Sink Your Teeth Into These Mysterious Knitting Terms

Sink Your Teeth Count Dracula

He’s a heck of a thing to see in late January, isn’t he?!

Count Dracula has nothing on us! Knitters have been sinking their teeth into creating all manner of fascinating things to wear, to display, to give as gifts, and to give away when the need arises.

What DO those mysterious knitting terms really mean? They “appear” so vague, so obscure, so this way or that. Like a gauzy film or a heavy fog, you don’t know which way to turn. Just when you think you’ve heard every one of these tricky knitting questions, here comes another one!  🙁

But, before I get to those mysterious knitting terms, let me tell you about last weekend’s blizzard. You know, I’ve lived in New Hampshire and northeast Pennsylvania; both places are about 1100 feet above sea level, so you know any snow you get is always on the high side.

So, why is it that wherever I go, the snow decides to follow! Neither one of those places got much in the way of accumulation, and NH wasn’t affected at ALL by the storm. But central New Jersey . . . give me a break! Snow totals were 18″ and counting, with some areas in excess of 24 inches. How ridiculous is this!

The wind was fierce, pushing drifts up against houses by five feet or higher; leaving almost exposed grass just feet away. That’s a blizzard for you; no real set pattern, just craziness everywhere you look. Like when we arose on Saturday morning at 7 a.m. and couldn’t see out any window because it was snowed over! Even my daughter-in-law was stuck in Houston, TX for two days, because the airports closed down. The one good thing about getting home in a hurry is, being a flight attendant (no bashing flight attendants, please) she must get back to base within 48 hours. That would be Newark, NJ.

She did finally get home at about 4:00 a.m. Monday morning.

I’m hoping that’s the end of that! Snow, I mean. But, February is just around the corner, or should I say on the other side of this weekend! And we know what THAT means!

So . . .

Getting back to questions; as a knitter you will eventually use knitting patterns for one thing or the other. Here’s a cool post I wrote last year, “Who Wants to Learn How to Follow Knitting Patterns?” You’ll start out just fine by gathering up all of your supplies, the yarn, needles, and other accessories. But, somewhere down the line you’ll encounter a phrase or word that either doesn’t make sense or you’re not quite sure what to make of it.

End With a Right-Side Row. Like that, for instance. What the HECK does that mean? Should you work the right-side row, or should you END on the right-side row? There’s that heavy fog setting in!

Hand knitting yarn

Answer is: COMPLETE the right-side row. Then follow the next instructions. Now, you never have to wonder again! (The same can be said for “end with a wrong-side row.”)

What does DYE LOT mean?

Just to digress, years ago I used to do home-health visits to different people who needed extra care in their homes. There was one woman who was very sprightly and sharp as a tack as she approached her ninetieth birthday. Her name was Alida, and she was originally from Missouri. The boot heel, she would say. Cotton and corn country, not at all like New Jersey.

She had been married and widowed twice, and was sitting on quite the bankroll. There really wasn’t a thing wrong with her aside from the fact that she hated being alone. So, she had someone in her house all day every day. Once in a while, I would take over for the regular girl during the day. Alida loved to talk about everything. She once told me her maiden name was Dye. This is what she said:

“I had a younger sister and all of the kids from school used to tease her. Her name was Helen and they used to say to her, ‘go to Helen Dye.'”

She was certainly the character!

But, back to DYE LOT. Every yarn label has different numbers on it, telling you ounce weight, yardage, yarn weight and dye lot. Sometimes it will actually say LOT: with a series of numbers, and sometimes there will just be letters and numbers (such as LB9081) that you will see on every skein of yarn.

picture of yarn skein with dye lot numbers

Can you find the DYE LOT #?

Answer is: Always buy yarn of the SAME dye lot. Believe it or not, shades of colors, (even white) will vary with dye lots. You can see this by putting two skeins of yarn next to one another of different dye lot numbers. You should be able to see the difference. This subtle change in color will be seen in your knitting, too.

Depending on what you’re making, it may be just the thing you’re NOT looking for!

My pattern starts out with smaller needles, then changes to larger needles after I complete the ribbing. How do I change to larger needles?

You COULD start transferring your stitches onto larger needles, but sometimes it’s hard to slip them from a smaller needle onto a larger one. Then, of course, you’d have to do that again, because the yarn will be hanging on the wrong end of the needle.  🙂

back of a sweater pattern

Here’s a better way: instead of slipping stitches onto a larger needle, simply work the next row USING the larger needle. Then continue with the larger needles from that point forward. Don’t forget, though, to exchange the empty needle (which is the smaller one) for a larger needle at the end of the first row.

Ah-ha! In fact, that’s exactly what I had to do when starting the body of my newest sweater pattern featured above. It’s a VERY common thing to do and this way, it couldn’t be easier!

So, the next time you start a knitting project, you’ll have a few more “knitting secrets” in your arsenal! You’ll be able to sink your teeth into these mysterious knitting terms.

Ready, set, sink your teeth!

As always, take your knitting to heart!


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P.S. If you’re stumped about your knitting, let me know! Comment here, or on my Facebook or Twitter pages!






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  1. Julia Dawn Mason says:

    Hi Alice,
    I finished the gloves for my former boss, and I am giving them to her when we have our annul luncheon on Feb 20. Now I am working on a hat and glove set for the night custodian . I had to unknit several inches of it to fix Smistakes.I am using Knit Picks swish DK weight in the color white because I already had several balls of it from a former project. The gloves will be made with Stroll sock yarn in the color white. She is going to pay me for them. I have not made any soap since my stick blender bit the dust. I have to get a new one. Every one who has tried my Milk, Honey and Oatmeal soap like it and they say it makes their skin feel so soft. Even my husband liked it.

    • Hi Julia,

      Always busy is better than not! Sounds like you should start an Etsy store and sell your knitted wonders. I’m finishing another afghan for my Etsy shop and have really gotten back into a new sweater for myself. Then there’s a scarf I’ve yet to finish and two summer tops for my grand daughters to begin.

      We made it through the blizzard ok; only 18″ of snow! It’s melting fast now with temps in the 50s all week, yay!

      Sounds like you’ve got a nice side hobby going. I made soap about 5 years back, love the different scents you can create! Go for it!

      Happy knitting, Alice
      Alice Seidel recently posted…Sink Your Teeth Into These Mysterious Knitting TermsMy Profile

      • Julia Dawn Mason says:

        Hi Alice,
        I gave the gloves to her and she was trying them on when someone asked if they were made on a machine, she pointed to me and said”She Made them”. Several people have asked if they paid me if I would make them a pair.So I have orders for several pairs to make. We have had some really cool temperatures here for the last two days, getting down into the low 40’s at night and no higher than 65 in the daytime.
        I am working on a pair of gloves for a brother and sister who come through my crossing. Neither one has warm mittens or any gloves so I am making them a pair. I started the boy’s and got one glove made and was working on the second one when I ran out of the yarn. That glove had two fingers finished and the third finger was half done when the yarn ran out. I didn’t have another ball of the same . so I started over on the set. I used Knit Picks stroll in the Pucker color for the girl’s set. So I used stroll in the Electric Blue for the boy’s set. One of the gloves is done and I am working on its mate.
        My youngest grandson turned 1 year old on the 12th of this month. Later in the summer my son and his family are coming down for a few days and we will go to where they are staying and hubby and I will baby sit so my son and his wife can go out and celebrate my son’s birthday.