A Knitting Dictionary —The Letter F is part of a series of posts that will eventually make up the Complete Knitting Dictionary a comprehensive knitter’s resource!

faced edges

Edges of a knitted fabric that have a knitted or woven fabric attached as a lining to an edge of fabric. This can cover finishing or just provide a stable and reinforced finish.  A facing is essentially a backing to an edge or band of knitted fabric.

Faced edges add sturdiness and bulk to a project.

Depending on the location of the facing, the facing may be completely hidden (a folded hem is usually completely hidden) or may show partially (a facing on a button band may show when the buttons are undone).

Often facings are knit with a slightly finer yarn or with a smaller needle (tighter gauge) to account for the slightly smaller circumference on the inside of the project. This is especially useful in small circumference knits.

Sometimes steeks have a facing added where the knit fabric is cut.

Some cardigans (especially those that are steeked) have a facing along the centre front.

Folded hems have a facing built in.

faced hem

see folded hem


Which side of the fabric is facing you. When a pattern says “with RS facing” for example, the right side of the fabric should be facing you.

eg. With RS of body facing, pick up and knit 87 stitches.

In this case, pick up and knit stitches while the right side of the fabric is facing you.

eg. With right sides facing, mattress stitch the pieces together.

In this case, the pieces are laying beside each other, flat on a surface with the right sides facing up.

fagot stitch / fagoting

(also variously spelled: faggoting, faggotting, fagotting)

Fabric made up of rows of a yarn over followed by a decrease worked across a row. These rows can be worked on every row or can be alternated with a plain knit or purl row.

I suspect the stitch got its name from its resemblance to the fagoting stitch which is an insertion stitch in sewing.

Fair Isle

Stranded colourwork originating from the Fair Isle (one of the Shetland Islands). It uses no more than two colours per row and short colour runs.

Often the background and pattern colours changes every few rows, with both colours rarely being changed on the same row. This is usually done in a repeated pattern, creating subtle colour striping in addition to the patterning.

Patterns often repeat both across rows and vertically.

far side

Usually used when knitting in the round. The far side is when the working needles are further away from your body than the cable (or non-working needles with DPNs). Contrast this to the near side when the working needles are close to your body and the cables (or non-working needles with DPNs) are further away.

You may want to knit your project “inside out” or working on the “far side” when knitting small circumference stranded knitting because the yarn that is being stranded needs to go around the outside of the needles, giving a bit more room to allow for more relaxed strands.


Is also refers to whatever side of a flat fabric, leg of a stitch, needle or something else is further away from the knitter than the nearer of the pair. 

fasten off

Finishing off the very end of the project.

On a bind off edge the yarn is usually cut, leaving 10-15 cm (4″-6″) and pulled through the last stitch and then woven in. On a project ending with a few live stitches (for example the crown of a hat), the yarn drawn through the last few stitches and then woven in.


The process of enmeshing the scales of a sheep (or other animal) wool, shortening and widening the fibres, causing the knitted fabric (or woven or loose strands of wool or other animal fibres) to shrinking and become more dense.

Technically, felting is creating felt from unspun loose fibre and creating felt from wool fabric (knit or woven) is called fulling. However, felting is almost universally used to refer to this process now.


The source strands that make up yarn. These can be protein or animal fibres (eg. wool and hair), cellulose or plant fibres (eg. cotton, linen), or manufactured fibres (eg. acrylic and nylon).

filled hem

A hem with batting or stuffing to add bulk.

finger cast ons

The family of cast ons that rely on using the fingers to manipulate the yarn into the correct position for working (contrast with other kinds of cast on  such as needle cast ons where two needles manipulate the yarn).

Long tail cast on in progress.


finger knitting

Simple knitting worked by weaving yarn in between your fingers and then lifting loops over the strands of yarn.

fingering weight yarn

A weight of yarn that is thicker than lace weight and thinner than sport weight.

finished measurements

The measurements of the finished and blocked project when it is laying flat.

finished object

A knitted project that is completely finished. The knitting, any blocking, seaming, weaving in or other finishing techniques have been complete. The project is ready to use or to gift.


The final steps done to a project after the knitting is done. It includes weaving in ends, blocking, seaming,

fisherman’s rib

A brioche like fabric made by working plain stitches alternating with working into the row below. The patterning can be made with all knits, all purls or alternating knitting into the row below with plain purl stitches.

flat knitting (or working flat)

Knitting back and forth, working first on one side of the fabric, then turning the project and working back on the other side of the project to create a flat piece of fabric. Contrast this to knitting in the round which produces a tubular or flat round fabric.


The plant that produces linen.

fold line

(aka turning row)

A row of purl stitches or a row of yo, k2tog in a stockinette fabric that helps a folded hem to fold along a crisp line.

folded hem

A finished cast on or bound off edge. Extra knitted fabric is worked and folded to the inside of the project. A folded hem can be all stockinette or can have a turning row that is a single purl row or a row of yo, k2tog stitches to create a lovely picot edge.

A folded hem from the inside and the outside.


The turning row gives a crisp, clean edge to the hem while an all stockinette hem gives a rounder finish.

When the excess fabric is turned to the inside it can be knit into or sewn to the main fabric of the project.

A contrasting colour or even colourwork can be incorporated into the folded portion of the fabric, allowing hidden flashes of colour, pattern or messages to be included in the project.


Decorative strands of yarn usually at the edge of a knitted fabric.

Fringe can be

  • tied to the finished fabric
  • made from yarn ends remaining at the beginning and end of new yarn being added
  • made from unraveled (dropped) stitches
  • made from tassels, pom poms or other decorative elements.

Most fringe consists of cut strands of yarn, but some end with loops (especially the unraveled fringe.


Undoing knitting by pulling the needles out of the work and ripping the stitches out.

The name comes from the action “rip it, rip it” sounding similar to “ribbit, ribbit,” the sound a frog makes.

You may use a lifeline to prevent undoing the work beyond a certain point.


The process of creating a denser fabric (through the use of heat and agitation) from a knitted or woven wool fabric. In the process the scales of the wool interlock, and the fibres shrink in length and expand in width, crating a denser, thicker but smaller fabric.

full-fashioned decreases

Garments knitted to shape (to fit the body exactly) as contrasted with rectangular pieces of fabric cut and sewn to fit the body.

Originally, the term full fashioned was used to distinguished expensive hand knit garments from machine knit garments that could (originally) only knit lengths of
fabric. Obvious decreases (and increases) were used to highlight that a garment was hand made.

These obvious decreases (and increases) have now come to be called full-fashioned. The slant is in the opposite direction to the slant of the edges. So, right leaning decreases are used near the right edge of the piece (as it is decreasing towards the left) and left leaning decreases near the left edge of the piece (as it is decreasing towards the right). I personally find that these full fashioned decreases (and increases) are actually less visible than their “blended” counterparts, but that is just my opinion.

These shaping stitches are at least one stitch away from the edge, making them visible.

If you decrease right at the edge (first two and last two) stitches on the row, the decreases will disappear when you seam or pick up stitches),.

If you decrease one stitch in, the decreases will be right against the seam or picked up stitches. They will kind of blend into the seam. You will see them but they will be unobtrusive.

If you decrease more than one stitch in, say two, three or four stitches in, the decreases become obvious and can be considered a design element.

Contrast these with blended decreases where the slant of the increases
is the same as the slant of the edges. I find these to be more obvious than the full fashioned decreases and increase. But that is just my opinion.



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