Knitting hints and tips

See below for hints and tips on: Acronyms, Buttonholes, Hat measurements, Knitting Needle sizes, Lifelines, Useful websites, Yarn weight terms translation



I found these on :

FO       finished object      yay!

OTN    on the needles

PHD    project half done

WIP     work in progress

UFO     unfinished object

URO/UO     unrecognised object   (was that a hat I started, or a scarf?)

SSS     second sock syndrome (second sock takes much longer to knit than the first)

TAAT     two at a time – a solution to SSS, also good for sleeves

DPN     double pointed needles

LYS     local yarn store

CAL/KAL    crochet along / knit along

TINK     ‘knit’ backwards – correcting errors

The schachenmayr site also has hundreds of free patterns that you can download without having to sign up or register, although you can do so if you want. It’s heartening to see a business giving something not just for free but also without requiring your data in return.

Buttonholes for a girl or a boy?

If you’re knitting a cardigan and don’t know if it’s for a girl or a boy, make buttonholes on both fronts and then when you know which it should be, sew the button on and close the buttonhole at the same time. This also means you’re more likely to place/space the buttons correctly as long as your buttonholes were in the right place to start off with.

Hat measurements

Here’s a chart that gives circumference and lengths for hats. The length is from the crown of the head to the brim, If you want a turned up brim, add an inch to the length in the child sizes and a couple of inches to the length in teen and adult sizes.

                                      head circumference           hat length 

newborn                     14                                            5

baby 3-12 mths          17-18                                       6-6.5

toddler 1-3 yrs             19                                            7

child 3-10 yrs               20                                             7.5

pre-teen & teen           21                                              8

small adult                   22                                              9

large adult                    23-24                                         9.5

Knitting needle size chart

If you buy needles from a charity shop, or have inherited some from an aged relative, you may be somewhat puzzled by the size  as it’s not in mms which is what we’re used to nowadays. There are several places online that have handy conversion charts. I found the one below on Black Sheep Wool’s website.

Metric UK US
2mm 14 0
2.25mm 13 1
2.75mm 12 2
3mm 11  
3.25mm 10 3
3.5mm   4
3.75mm 9 5
4mm 8 6
4.5mm 7 7
5mm 6 8
5.5mm 5 9
6mm 4 10
6.5mm 3 10 ½
7mm 2  
7.5mm 1  
8mm 0 11
9mm 00 13
10mm 000 15
12mm   17
15mm   19
20mm   36


These are a very useful safety net for when you’re worried about making mistakes, such as in a piece of lace knitting. At a strategic point in the pattern e.g. end of a pattern repeat, pass a thin strand of contrasting coloured yarn or embroidery cotton through all of the stitches on the row using a darning needle. Secure the ends – I usually leave a long end and tie a loop around the end stitch; you want to make sure the lifeline doesn’t escape. If further along in your project you find you’ve gone wrong and need to rip back, you have an easy place to ‘rewind’ to and are saved the distress of going back to the beginning. You might want to use a lifeline several times in a complex piece of knitting.

Useful websites is the home of three UK knitting magazines: The Knitter, Simply Knitting and Knit Today. There are free and paid for patterns, tutorials, reviews and loads of other stuff. is a wonderful site for knitters and crocheters with loads of patterns, yarn info and projects you can look at. Read about it here.

Lion Brand has great yarns and also loads of free patterns

Yarn weight translation

Here’s a translation of UK/US terms used for yarn weight or thickness


1 ply / Lace Weight

2 ply / Fingering

3 ply / Sock

4 ply / Sport

DK / DK or Light Worsted

Aran / Worsted

Chunky / Bulky

Super Chunky / Super Bulky

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