Crochet slang – 12 useful phrases!

Do you know all the terms used for crochet? There are some formal terms as well as “crochet slang”!

Let’s not forget that there are different terms used in UK and US crochet.  A “treble” and a “double crochet” are terms you will hear in both UK and US patterns, but beware, because they actually refer to different stitches!  How confusing is that?

Quick tips: if a pattern uses “single crochet”, that only occurs in US patterns, it’s not used in UK designs. The UK stitch “half treble” is known as a “half double crochet” in US patterns. Looking out for these stitch names will help you get the pattern just right.

However, in crochet slang, you will come across a collection of terms that aren’t in the abbreviations section of any crochet pattern!

If you are a member of a crochet group, whether in person or online, you might well find some of these terms being used.  It’s always fun to share what you are doing with others, so check out YAP and CAL below.

Here, we examine some of the terms and abbreviations that are used by crochet folk and aren’t usually defined in crochet books. The 12 terms discussed here will be your passport to being fluent in conversational crochet.

You might come across some other crochet slang terms – what not share them by adding them in the comments? It’s great to extend our knowledge, and languages are evolving all the time.

Getting qualification

1. PhD

Crochet aficionados know that practice makes perfect — apart from the obvious enjoyment crochet brings. Sometimes crocheters refer to having several PhDs. I have a PhD in Computer Science (in program debugging using artificial intelligence techniques) and I can tell you that makes the ice at parties… but that’s not the sort of PhD I’m talking about here.

Crocheters and knitters often have several yarn craft projects on the go, and in this context, PhD means “Projects half-done“. Is this something that you recognise, or do you always finish one project before starting the next? I believe you, honestly I do…


2. UFOs

Another term used by crocheters and knitters is UFO. This does not generally mean a ball of yarn flying through the air powered by the frustration of the crafter; rather it refers to an UnFinished Object.  Credit where credit is due, a start has been made on the project, but somehow it has not yet reached completion.  Perhaps other projects have taken priority?  Perhaps there is a “rush job” for a birthday, Christmas or new baby gift? Quite often, only “finishing touches” are required, such as adding buttons, but it’s still not ready to wear.

crochet take along
Cup and TALC

3. TALC – Take Along Crochet 

Sometimes there’s a knitting and crochet event, and of course, there’s no point in attending one of these without bringing your current project, so Take ALong Crochet is what it’s all about.

Naturally, you could also Take ALong Knitting, because you don’t want to sit there in silence, everyone is going to TALK!  There will be ample opportunity to compare projects past and present, discuss yarn, help each other with techniques and more than likely tea, coffee and cakes!

4. Frog

Sometimes, just sometimes, you find you need to undo your work…

That’s when you “frog” it.

Why frogging? When we have to “rip it” undone, “rip it” sounds like the sound a frog makes… well, a little bit! Better jump to it and start over…

Frog - undo the work!
Yarn shop
crochet hooks
crochet necessities

5. LYS

When you just need inspiration or to browse the temptation that is yarn, you need to visit your local yarn store which in crochet slang is LYS.

There’s so much to choose — 4-ply, double knitting, aran, chunky; natural and synthetic fibres; the colours and the combinations! Plain colours, variegated yarns, neon brights, pastel shades, boucle, a little bit of sparkle, sequins, fluffy or smooth, shiny or matte, chenille…

Of course, no visit is complete without adding to your collection of crochet hooks — standard or ergonomic, ones that light up for working in the darker evenings; shiny metal or matte finishes, fancy colours that look like boiled sweets, wood, bamboo… and don’t forget wool needles for sewing up seams and finishing off, or a new pair of sharp scissors.  Lucky I didn’t need to get much when I popped in!



6. USO – Unstarted Object

We have yarn, hooks, patterns, but we haven’t managed to get our act together… we have an unstarted object. We really need one of those oh-so-rare items — “a round tuit”. Research has shown that a square one won’t do — it needs a trim to make it round!


Getting around to it
Fortune cookie - work in progress

7. WIPWork In Progress

Somewhere between the USO (unstarted object) and the UFO (unfinished object) it is guaranteed that there will be a WIPwork in progress, started, but there is more to do.  Quite often, an unfinished object only needs something comparatively minor (such as sewing on buttons, or sewing up the seams).  The work in progress hasn’t quite made it as far as that stage.  Maybe a back and a sleeve are complete, all that’s needed is the front and the other sleeve… and the neckband, and sewing up the seams, and sewing in the ends.  It is, after all, work in progress!

8. HOTH — hot off the hook! 

When – at last – we have completed a crochet project, we love to share our latest creation with other people! As we have been busy working away, it’s fair to say that the finished item is Hot Off The Hook!  Another term is “just off the hook” which means the same thing.

finished item
Crochet hands

9. CAL — crochet along

When’s there’s a new crochet design available, what could be more fun than working through the pattern in a group? It’s a bit like karaoke for crochet! If you are working on a project with others, you can share hints and tips as you crochet along. Some companies will offer kits via their website, so you are ready to roll as soon as your order arrives!

10. Stash

I’m a believer that there is no such thing as too much yarn!  Sometimes it might be necessary to employ a little subterfuge to avoid any potential conflict with a significant other who might not quite understand the attraction of crochet. Perhaps their passion lies elsewhere – woodwork, football, fast cars, embroidery…?

Anyway, whatever your interest, it’s important to keep a little extra in case you need something for a new project! Of course it’s not a hoard – the correct crochet slang term is “stash“! I don’t know about you, but I’d be worried if I thought I was going to run out of yarn…

Yarn stash
more yarn
Small dog goes yap
Crochet hook and yarn

11. Yap

— small dogs go yap whereas large dogs go woof!  In the context of yarn, crochet and knitting, yap means something else.

There’s always an opportunity to try a new pattern, be tempted by a new yarn, make something for a friend, family or yourself.

You may have many projects underway, but there’s always room for yap – Yet Another Project!

This crochet slang term means crocheters can communicate without others realising that more projects are being planned! It’s on a need to know basis…

12. Yarn Bomb

When I was in primary school, we had a book in the library that said moss grew on the trees to keep them warm. It’s a nice thought, but I don’t think that’s the real reason!

Yarn bombing has sprung up to cover items such as pillar boxes, street lamps and yes, even trees, in knitting and crochet. I suspect this does keep the trees warm – whether they need it or not!


Yarn bomb tree

What are your thoughts on yarn bombing? Personally, I don’t like the idea of something handmade being left out to the vagaries of the weather. On the other hand, it does brighten things up.  Let me know in the comments whether you think this crochet slang activity is here to stay.

crochet along

13. Summary

That’s it!  This smattering of crochet slang will help you with crochet slang at any respectable yarn gathering, and in time you will be talking fluently!

If you also knit, you may find you speak crochet with a slight knitting accent! Many slang words like WIP and stash are used in both, so you’ll be in good company!


14. Browse Patterns

If you are looking for some patterns to get you started, why not browse the Crafty Cavy pattern shop?

To start on your crochet journey, have a look at some easy patterns first, such as the simple daisy design.

There’s also a simple leaf pattern, to go with the daisy, or why not make a selection of leaves in different colours to show the progression of the seasons?

You might also be interested in joining the Crafty Cavy community, or pop along to my Crafty Cavy page, both on Facebook!

Simple daisy
Simple leaf pattern

Comments, please!

What do you think about crochet slang and other knitting and crochet terminology? Have you come across any unusual crochet words or phrases? Perhaps you have crochet terms that you have used within your family or in a craft group? Please share your crochet words and what they mean to you in the comments section. I look forward to hearing from you!

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