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Available at KnittersBookshelf

New Pathways for Sock Knitters, book one
by Cat Bordhi
Passing Paws Press

This book is a brain-expanding, mind-blowing accessible work of genius. Cat Bordhi, whose work could force me to use up my monthly allotment of superlatives, has taken what we think we know about socks and mixed it way up. Her New Pathways socks fit feet beautifully, but they're not built like any sock you've ever knit. Cat discovered that, as long as you build the expanding part of the sock [the gusset, we could call it, except it's nothing as rigidly shaped as a gusset] according to a specific rate of increase, you could put it anywhere on the sock. And that's just the beginning. The socks are really, really cool.

I cannot recommend it highly enough: this is an astounding book that should not be missed.


Available at Amazon

Romantic Hand Knits: 26 Flirtatious Designs That Flatter Your Figure
by Annie Modesitt
Potter Craft
$27.50, hardcover
SR= 28-58" bust, 33-55" hip

This is a swoony sort of book. The picture on the cover of this book says it all: curvy, flirty, do me in my romantic knits. All of the knits in this book are inspired by famous romantic movies, and shot in a gorgeous country estate setting. The knits run the romantic gamut, from curve hugging to gently draping. There are tees, tanks and long-sleeved tops, jackets with lots of lace and swishy elements, a beautiful selection of skirts, a handful of accessories and a great section on millinery and a couple of gorgeous lace hat patterns.

What really sets this book apart is Annie. Her designs are truly original, and she absolutely loves the female form and takes great effort to showcase it at its best – in all sizes.


Available at Amazon

Bag Style: Innovative to Traditional, 20 Inspirational Handbags, Totes, and Carry-alls to Knit and Crochet
by Pam Allen and Ann Budd
Interweave Press

It’s getting to be time to think about starting holiday knitting gifts. If you have already started, we do not want to hear about it [really, that’s just too organized]. Personally, I’ve done hats, scarves, and socks a lot, with hit-and-miss fitting success. So this year it’s going to be bags...from this book.

They are unique, functional, and as all things from the world of Interweave interesting to knit. The patterns here are not just "round and round and done!", but they are teaching patterns. They allow you to experiment with types of knitting that may be new to you or at least a new approach, adding to your personal knitting skills with the benefit of smaller commitment and a cool finished object when all is said and done.


Available at Amazon

Folk Style: Innovative Designs to Knit, Including Sweaters, Hats, Scarves, Gloves and More
by Mags Kandis
Interweave Press

Okay, I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed when I discovered that all of the patterns in this book were not by Mags Kandis because I love her world encompassing design sensibility, (she does have two designs in the book), but I was happily surprised to find patterns that included and surpassed a similar design sensibility.

The designers in this book gathered their inspiration from the handcrafts of the world and translated them to knitting. Standouts are Gale Bunn’s Felted Appliqué Skirt, Tara Manning’s Annie Oakley Jacket, Gina Wilde’s Appalachian Gathering Basket, and Annie Modesitt’s Shanghai Surplice. Anyone for a chorus of We Are the World?


Available at Amazon

The Secret Language of Knitters

Andrews McMeel

When we congregate, us knitters, we speak in code. And we're fine with that, because the code is universal. But for new knitters, our friends or families, it can be a bit isolating to have to guess the meaning of words like "frog", or understand how you can have "S.E.X." in a public place and brag about it!

It also provides amusement for knitters who know what the words mean, like my favorite:
"TELEVISION noun: Background noise for knitters..."

This is a compact knitting-bag-sized book, so affordably priced that Amazon doesn't even discount it [that's saying something!]. Keep a copy handy and pass it quietly to those who need it so they don't feel left out.

Available at Amazon

The Knitting Man(ual): 20+ Projects for Guys
by Kristin Spurkland
Ten Speed Press
$24.95, hardcover

Finally a book that gets the fact that most men we knit for like plain knits. Not plain, boring, could-have-bought-it-at-any-mall-or-big-box-store, but plain, no cutie pie or over the top cool elements that are dangling, slashy, 1980s asymmetrical, fluffy, fuzzy, or seem to be unraveling.

These are good, basic designs with a twist or two in design element or color choice, that make the garments, socks and accessories more interesting, and won’t cause the man you knit for to say, "I like it, except for that part."


Available at Knit Picks

Options Harmony Wood
Interchangeable Needle Set

available individually or in a kit
$69.99 for the kit

Oh boy. Don't expect to take these out of your knitting bag and be unaccosted by a passing knitter, because it's not possible. I've had a test set of these for several weeks, and everywhere I go, knitters eyes bug out.

Okay, so they're eye catching. But make these babies solid beige, and they'd still be the best interchangeable needles I've used to date. The color? It's a real treat for the eyes, and I personally love it.

These needles are made of laminated birch. The tip, as with the metal Options Interchangeables, is enjoyably pointy. The shaft of every needle in the kit is smooth and inviting in ways I usually see only on handmade wood knitting tools. They feel hand polished. The needles are light and the join is nearly invisible to my fingers.

I am gobsmacked. These things are incredible.

What's wrong with them? Well, for some reason, despite all our begging regarding the last Options set, this new set still doesn't have the size of each needle marked on it. Knit Picks: please listen -- we don't want to have to search for a needle sizer. Mark the sizes on your needles

And though the storage system that comes with the Harmony set is leaner than the Options bulky zippered case, I don't find it efficient. It's a clear zippered bag with places to slot the tips. But no numbering system, and honestly, I'd rather keep the tips on the card for now so I know what size is what at a glance.

These things aren't dealbreakers for me. I've got two projects on the go now on my Harmonies -- one in cotton/linen on a small size and one in silk on a bulky size -- and I am enjoying the process of knitting my beloved WIPs even more, thanks to these needles.


Available at Amazon

The Twisted Sisters Knit Sweaters:
A Knit-to-Fit Workshop

by Lynne Vogel
Interweave Press
SR= your size

IMHO, the very best knitting books are the ones that actually teach you something.

How many knitting books do you have that are just paint by numbers patterns? You might get a pretty sweater out of one of those books, but do they make you stand up and shout “ I’m a knitter, hear me roar?”.

If you want to feel the power and the glory of knitting, go buy and use Lynne Vogel’s new book. Using the ingenious Knitter Fitter System, which is just two parts --  The Fitter List and Sweater Map -- you can design and/or alter size and gauge on bottom up, top down and side-to-side sweaters. There are 10 follow-along patterns that use and demonstrate the flow of the Knitter Fitter System, and a whole lot of discussion and teaching about necklines, edges, sleeves, yarns, and color.

There is a gallery of gorgeousness that IS the Twisted Sisters – unbelievable hand dyed, hand spun, one of kind garments: the type of sweater knitting that is now within your reach thanks to this book. Amen, sisters.

Available at Amazon

Vogue Knitting
The Ultimate Sock Book: History, Technique, Design

by the Editors of Vogue Knitting Magazine
Sixth&Spring Books
$19.95 hardcover
SR= 32-45"

25 sock patterns make up the biggest chunk of this exhaustive sock book.

My favorite part though is the Vogue Knitting Universal Sock Calculator, for both toe up and top down socks and the 53 stitch and color patterns to use in creating your own socks. Another favorite is the history of the knitted sock, though short, is filled with great vintage art.


Available at Amazon

Knitting Classic Style: 35 Modern Designs Inspired by Fashion's Archives

Stewart Tabori & Chang
$27.50 hardcover
SR= 33-52.75" [a few start smaller or go larger]

We at Knitty have been waiting for this book for a long time. Véronik was one of our earliest contributors, and her patterns in Interweave Knits have never failed to inspire us.

So finally, the book is here, and dammit, it's beautiful. Each piece is richly detailed [but never unnecessarily so], shaping is impeccable, styling is nearly timeless yet each piece is unmistakably modern. The soft pink Woolen Cashmere Twinset could very well work for you, your daughter and your grandaughter -- I can't see it ever going out of style.

This book was worth the wait.

Available at Amazon

The Best of Interweave Knits: Our Favorite Designs from the First Ten Years
edited by Ann Budd
Interweave Press
SR= 32-53"

Flipping through the 25 patterns and designers (and a handful of Beyond the Basics articles) from the first ten years of Interweave Knits magazine, is a fun memory game – oh I remember that, didn’t I start/buy yarn for/ think about doing that? The designs in this collection have really held their appeal, but what else would you expect from a magazine that defines Modern Classic Knitting?

If your favorite Knits pattern wasn’t included in this book, go to and nominate your favorite patterns for The Best of Knits -- Readers Choice.


Available at Scout's Swag

GoKnit Pouch
by KnowKnits
$18, 24 and 32 [small, medium and large]

I've used these pouches for a while, and have been very fond of them. I wrote a review a year ago in Knitty, where I mentioned that I'd love to see the drawstring mechanism improved so the bag could open and close more smoothly.

Well, they've done it. The bag now opens and closes absolutely effortlessly. I couldn't love them any more. The formerly near-perfect small project bag is now the PERFECT small project bag.

And the medium size, which I recently got to test drive, is a dream for my current sweater-in-progress. It's got room for the whole sweater on the needles and extra yarn, but still provides bulletproof protection. Love it.

Knitting Gems 1:
Applied edges • Buttonhole Essentials •
I-Cord Basics • Cords, Braids and Bobbles • Presenting the Picot Family •
Twists, Kinks and Bias

Knitting Gems 2:
Becoming Ambidextrous • Steeks, Shapings and Scissors • Little Mysteries • Short Row Techniques

Knitting Gems 3:
Beading Techniques • Cable Talk •
Lace Basics • Yarn Handling Tricks

Knitting Gems 4:
Cool Cast-Ons • Even More Increases •
Daring Rescues • Odds and Ends •
Fancy Bind-Offs

Available at Tradewind Knitwear

Knitting Gems DVD series
by Lucy Neatby

Lucy Neatby is a knitting physicist. She's looked deep into the heart of knitting, right down to the way a stitch is formed, and she's come up with something better. A whole bunch of somethings, actually! All we have to do to take advantage of what she's learned is to pop in one of her DVDs, sit back, and follow along.

Lucy knows how to make buttonholes behave better. She'll show you the simple way to make I-cord grow beyond its normal boundaries and still look seamless. She shows, more clearly than you've ever seen before, a variety of short row techniques and tells you why each one does what it does! And her applied edgings? They will change the way you knit cardigans from this day forth...for the better. I'll never dread knitting another button band!

Lucy's techniques are magical in their simplicity. They don't make knitting harder; they make it easier and make the finished product look better, all at the same time.

Here, take a peek -- Lucy's provided a video clip so you can see the quality of the video production and the value of her clear intructions.

Her Knitter's Companion DVDs should be in every knitter's library.


Available at Amazon

Knitting New Scarves: 27 Distinctly Modern Designs
by Lynne Barr and Tyllie Barbosa
Stewart, Tabori and Chang

Being a self avowed scarf luster -- hands down it’s my favorite thing to knit -- I was equally excited and afraid when this book landed on my desk. What could be new in the land of scarves? In the hands of Lynne Barr, I’m happy to report, plenty.

There is not one scarf in this book I would suggest for a beginner to knit and that makes me giddy. That and the fact there is not one stitch of novelty yarn in the whole book.  Most of these scarves are architectural; some you knit in pieces and assemble; there are short rows; some use multiple needles to achieve these effects; there are pleats and cocoons.

When I flipped through first, I kept thinking, "Oh, I know how she did that!" Then I would read the pattern with a huge smile growing on my face because really I had NO idea how she did that. How often does that happen in knitting these days?

Available at Amazon

Getting Started Knitting Socks
by Ann Budd
Interweave Press
$18.95, hardcover

The best beginning sock book that has been published so far. That is all. Go buy it.

Every aspect of sock knitting is broken down with close up pictures, and it’s not the usual cursory, "Here’s How You Knit (you idiot)" that takes up 2-4 pages at the beginning of some sock books: this explanation takes up almost half of the book. The rest of the book is sock patterns – sock patterns that are actually sized (thank you very much, Ann!) from kid to adult. First there are follow-the-leader patterns listed by gauge, then there are plug-and-play patterns for adding your choice of color and texture.

It really should be called "Don’t Fear the Sock".


Available at Lexie Barnes

Sweetpea zippered pouches
by Lexie Barnes
15, 11.75 or 8" long, all 4" high
$24 - 32, depending on size
available in four different fabrics [Dutch Treat shown]

The incomparable Lexie does it again. In signature Lexie Barnes style, she makes it as easy to store your accessories securely as she makes it stylish.

Lexie's offered zip pouches for a while now, but this shape & configuration is new. The zip is handily arranged at the top, for maximum capacity, and the shapes are customized to suit classic knit and crochet tools. They're laminated, like all Lexie bags, and lined in bright colors to make the contents easy to distinguish, even for age-challenged eyes like mine.

I've had one of Lexie's Mini pouches for well over a year now, in constant use as a makeup bag [!], and it still looks new. You can't beat anything made by Lexie Barnes, and you may quote me on that.


Available at Amazon

Knitting America: A Glorious Heritage from Warm Socks to High Art
by Susan M. Strawn
Voyageur Press
$35.00, hardcover

An exhaustive, intellectual and entertaining history of American knitting, Knitting America takes knitting from the first Colonies in the 1600s to present-day knitting.

It’s a book to read from cover to cover. The history is fascinating, but the illustrations are absolutely captivating -- photographs, historic paintings, yarn ads, patterns books. I kept trying to read the book from start to finish and getting sidetracked with all the visuals. My advice is to pore over the photos and drawings before trying to read the words.


Available at

Flower Market Bag Pattern
by Marta McCall

This large colorful felted bag looks complicated, but for the intermediate and experienced knitter, the (very detailed) pattern is easy to follow (embroider over the color blocks). 

The pattern is printed on 4 double-sided pages of heavy card, protected by a plastic sleeve, and includes numerous helpful tips regarding intarsia knitting, embroidery, felting, and web sources for all materials (handles, frames, etc.).  When a question arose during knitting, an email to Marta McCall resulted in an almost immediate response and explanation. 


Available at KnitDenise

Pink Denise Knitting Needle Kit

$54.95 [$5 goes to support breast cancer research]

There's a lot of fundraising pink in this world and not all of it may do the good we hope it will. In the case of the new Pink Denise needle kit, the company offers proof: They donate $5 from every pink Denise kit sold to breast cancer research [the S D Ireland fund specifically]. As of Sept 1, 2007, they've donated a total of $51,567. That's pretty remarkable and something worth getting behind.

Knitty has been a fan of the Denise needle system since we began writing reviews. Here's the reason behind the new pink kit, from Linda Krag of the Denise company.

"What's unique about the S D Ireland fund is that 100% of all money donated goes directly to the research lab with no administrative fees taken out. The lab has hired research assistants based on this donation who are now working on projects to qualify for grant funding. Since research grant dollars have been cut dramatically, there is huge competition for funding, and research basically has to be completed before the application can be made. This means that without independent funding, new ideas can't be tested for viability.

The S D Ireland research lab has already produced some techniques that have made surgery less invasive for certain types of breast cancer. We all have great hope that a cure will be found soon so that the next generation of women (and men) will no longer have to think about this disease that now affects 1 out of 7 women. There is more info on our website about the fund."

Available at Amazon

KnitKnit: Profiles + Projects from Knitting's New Wave
by Sabrina Gschwandtner and Kiriko Shirobayashi
Stewart, Tabori and Chang
$29.95, hardcover

A collection of profiles and patterns from 27 artists who use knitting as their medium. It has the people you'd expect -- Teva Durham, Dave Cole, and Knitta -- some you maybe have never heard of, and some you wouldn’t expect but are glad to find like Catherine Lowe, Annie Modesitt, and Beryl Tsang.

Like the zine this book was born from, KnitKnit encourages you to ruminate on the division and intersection of art and craft.


Available at Amazon

Knitting Patterns For Dummies

Wiley Publishing

New to knitting with patterns? This book is just the ticket. 38(!) patterns take you from rectangles to circles to triangles, a yellow brick road that takes you through a progression of shapes and shaping and ends at the Emerald City of the shaped and pieced sweater.

Kristi excels at explaining techniques and skills. She takes as much time and space as the new skill needs; she doesn’t try to sum it up in a single sentence.
Though technically for a novice knitter, I found more than a few things to learn and brush up on that I’d been searching for in other places.


Available at Amazon

Suss Design Essentials: The Ultimate Collection for a Classic Handknit Wardrobe
by Suss Cousins
Potter Craft
$30.00, hardcover
SR= 32-40" (one goes to 44")

Suss has been cranking out a bunch of books in the past few years on specific topics. But as a knitwear designer she truly shines when she designs garments freely, with no particular theme other than Cool Knitted Stuff. I would label the sweaters, jackets and coats (there are also accessories, a couple skirts, and few dresses) effortless style. The type of garment you wear that simultaneously looks comfortable, relaxed and stylish – something that is difficult to capture.





Available at Jennie the Potter

Handmade pottery
by Jennie The Potter
[above, bombyx silkworm spindle mug]

[top/middle left, sheep mug w/yarn ball, $25 ea]

[bottom left, sheepy sauce bowls, $12 ea]

I first noticed Jennie's work when she placed her first ad with Knitty [full disclosure, and all that]. I instantly fell in love with her creations and my covet-bone began to throb.

Jennie, who I have since met in person, is as charming as her work. Every piece she makes she throws by hand in her basement studio. Once the pottery has dried, she hand paints each design, then carves each to add extra depth and interest. The last step is a firing in her kiln so they're as durable as they are beautiful. They're microwave and dishwasher safe, too.

Jennie's themes revolve around the things most knitters love best: yarn and sheep. She recently added spindles to her design repertoire. And the mug featured at the top of this review was made especially for me -- decorated with a silkworm, a bombyx moth and a handspindle filled with periwinkle handspun. She'll do one for you if you ask nicely.

The items featured here are listed in her shop now, and she promises even more eye candy soon. Right now, you can choose your design and what it goes on, and she offers each image in a variety of colors.

Every one is a unique piece of usable art -- a real knitter's treasure.


Zuluknitty silk yarn
the Zuluknitty colorway,
designed by Knitty's editor and Scout,
can be put on all of Scout's base yarns [merino and blends]

Ask her about the pure silk.
She's got it. :-)

by Scout's Swag
price depends on your choice of base yarn


A to H stitch markers
on purty purple wire
perfect companion to Cat Bordhi's new book
this set: $7

care labels with messages
12 assorted labels in a resealable sleeve
so your gifts don't get ruined
in the wash
by soak

cake tape measure

crocheted tiny cake
needs no refrigeration
by Lantern Moon

Sterling, paper & resin baubles
A variety of colors and designs available
by acraftylawyer


2.5" pottery button
big and small buttons, all colors
by Mudcakes
this one: $4

glass computer mobile
different colors available.
help prevent eyestrain
and make your workspace prettier
by Leah Pellegrini
this one: $20

"Bears are smelly" passport case
lots of designs
also in wallets, card cases and ipod cases -
insanely well made
by tinymeat
this one: $16
Sock Knitting Pouch
lined in contrasting fabric, drawstring closure
by messie craftie
this one: $10

Crochet Me:
Designs to Fuel the Crochet Revolution

by Kim Werker
Interweave Press

Available at Amazon

Mr. Funky's
Super Crochet Wonderful

by Narumi Ogawa
North Light Books

Available at Amazon

Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts
by Joelle Hoverson & Anna Williams
Stewart, Tabori and Chang
$27.50 hardcover

Available at Amazon

Amy Butler's Midwest Modern: A Fresh Design Spirit for the Modern Lifestyle
by Amy Butler & David Butler
Stewart, Tabori and Chang
$35.00 hardcover

Available at Amazon

Crochet Inspiration
by Sasha Kagan
Sixth & Spring Books,
$29.95 hardcover

Available at Amazon

Everyday Crochet:
Wearable Designs Just for You

by Doris Chan
Potter Craft
Available at Amazon