Friday, June 3, 2011

Vintage Knitting Terms- O's and N's

What do all those O's and N's mean?

Today we have the Craft Yarn Council that provides standardized knitting symbols and terms but in Victorian and Edwardian times, a knitting pattern could have some strange directions. Most patterns assumed that you knew what you were doing and could read the designer's mind!

So what do all those O's and N's mean? Fortunately, these are pretty simple:

O=Yarn Over and N=Knit 2 together.

You may also see O2 which means Yarn over twice. This can be tricky since you have to be careful how you handle that on the next row, usually with a knit and purl stitch in the 'yarn over'.

So let's give it a try. Here is a simple lace trim that I have from 1913. It is full of O's and N's. I haven't tried out this pattern yet either so let's see if our work turns out like the photo with no errors! Please comment if you find an error in the pattern.


  1. I have a knitting pattern with W.O.N the O N makes sense now thanks to the above but still lost on what W means any ideas would be great.

    1. check it out here:

      w.o.n wool over needle (used to make a stitch between a purl and a knit stitch - take wool from front, over the needle to the back)



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