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The Knitter's Book of Yarn: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing, Using, and Enjoying Yarn
by Clara Parkes
Potter Craft, $30.00, hardcover
SR= 30-46

Knitters are notoriously curious people. How do you do that? Why? What happens if I do this? The Knitter’s Book of Yarn satisfies knitting curiosity on the most basic level – yarn. It’s what we hoard, what we love, dream about, painstakingly plan around. But do we really know yarn, beside what we like? Do we know how to choose a yarn that will make the design we love sing?

Here we learn about fibers -- protein-cellulose-synthetic; how yarn is made; the how and why of ply; all at a depth and breadth that would make a PhD candidate salivate. There are 40 patterns, each chosen to illustrate the characteristics of the yarn used. This is a book I want to sleep with under my pillow hoping all that all of its knowledge will seep into my brain as I sleep. It’s a love story from one yarn geek to all the others. Thank you, Clara. It makes our knitting richer.


Available at
Knitting Universe

Great American Afghan
XRX Books

I’m not an afghan fan – go figure, since it’s a bunch of swatches sewn together and I love swatches. But there’s something I like about this one -- the earthy colors, the weird way the squares go together when they shouldn’t.

A cast of world-famous designers has created the blocks that make up the quilt. The directions are clear. Thanks to XRX for making charts big enough to use without the reader having to enlarge them.

My favorite square is the tilty square by Joan Schrouder. It reminds me of the movie Vertigo.


Available at

The Yarn Lover’s Guide to Hand Dyeing: Beautiful Color and Simple Knits
by Linda La Belle
Potter Craft
$30.00, hardcover

While most yarn dyeing books focus on one style of dyeing, this comprehensive book covers 6 different techniques. It also covers the difference between dyeing protein and cellulose fibers, has patterns for each style of dyeing that are designed to showcase the dyed yarn and interviews with some of the best known and loved production yarn dyers - including peeks into their studios.

The meat of the book is the actual dyeing. The instructions are understandable for humans, not scientists, with words and photographs easy to follow and completely inspiring. The photography is gorgeous – rich, clear and exciting. This is a book to savor.


Available at

Knit Couture: 20 Hand-Knit Designs from Runway to Reality
by Gail Downey, Henry Conway
St. Martins
$29.95, Hardcover
SR= 31-50

Gail Downey has designed knitwear for John Galliano, written about fashion for the New York Times, and runs the Weardowney knitwear label. Can you see this isn’t going to be your typical knitting book?

It’s a book for knitters who are interested in how knitwear relates to fashion. There are 20 knitting patterns from the Weardowney line that have a seemingly impossible feeling that is simultaneously romantic and very modern. But the unique aspect of this book comes in the first half – a scholarly history of knitting, profiles of couture designers who are known for their knitwear, the technology of knitting for the fashion industry and the place of knitwear and knitting today.


Available at

Pretty Knits: 30 Designs from Loop in London

Potter Craft
$30.00, hardcover
SR= 32-42

Filled with the garments and accessories that have made Loop the knitting destination in London, Pretty Knits captures the knitting joie de vivre that exemplifies modern knitting.

Calling on some of the most inventive designers, the patterns are anything but the same old thing. In the hands of Nicky Thompson, a pillow becomes a bold floor cushion that looks like a playing piece from a children’s board game. A purse from the brain of Leigh Radford looks like it’s a living thing undulating with texture and color. There are sweaters, dresses and a bounty of accessories none of them hard to knit, but all of them full of imagination.

Available at

Knitting Little Luxuries: Beautiful Accessories to Knit
by Louisa Harding
Interweave Press

This is one of those knitting books you want to escape to – a lovely little seaside cottage where there is nothing to do but knit and wear beautiful knitting.

These accessories are all about choices: the style you knit -- quirky, modern, feminine or folky; the yarns you choose; the embellishment you prefer. Using these basic patterns, you can create unique and individual expressions of knitting.


Available at

Harmony Guides:
Lace & Eyelets: 250 Stitches to Knit
Cables & Arans: 250 Stitches to Knit
Knit & Purl: 250 Stitches to Knit
by Erika Knight (Editor)
Interweave Press
$22.95 each

Yes, yes, I have quite the thing about stitch guides. I never think twice about buying one. In my opinion, even if two books show the same stitches, the presentation -- photography, yarn choice -- helps tell the tale for any particular project.

The Harmony Guides have been around since the 1980s boasting 440 stitches of teeny pictures showing stitches knit in lovely shades of harvest gold, avocado and mauve, knit in yarn that looks scratchy from 20 yards.

These updated guides boast stitch patterns selected by British design guru Erika Knight – 250 down from the original 440. This allows for large photos of each stitch pattern, knit in lovely smooth yarns with nary a harvest or avocado in sight. The book binding is perfect, heavy and one that will lay flat instantly without cracking or causing pages to fall out after a use or two.

I like that the new guides are cataloged by stitches – knit/purl, lace, aran; the originals were full of a little bit of everything.

There are two places that opportunities were missed, a minor one and one that may be a deal breaker for some. In the lace book the British knitting term "yarn forward" wasn’t replaced by the North American "YO":, causing this knitter a couple of rows of irritation. The bigger gap is the lack of charts. There are no charts. Every stitch pattern in each book has line-by-line instructions only.



Available at

Inspired Fair Isle Knits: 20 Creative Designs Inspired by the Elements
by Fiona Ellis
Potter Craft
$35.00, hardcover
SR= 35-52

Putting her own personal spin on Fair Isle knitting, Fiona Ellis brings a collection of patterns inspired by the four elements.

If you are looking for traditional Fair Isle sweaters you won’t find them here. This Fair Isle is looser and less structured. Many projects have just a touch of Fair Isle knitting combined with lace or other texture, visually creating a feeling of the elements. On the practical side, it creates projects that are quicker to knit than a traditional Fair Isle.


Available at

101 Designer One-Skein Wonders
by Judith Durant
Storey Books
SR= 32-48"

Drag out your single skein’s knitting time. There couldn’t be a better time of year for this book, it’s the secret weapon of holiday gift knitting. Given the size of most of these projects, they'll only take a night or two.

Accessories galore, and charming and well-thought-out projects that can wait until the last minute. And with 101 patterns, there has to be something for nearly everyone on your gifting list.


Available at

Kaffe Knits Again: 24 Original Designs Updated for Today's Knitters

Potter Craft
$35.00, hardcover
SR= 32-44"

There are no new patterns in this book. There, that’s out of the way. But the real test of a great designer is time.

These patterns by Kaffe Fassett still make my mouth water and my fingers itch, and some of them are 20 years old. The designs have been updated in terms of color, and yarns. Some of his patterns have been incorporated into additional designs -- like the Foolish Virgins scarf -- that may not take as much time as a garment, but are still mind-blowingly gorgeous.

Available at

Son of Stitch 'n Bitch: 45 Projects to Knit and Crochet for Men
by Debbie Stoller
SR= 38-58"

The best review that I can give this book is that the husband took it out of my hands and looked through it, the whole thing page by page. Then he said, “There are a lot of cool things in there.”

That has never happened before, ever.


Available at

150 Knitted Trims: Designs for Beautiful Decorative Edgings, from Beaded Braids to Cables, Bobbles, and Fringes
by Lesley Stanfield
St Martins

Have you ever finished a sweater and it’s just ok, or maybe even blah? This book will cure what ails your project.

Edges, insertions and trims are what this book is about. Lace, bobbles, curves and cords are photographed up close and personal so there are no surprises when you’re done. You’ll never knit blah again.

Available at
Kristin's own site
Kristin Knits: 27 Inspired Designs for Playing with Color
by Kristin Nicholas
Storey Publishing
$24.95, hardcover
SR= 36-52"

Kristin Nicholas is a knitting hero of mine. Back when I started knitting, she ruled the world of knit design. She was one of the cool kids whose designs were always exciting, alive and fun -- ethnic patterns revisioned in bright colors.

I was sad when Kristin took a break from knitting, but now she‘s back with a collection of knitting patterns that are as fun to knit as to wear. There are socks and mittens that will warm you by their colors alone. Embroidery and other embellishments are scattered over projects to give them depth and texture. Each pattern is an explosion of color and represents what the joy of knitting is about.

Available at

How to Make Books: Fold, Cut & Stitch Your Way to a One-of-a-Kind Book
by Esther K. Smith
Potter Craft
$25.00, Hardcover

Can’t find the perfect knitting or spinning journal to fit your particular way of cataloging your obsession? Make your own.

This book walks you through making 7 different kinds of books. Not ploddy and boring like some book-making books, this one distills the how-to into step-by-step illustrations. Then it gives you just what you want – inspiration in the way of samples of the books from the folks at Purgatory Pie Press, the company that created this fabulous booky book.


Available at Amazon

Boho Baby Knits: Groovy Patterns for Cool Tots
by Kat Coyle
Potter Craft
$27.50, hardcover

Want a little something different to knit for the kiddos in your life?

Boho Baby Knits forgoes the cutesy bows and ribbons that a lot of baby and kid knitting books hold as sacrosanct. Not that the designs in this book (and the kids) aren’t adorable. The designs, like the title, suggests the bohemian, the artsy, inspired by musicians, writers and painters. The colors are bold the designs as unique as the kids you know.

Available at

Sensual Knits: Luxurious Yarns, Alluring Designs
by Yahaira Ferreira
SR= 28-52"

Camisoles, cardigans, pullovers and wraps in luxury yarns made of silk, cashmere, merino and alpaca. These yarns are soft on the skin yet frequently have little spring. I applaud this book for listening to these yarns, and taking advantage of their drape; not expecting crispness in a design. Not every project is a lace project, which many designers do when faced with this type of yarn. Note too that the sizing goes larger than many books, so women of all shapes and sizes can wear these patterns.


Available at
Big Sky Knitting

Cables: Volume 1: The Basics

Big Sky Knitting Designs

I think that Janet Szabo’s brain grows in cable and bobble shapes.

This book may say ‘Basic’ on the cover, but it’s anything but simplistic. It is a primer on cables and an amazing cable stitch dictionary. It teaches cabling without a cable needle, how to fix cable mistakes and how to design your own cable pattern.

Two things that are stellar here that I’ve not seen in any other aran/cable book: a discussion of woolen and worsted types of yarn, and a discussion of yarn ply both in regard to cable definition in your knitting.

My most favorite part of this book is the part where it says ‘Volume 1’ in the title...bring on more cables!




Available at
Knitting Out Loud

Stitch 'N Bitch: The Knitter's Handbook
by Debbie Stoller, read by Debbie Stoller
Audiobook abridged, 3 CDs, 3 hrs 19 min
Patterns not included

Knitting Memories: Reflections on the Knitter's Life
Edited by Lela Nargi, read by Kymberly Dakin
Audiobook abridged, 4 CDs, 4 hrs

America Knits
by Melanie Falick, read by Christine Marshall
Audiobook abridged, 4 CDs, 4 hrs 56 min
Patterns not included

Cool idea, no? Knit while listening to knitting. Not just podcasty knitting which tends to be opinion, and not always linear or well edited.  All of these best-selling knitting books have been abridged.

Audio books are a very personal thing. It’s not just content but the voices. For me, it was fantastic to hear Debbie Stoller read Stitch ‘N Bitch, even though I’ve read it a couple of times. I love Lela Nargi’s style so Knitting Memories was a joy. America Knits was ok; it’s a different book without the magnificent pictures.

One thing I do find about audio is that it’s a unique experience. Even though I’ve read a book, with no plans to read it again, I will still listen and thoroughly enjoy listening to that same book. Now can we get Alan Rickman to read something?



Available at
Offhand Designs

Zhivago Bag
by Offhand Designs
Dimensions: 10.5"H x 18"W x 12"D
Shown in Martini

Sometimes a bag is more than a bag. Sometimes a bag is evocative of a bigger picture, little pieces of your imagination.  The Zhivago Bag is one of those bags.

The more technical specs are like this: It is HUGE – hold a whole sweater, a coat, even, plus – no problem – huge. It has two really deep pockets on the outside, six open & one zippy pocket on the inside. The closure is where it all starts for me, the dreamy escaping with my bag – it’s that snap open Mary Poppins type of closure.

I’ve been using and abusing this bag for two months now. It started with SOAR (Spin Off Autumn Retreat) where it was my schlep bag, everything I needed for every class except for my spinning wheel I stuffed in it. Some days it wouldn’t even close all the way, but the closure held even at halfway.

Lately I’ve been using it to take my knitting to a charity knitting program I do with kids. That’s right, kiddos have been dragging, wearing, snapping open and shut, open and shut the bag. The closure hasn’t faltered once and the velvety fabric hasn’t gotten bald or weird at all. Now if the Mary Poppins type of magic really worked, I should be able to pull out a Vespa out of this carpetbag and ride off into the Italian sunset.



Available at

Baby Knits: 20 Handknit Designs for Babies 0--24 Months
by Lois Daykin
St. Martins

Cute, cute and more cute. 20 traditional baby designs for mostly girl babies.

Knit entirely in Rowan yarns, the designs are of that British country house sensibility with lots of lace and cables. And the babies? So cute you want to nibble their feet.


Available at
Walker Bags

Back Pack
by Walker Bags,
Dimensions: 20” x 16”

Feeling more like a Sporty Spice knitting bag? This Walker Back Pack may just be what you’re looking for. Lightweight yet made of bombproof nylon, this bag is perfect for carrying along your knitting on your bike, or anytime you want your hands free. It has nice, wide shoulder straps, like a seat belt shoulder strap but made of lighter nylon.

Size wise it would hold a t-shirt sized project, plus all of the knitting extras. The nylon it’s made of is meshy so it’s an excellent bag to use if you have to carry not -quite-dry dyeing, felting or knitting projects.

The mesh fabric comes in a variety of colors: black, lime [shown], multi, orange, purple, red, white and yellow.

All of fabrics used in the bag are smooth inside and out, so the only grabbing of yarn that’s going to happen is from you, not your bag.


Knitting print
digital print of an original illustration
sheep! and bunnies!
and knitting!
by Elsita

vinyl self-adhesive sheepies
put them on your window or wall.
can be removed without leaving a mess,
unlike real sheep.
by pulcinopazzo

goat's milk sheepy soap
how come it's not made
with sheep's milk?
i guess we'll never know.
by JB Soaps

white sheep acrylic ring
comes in black and other animals, too.
create a pastoral scene
on your fingers
by soop

Original Knitzi

keep your kids out of your DPNs!
the end screws on!
5-, 6-, 7-, and 8-inch sizes
by Knitzi


sterling yarn ball earrings

handmade and irresistable.
available at Scout's Swag


round drawstring basket

seagrass lined with silk in your choice
of 4 different colors
gift or store a big bump of roving!
[bump shown weighs about 1 lb.]

spin it right from the basket!
by lantern moon

tiny bottle of Felix Felicis

save it for a day when you
really need everything to go right
by tiffanybell

thought bubble barrrettes

"save the drama for your mama"
and other private thoughts
on a clever hair clip
by melbell

fused glass knitter pendant

pretty glass with our favorite passion
baked right inside!
by chauncey

knitting needle bracelet

retro-style needle
permanently twisted into a bracelet.
probably not suitable for knitting,
but really cute.
by LianaKabel

needle chain link bracelet

clever! clever! little slizes of aluminum
knitting needles become jewelry
by sassafrascreations

emergency knitting bag

never get caught without knitting again!
fits in the glove compartment
or other small spaces.
save your sanity.
by Spunky Eclectic

handknit orenburg shawls for too cheap

you have got to be kidding.
beautiful handwork, gorgeous materials
and an exquisite FO.
each one-of-a-kind. wow.
by BestFromUkraine
socks knit from YOUR yarn

on a vintage circular sock machine,
in whatever size you choose.
because sock yarn doesn't count as stash,
especially once it's socks.
by FernwoodWoolworks