American Knitting Terminology

September 2, 2007

If you search Google for free sock knitting patterns, you’ll find there are literally thousands of them out there, mostly from knitters in the USA. There is one abbreviation I have come across in a large number of these patterns, and that is “SSK”, which apparently stands for “Slip, Slip, Knit”.

That really didn’t mean anything to me, and probably doesn’t mean anything to the average British knitter either. So what is it? It’s the equivalent of the standard, “K2tog tbl” or “knit 2 together through the back of the loops”.

So why “Slip, Slip, Knit”? Well, apparently you slip one stitch knitwise, the next stitch purlwise, you insert the left needle in the front of the loops of the slipped stitches on the right needle and knit them all together. Effectively you’re still knitting through the backs of the loops, but you’re coming at it from a different direction. It does look a little different to the plain K2tog tbl as the stitches lie flatter, and they more closely resemble a normal “knit 2 together” in reverse.

9 Responses to “American Knitting Terminology”

  1. Maureen Says:

    I’ve got an American knitting pattern that is all knit – and tells me “at 5 ridges inc 9 stiches” – please – what on earth is a “ridge”?

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  2. Linda Says:

    I guess they’re referring to the ridges formed by garter stitch if the pattern is all knit. Five ridges would be ten garter stitch rows, so they probably use it as an easy way to count your rows.

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  3. Mindy Says:

    Hi! American knitter here…SSK (and it’s rather up for debate) usually means slip knitwise, slip knitwise, insert left needle in the front of both slipped stitches and knit (essentially k2tog tbl, but twisting both stitches first). I’ve seen patterns that call for the slip knitwise, slip purlwise, knit, also. Usually, SSK is explained at beginning of pattern if that’s the case.

    We Americans just had to make everything difficult! 😛 (My boyfriend is British, and we often boggle at the differences…even though it’s the same language!)

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  5. Marlene MacDonald Says:

    What does SSK mean? I can’t seem to find what it is anywhere. I thought it was slip stitch knitwise, but it doesn’t seem to be working in the pattern I’m doing. If you could help me, I’d really appreciate it!!! Thanks

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  6. Dottie Says:

    Instructions say place 48 sts on waste yarn for sleeve, what does this mean

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    • Linda Says:

      It means you’re holding those stitches to knit later. I find it easier to use a stitch holder, rather than threading the stitches onto waste yarn.

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  7. Jan Says:

    Can anyone tell me what YO]by3 means?

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