Grandma Knitty Home
Knitty: little purls of wisdom
what's the editor up to lately?feature articlesKnitty's generous selection of patternsKnittyspinşarchive of previous issuesMeet other Knitty readers and chat in our coffeeshop!sign up for the free Knitty newsletterLooking for an ad fromone of our advertisers? Click here!Our tiny, perfect online shopping mallGet yourself a little Knitty treat!read the behind-the-scenes news at Knitty

Find exactly what you're looking for

The answer to your question about Knitty is probably here!

Take home something Knitty today

Advertise with Knitty

Get your cool stuff reviewed in Knitty

Full information about how  to get published in Knitty

Read exactly what FREE PATTERNS really means...respect our designers and authors rights [and thank you]

Knitty is produced in a pro-rabbit environment

© Knitty 2002-2007. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited. This means you.


< click for more!

Available at Amazon

No Sheep for You: knit happy with cotton, silk, linen, hemp, bamboo & other delights
by Amy R Singer
Interweave Press
SR= 31 – 59.5 inches

Editor's note: When you write a book, you can't review it yourself, even [especially!] in your own magazine. So I've asked two well-known knitters with distinctly different fiber preferences to tell me honestly what they think.

Representing those who prefer to knit sheep-free, Kay Gardiner is on the left.

Representing the sheep-loving world, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is on the right.

Full disclosure:  when it comes to knitting with non-wool fibers, I can be something of a know-it-all. Ever since I discovered, years ago, that my face was turning purple because of  the handpainted merino pullover I was wearing so proudly,  I have sought out fibers that (a) were not acrylic (b) did not make my face turn purple and (c) were not acrylic.  My hardheaded refusal to have a purple face led me to the joys of knitting with cotton, linen, silk, bamboo, and rayon, to the point that I prefer these fibers over my old friend wool. Through trial and error (emphasis on “error”), I learned which non-wools worked for different types of knitting and where to find the non-wool patterns (spring and summer magazines, mostly).  I was making my way as a non-wool knitter in a woolly world, and didn’t think I need much education on the subject.

In the words of the old proverb, pride goeth before a well-deserved butt-kicking.  No Sheep For You is full of wit, wisdom, and answers to questions I never even thought to ask about my favorite fibers.  The difference between bombyx and tussah silk?  Now I know what it is.  That pandas have a role in making yarn out of bamboo—who knew?  Retting, scutching,  hackling:  find out what it means to flax and hemp.  Beyond such fascinating nuggets, Amy offers invaluable advice and handy charts that help the knitter decide which fiber to choose for a specific project or type of knitting.  

And it’s a wonderful pattern book.  Amy clearly had her pick of designs, and chose brilliantly. Some are ingenious solutions to the non-wool knitter’s quandary of how to knit a garment that traditionally is wool—the aran pullover, the fisherman’s gansey, and the cabled cardigan, for instance. Others (and these are my favorites) are patterns that showcase the distinctive properties of non-wool yarn, such as drape, breathability, shine--and did I mention drape? Amy proves that in knitting with these fibers, the point is not to find a substitute for wool, but to discover their own delights. 

Woollism is rampant in our knitting culture. In No Sheep For You, Amy Singer makes a joyous and totally convincing case for multi-fiberism.  I get a giggle thinking that a knitter who wants to knit these tantalizing patterns in wool is going to have to substitute. Is that wrong? 

For the record, when Amy asked me to review her book, I thought it was a test, or a joke, or both. At the very least I thought that she was attempting a coup, trying to get the most sheep-loyal knitter in the universe to review a book called “No Sheep For You” and like it. I realized almost instantly that I was in mortal peril. Here I was, both Amy’s friend and the person least interested in her topic, and I was going to have to find something nice to say. I struggled desperately while I waited for it to come. I made a short list of things like “the paper is very good” and “Amy’s spelling is excellent” so that even if the book wasn’t to my taste, I would still have some nice things to say.

Imagine my relief then, when the book arrived and despite my fears and admitted bias, I discovered that I liked it. I like the patterns (the Bacardi cardigan may make me a believer in the possibility of cotton for colourwork, and unless you have some real time - don’t even get me started on the cabled joy that is the Morrigan pullover) but beyond putting together lovely patterns that do justice to these fibres of non-sheepy origins, Amy had adeptly written about how to handle these most mercurial of yarns. (There is a tip about the myth of the centre pull ball in there that is so good that I may bake Amy some cookies.) Amy celebrates what these fibres are good at, is deadly honest about what they can and can’t do, and delightfully releases them from their hollow place in the shadow of my beloved wool. It’s a good book, even to a resister like me.

PS. Also, the paper is very good and Amy’s spelling is excellent.

Available at Amazon ... Available at Amazon

Glamour Knits
Classic Knits

by Erika Knight
Potter Craft
$19.95 each book, hardcover
SR= 32 – 48 inches

Erika Knight seems to be heir apparent to the Rowan crown now that Kim Hargreaves has left to do her own thing.

She designs in the old-school Rowan style, the style dear to many, before the company created RYC yarns and patterns. Her styles are clean and classic with enough of a twist to make them interesting to knit. Each book has 15 designs. The Classic collection lives up to its name with cardigans, pullovers and accessories designed with a modern twist on classic inspiration. The Glamour collection is inspired by old Hollywood, Erika writes. It's full of things movie starlets in the 1940s might have worn...with a few very sexy exceptions. Yum.


Available at Pick Up Sticks!

Sushi Wallet Kit
by Pick up Sticks!

This is a great kit.  I love the magical way that felting hides the errors that a beginning knitter like me occasionally makes.  The kit offers 3 patterns – a cool stripy bag, a bag with one giant sushi, and this one that I chose because as far as I’m concerned – the more sushi, the better.  The pattern was clear and easy to understand.  I’d never knitted anything with a zipper before and was impressed by the zipper flap – a great technique that makes the bag look much more professional than you’d expect anything knitted by a 12-year-old to look.  There was lots of yarn left over, so I’m going to knit a matching iPod cozy or cell phone holder.

The sushi were the most fun to knit, although they were a bit of a challenge to felt.  We ended up hand felting them, but not all the yarn colours felted the same amount.  This didn’t really matter – it just made the sushi look more realistic.  I’d like to add beads to the sushi to look like flying fish eggs and experiment with crochet to add more colours and textures to the sushi.


editor's note: this reviewer is 12 years old;
she made the finished sample shown

Available at Amazon

Available at Amazon

Second-Time Cool:The Art of Chopping Up A Sweater
by Anna-Stina Linden Ivarsson, Katarina Brieditis, Katarina Evans
Annick Press

Knitprovisation: 70 Imaginative Projects Mixing Old with New
by Cilla Ramnek
St. Martin’s Griffin



Two inspirational books of the modern Scandinavian variety. Neither book has many start-to-finish patterns, but both are packed with ideas on how to recycle and reuse finished second-hand knitwear.

Both books are written by Swedish fashion designers and incorporate felting, sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet. Knitprovisation is more eye candy while Second-Time Cool is more hands-on how-to.

If you like your knitwear fashion folky, funky and totally original, you will be motivated by these books.


Available at Amazon

When Bad Things Happen to Good Knitters

Taunton Press

This quick witted book is packed with a wealth of knitting tips that its small size belies. While it’s true that everyone could learn something from this book, beginners and intermediate knitters will find it invaluable. It’s written in an engaging style and interspersed with personal knitting antidotes that help to make it readable as well as useful.

The greatest thing about this is that it marks Taunton Press’ return to the knitting world. Anyone remember when Threads magazine had knitting content? Alice Starmore’s Book of Fair Isle Knitting? Taunton was a thinking knitters resource. Welcome back.

Available at Amazon

Aran Sweater Design
by Janet Szabo
Big Sky Knitting
SR: 36-52 inches

If you are interested in designing (or even knitting) Aran anything, this is the book to own. If you have the first version of this book, you’ll need this one too – it’s double in size and nearly double in information.

The book walks you through all of the steps from choosing yarn, creating and selecting stitches, placing motifs and overall sweater design. It’s written in a way that you can use it as a workshop start to finish, or dip in and out for your particular are of interest, like placement of cables.

There are also four classic Aran patterns: three sweaters and one vest, if you are just in the mood to knit a pattern with no tweaks. But when you read through this book, you’ll find the designing of an Aran irresistible and attainable.


Available via Offhand Designs

Circular Clutch

$48 USD

- 5" H x 7.5" W x 1.5"D closed
- Opens to 17" wide
- Magnetic snap closure
- 5 inside tool slots
- 12 clear vinyl pockets for circular knitting needles
- 1 zipper pocket with custom gold zipper & pull

Oh dear me. I'm smitten.

I have more than a large tangle of circular needles and have tested a few different storage solutions. So far, they've been more of a pain than an asset.

This one now holds all my circulars. As with all Offhand Designs bags, the exterior is made from a yummy fabric -- chenille, velvet, brocade. The pattern shown at left is called Bulls Eye. The lining is a sturdy, thick faille, color-cordinated to the outside fabric.

But the joy comes in the amount and layout of the storage options. Here's how I've got it set up: the 12 vinyl pockets hold my circs from size 11 to 2 -- one pocket per size. Each pocket can hold multiple needles; the smaller the size, the more you can fit in each. There is room in the 5 front pockets for DPNs, notions, crochet hooks. Whatever you likes. And at the back, a zippered pocket holds little things so they don't get lost.

With all the needles I've crammed into this case, it still closes securely. And it fits nicely into my knitting bag, easily spotted, thanks to the eye-catching design.

If the case were an inch taller at the spine, I could probably fit a few more things in the case, which I'd love. But as it is, it's the best case I've found anywhere for storing circular needles, period.


Available at Pixierolls

Straight needle roll


Dragonflies once saved my life when I was treeplanting in an airless valley of overgrown bush that was filled with deerflies. So this holder didn't have to work hard to get deep into my greedy knitterly heart.

This needle holder is a new look on a classic design. The fabric [silk and velvet] is dreamy and it makes me want to buy beautiful handmade needles to stock it. There are two handy tiers of pockets to accommodate different lengths of needles. Needle management systems have rarely inspired me like this needle holder from Pixierolls.

Available via Barefoot Knits

Barefoot Knits
by Christine Schwender and Paula Heist
$24.95 hardcover

Authors Christine Schwender and Paula Heist have created a fabulous book of easy-to-knit, classic, fun pieces for children sized 2-10.  This book has pattern for just about everything: sweaters, shorts, dresses, skirts, tees, halters, blankets, pillows and even a bikini. 

All patterns use the same easy-care yarn, Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece, a common worsted-weight gauge and even some nifty tie-dying to spice things up.  This is a great book of basics that can be used for quick kiddie knits or as a template from which to start adding your own design elements, fancy yarns and whatever else you (or your child) wants to try.


Available at Amazon

Punk Knits: 26 Hot New Designs for Anarchistic Souls and Independent Spirits
by Share Ross
STC Craft/A Melanie Falick Book
SR= 34- 48 inches

This book has a unique and independent knitting voice. It comes across loud and clear that Share loves to knit and isn’t interested in falling into the "f**k the world" punk rock cliché. The patterns are fun, sexy and most are quick to knit. My favorites are the Skull Kilt and the Pixie Shoulderette (thank you for designing a sexy shrug!).

Part of the knitting world has been waiting for more books that can stand next to Debbie Stoller’s Stitch and Bitch in attitude and design flavor. This one has got it in spades.


Available at

Beads Knitting
by Kotomi Hayashi

A bead knitting (and crocheting) book of just wrist warmers and bags? Written in Japanese? Still there? It’s gorgeous.

And after initial freak out (note to self: no matter how hard you stare at it, you’ll never read Japanese) and studying of the excellent diagrams, the patterns can be followed. Check this page for easy how-to-read-Japanese-pattern instructions. The wrist warmers are especially easy to follow, knit side to side in garter stitch – the bead charts are the only bits to pay attention to.

Available at Amazon

Favorite Socks: 25 Timeless Designs from Interweave
Edited by Ann Budd and Anne Merrow
Interweave Press
$22.95, Hardcover over wire spine

Finally, Interweave answered the clue phone! The
publishers that started the whole sock phenom have put out a greatest sock hits book. Actually that's not
entirely true -- the book includes 19 already published sock patterns mostly from Interweave Knits (some from Piecework and Spin Off, too) and 6 new patterns.
Mostly top-down socks, they're presented in a
fantastic "I'm a hardcover but I lay open and flat"
book package.

Now if we could convince them to do a sock book a year...

Available at Amazon

Never Knit Your Man a Sweater
by Judith Durant
Storey Publishing
SR=38-50 inches

The marketing angle of this book riffs on the ‘Boyfriend Myth’ that knitting a sweater for a boyfriend will make him run for the hills. But what this book is really about is the knitting.

Knitting patterns for men have been in short supply, especially patterns that are interesting to the knitter and considered wearable by the recipient. If the man you knit for likes his knits pretty basic with twists here and there to keep it from being Plain James -- think Gap -- this is the book for both of you. The projects range in complexity from a block stitch scarf to a aran cardigan, and in variety from scarves, hats, socks, vests and sweaters.


Available at Amazon

The Yarn Girls’ Guide to Knits for Older Kids
by Julie Carles and Jordana Jacobs
Potter Craft
$30.00 hardcover

There are lots of great patterns for babies, but not so many for kids that are old enough to have strong opinions about what they’ll wear.  This book is a collection of quick-knit patterns for four to ten-year olds that are fun, fast and fabulous. 

The Yarn Girls start with great yarns and big gauges so you can knit with fibres you love and finish the garments before your kids grow out of them.  I really like how all patterns are shown on both girls and boys.  There’s even a collection of frou-frou girlie knits, unisex hats, scarves, pillows and blankets; plenty to keep your older kid in fashionable hand-knits. 


Available at Amazon

Freeformations: Design and Projects in Knitting and Crochet
by Jenny Dowde
Sally Milner Publishing

There is an amazing amount of information in this freeform knitting and crochet book. Even if freeform isn’t your thing, this book is worth a peek. If you are interested in trying freeform, or already love it, this should become your go-to book.

Principals of design, gallery of amazing garments, freeform design concepts, how-to shapes and shaping, designing a garment- including templates, start to finish patterns, and even a dozen pages on color theory.

Note to spinners: freeform uses lots of different weights and lengths of yarn, perfect for your stash of handspun.


Available at Amazon

Lace Style: Traditional to innovative, 21 inspired designs to knit
by Pam Allen and Ann Budd
Interweave Press
SR=30-50 inches

Perfectly timed to hit at the height of the lace frenzy, this book is a cornucopia of lace knitting. 21 patterns range from just a touch of lace to smothered in lace, all lovely and feminine.

My favorite part of the book, as in all of the Interweave “Style” series is the Design Notebook. This one is a fat 24 pages of how, why and when of lace, including fixing mistakes and incorporating lace into your own designs.


Available at Amazon

Knits from a Painter's Palette: Modular Masterpieces in Handpainted Yarns
by Maie Landra
Sixth&Spring Books
$24.95 hardcover

Koigu is my desert island yarn.  The beautiful handpainted colours would keep me inspired and it’s a great sproingy yarn for everything from sweaters to socks to lace to baby clothes.  A new book telling the story of how Koigu and the accompanying clothing-as-art pattern collection came to be provides lots of inspiration and yarn-eye-candy for any Koigu addict.

It brings together most of the already available Koigu pattern collection (including the Charlotte’s Web shawl and Jazz cardigan) and some new designs and ideas.  While many patterns are very involved and are not for everyone, this book shows how beautiful yarn and some ingenuity can turn knitting into art.


Available at Amazon

Felt It!: 20 Fun and Fabulous Projects to Knit and Felt
by Maggie Pace
Storey Publishing

From the creative mind behind Pick Up Sticks kits and patterns, this is a start to finish book on felting – knit-then-felt felting.

It takes you from choosing fiber, the hows and whys of felting, and even a FAQ on felting. The stars of the book are Maggie’s patterns, some you may have seen as kits but most are brand new.

What makes Maggie’s patterns sing is the detail. Most felted patterns are pretty plain single color things, with not much going on besides the texture of the felt. Not so with Maggie -- she uses multiple colors, interesting shaping and construction. A shout out to her book designer who has made very readable pattern pages that don’t need to be enlarged to use.


Available via Lantern Moon

Destiny circulars
by Lantern Moon
$23.85 per pair and up [price varies by retailer]

Some knitters love the most spartan of needles. Others like their tools to add another layer of sensual pleasure to their knitting experience. For the latter knitter, I can wholeheartedly recommend the Destiny circulars from Lantern Moon.

These needles have ebony or rosewood tips which are warm and smooth to knit with. Yarn slides easily but not too easily. The cords are made of flexible low-memory nylon which relaxes more easily than other circulars. The join between the two is made of machined brass to provide a seamless connection between needle and cord. The needle also rotates, helping you to easily untwist your knitting if you need to.

The quality of these needles is clearly evident as you knit with them. I liked them so much that, after trying out my first test pair provided by Lantern Moon, I found reasons to buy 3 additional pairs for subsequent knitting projects. These are tools to be treasured.

When these needles were first released to yarn shops, some of the tips came loose from the brass fitting. Lantern Moon investigated the problem and eliminated it so it's no longer a concern. If you happen to have a pair of the early-version needles, contact the company and they'll replace them.

One of the most important reasons to buy these needles is because of the people that make them. You can read their story here. As their website says, "We work directly with our producers to provide income, education and self-reliance to Vietnamese women and their families." That's really cool.


Available at Amazon

200 braids to twist, knot, loop or weave

Interweave Press
$27.95 USD hardcover/spiral bound

What good is a braiding book to us knitters? TONS! If you're looking for a new idea for a belt for your cardigan or an edge treatment to sew on after your work of art is off the needles, you must see this book.

It's well illustrated with how-tos for every technique from simple braiding, adding beads, knotting, weaving, loopwork and ply-split darning. And most handily, a photographic index at the back of the book that goes on for pages and pages lets you browse all the styles until you find just the right one for your project. Brilliant.


Available via Louet

Hand Dyeing Kit - green version
[comes in blue, pink, green, red or brown]
by Louet

Louet’s Hand Dyeing Kit is a great way to get a brief introduction to one of the many different ways you can dye your own yarn. It comes with Louet Gems Merino Wool, 3 pots of Acid dye from Gaywool and wool wash.

The instructions were clear and manageable for the first-time dyer. Louet does a great job at maintaining the technical stretch of the instructions to a beginner level. I didn’t feel intimidated or out of my league using this kit.

My only area of concern is that the kit uses the microwave technique to set the acid dyes which only gets mentioned when you read through the detailed instructions in the package. It’s a good introduction to this technique, but there is no mention of fumes and food safety if the microwave you are using is one you also use for food.

I’m looking forward to continuing my dyeing adventures and feel that this beginners kit has given me the perfect nudge in the right direction.


Available at Amazon

Knitty Gritty Knits
by Vickie Howell
Lark Books

Yes, these are all patterns that have been on the show  and no, Cat Borhdi’s moebius isn’t here.

Why would you want a book of patterns that you could get free on line? It’s all in the detail. Having the patterns all together in a well-photographed book is great, but having the close up step-by-step how-to photography for each project is fantastic.


Available at Amazon

The Natural Knitter
by Barbara Albright
Potter Craft
$32.50, hardcover
SR= 32-55 inches"

A phenomenal book. Starting from the core element -- the yarn -- this book explores the essence of knitting. It’s comprehensive in its information about natural fibers, written in a factual, but never dry style. The photography is Martha Stewart beautiful, and the patterns are gorgeous, perfect foils for the natural fibers they are intended to showcase. The designers are a who’s who of knitting, selected for their signature styles.

Two standouts are Norah Gaughan’s Architectural Rib Pullover and Debbie New’s Cast Off Sweater. A book full of the joy and love of knitting, a fitting tribute to a woman whose work brought so much to so many knitters.


by Aija
$6-8 per set [6-7 markers in a set]

jewelry for your knitting
freshwater pearls, semi-precious stones

Pewter bee + hive pin
by Perl Grey

sturdy and a little bit cryptic
see their sweater-closure pins
and other lovely pewter knitting jewelry, too
handmade in Canada

"In deep knit" handmade knitting needles
by Chelle

Set of 4 tile stitch markers
other letters available
by Splityarn

Jellybean bunny pattern
Little Knitter print - 8 x 10"
by the Black Apple