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In a previous edition of Knitter’s Notebook, I put out a call for wool words, made-up words that enrich our knitting lives and help us express all that we make and love.

I am happy to report a rich and robust response! In gratitudiknit, I’ve assembled a list of wool words that readers posted. Test them out with your own stash of knitters. Practice pronouncing strickenfreude and strickfreunde in the bathroom mirror, and then, have some linguistic fun when you talk about your knitting. Shout them out loud when your neighborhood high plains knitter trots by. Write about your memorystitch, lovehugs, and sadknits. Hum them in your woolery.

Onward, knittinsmitteners!


A Knitter’s Dictionary of Wool Words


awe: wonder and amazement [about knitting, knitters, handknit objects]—Vicki.

I’m “in awe” that you made such a beautiful item. I’m “in awe” that you took the time to create this for me.


a cozy of knitters [collective noun] A group of knitters.K.T.

Much to her delight, a cozy of knitters was gathered around the campfire. 


gratitudiknit: A deep appreciation for everything associated with knitting.Mary Lou

We nearly burst with gratitudiknit when we received her gift of wool, unspun and rich with possibilities. 


high plains knitter: Knitting set in the old West.Ann Hagen 

She adored Clint Eastwood, the famous high plains knitter, and never missed a chance to catch a glimpse of him knitting on horseback. 

hugknit: A handknit item that feels like a hug.—Lisa

She left everything else behind; taking only her favorite hugknit, the blanket her father knit for her when she was a baby.


joyfulknit: A knitter’s joy.—Karen Bond

Grandmother chose a pale rose for the joyfulknits she made, two matching cardigans that her little granddaughters wore to their mother’s wedding.


knittinsmitten: To be deeply in love with knitting and/or handknit mittens.Diane 

Knittinsmitten, she filled her closets with skeins of alpaca, merino, and cashmere. 

knitter-by: When the sound of knitting needles are a lullaby.—KT

After the story, the water, and the night-nights, I’d sit on the corner of my girlie’s bed with my needles and wool for her knitterby.

knitlifted: When a handknit goes missing under circumstances suggesting foul play.—Elizabeth

She suspected her favorite sweater had been knitlifted from the dry cleaning pile.  

knitter’s high/knitting nirvana/knitvana: That place in a project where it all makes sense and the knitting just flows. —Mary Ellen and Karen

After frogging the lace shawl, he cast on again, and soon was in knitting nirvana.

a kindness of knitters [collective noun]—Margaret 

A kindness of knitters was greeted by a parade in their honor.

knitgape (nit-gä′pā):A love that encompasses both knitting and receiving knits.—Sarah W.

She slipped the shawl on the stranger’s shoulders, the spirit of knitgape entwining them. 

knitworthy: Describing one whom you love dearly, and who will also love what you knit for them.—Cat

He was a keeper, and knitworthy, to boot!


lovehugs: Handknit object that gives the wearer the feeling of a hug.—Uleedog

We wrapped our baby gently in the softest of love hugs, and took her home.

loveknits: Handknits made with love for the recipent.—Betty Danzi

Her loveknits could warm the coldest hearts.


memorystitch: Remembering a knitter through the things that they knit.Jennifer Johnson

She could never give away the sweaters her beloved grandmother knit her, every bit of them was a vivid memorystitch. 

mommyhug sweater: Sweaters that when worn feel like a mother’s hug.—Regina Mary

The mommyhug sweater she knit the boys in her life gave them the courage to be brave.


peaceknit: A handknit which calmed the knitter’s soul during the making of it.—Karen Bond 

He was a young homesick sailor when he received his favorite peaceknit, a sky blue scarf his mother made him to keep him warm at sea, and soothe her own troubled soul.

portable hug: Feeling a hug from a handknit.—Marilyn Rybarczyk

It was a tough time, and the lucky ones were those with a portable hug, wooly and warm on their shoulders. 


returnknits: Handknits returned to the knitter after the original recipients are done with them or have outgrown them.—Beccary

One by one she mended and washed the returnknits, still rich with memory of her children when they were young.


sadknit: Handknits made for or worn at sad or solemn occasions.—Karen Bond 

I made a sadknit to wear to my dad’s funeral; it had a rainbow stripe running through it, because it would have made him smile.

shknit-list: A temporary list of ungrateful or careless recipients of a knitter’s hard work.Karkilic 

I love my family dearly, but when they lose a knit I made for them, they’re on my shknit-list for a while. 

strickenfreude: 1. [mangled German] The deep wish that someone had knit that for you.Kay Gardiner

She looked with strickenfreude at the Savage Heart Cardigan; it was the sweater of her dreams.

2. [actual German, in which freude = joy] experiencing fun while knitting.Sigrid

Turning the heel of her lacy sock was a moment of pure strickenfreude. 

strickfreunde: Knitting with friends [German, in which freunde = friends]—Sigrid

She enjoyed knitting alone, but she preferred strickfreunde.

a swatch of knitters: [collective noun]—Judy Welles

A swatch of knitters meets every Saturday morning at Home Ec Workshop in Iowa City, Iowa.


warmthful: Handknits that warm the body and soul.Marilyn Rybarczyk

How could he forget to pack his warmthfuls?

whipstash: De-stashing, followed immediately by re-stashing.Cristina Shiffman

She took the Marie Kondo pledge, emptying wool from the closets, the drawers, and the hiding places in the cupboard. One late fall evening, on a unplanned visit to her local yarn store, she whipstashed, refilling her home with wool.

woolery: 1. Abode or haunt of wool. 2. Storage space for a knitter’s stash.—Mary Ellen Cortizas

Like an owlery, the woolery is the place our wool inhabits.

Note: To the best of my ability, I have credited all wool words to those who submitted them. For clarity in the examples given, I sometimes took liberties by editing or recasting entries.

About The Author

Michelle Edwards writes about family, friendship, and community. Her work chronicles the large and small victories and defeats of everyday life. She frequently posts her illustrations on Instagram, her website, and at StudioScrawls, her Etsy store.


  • Is there a book with knitting words/abbreviations in different languages? I sometimes get patterns when traveling in other than English words.

    • Bobette, you pose an interesting question. I am not aware of a book with knitting terms in different languages and I agree it would be helpful to have one. The closest one I can think of is an ancient Mon Tricot stitch dictionary with stitch directions in English, French, and German.

    • I’ve found several online. Here’s one:
      I’ve used google translate then use abbreviations guide to figure out those words. Hope that helps.

      • Thanks, Minnesotae!

  • One (kinda pricy) option: A more intensive Google search will probably turn up more options. I understand a lot of people use google translate….and if there’s a chart, you’re mostly there already!

    Michelle–thank you!! I especially loved the “swatch of knitters”. 😀

    • Laura, Thanks for the link. It looks like the book is out-of-print and that is why it is so expensive. Googling is a good option. “Swatch of knitters” was one of my favorites too.

      • Beautiful and smile making words!

  • What? We need this book in earnest! How about “Blocking cat” because as soon as you block your knits your cat is right there on it! Also, yarn barf! The plop of tangled wool that your skeins burbs up. Yarngasm, when you find the yarn of your dreams I could go on. Your prose and paintings are a delight. I’m ready to receive your next book with open arms

    • I personally call the yarn that plops out occasionally at the beginning of a skein, the “yarn placenta.” My mom finds it, um, distasteful, but I think it’s hilairous.

    • Janice, thank you. I love your ideas. Playing with knitting words and illustrating them is great fun. Hmm, maybe a book …

  • The shknit-list made me laugh out loud – thanks to all of you for this knitting gift (pun intended!)

    • Thanks, Rena!

    • And I love the drawings!

      • Thanks, I had a blast drawing horse.

  • Every day is a joy when I open an MDK message…Thanks !

    • I agree, Ilove my morning MDK mail.

  • I first posted the word Yarnsulin on my blog back in June 2009:.

    “the naturally created substance in a FiberFreak’s body which protects against negative reactions brought on by massive exposures to fibery perfection”. as in

    Entereing the LYS, Kitten felt his Yarnsulin level rise only slightly, and knew that, while he was protected from buying every skein in the shop, this still was going to be a Big Haul Day.

    • Yarnsulin is a keeper. Thanks for sharing it!

    • This is brilliant! Should definitely be included

      • Agreed!

  • Michelle– This is absolutely delightful! I’m smiling ear-to-ear and forwarding to my Mom and daughter, aka fellow knitters! — TWW, Iowa City

    • Teresa, good to hear from you. I hope your mom and daughter enjoy the dictionary!

  • this list is a keeper

    • Thank you, Marty! The list keeps growing …

  • Loved the words!
    Happy Anniversary!

    • Thank you, Marilyn!

  • Knitting. Words. Two of my very favorites! Thank you!

    • Great to hear from you, Laura! Glad you enjoyed the post.

  • I always LOVE these wonderful posts and particularly the sketches!! Is it possible to get info re: michelle’s Scarf in her photo???
    Pattern and yarn???

    • Thank you, Donna! The scarf pattern is the Hakusa Scarf by Kirsten Johnstone. It is an asymmetrical scarf written around a combination of Habu yarns including their stainless wool. I altered the pattern a bit, mainly using garter stitch instead of stockinette. The yarn is Noro and I found the skien in a thrift shop. Sadly, it is a discontinued colorway.

  • Shknit-list is pretty much perfection. Think it will become part of my vocabulary

    • LOL!! I’m ROFLMAO! Good job, folks!! Shknit, eh? How about, shknit-list, shknit-head, shknit-house, eat some shknittles….shknit-a-bit…..purlsters…..purlsome…..I’d best quit, eh? ((:

    • It is pretty perfect. Thanks for writing.

  • You wouldn’t believe what today’s word of the day is on Dictionary. Com…schadenfreude!! Satisfaction or pleasure at someone else’s misfortune. Close to Kay’s interpretation:)
    My favorite knitting word is “procrastiKNITing”: to defer all other activities besides knitting !! I bought a reusable bag @ Jo-ann fabric & craft store that has this printed on it. Totally describes me!!!

    • Funny. Oh, procrastiKNITing hits close to home. Thanks!

  • My friends and I use the word “yarnwine” to describe any activity that makes us happy and relaxed. Noun or adjective. “That walk in the woods was so yarnwine.” Or, “I really need some yarnwine.”

    • Yarnwine is a great word and I love how you and your friends use it to include other activities. I am looking forward to some yarnwine today.

  • Do you have an 800 number I can call to place an order? Thank you, Barbara H.

    • Barbara, did you want to order yarn?

  • fun-tastic words for us knitters…….try out “butterknit” the ooeey gooey soft squishy feel of fiber in our fingers while a just-warm-from-the oven scone filled with cream and butter sits next to said project and off we go. As my husband likes to suggest…..”have some butter with your bread/knitting.”

    • Butterknit is another terrific addition. I am going to keep my list open. I wonder how far we can go! Maybe an antonym for butterknit?

  • A few came to mind….
    Shrinky knit….how did my sweater get so tiny?!!!
    Woolastic….I thought I knew the gauge but?!!!!!
    Knitastic…..owning that you are the creator of that fantastic hand knit item!
    Woo-Hoo-l: Lookie what I found in the stacks at my LYS!
    Knitterly: as in people noticed her knitterly ways….

    • I adore knitterly and love to use it. So many good suggestions, we are rocking this wool words thing. Thank you.

  • I think I just discovered a new one this afternoon. Knitravert: someone who is normally an introvert but gains energy from talking to other knitters.

    • Knitravert is a perfect word and one that I think is much needed. Knitters give off so much energy when they gather. Thank you.

  • Hi Michelle, I recently finished your Home Companion book and was really touched. I could feel how much you miss your Mom. I enjoyed the book and when I was in Iowa City over Labor Day, I stopped in to visit Home Ec and the Knitting Shoppe (?). I love your drawings and your writing. Thanks for being a companion.

    • Jan, thank you for your kind and thoughtful post. It means a lot to me. My mother would have loved all the ways knitters gather and knit in public, like at LYS, coffee shops and festivals. She loved being with people. How lovely that you were in Iowa City and stopped by Home Ec and the Knitting Shoppe. From the heart and the heartland.

  • Rhinebecksgeboten – the spirit of the New York Sheep and Wool Festival. “When she arrived at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds, she was filled with Rhinebecksgeboten.”

    • Yes! I’ll add it to the list under R, Rhinebecksgeboten. Thank you!

  • I didn’t see the first request for words but love this post and the great offerings. One of my favs I say a lot is I need some “yarny goodness”. 😉

    • Leanne, thanks for jumping in now with yarney goodness. Language is always elvoving.

  • I refer to my knitting group as “Knisters”. When I arrive at Panera, I greet them by saying, “Hi, Knisters!”

  • What a delightful bit of knitternatter. So nice to be in with so many creative folks.

  • I’d add knittin-kitten, which is the joy of knitting with a cat snuggled up beside one, or the anguish when said cat decides to play with the yarn.

  • I love the description of the knitting words.

  • Is it possible to get a copy of this list of words? My daughter would love it and so would my friends that knit.

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