Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Knitting Books Galore

This Christmas, the two favorite men in my life, my Dad & my Fiance, updated my stash of knitting books. My Dad went straight to my Amazon wish list and got me the three books on the right.

Knitting Books

Knitting America details the history of sticks and yarn on our homeland, along with photographic eye-candy and 20 patterns too! I'll be reading it to sleep for many a night. Afterward, it'll grace my coffee table.

Cat Bordhi's New Pathways for Sock Knitters is more than a sock pattern book - it's a sock ARCHITECTURE book that borders on revolutionary. It shall inspire my next sock project - maybe EVERY sock project.

Nicky Epstein's Knitting Beyond the Edge, like the first two in her series, has beautifully photographed knitting swatches of unique designs to get the creative juices flowing. Though it contains some strange neck ruffle patterns, I can see how applying them on something else will be fabulous, like on purses, home decor, or girly baby sweaters. My favorite chapter is 'Closures' which has the most gorgeous button bands ever.

My fiance did a little research to find me the two books on the left. America's Knitting Book by Gertrude Taylor is a nice 1968 vintage encyclopedia of knitting techniques. Though I've only glanced through it, it looks like it has a little of everything, from learning how to knit, to designing stitch patterns and sleeve caps.

Last and definitely not least, behold the golden tome of many knitters - The Principles of Knitting by June Hiatt! This out-of-print book can set you back a couple hundred bucks for a decent copy, so it's only for the truly dedicated. Luckily our local library carries it, so I've had it on loan for over two years. I only had to mentioned once to him that I wish I could afford my own copy, so for Christmas, not only did he find me a MINT copy...

Principles of Knitting by June Hemmons Hiatt

...it's also SIGNED by the author herself! OK, it's not addressed to me, but still!

For his handmade gift, I designed and knit him a top-down cabled hat in a bouncy smooth merino, Emmanuella by Goddess Yarns. After he donned it, I found a few improvements to make, so I'm going to rip the edge and rework it.

Cabled Hat

From building me a knitting machine workstation to giving me one of the most expensive books ever, my fiance is a knitter's dream come true. I shall knit for him as long as we both shall live!

Merry Christmas!


  1. What great gifts! I love the hat too!

  2. Oh my gosh, that book!!!! The Principles of Knitting..... how is it? I heard its okay....... is it better than books like vogue knitting, and the knitters handbook, and the big book of knitting?

  3. Principles of Knitting is a detailed reference manual that not only explains how, but WHY techniques work they way they do, like why a SSK or SKP always looks looser than a K2tog. June Hemmons Hiatt is a knitting genius. The cast-on, bind-off, increase, and decrease chapters are best I've ever seen, with dozens of variations on each. The double knitting and the designing chapters are equally excellent.

    There are a few minor weak spots: The author is biased against continental style, only details the wrapped short row method, there's no mention of knitting small tubes on longer circulars, and the order of the chapters is strange, like casting on in chapter six? Where is the one-row buttonhole, and why doesn't she know how to hide the jog when knitting stripes in the round? Her writing style can be overly thorough and sometimes dry, and the photos are black-n-white.

    Still, the minor drawbacks are hardly noticeable against the wealth of information. When it was originally published, it was a $30 book (probably around $45 today) so back in its day, it was just a big knitting, not the holy grail that some make it out to be. Still, if I had to pick only one knitting book (after wiping away tears of deep sorrow) it would have to be Principles of Knitting, with Vogue Knitting & Knitter's Handbook coming close.

    POK doesn't contain EVERYTHING about knitting - there's not yet a book that does, so I'm glad to have a variety of every type of knitting book in my library - from pattern books, stitch libraries, to techniques like modular knitting, and let's not forget the trendy knitting magazines that keep us up to date on the latest designs, yarns, and all the latest news in the wonderful world of knitting.

    I heard that POK was going to be reprinted in 2008, but apparently, Simon & Schuster has been saying that for years, and the "coming soon" list on their website doesn't mention it. If it does get reprinted, I'll still be one of the first in line, then I can carefully preserve my old signed copy, and then tear up the new copy flipping through all those different cast-ons!


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