Russian Language Blog

Knitting (and other crafts) in Russian Posted by on Jun 29, 2012 in Culture, language, Russian for beginners, Russian life

Всем здравствуйте! [Hello all!] Today I am going to talk about crafts in Russian. Я люблю вязать и мама любит шить [I love to knit and my mom loves to sew]. While at my university one day, I was walking with my Russian professor and he said Какой красивый шарф, Наташа [What a beautiful scarf, Natasha]. I thanked him and said Я его сама вязала [I knitted it myself]. In the photo: Когда я вяжу, Владимир Владимирович смотрит на меня [As I knit, Vladimir Vladimir looks at me]. The funny thing is I did not intend for Путин [Putin] to be in the photo – it just kind of turned out that way since that book was in the background!

In Russian, вязать means “to knit” and conjugates like this: я вяжу, ты вяжешь, он/она вяжет, мы вязжем, вы вяжете, они вяжут. The past tense is он вязал, она вязала, они вязали. The perfective is связать and has the same shift of з to ж when it conjugates.

To be able to knit, all you need is спицы для вязания [knitting needles] and пряжа [yarn]. With these, you will make петля [a stitch] and after a while, you will have an entire garmet.

Когда я была в школе [When I was in school], I did not know how to knit for a while. I first learned to crochet, which in Russian is вязать крючком. По-моему [In my opinion], this is a bit easier than knitting. There are many tutorials on the internet (на русском и на английском [in Russian and in English]) if you are interested in learning.

Sewing is different. You will need швейная машина [a sewing machine], ткань [fabric], нитки [thread], and иголка [a needle]. And the thread won’t just be loose, of course, but on a шпулька [bobbin, spool]. I think sewing is a lot more difficult than knitting or crocheting. The verb “to sew” in Russian is шить and conjugates as follows: я шью, ты шьёшь, он/она шьёт, мы шьём, вы шьёте, они шьют. The past tense is regular: шил, шила, шили.

I have a funny story about книги по шитью [sewing books]. В Петрозаводске мама купила книгу по шитью на русском [In Petrozavodsk, my mom bought a sewing book in Russian]. Она называется «Пэчворк» [It is called “Patchwork”]. Unfortunately, she has never made anything from it since it is all in metric measurements (and her rulers are US customary units).


What crafts do you like? Do you have craft stores where you live? And can you guess what I’m making in the photo accompanying this post?

Russian learners: if you are so inclined, go on the internet and search for websites in Russian that sell products related to knitting, crocheting, or sewing.

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About the Author: Natalie

I'm Natalie and I love the Russian language and sharing my knowledge with others. I graduated from university with a dual degree in Russian language & literature and history.


  1. Mabel:

    Hello, I am learning Russian language and I like to knit too!!
    You study in Russia?
    If you don’t mind that I hope to get some information from you about learn Russian in Russia.

  2. Rob:

    It looks to me as though ты вяжешь носок (“you’re knitting a sock”). Or possibly it’s the start of a рукав для свитера (“sleeve for a sweater”)?

    you will make петля [a stitch]

    Since петля is literally “a loop,” I would guess that it means “a stitch” specifically in the context of knitting/crochet. AFAIK “a stitch” in regular sewing is стежок (related to застёживать/застегнуть, “to fasten”), and a whole line of sewn stitches collectively (i.e., a “seam”) is a шов (gen. шва).

    All I really know about sewing machines is that you use “straight stitch” for woven ткань and “zigzag stitch” for трикотаж (“knit fabric”, from French)!

  3. Vitaliy:

    >Здравствуйте всем!

    This is incorrect. You should use only “Здравствуйте!”.

  4. Throbert McGee:

    I think it’s possible, however, to say “Здравствуйте все” (nominative). Note that “здравствуй(те)!” is technically the imperative of здравствовать (“to be well, to thrive, to prosper”) , which is why you wouldn’t use it with the dative.

    But привет всем, literally “greeting(s) to all,” is totally okay.

  5. Natalie:

    Rob: ты прав [you are correct] – I am knitting a sock! 🙂

  6. Stas:

    In Russian вязать also means to tie as in to tie hand with the rope

  7. sewn:

    i am an enthusiast and love russian books of sewing knitting and crochet but fail to understand the language where to learn please suggest only that much that will help me

  8. Jayne:

    I have come across many beautiful Russian knitting patterns for babies and trying to translate them into English using Google is impossible so I have to admit defeat when patterns use abbreviations and I can’t find the meaning of them.
    I have a simple plain baby vest knitting pattern and a button front vest. Isthere anyone willing to translate them, please?
    Generally they are not complicated patterns.
    Thank you x

  9. armaghan:

    I have a problem with meaning of пёрёд

  10. alekacraftaholic:

    I started lessons a month ago cause I love knitting and I wanted to understand the patterns which are written in russian language.Thanks for all these words in knitting