Jamilia’s Glossary of Designer Knitwear and Wool

We’ve collected together a handy glossary of knitwear terms and information about the different types of wool used in designer knitwear.

We use Mohair and silk in the main but we will be producing more collections using a variety of materials.




Alpaca (Wool)
Alpaca fleece is softer and sturdy when compared to cashmere and lighter than sheep’s wool, it produces warm, silky, durable, and feather-light garments.

There are two breeds of alpaca, the Huacaya and the Suri, and they produce more than 20 different colours of fleece. The common Huacaya breed produces dense, thick, crimped, and fast-growing fleece. The rarer Suri alpaca produce long lustrous fleeces.

In knitting; to work every other row.

Angora (Wool)
Angora wool is produced from the fur of the Angora rabbit. Angora fibers are hollow, which gives them a floating appearance. They are exceptionally soft and possess the highest heat retention (two-and-a-half times warmer than sheep’s wool).

Angora fibres are blended with other wools to increase warmth and enhance softness. Angora wool can be worn outside in very cold conditions and then immediately worn inside without overheating.

Aran (Sweater or Wool)
The Aran Islands of Ireland.  Created in the early 1900s for the tourist trade, Aran sweaters are some of the most popular types of garments to knit and wear.  Traditionally made of undyed, woolen-spun three-ply wool yarn, the typical gauge today is 4 to 5 stitches per inch.


Backward Loop Cast-On

Loop working yarn and place it on needle backward so that it doesn’t unwind.

Bind Off

Closing your work by finishing with a final row by knitting 2 stitches.
Slip the first stitch over the 2nd stitch. Repeat with every 2 stitches until the last one remains.

Binding Off Shoulder Seams Together

Place the front and back shoulder stitches onto two separate needles. Hold them in your left hand with the right sides of the knitting facing together. In your right hand, take another needle and insert the right-hand needle into the first stitch on each

Border Leicester (Wool)

An elegant long wool breed with highly lustrous fleece. The fall fleeces are much nicer than the spring fleeces. The wool is long enough that they can be sheared once a year or twice a year.


Camel Hair
Camel hair is extremely soft, durable, lustrous, lightweight, and warm. Clothing manufacturers prefer the fabric in its natural state (a buttery, golden brown), but it is sometimes dyed navy, red, or dark brown. Since its expensive to harvest, camel hair is blended with sheep’s wool to make it more economical for the manufacturer to produce.

Camel hair comes from the Bactrian (two hump) camel, which is bred in the extremely cold climates of China and Mongolia. The hair is gathered when the camel molts instead of by shearing or clipping.

Cashmere Wool

Cashmere is made from the hair of the Kashmir goat which is native to India, Tibet, Turkistan, Iran, Iraq, and China.
Cashmere is the downy wool that grows beneath the goat’s coarser outer hair and is gathered by combing the goat rather than clipping it.

The natural crimp of cashmere fibers helps them interlock during processing and allows the fibers to be spun into a very fine and lightweight fabric.


To begin, creating the 1st stitch. Add a further stitch or stitches.

Corriedale (Wool)
Merino ewes are bred with Lincoln or Leicester males to produce this unusual wool. The average micron count for fibers is between 25 and 32. The fiber itself is perfect for needle felting due to the fiber diameter and the springy texture.

Corrugated Ribbing
A feature often seen in Fair Isle and Scandinavian knitwear, this ribbing is made of as few as two colors (one color for the knit ribs, one color for the purl ribs). YOU can have as many colours as you like.



To work fewer stitches according to instructions for shaping a piece by a) knitting stitches together or b) slipping a stitch and passing over the slipped stitch while knitting the following stitch.


Fair Isle (Knitwear)

Fair Isle is one of the Shetland Islands of Scotland.  It refers specifically to the color use and layout of garments.  As the background colors transition from dark to light to dark, the pattern colors transition from light to dark to light.


Fulling is the process of felting fabric that has been made by knitting weaving, crochet, or nålbinding.  (Felting refers to this process as applied to un-spun fibers.)


Gansey or Guernsey
Refers usually to a ‘fisherman’ sweater that found popularity in Britain and the Netherlands. These are hard-wearing and made of knit/purl combinations and sometimes simple cables in a worsted-spun five-ply yarn at seven stitches per inch or more.

Garter Stitch

A type of pattern using knit for every stitch and also every row.



Making additional stitches according to the pattern’s instructions: a) creating two stitches from one stitch by knitting twice into the same stitch; b) creating two stitches from one stitch by purling twice into the same stitch; or c) using the right needle to pick up the yarn, place it on the left needle, and knit an additional stitch into the back of the new loop created.

The technique of knitting designs using only one yarn at any given time, although many yarns may be used within a row.  Bobbins may be used to hold the different yarns as the knitting progresses.


Keeping To Pattern

If you knitting a stitch pattern, you’ll just follow the instruction for each row as long as you keep working over the same number of stitches.

Kitchener Stitch
This method of joining is for two pieces of knitting that have not been bound off.

Knit (K)

Either to knit or used as an instruction in a pattern as in ‘K’ and usually followed by a number eg K5 = knit 5 stitches.


Lambs (Wool)
This is the highest quality of sheep’s wool on the market. Lambswool is taken from sheep at their first shearing (around 7 months old). It’s know for its soft silkiness and warmth, lambswool fibers are used in the production of garments worn close to the skin.

Latvian Knitting

Latvian knitwear is characterized by a pointed tip and lots of colors and different patterns.  Sometimes the cuffs are scalloped of fringed.

Lincoln (Wool)
The yarn is smooth, silky, and strong. Woven Lincoln cloth has incredible durability and brightness. It is the ideal blend for quality mohair spinning as its own luster compliments that of mohair

Loden (Wool)
Loden wool originated in the Tyrolean Alps in the 16th century. It is characterised by a slightly `greasy’ feel and is most often used in the making of heavy coats.


Make One (Left, Right)

To make additional stitches according to instructions.

Melton (Wool)
Melton wool is thick with a smooth surface. The wool is napped and very closely sheared. Melton wool is a very solid cloth due to the finishing processes that completely conceal the weave. It’s durable, wears well, and is wind resistant. It’s often used in the production of sweaters.

Merino (Wool)

Merino sheep are most often raised in the mountainous regions of Australia and New Zealand. The wool is lauded for its easily dye-able pure white color. It is fine, strong, naturally elastic, holds dye well, and its softness resembles the hand of cashmere.

Well known Merino breeds: Australian, Peppin, Saxony, Rambouillet, Vermount, and South African.

Mohair (Wool)
The Angora goat produces mohair wool, known for its silkiness and lustrous sheen. Mohair is also strong, durable, breathable, and lightweight. It is an excellent insulator. Natural mohair wool fabric is exceptionally beautiful because of its color variations. Mohair fabrics tend to be non-crushing, non-matting, and non-pilling. Mohair is what we love best at Jamilia Designs.

Moss Stitch

This is the alternating of 1 knit stitch and 1 purl stitch in every row.

Norwegian Purl

This is a Continental style purl stitch that is made with the yarn always held in the back of the work.



This is the second most common stitch. In a knit stitch you put the right needle through the stitch from behind, in the purl stitch you place the right needle into the front of the left needle stitch



Usually seen as [repeat] and meaning to repeat the last instruction.

Reverse Shaping
Working the second side of the piece’s shape at the opposite end from where it was worked for the first side.


The completed series of stitches worked from one needle to the other.



The unfinished edge of your garment.

Shetland (Wool)

Shetland sheep produce very fine, lustrous wool from the down of their soft undercoat. The warm, lightweight Shetland wool is only available in limited quantities and natural colors and is mostly used in the production of high-end knitwear.


To transfer a stitch from the left needle to the right needle without adding anh wool.

Steek is a Scottish term for extra stitches added to a knitted garment which will eventually be cut to form an opening, such as an armhole or cardigan front.

Stocking Stitch

A pattern of stitches created by alternating one row of knit and one row of purl.


Through the Back of the Loop

Creating a twisted stitch through the act of knitting (or purling) into the back of the loop on the left needle.


On a knitting row, the right needle (pointing left to right) works with the next two stitches (or number indicated) on the left needle, while the yarn is put under right needle, brought over the top, and pulled through both stitches at the same time; then the two stitches are dropped.


Worsted Yarn

This term refers to yarns made of wool that has been carded and then combed to align the fibers and remove  the shorter fibers which would detract from the smoothness.  A very hard-wearing material.


Yarn Back

The action of putting front-sitting yarn to back, between the two needles.

Yarn Forward

The action of bringing back-sitting yarn to the front, under the right needle.

Yarn Front

The act of leaving the already front-sitting yarn at the front instead of moving it back for a back-sitting yarn stitch—an action which will instead create a loop or hole.

Yarn Round Needle

The act of preceding the next stitch by wrapping yarn around the right needle point (yarn starting and finishing at back for a knit stitch, yarn starting and finishing at front for a purl stitch)—thereby creating a hole and an extra stitch.