How to Talk Like a Knitter or Crocheter:

by Isabella

Posted on October 25, 2019

Ever been watching a podcast or maybe scrolling through Instagram and come across your favorite fiber artist saying something that leaves you stumped? One of those crafty acronyms that has you saying “huh?” and trying to guess what they could be talking about? F.o? Tinking? E.Y.F? Rhinebeck Sweater? I feel ya.

Knitting and crocheting are already complicated languages in and of themselves, with all the terminology that goes with learning to read or write patterns, but there is this whole other language of acronyms and lingo that the fiber fanatics and makers of the internet seem to be using and it can get just a little overwhelming! But I’ve got your back! This week we are covering a lot of the common fiber community lingo that you’ll see on social media and hear in podcasts! And I have another fun (slightly ridiculous!) video to go along with it, featuring all the phrases you wish you knew and my wild eyebrows. So let’s get to making some sense of the nonsense we fiber friends through around!


“Work in progress.” And strangely, people say “W.I.P.S” as well as workS in progress, even though that’s not really how acronyms work! This one often shows up as a section in podcasts of what people are currently working on their hooks or needles, or on insta as a #wipwednesday type post!


“Finished object.” This is when your WIP is all grown up and graduates to being a finished project! Sometimes people say out the letters in the acronym, or sometimes lay it like a word (“foe”), either way, its when you’re done with what your making and wanna show it off!


Half-finished Object.” This one doesn’t really play by the rules of acronyms, since it should really be H.F.O. but…apparently we makers didn’t like that. Not really sure how you tell exactly when an object is half finished, unless it’s like one sock out of two, but I think you can guesstimate on the fractions!


You might think you know this one, but no, this stands of “Unfinished object.” Again, apparently we don’t understand acronyms, cause this should be U.O. but… This is kinda like a WIP but I think it’s more like a project that is been shoved in a closet and is kind of languishing and not actively being worked on! But I think UFO and WIP are sometimes used interchangeably!


This one seems less common than it used it be, or at least I don’t see it as much anymore, but it means “Hot off the hook.” It’s used for an item you just finished crocheting, like hot off the press, I guess?


“What I’m doing now.” I don’t think this one is exclusive to the craft community, but often it comes up in people’s stories and feeds and other accounts get tagged or challenged to share what they are doing now, be it craft related or not!


“Tink back” or “tinking” comes up pretty often in the knit realm. This one took me a while to figure out, but it’s kind of brilliant- it’s knit spelled backwards because it is when you un-knit to fix a mistake. I’m not an expert knitter by any means (or expert anything really!), but I don’t think this is the same as ripping back the like 17 rows between you and the mistake- I think it’s when you are literally knitting backwards stitch by stitch? Correct me if I’m wrong!


This is the slightly less brilliant sounding crochet version of tinking. Crochet is a heck of a lot easier to rip out that knitting and it can be done very quickly. So you just rip-it, rip-it, rip-it back…like a frog (ribbet, ribbet!). Lame? Yes.


This is when you and the amount of yarn you have are at odds as you approach the end of the project. You’re looking at the tiny bit of yarn you have left and are studying the pattern for how many more stitches or rows you have to do and you’re wondering if you’re gonna make it. You win yarn chicken when you make it to the end with just enough yarn, and you lose at yarn chicken when you run out and you have like 7 stitches left, and now you have to go to the store and get a whole ‘nother skein to finish up that last little bit.


It’s as awful as it sounds. You have this nice skein/hank/cake of yarn and it looks all tidy and innocent, and then all of a sudden out from the middle comes a horrifying tangled mess that you cannot fathom how it got in their. And then your life is just sad until you fight it back into submission.


Mainly you hear knitters talking about being on “Sleeve Island” (probably because crochet goes so much faster no one feels marooned in their project!)- it’s when you’ve gotten through the main parts of your sweater project and now you are just going round and round trying to finish your tedious sleeves (and there is two of ’em!) and you just kinda feel stranded and alone in a kingdom of sleevedom.


Kind of similar to sleeve island, you’re done with your first sock but now you’ve got to make another. A lot of people get caught up on this and lose interest in that particular pattern and catch a serious case of second sock syndrome. As someone who makes 20-70 of each of my items to sell at markets, I don’t have any trouble making 2 of the same thing, but it’s a thing!


This one comes up in podcasts all the time. It’s the stuff makers are acquiring to add to their yarn stash, or fiber related/crafty purchases! “Stash enhancements” is another one that gets used to refer to yarny purchases!


This is more of a technical knitting term than catchy lingo, but when I polled on Instagram prior to this post a lot of people mentioned hearing this one and not knowing what it means! This one kinda gives me an anxiety attack. It’s a knitting technique where you knit a sweater in the round as a pullover, but you add a “steek panel” of a couple extra stitches and then you cut (!!!!!) the sweater when you’re finished and convert it into a cardigan. To me, this is horrifying. But apparently it works!


There is probably a much more eloquent definition of this one, but for me, being a craftivist means using your platform, no matter how big or small, to bring about change in your sphere of influence. A lot of knitters and crocheters are actively working to bring about more inclusion in our fiber community, but its basically using your influence to make a difference. Not just making beautiful yarny things but using your voice, your platform, your brand to make our community more beautiful as a whole!


“Local yarn store”– specifically the small, privately owned, local shop with specialty or indie dyed yarns and special knit and crochet notions (i.e: not a big box store like Joann, even if that’s “local” to you). Shop small, my friends!

To wrap up I’m going to also cover a few common event acronyms you might be hearing around the interwebs, because apparently no one has time to say anything by its full name. I’ve never been to any of these, but maybe one day!This is definitely not a full list, but these are some of the big ones that came to my mind immediately!

V.K.L: Vogue Knitting Live. The main one takes place in NYC around… January? February?…but they have a few other versions of the event that happen throughout the US. From their about section: Vogue Knitting LIVE features master-level hand-knitting classes, a high-end shopping experience, knit-couture fashion shows, knit art gallery, and more to engage and inspire every knitter. “

O.M.L.: Our Maker Life. “A movement for makers, by makers.” This one changes location every year by vote (you can go vote for the 2020 city here!). It’s a big fiber lovin’, maker meet up for networking, learning, shopping and inspiring one another!

E.Y.F: Edinborough Yarn Festival. This one takes place in Scotland in March and is “the UKs premier yarn festival.” It used to be yearly, but now they are apparently doing bi-yearly? So the next one takes place in 2021. All the big vendors. Classes. Socializing. And it’s in SCOTLAND.

Rhinebeck: This one is the New York Sheep and Wool Festival that takes place in Rhinebeck, New York. It takes place in October (this past weekend, actually!). Again, vendors, classes, demonstrations, all the yarn, all the yarny people. This happens relatively close to me, and maybe, perhaps one day I shall go and do all the fiber things with all my fellow fiber people! Along with Rhinebeck in the infamous “Rhinebeck Sweater.” Basically, just a really nifty sweater of your choosing that you make to show off your knit (OR CROCHET!!!) skills while you wear it around the festival!

T.N.N.A: The Nation NeedleArts Association. This isn’t something most of us can go to, it’s more of a trade show for fiber arts businesses, for example yarn shop owners looking for new items to carry in their shops, but you do hear it come up a lot, so I thought I’d definite for you as well!

D.F.W.: The Dallas Fort Worth Fiber Fest. Another big fiber festival that happens yearly in April in Texas

Stitches Events: An organization that hosts big fiber events throughout the US. Stitches United is the one that usually happens closest to me in March, but there are also Stitches West, So Cal and Midwest.

…and I think that’s it! Or at least a really good introduction to all the things you are hearing all your favorite yarn folks talk about! Did I miss anything? I’d be happy to do another post/video if there are some things I missed, so leave me a comment telling me what terms you’ve been stumped on!

beginner crochet , crochet business , crochet lingo , crochet terms , fiber for everyone , maker community

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