’s Dictionary.


You after looking up everything you need to know in The Knitter’s Dictionary. Image by Adweek via Giphy.

Happy Knitting!


(Featured Image: © F+W Media, Inc.)

What problems did you have when you were learning to knit? Never let it happen again with The Knitter’s Dictionary!