I think in this world filled with tech devices, there is still room for a knitting book. I find it much easier to pull a reference book from my shelf to use as I am designing, than to power up the ipad or computer and navigate a digital copy. Here are my favorite go to knitting books, and not all are reference books.
Reference books are necessary, sometimes to refresh your memory about a technique you haven’t tried for awhile, or for those confusing pattern instructions that don’t describe the steps in detail. Vogue Knitting handbook by the authors of Vogue Knitting Magazine (a magazine favorite of mine) is the reference book I use most often. Vogue publications have been around since the 1900s, and if you are a fan of their sewing patterns, you know that Vogue is all about the details. They cover everything from the supplies, basic techniques to designing your own projects.
Every knitter also needs a library of pattern stitches, and Barbara Walker’s, “A Treasury Of Knitting Patterns” and “A Second Treasury Of Knitting Patterns” are comprehensive collections with detailed directions. These are the first books I pick up when I start looking for a pattern stitch in the design process. These two books were published in 1968 and 1970, and are still available. The thing about knitting is old books and patterns are just as relevant today as they were at the time of publication. The technical information doesn’t really change.
Another reference book that you may think is kind of a strange choice, I certainly did, is the “Reader’s Digest Complete Guide To Needlework“. I happened across this book, when I had to purchase “Reader’s Digest Complete Guide To Sewing” (this one is also highly recommended) for a university sewing class. It is amazing the number of detail oriented things I learned from these two books, such as how to sew on buttons.
A good second choice for knitting pattern stitches is the Harmony Guide series, “The Harmony Guide To Knitting Stitches“. I also have the crochet edition. I’m not a prolific crocheter, but sometimes I like to add edgings to my knit projects, or crochet a toy.
For pure inspiration, you can’t beat the infamous book “Glorious Knits” by Kaffe Fassett. Kaffe Fassett revolutionized knitting in the early 1980’s, along with a group of British knitwear designers. His use of color is his trademark. He has evolved over the years, and produced many other books, not just knitting books, and designs for textile companies. If you ever get the chance to see him in person or view his work, you will be inspired as I was. He is also the first knitter to have his work displayed in the Victoria Albert Museum in London.
And finally, other inspirational books are from Kim Hargreaves and Alice Starmore. I love the designs by Kim Hargreaves, who began her career in the infamous Rowan yarn mill. Her designs are very fashion forward and full of structural details. My favorite book by Alice Starmore is “Aran Knitting“. She has modernized the tradition of aran knitting.
All of the books described above are available at Amazon.ca. There are many publications out there, and I hope I have helped you to think about finding the right ones for your bookshelf. Good books will help you address what it is you want to learn, and provide the knowledge, inspiration, and motivation to get there.