My Knitting Library

I’ve been feeling a bit of a creative dearth lately.  I am lucky in that I can often expel a lot of my creative energies at work.  Lately though that avenue has been filled more with catch-up administrative type stuff that doesn’t really get the juices flowing… so to speak.  At home, although as you can imagine our apartment is somewhat a crafty haven for me most of the time, the past few weeks (months?) have been just too busy.  I have a couple of knitting projects on the go (as usual) which are progressing very slowly, too slowly to share with you here; my spinning wheel has been silent since we brought home the puppy – I’m not yet prepared to experiment and let the twain meet; and all our little on-side projects have been side-lined on our to do list.  I am aggravated, writing this, that our lack of free time is such a constant theme on our poor website.  We are busy. Always. Period. Done. Now that’s enough online lamentation.

What I actually came here to do was give you a little tour of my rapidly escalating collection of knitting books.  These are a constant inspiration to me.  I rarely make anything out of them, but they give me nifty ideas, tips and tricks to add to my repertoire and help me develop my own projects.

I really get a kick out of visiting my “recommended for you” page because it’s such an incongruous mix of subjects: crafting books, graphic design, software manuals, and puppy-raising references, among other things.  Predominantly though, it shows me knitting books, and I will admit that I actually had to cancel Amazon’s “recommended” bi-weekly emails because they were much too effective – my coworker started to roll her eyes at the Amazon boxes arriving in the office and say “What did you order now?”  I had to own up to my addiction and remove the source of temptation.

I am especially attracted to books of small projects.  I like something I can get done in an afternoon, on a whim, or as a gift for someone without much lead time.  The following are great sources for this sort of thing:

One Skein: 30 Quick Projects to Knit or Crochet

This book is full of little projects with different versions, and basic constructions that make it easy for you to embellish or create your own using one of the patterns as a jumping off point.

Knitting Little Luxuries: Beautiful Accessories to Knit

This book is all about the details (hellooo buttons!), which I love.  In fact, some of the hats are a little over the top with the details (think a swath of dangling pom-poms swinging from the side of your head), but the patterns also describe simpler iterations for the most part, and the pictures are SO pretty. (As an aside, I so appreciate the models you find in most knitting books and magazines – they all look so NORMAL).

Boutique Knits: 20+ Must-Have Accessories

It was the hat on the front of the book that got me.  I know, I know, one shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but as a lover of the classic cloche, and the possessor of a giant mellon head which refuses to conform to any normal hat sizes, I was seduced by the possibility of making my own.  Luckily for me, the rest of the book bore out the cover’s cuteness.

The Knitter’s Book of Yarn: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing, Using, and Enjoying Yarn

I got this one for Christmas (yay Amazon wishlists!).  I didn’t entirely know what to expect from the contents, except that I was looking to expand the reference section of my little library and figured this book would answer that call.  It definitely did.  And I know, I am now forever stamped with the fiber-geek label (I bet you didn’t even know such a stamp existed, right? Thomas and I have many other such geek-stamps, I’ll tell you about them sometime).  Between the fascinating descriptions of different fibers and processes, there are little projects to accompany each fiber type.  A pretty brilliant set up for a knitting book.

On the flipside of the mini-project books, I also have a deep admiration for projects of great scale and intricacy.  I can still remember the first time I picked up a Rowan pattern book in a knitting store in New Zealand.  Until then I hadn’t really seen any patterns like those – in high school I always looked to the public library for pattern books, and those were woefully out of date, as though knitting patterns stopped being created after 1991.  The colours in this book, as they are in all Rowan books, were rich, the patterns contemporary, and the models stylishly disheveled.   It made me start to think about knitting in a different way.

These days I rarely complete anything as intricate as those Rowan patterns, but my book collection reflects my interest in the ornate nonetheless:

Rowan Knitting & Crochet Magazine No. 44

This was another Christmas present, and I’m actually knitting something from it right now.  Incidentally, this is the only belonging of ours that Piper has gotten a hold of and tried to kill.  The cover is much less pretty now, because SOMEBODY got in the SHOWER and left the puppy BY HERSELF. *cough, Thomas, cough*  The patterns in here may have gotten me hooked on Rowan Magazines… because I need more patterns in my life.

The Best of Interweave Knits: Our Favorite Designs from the First Ten Years

This one doesn’t really need any explanation – it’s the best of Interweave, need I say more?  Okay, just this: the extra looks at techniques alone make this book a keeper.

Romantic Hand Knits: 26 Flirtatious Designs That Flatter Your Figure

Some of these patterns are a little over the top, but they’re definitely inspirational.  Plenty of frills and drape.

Knitting Lingerie Style: More Than 30 Basic and Lingerie – Inspired Designs

I saved this one for last.  This is the only knitting book Thomas has ever ENCOURAGED me to buy.  The rest he’s pretty indifferent to.  The designs are based on shapes inspired by underwear! But the key in the title is “style” – i.e. they’re not all patterns for lingerie pieces.  Many are camisoles and tanks based on a bra pattern or a bustier.  Also – stockings and leggings! They’re on my knit-next list.

So there you have it, a little selection of what’s on my knitting bookshelf.  What’s next?  Well, I had been on a knitting book hiatus, but then I caught sight of this at

Knitting and Tea: 25 Classic Knits and the Teas That Inspired Them

I might have to place an Amazon order… I’ll just have to close my eyes while I do it.

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