The Knitter’s Dictionary: A to Z

When I was first learning to knit, I remember texting my best yarn friend at least 5 million questions a pattern. What does “every alt row” mean? Wait, what the heck is “wyf” and how do I do that? Are you sure I’m just supposed to repeat these same four stitches when it says “across the row”? I bet she thought more than once, “I wish she had a knitter’s dictionary.”

Even now, about a dozen years into my knitting career, I still find myself coming across new terms I’ve yet to learn. Plus, as my skills have grown, so have the complexity of my questions. Rather than asking, “how do I ssk?” I wonder, “which decs lean left and which lean right? And are they all interchangeable?”

Enter the perfect accessory for my knitting bag (and yours), Kate Atherley’s The Knitter’s Dictionary. The pocket sized book is packed with knitting terms and over 150 illustrations to make our knitting lives easier. Whether you’re just learning to knit and you’re stumbling over new terms or you’re a seasoned knitter who needs reminders of some less often used techniques, this book has information you want in the palm of your hand.

You’d be here reading for ages if I tried to tell you a term you’d appreciate from every letter of the alphabet. Instead, here are just a few of the things I really valued discovering while working on this book.


Crafty confession time, I’m sure I didn’t block the first dozen projects I knit. I know that’s crazy. Handknit projects really benefit from blocking, especially lace. When I heard the term “blocking” I had no idea what it meant and no amount of Googling improved my situation. Kate’s book has a comprehensive section on blocking that explains the term, the tools, and the right blocking method to use based on the project or stitch type.

Watch this Yarn Hacks video for a quick tip on creating DIY blocking mats!


Please, tell me I’m not the only person who didn’t know what a chullo was before this hat graphic! Seeing this variety of hat styles together really helped me visualize the commonalities and differences between the hat shapes we knit. Beanies are slouchy, berets are floppy, and watch-caps are snug. It’s this kind of reference that makes picking the right project for gift knitting that much easier.


The letter S might be the most jam-packed section of The Knitter’s Dictionary. It has every term from s-twist to swift, including a ton of material on sweaters. Sweater anatomy, sweater construction, sweater silhouettes, and sweater types are some of my most favorite entries in this entire book. Each provides a detailed overview that’s really valuable. For example, I learned that a saddle shoulder is a variant of a set-in sleeve and that raglans are flattering on more body types when worn loose rather than fitted.

With 26 letters of the alphabet to explore, these are just a few of the highlights you’ll find in The Knitter’s Dictionary. Be sure to grab a copy for yourself (and one for a newbie knitter you know). You’ll be so thankful it’s in your knitting bag!

-Kerry Bogert
Editorial Director, Books

It’s the book no knitting bag should be without! The Knitter’s Dictionary!