knitting books & Resources
Design & technique
These are some of my favorite knitting books. As you should notice below I am partial to Margaret Radcliffe's books. I like her style, layout and the precision of her technique and clarity of her presentation. I have not included Vogue Knitting, which is a comprehensive technique resource that I loved for a while, because I can't find use for it anymore. It's layout style and images strike me as dated. It's not attractive and though in content it might be helpful for the general knitter, it's not compelling enough for me to refer to.
KNITTING PATTERN BOOKS
There are a wealth of knitting pattern books for all ages out there mingling among us. Because patterns are personal to each of us, what we like to knit, who we like to knit for, types of garments we tend to knit which can depend on the climate we live in, I thought I'd refrain from recommending pattern books though I will say that I love Mel Clark and Nikki Van De Carr's books on patterns for children as well as some of Erika Knight and Debbie Bliss's books.
KNITTING gUIDES & SOLUTION BOOKS
There are many knitting guides and solution books. I have not found one single book to be the be all and end all. They all seem to be missing this or that.
Knitting know how
Circular Knitting Workshop by Margaret Radcliffe has become an essential reference for me as both a knitter and a designer. I've referenced it when drafting my own knitting patterns and used it when I've been stumped knitting someone else's design.
The Knowledgeable Knitter by Margaret Radcliffe is another invaluable resource. I refer to it as needed. I love her style, the layout and it's usability!
Are you noticing a pattern here? I love all of Margaret Radcliffe's books. The Essential Guide to Color Knitting Techniques is no exception. Though at this point you should also keep in mind that we are all unique and before you run out and buy all three books, you should test drive them if you can from your local library or at least take a good look through at the bookstore. That said, I hope you too can find her books worth investing in. I find them clear, easy to follow and attractive in design.
DRAFTING & REFERENCE
There are not many guides out there to designing your own knits. Shirley Paden's guide is one of very few but she's quite good at what she does. There are many stitch compendiums out there. I have not found many that I like and maybe I'm being too picky. I really like everything about the one I own and chose to recommend. The yarn used to knit the stitches is very well chosen because it shows the stitches quite well. I also like the way the stitches were photographed still on the needle.
Knitwear Design Workshop by Shirley Paden is great but... Wait, let me backtrack and start by saying that Shirley Paden's designs are astounding, gorgeous, contemporary, detailed and nowhere near the old lady reputation of knitwear. Now, where to start with my critiques of this book... Sometimes I dive too deeply into psychological interpretations of why I like this or that so please forgive me for the following if you believe that to be true. Shirley Paden reminds me of myself. She's got a sharp grasp on her subject and can explain complex information in a detailed (sometimes too much so) way that she obviously thoroughly understands. However, as an outsider, I am lost in the complexity and density of her explanations. I speak and write like this. It has been a real effort for me to write more clearly what I understand as I try to convey it to others. And sometimes if I reread something enough I discover, in like an out of body experience of sorts where suddenly I can see it outside of my own brain, how others see whatever it is that I'm writing. I can explain great complexes of writing as I understand it but it is often still too dense for others to grasp. Anyway, I've run away in my own narcissistic tirade, long story short, Shirley obviously has so impeccable and incredibly valuable know how, but I found it hard to follow her book in the complexity of the information she was offering and the way it was being offerend. However, I do recommend this book as an accompaniment to her Craftsy class. She is an expert who has been working in her field for many years and has perfected her craft. I recommend Shirley's book for the serious knitting pattern designer alongside her class on Craftsy.
Super Stitches Knitting by Karen Hemingway is one of a great many books on knitting stitches that one can use in their own designs. I found myself attracted to the way in which she displayed her stitch designs (a swatch still attached to the needle) on a neutral or non distracting background and I liked many of the stitches collected here. Despite the various interesting yarns on the cover the stitches inside the book are all knit in a cotton yarn so that the patterns are easy to see. I really don't understand the choice to put balls of yarn on the cover that are not conducive to complicated stitch pattern work. Regardless the inside of the book makes a lot of sense.
- www.ravelry.com is an online community of knitters and pattern designers sharing their self created patterns some for sale and some for free, tips, forums where you can ask and answer questions and even yarn trades and sales. Although they make you become a member and sign in before you even view the website (which honestly I think is a little controlling and unnecessary) it's free to use and well worth it.
- www.craftsy.com has become a valuable educational resource for sewing, knitting and photography. Honestly though, I tend to wait until they have their 19.99 sales.
- www.etsy.com has loads of patterns for sale. Many of them are rated so you can get an idea of whether they are quality and worth spending money on.
- www.youtube.com Frankly, when I am stumped on a stitch I search the wording from the pattern I'm following as exactly as possible on Google. I often pull up lots of written information but it's the videos that I want. YouTube isn't the only place where knitting stitch (or any other technique of your fancy) videos live but most of them are there, at least the ones I've searched happen to be.
Check out your local yarn stores and ask whether they offer any knitting classes. A lot of them offer beginner and some intermediate classes but I've never found anything advanced. All my advanced craft learning has had to come from my own research and exploration.
I have never signed up to receive a knitting magazine but there are many people who love receiving their monthly or less frequently with some publishers, magazine full of inspiration and new ideas.
TELEVISION AND VIDEO
For a time I admit I enjoyed the nerdy crafting shows on PBS. There are a few shows focused on knitting and I recommend them for inspiration, ideas and to keep you fresh on the topic of knitting. The creators have done their best to keep things current and fresh and I think they've succeeded (save the music that happens to drive me bananas!).