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Cool stuff!Techniques with TheresaThinking beyond...Watch this space Knit like a man
I wish someone had told meThe knitting Scarf psychology With bows...
KnittyspinHandy plyingSpinning silk hankies

Available at Amazon

Colorful Stitchery

Storey Publications
$19.95US/$27.95 CAN

Kristin Nichols' name is synonymous with eclectic, colorful, never-go-out-of-style knitting patterns. A superstar knitter she may be, but her great love is embroidery.

This is a beginning-to-intermediate book that takes you from the baby steps (choosing fabrics and stitches) to bigger thoughts (dyeing your own fabrics and threads, crewel work). Why review an embroidery book in a knitting magazine? Almost every pattern and technique can be used as embroidery on knitwear or felted/fulled projects.

Even if you don't plan to embroider, this is an inspiring book. Everything (especially color) works together in unexpected ways to fan the creative flame in your brain.

Extra added bonus: The book was photographed in Kristin Nicholas' home, so you get a little peek into the domain of this creative goddess.


Available at Anatomy of a Skirt

Yarn Pirate Tote

$60 CAN

This bag stopped me cold in my tracks at the DUDE [that's the Downtown Urban Design Event, possibly the coolest name ever for a craft collective show -- held twice a year in Toronto]. Hanging quietly off her display rack with a pair of needles and some yarn dangling out the side.

This, my friends, is a beautiful handmade bag. It's fully vegan, and really sweet. Black vinyl outside, with the yarn pirate subtly machine stitched to evoke his yarny origins. Needles crossed below, tauntingly.

My favorite: hard to pick. I love the stripy cotton lining. I love that the shoulder strap runs diagonally, so it stays on your shoulder better. I'd say both.

It's pocket-free inside. A pocket wouldn't hurt, but there's plenty of room for your pattern, needles, yarn and project. Like plenty. Two snaps at the top keep stuff in.

Anatomy of a Skirt makes lots of most excellent vegan gear, including totes with silver squids on them. Seriously, squids. Go. See.


Available at Amazon

Toys to Knit

Potter Craft
$19.95US/$27.95 CAN

Knitted toy books seem to be coming out of the woodwork. And dang, if there isn't something cute to knit in each one. This book has captivated my family. The husband has requested the fetching monkey on the cover. And my girl, well. let's just say I spent the afternoon knitting doll parts, while she planned an extensive wardrobe for her doll wit the book & my stash.

The book has 30-ish patterns of varying sizes; there is a basic doll and a multipiece wardrobe (including the all important fairy outfit), 10 personality-rich animals and a chapter with knitted toys.


Available at Amazon

The Knitting Answer Book

Storey Publications
$14.95 US/ $19.95 CAN

The Knitting Answer Book is similar to the Knitters Companion and Vogue Knitting Quick Reference, but much friendlier than the others' just-the-facts-ma'am style. Chapters include Yarn, Basics, Pattern Stitches, Fitting, Finishing and Embellishments. Like the title indicates, the meat of the book is set up in a question and answer approach. There are a ton of questions I'd asked (or wanted to ask) when I was a new (and newish) knitter, and the answers are much more thorough than many I received. It's like having a knitting teacher you can tuck away in your pocket.


Available at Amazon

The Knitting Experience Book 3 : Color

XRX Publishing

I wish that I could Vulcan mind-meld Sally Melville & instantly know everything she does about knitting. Until my Vulcan powers are up to speed, I'll have to settle for reading her books. In her latest, Sally explores the sometimes daunting topic of color in knitting. She is able to distill color knitting techniques (Fair Isle, intarsia, working with stripes and variegated yarns, choosing and mixing colors) into simple explanations, but not so simplistic that you feel you'reback in kindergarten. She offers up directions in a way, that makes a knitter (well at least this knitter) sit back, relax and say "why did I think this technique was so hard/scary/undoable?" There are a handful of Sally's meditations on knitting and creativity, too. True ideas for knitters to think about, not the prepackaged greeting card type crap that many books are wrapping themselves in these days.

I would buy a book from Sally that had just technique and words of wisdom and creativity, but as usual she also offers up patterns, 40+, ranging in color, style and technique that befit a creative knitting designer and her equally creative knitters.


Available at Amazon

Sensational Knitted Socks

Martingale and Co.

You say you need a book of sock patterns that has multiple foot sizes for women, men and kiddos, multiple gauges, a variety of stitch patterns ranging from ribs to lace to aran to color work? That both toe-up and top down would be a bonus? And the ability to use 4/5/or two circulars would be an extra-added plus? Lay down your credit card because you've found your book. It ain't the cheapest sock book, but the designs and information are solid and the directions are laid out in color coded table (easy to follow if you're a visual knitter).

This (along with anything by Nancy Bush) is a desert island sock book.


Available at Amazon

Oddball Knitting: Creative Uses for Leftover Yarn

Potter Craft

If you are a knitter who stashes (yes, there are some who don't) you have bunch of half skeins, leftover skeins, 'but it was on sale' skeins, and 'just a ball to swatch' skeins. What do you do with all those bits & bobs? Oddball Knitting has some answers.

Focusing mostly on small projects (which also means quick & good for gifts), this books presents lovely projects (bags, scarves, slippers, a poncho, an afghan) that you can make without buying a drop of new yarn, really. Perfect for the knitter on a yarn diet.


Available at Amazon

Knitgrrl: Learn to Knit with 15 Fun and Funky Projects

Watson Guptil

Doesn't it seem like every new knitting book tells you it will 'teach you to knit'? Then somehow manages to sum up the everything-about-knitting in one or two pages, leaving a newbie in tears. Well, Knitgrrl actually puts its pages where its mouth is. They use many pages to explain the various knitterly techiniques in the book. Best of all there are step-by-step directions with photographs, not illustrations, easier for a newbie to follow.

Not being part of the target market for this book (near and young teens) I flashed this book around the elementary school where I volunteer to get a real girl sort of review. There was much squealing of the 'how cool' variety. The projects appealed to a wide variety of girls from 6 on up. They also appealed to a bunch of teachers who knit.

Be sure to check out the allowance friendly price.


Available at Amazon

New Knits on the Block: A Guide to Knitting What Kids Really Want


I'm a child of the '80s, so I think this book is fab just for all of the puns.

Plethora of pithy puns aside, this book is a great, well-executed idea. It's filled with the best kind of childish stuff, toys -- blocks, memory cars and a bowling set; loads of dress up -- a mermaid, a viking, capes, wizard and princess hats; and some just for fun stuff -- a tooth fairy pillow, a robot PJ bag, a guitar pillow and a pirate bath set. Why not knit the kiddos (and not so kiddos) in your life stuff they'll actually like and use and wear? Brilliant.


Available at Knitifacts

Arty little knitting goodies --
sterling stitch markers

$30.00us -- venetian glass [top]
fits up to US #10.5 needles, set of 4

$18.00us -- open rings [bottom]
fits up to US #19 needles, set of 8

These babies are sweet. Sparkly little concoctions that will perk up whatever you're knitting. Everything is made with sterling bits, swarovski crystals, foil-lined venetian glass beads and other pretty, sparkly things.

The markers pictured on top are a wee bit posh, and very pretty. A little heft from the shimmery glass beads means they sit where you put them. And the braided sterling rings are solid and totally up to the job.

The markers on the bottom are a clever new thing I haven't seen before -- a seemingly closed ring that opens with a little gentle tug, right at the point where the two silver balls meet, so you can slip it on to mark one specific stitch. I think they're probably better for projects using chunky [or heavier] yarn.

I won't tell anyone if you slip a few on your fingers. I did.

Available at Amazon

Knitorama: 25 Great & Glam things to Knit

MQ Publications

Rachael Matthews and the gang of knitters known as Cast Off remind us, with their needles & tongue firmly in cheek, that knitting (and crocheting) is fun.

And fun it is in the wonderful world of Knitorama. Knitted and crocheted food abound (a personal weakness of mine), including fried eggs that can worn as earmuffs.

A brilliant knitted hand grenade (drop stitches not bombs) is there and a knitted pint of stout. There are wearables too, socks, shoelaces, a cardi made from gauge swatches and some seriously gorgeous lingerie.

The patterns are certainly the stars of this book, but there's a ton of useful how-to too. All the basics are there, but some things I've never seen in a knitting book, a discussion of the different ways to hold yarn and needles for speed and a how-to on darning.

This book reminds me of an episode of HR Puff N Stuff (who's your friend when things get rough?), in the most spectacular possible way, of course.

Available at Della Q

Della Q Bags

Small project bags: $36-40us [green bag shown: $38]
Large project bags: $42-56us [striped bag shown: $42]
- matching accessory pouches available

Hi, I'm Amy and I'm a silk ho™.

Oh. What are these? Knitting bags...made of silk? Sorry, I can't afford them. Look at those smooth solid wood handles. The pretty embroidery. The shimmery silk fabric. And they're well made, all done by hand in Vietnam. Not heavy, but sturdy. And they have pockets inside. And a little magnetic closure? Hmm.

Do I have to give up yarn to be able to afford one of these bags? I won't do it. Even if the little one is just right to carry my sock-in-progress around, and not look the least bit like a craft bag. And I could easily fit my sweater-in-progress in the big bag. But then I'd have no money left for yarn.

What? The little one is less than $40, and the big one is just a few dollars more? That's amazing.

[This made-up scenario has been brought to you by the original Bag Ho™, temporarily driven happily mad by two sweet, silk knitting bags. To drive yourself similarly mad, visit the Della Q website to see their full, beautiful range. Enjoy.]


Available at

Soak wool wash
425 ml bottle: $16cdn
Starter Kit [3x 130ml bottles, one per fragrance packed in box]: $29cdn

Three fresh, light scents make up the Soak line of wool wash: Flora, Aquae and Citrus. It's about time someone made our knitwear smell as good as the rest of us.

I tried the citrus on some cashmere that had a lot of machine oil on it (yes, the stuff from ebay). Before washing, it felt stiff and greasy & smelled more like a car than an animal. A brief soak left my swatch oil free and smelling barely citrus-y with an animally undertone -- lovely. I like that it's no-rinse product because I'm lazy. It's also biodegradable and phosphate free so it's earth happy and not too sudsy.


Available at

Unusual Toys for You to Knit and Enjoy

My cute-o-meter just blasted off into space. Have you seen Jess' stuff?

Adorable, and cutie-pie without being cloying. How does she do it? Who cares? I'm just glad she decided to share the patterns with the rest of us.

Her patterns all are knit out of worsted weight yarn (mostly Lamb's Pride... I'll pause while you rummage in your stash) and are a real huggable size, no dinky minkies, most are 9-10" in height.

Look at those faces! Wouldn't it just make your day to come home to a couch full of those guys?


Available at

Straight needle storage tube

If you use straight needles, how do you store them? They're pointy. They could be dangerous!

A vase can be handy to just dump them all in, but what happens when you go out and want to bring your needles with? Wouldn't you like something sturdy, functional and has a little sass?

Meet the straight needle storage tube from the nice folks at Jordana Paige. It's a super-thick cardboard tube, decorated with cuteness outside [artwork by Marcin Baranski] and lined on the inside. There's a dividing wall to separate two sets of needles -- the tall ones on one side and the shorter ones on the other, or maybe your bamboo on one side and the aluminum on the other? Whatever you like. A handy inventory chart on back helps you keep track of what you have so you don't duplicate and the strong rope handle lets you take it to your next stitch party. Tidy and functional. Nice.


Available at


I didn't think it was possible to cram so much beginny spinning info into a 44-page half-size zine.

Somehow Heidi Kenney of manages to take a newbie through the entire process of making and using a spindle, finding (cheap & free), cleaning and preparing fiber to spin, dyeing your fiber, and making using a niddy noddy. What else is there to know?

All this know-how is illustrated with Heidi's wonderful spinny illustrations. And Amy? She talks about spinning non-animal yarn, including how to spin 100% cotton balls.


Available at amor de fio

Handmade sterling stitch markers, set of 4

$28.00us [small, fits up to US #10.5 needles]
$32.00us [large, fits up to US #15 needles]

These are unapologetically pretty knitting tools. Yummy stitch markers.

Unlike the kind that I make myself, there is not a cheesy [but easy to add] split ring to be found. These are all done the hard way -- soldered solid-sterling rings. Each bead is perfectly hand wired to its ring [said with envy, by this amateur beadworker], and the choices of beads? Delicious.

Each set comes with four stitch markers. Three match, and one stands out. Handy for marking the beginning of your round or any other unique design feature you want to track. And the sets are amusingly named, too. Are you in the mood for "Ivy loves Pumpkins" or perhaps "Carrie loves Cosmos"?

The choices of beads change from time to time, so take a look and see if your knitting needs any new jewelry today.


Available at KnitOne

Bags for people who stitch - Paris, Sherlock,
by KnitOne

More delights this season From KnitOne! First, the classy Paris [top left], done in a pale blue and soft taupe brocade. This fabric is lovely and substantial. Very elegant, and just like its namesake city.

The Sherlock bag [middle left] is a clever beast, done in cream herringbone fabric, lined in a red and cream shimmery plaid. Love the toggle clasp!

Finally, the last addition this season is a real tiger -- Furberry![bottom left] Or leopard, actually -- a little furry beast ready to take anything you want to put in it. And keep it safe.

Read our original review of the KnitOne knitting bags for the rest of the story. We think they're great!






Available at Amazon

Knitter's Lib: Learn to Knit, Crochet and Free Yourself from Pattern Dependency

Ten Speed Press

This is a cool book from Russian designer Lena Maikon who sells funky fashion under the name Leninka. She combines knit and crochet in most of her patterns and they're cool and interesting.

The meat of the book lies in the discussion of knit and crochet in design. She teaches you not only how to use each but when. She discusses the merits of needle and hook; then you practice by doing her patterns.

In the section called Key Elements of Design she illustrates some basic techniques in kntitng and crochet, then teaches, coaches and dares you to see that by mastering a few techniques and stretching your brain that "every design you ever see will be at your creative mercy".