by Jillian Moreno, Amy R Singer, Carla
Kohoyda-Inglis, Kate Atherley
SR [Finished chest measurement for sweaters] = the smallest chest measurement to the largest chest measurement we could find in the book. There may be only one pattern with the smallest or largest size, but it's in there. Books are softcover unless noted otherwise. All prices USD unless noted.
The full story of how The Swift
came to be was featured in the summer 2009
issue of Knitty. You can read all about it,
and see more pictures of the bag here.
As you can tell from that review,
at Knitty, we love this bag. Here's what
we wrote last year, and we stand by these
words today: "Is
the Swift the
bag? Only you
can tell if it's
perfect for you.
But at Knitty,
we think it's
truly does what
they say it will
do. That's perfect."
now Tom Bihn has made it even better with
a subtle but significant change. At left,
you see the brand-new Swift in Cork,
redesigned for 2010. At right is the previous
incarnation. Looks similar, right? Except
for one very important detail:
It's called a "rand", it's made
of black ballistic nylon, and it's the strip
that runs around the bottom of the bag. The
rand helps the bag stand up on its own even
better. And knitters know how valuable a
standalone stand-up bag is. We're too busy
knitting to worry about keeping our bags
upright. Well, the previous version of the
Swift stood up quite well on its own. The
new version is practically foolproof. This
design tweak has been incorporated into the
Cork, Cordura, and ballistic nylon versions
of the Swift.
20 shawl patterns inspired by the sights,
sounds and colors of nature. I expected most of patterns
in the book to be of the triangular shawl
type, but I was excited to see a big assortment
of shapes and styles of wraps. I am smitten
with the triangular shaw,l Heavy Rain, with
a stitch depiction of rain drops on a ground
of reverse stockinette, and beads dripping
off of the edge – original
and lovely, and not difficult.
Big knitterly smiles for stitch patterns
both charted and written out, and for
providing any extra techniques needed in a
pattern, like YO at the Beginning of a Row,
as part of the pattern, complete with an illustration
of the technique.
Knitting 24/7: 30 Projects to Knit, Wear, and Enjoy,
On the Go and Around the Clock by Véronik Avery
Stewart, Tabori and Chang
Veronik Avery has incomparable and unique style. Her patterns are
easy to spot -- usually a garment that at first glance may look simple,
but something makes you take that second look. And then you see it, a twist,
a refinement, a depth that you weren’t expecting that is utterly
her new book Véronik turns her skill to projects
that are smaller, easy to carry along, easy
to fit into your knitterly wardrobe and lifestyle.
Hats, wraps, a shawl to die for, socks, mitts,
slippers and a few garments with as much
style and substance as her most complex sweaters. Already in
my queue are Travel Shawl, Pinstripe
Slouch Hat and Lacy Cabled Socks.
How to Knit a Love Song: A Cypress
Hollow Yarn by Rachael Herron
I can't remember the last time I read a romance
novel, but I can tell you that I picked this
one up specifically because the author has
been a blog friend for many years. I watched her
write about writing the book in November 2006.
Then she got an agent. And in November 2008,
her book was signed by a major publisher. So
yup, in the interest of full disclosure and
all that, I wanted Rachel's book to be good.
Rachel's book is good. It's a juicy romance, full
of rather hot, blush-inducing love scenes,
and -- most importantly -- knitting. Now
lots of people can throw knitting
into a novel and end up with something that
looks like a sweater where the knitter didn't
bother with a gauge swatch: it doesn't fit.
In this book, the knitting BELONGS. It brings
life to the book, and makes it resonate with
us fibery people in a way no previous knitter-novel
course we have both the hunky-but-tender
cowboy [or is he a cad? His name is Cade...hrm] and
the feisty-but-damaged heroine [Abigail]
who's tougher than she imagined.
a little mystery [I should hope so!], some
great friendships, fiber-bearing animals, obstacles to overcome,
and my favorite part: Eliza. The ghost of Abigail's knitting
mentor, Eliza Carpenter [cross your favorite loving,
supportive TV mom with Elizabeth Zimmermann
and you'll be close], is the backbone of
the story. I loved reading tidbits
of Eliza's wisdom at the start of each chapter.
Throughout the book, Abigail knits a sweater,
and you'll find the pattern for that sweater
at the end of the book.
Avon wisely signed Rachael for a 3-book deal.
Rachael, you did good. Now get writing so
we can find out what happens next!
Sock Club: Join the Knitting Adventure by Charlene Schurch and Beth Parrott
This book lets you peek behind the scenes
at secret sock societies – 23 women’s sock patterns
that were originally designed for sock
clubs and KALs. There are a tremendous variety
of patterns and yarns used. Because independent
designers designed the patterns and many of
the yarns used are from independent dyers,
there is a remarkable variety of patterns. My favorites are
Acorn Stash by Anne Hanson, Ariel by Debbie O’Neil and
Reims by Alyson Johnson -- all wonderfully
lacy, complex-ish socks, my personal sock obsession
A huge, helpful section in this book
talks about the different ways to adjust
the sock patterns for size. Most sock patterns,
in general, are written for one size. These
clever authors give us 6 ways to adjust for
our own feet from changing gauge by changing
needle size to adding a small repeat between
Knitting Green: Conversations and Planet Friendly
Projects by Ann Budd
This book tackles the confusing and complex
subject of ‘green’ in knitting. What does it
mean to be earth conscious as a knitter;
what do all of those green terms mean?
The majority of book
is made up of 20 patterns for women’s garments
and accessories,. The twist is that they
are made from yarn that is earth-friendly
in some way, and they are designed by designers
who have a personal commitment to a greener
world. A green approach still means beautiful
patterns -- have a look at Nancy Bush’s
Videvik Shawl, Ann Budd’s Honor the Buffalo Socks
and Mitts, and Kristeen Griffin-Grimes’ Caterina Wrap.
Along with the patterns are articles and
essays from a wide variety of women in the
knitting industry addressing the concept
of green and what it means to them as a designer,
a shop owner, dyer, sheep farmer or a knitter.
Toe-Up 2-at-a-Time Socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes
Two socks at a time on one knitting needle wasn’t
enough for Melissa Morgan-Oakes and it
enough for any curious sock knitter. Knitting
two socks at one time eliminates single-sock syndrome
and it feels like a magic trick.
have the advantage, according to their many,
many fans including the author, of being
a better-fitting sock, a sock to knit
when you are unsure of the yardage in your
skein of yarn, a sock that you can try on
as you work to ensure fit. This book combines
these wonderful things and goes steps
further for a better fit: a
quick and painless formula for sock length
customizes the sock to its
intended wearer and a rethought, reworked
short-row heel makes a better-fitting heel.
The patterns and photography are clear, especially
in the section that teaches how to get started
with two socks on one needle.
shown in lime [top], eggplant [bottom]
also available in peacock, black, hollywood pink, red
Namaste's Monroe bag is their most successful
purse/knitting bag hybrid yet. It's structured, sleek and stylish, allowing
it to pass as a work or travel bag just as easily as it holds
As with the other Namaste bags, it's got lots of well-thought
out pockets to hold your purse essentials as well as your knitting
I was able to get the following into it, without breaking
a sweat: a big pencil case full of tools and notions, a sock
project, the front of a sweater, a water bottle, a wallet,
a notebook, two magazines, a trade paperback, my phone, an
MP3 player, and a lipgloss or two. It easily fits a small laptop
or netbook for those of us who lead double lives as knitters
Being structured, it holds slightly less than some of their
other bags, but unless you're working on a blanket or a large
one-piece garment you'll have no trouble fitting everything
in. The interior is divided into three large pockets to keep
The handles are just the right length to sit on your shoulder,
but also work as a handbag. A clever addition is the "strap
buddy" - a little snap-on buckle that keeps the straps
together on your shoulder. It's one of those small but
helpful features that turns a good-looking
bag into a very useable bag.
In animal and wallet-friendly faux leather, it's also weatherproof
for those of us who live in harsher climates.
The fifth installment in Vogue Knitting’s stitch dictionary series
is all about lace.
Over 150 lace patterns are broken down into seven sections:
Easy/Mesh, All over, Panels, Edgings, Motifs,
Combos (with cables or embroidery) and Chevrons,
presented with both written and charted directions.
The large photographs of each swatch make the
patterns both enticing and easy to follow visually.
Comfort Knitting and Crochet: Afghans:
More Than 50 Beautiful, Affordable Designs Featuring Berroco's
Comfort Yarn by Norah Gaughan, Margery
Winter and the Berroco Design Team
Stewart, Tabori and Chang
A book full of afghans that reflect the modern style of
Berroco’s design sensibility. 27 knitted and 24 crocheted squares
of comfort inspired by quilts, nature and
They are all made from Berocco Comfort
yarn, a wonderful acrylic blend yarn that
became my go-to washable gift yarn quickly after I made my
first project with it.
The photographs are as homey and comforting
as the afghans in them, randomly interspersing
knitted and crocheted afghans instead of
segmenting them, which makes for a great
visual and textural rhythm. Take a look
at Marrakesh, Lucy, Ukrainian Tiles, Calico Hill or Irish
Floral and imagine them on your needles or hook and adorning
Knitting Yarns and Spinning Tales
CD Kari Cornell, editor
Knitting Out Loud
4 audio CDs; 4 hours, 38 minutes, unabridged.
This book contains stories by a diverse collection of writers
-- some you know and some you may not.
People like Teva Durham, Lela Nargi, Lily
Chin, Stitch Diva Jennifer Hanson and many
others. Okay, one of them is me. Amusingly,
my read-aloud bio was slightly rewritten
so that my sweet
fuzzy rabbit-daughter Newton should be
demoted to mere rabbitness and a non-existent
daughter invented. [I know -- some people
don't get that our pets are our kids.] A nitpick.
story begins with an introduction of the
writer -- which helps the collection of essays
become a coherent story to enjoy, disc by
disc. Narrator Greta Cunningham does a fine
job of reading the stories contained in this
book, but for me, the highlight was Meg Swansen
reading her own story. It's pretty special to get
to hear Meg read her own words, and the
words themselves are liberating and encouraging.
I especially loved Meg's description of
her design process...it might sound a little
like how you design. And if it's good enough
for Meg Swansen...
Wild Fibers Magazine: Five Years of Favorites written and read by Linda Cortright
Knitting Out Loud
2 Audio CDs; 2 hrs, 36 min, unabridged
Linda Cortright, editor of Wild
Fibers Magazine, takes us on her favorite travels around
with world in search of fiber and the
very real people who raise the animals who produce it.
She takes us to Texas, the Himalayas, St. Kilda and New
Zealand, all along the way she meets fiber people and their
fiber animals. It is a pleasure to listen to stories about
the fiber world filled with the obsession and passion that
many of us feel.
times when I read an article about a fiber farm or a fiber
trip faraway I find them lacking, I want to know more – what
does it smell like, what makes these particular fiber people
tick, what is like every day, more detail, more than lambs
frolicking over the fields (but that too). Linda Cortright
gives that as part of her magazine and in this audio recording.
And clearly she loves it too, because as she’s reading,
even stories that are five years old, you can still hear her
Brand New Knitter
The Basic Manoeuvres
Working To and Fro
Mixing Knits and Purls
Joining Yarns and Pieces
A Funny Thing Happened -- and some fixes
Guides & Markers
Reading a Knitting Pattern
Reading Your Knitting
Working in the Round
Knitting Venus 1
Navaho (triple-strand knitting)
Knots for knitters
Decrease Variations & WS equivalents
Alternately Mounted Stitches
Yarn Marker Applications
Short Rows in the Round
Lucy Neatby, world-renowned knitting teacher, makes the best
instructional knitting DVDs, in my opinion.
Everything is shot over her shoulder, so
it's like watching your own hands work. The
picture is clear and she chooses yarns and
needles that make things even easier to see.
She explains every step, and her warm voice
and British accent make listening to her
a pleasure. Most helpfully, each topic she
covers is its own chapter on the disc, so
you can go back and view any one specific
technique a number of times until you've
got it. This DVD is like having the most
patient knitting teacher possible at your
disposal 24 hours a day.
In trying to sum up what Lucy does for the craft of knitting,
I found myself reading my
her first set of DVDs, and realized I'd already
done it. So if I may quote myself, "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'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. "
Since I wrote that review, Lucy has expanded the list to 17
DVDs. The newest ones are Brand New Knitter and
the Knitting Venus series. Read on.
• Brand New Knitter [3 hrs,
A perfect introduction to any non-knitter
who wants to join our craft. Step-by-step,
Lucy holds their hands and turns them from
a muggle into a knitter. Super-clear instruction,
Thorough coverage of everything a new knitter will want to
• Knitting Venus 1 [3 hrs, 5 min] • Knitting Venus 2 [2 hrs, 18 mins]
The Venus in the title refers to Lucy's new Venus Rising cardigan
design. Why buy a disc or two just for one
sweater design? Well, that's the cool thing:
it's not just for one sweater. This one sweater
uses a number of advanced techniques that will
be useful to any confident knitter, so Lucy
uses the sweater as a way to illustrate these
useful techniques. Even if you never knit the
Venus Rising sweater, you'll learn a lot from
The Navaho knitting alone
made my head explode [in the best way] and
I guarantee you will use it on the laceweight
you have in your stash that's collecting
dust. I am already thinking of yarns I had relegated to the
swap pile in new ways.
If you do want to knit the Venus Rising cardigan, there's
a knitalong in progress right now on Ravelry and
Lucy encourages you to join in.
Circular Case Namaste
5 1/2" L x 3 1/2" W x 7" H
shown in eggplant [top], peacock [bottom]
also available in lime, black, hollywood
Namaste's circular case is a clever little file folder designed
specifically to hold circular needles. It has
15 decent-sized compartments to hold all sizes
of circulars, with little tabs on the dividers
to hold labels. The paper labels are prone
to falling it out of the tabs -- a little clear
tape on each end of the tab solves that. Each
compartment easily holds more than one circular.
I was able to get 3 or 4 of all but the largest
sizes into each slot.
Because I haven't had a satisfactory storage solution until
now, I've kept my needles in their packaging;
this case definitely does better with
loose needles rather than packaged. The slots
are vertical, and you do sometimes have to
dig for a needle, but it's a minor inconvenience. The labels
are a simple and brilliant improvement.
sides are a simple elastic gusset so that
the case can open wider for easier access
from the top. And the outer material is the
same as Namaste's faux-leather knitting bags
-- the best-looking faux leather I've seen.
It's attractive, and the square shape fits easily in a
cupboard or on a shelf, and the handle makes
it easy to take with you. A terrific
case at a great price.
Vintage Knits for Modern Babies by Natalie Fearlinger
Ten Speed Press
This beautifully designed, beautifully photographed book is
a delight to browse. Vintage knitting patterns
for babies and children are the inspiration.
Using modern yarns and with a little easier
fit [rather than the skin-tight knits of
our recent ancestors], the patterns are appealing
and classic. Everything from booties to toys
is covered, with particularly adorable wrap
cardigans and jumpers. Charming, charming,
Knitwear Design Workshop: The Comprehensive
Guide to Handknits by Shirley Paden
$40, hardcover over spiral
A textbook for designing your own knitted garments.
I launch into what a fantastic resource this
book is, I’ll
start with three caveats: this is not a book
for beginner knitters and it does not cover
that out of the way, I’ll say this is a comprehensive
guide to getting an idea out of your head
and into a knitting pattern. It’s also a fantastic resource
to use to alter an existing pattern to your
Paden has been designing sweaters for over
15 years, so she writes from a deep level
of experience. She doesn’t
sugar coat the information; if you want something
to work, to fit, follow the instructions.
There is math -- there has to be -- but
she lays it out in worksheets so it’s
easy to follow.
shaping, sizing, how stitch patterns work,
armholes, sleeves -- including sleeve caps
--and walks you through, with calculations,
several different style of sweaters. If you
follow the book, by the end, you'll have
your own pattern. The book’s
structure goes from planning straight through
to finishing in exquisite detail. There are
4 patterns at the end of the book so you
can study a schematic and pattern with the
brand-new knowledge you gained from this
book. Then you can be off and running with
your designs or alterations.
Knits Men Want: The 10 Rules Every
Woman Should Know Before Knitting for a Man by Bruce Weinstein
Stewart, Tabori and Chang
10 basic patterns for men, most in at least 6 sizes and in 6 gauges. A
book that can be one-stop shopping for most of the knitting for men you’ll
There are pullovers, vests, cardigans and accessories along with
advice from a man about knitting for the men in your life. The patterns
may be on the plain side, just like men apparently like them, but Jared
Flood’s photography gives the garments the depth and life that make
you want to knit them.
60 Quick Knits in Cascade 220: 20 Hats*20
Sixth and Spring Books
For many knitters, Cascade 220 is their go-to
all-purpose yarn,. It’s reasonably priced, soft and comes
in a huge rainbow of colors.
This book is a smorgasbord for cold weather accessories:
hats, mittens and scarves for women (and a few kid patterns),
all knit from Cascade 220. Quick to knit and with enough
of an assortment of looks and techniques color, texture and
sometimes both to keep any knitter interested. It’s
never too early to start holiday knitting.
Knitting Brioche: The Essential Guide to the Brioche
Stitch by Nancy Marchant
North Lights Books
Dismissed by many knitters as difficult to learn, and only good for clunky
looking outdoor accessories, or the fisherman’s sweaters of our youth,
Nancy Marchant lets us in on the secret of just how cool brioche can be.
Just look at the Geveldak Scarf or the traffic-stopping Haarlem Jacket,.
Really, really gorgeous. Because brioche is such a lofty, thick stitch,
every decrease, decrease or crossed stitch becomes an exaggerated design
element and Nancy Marchant certainly uses those to her advantage in these
I have never knit brioche and with the directions in this book was able
to pick it up -- even two color brioche -- in a few minutes. The illustrations
are incredibly helpful, as is the bumped-up print size. I had never realized
that that there were so many possible variations in the brioche stitch.
I never was much interested in brioche knitting before I read this book,
but now I have several patterns with yarn, ready to go.
The Handmade Marketplace: How to Sell Your Crafts
Locally, Globally, and On-Line by Kari Chapin Storey Publishing
The big difference between this book and others about having
a crafty business is that this is a business
book first. This book has an eye to making
a living through your craft rather than
making money on the side. It is a detailed
and intensive bootcamp for getting a business
up and running and keeping it successful
through marketing – all
wrapped up in an adorable package, charming
illustrations and a ‘please
hold me’ size.
The book is divided into three
sections: information on setting up your
business, marketing your business and actual
selling. There is a fantastic resource
guide at the end.
book, while filled with valuable business
information, also has heart and soul. In
any type of business you can’t
work in a vacuum, and craft businesses moreso.
Kari Chapin has a large group of craft businessfolk she calls
her Creative Collective and they impart their advice through
aside, essay and interview. The information from
these collective brains alone would put you
head and shoulders above most just starting
out in the business of craft.
Toe-Up Socks for Every Body: Adventurous
Lace, Cables, and Colorwork by Wendy D. Johnson
Next up in Wendy Knits adventures in toe-up
sock knitting, here is a collection of socks sized for the whole
A notch up on the difficulty scale from her
first book, but the 21 patterns in cable and lace and colorwork
are truly lovely and worth the stretch of your knitting skills.
The patterns are clearly written and the photography is pretty
and shows each sock from different angles, so you get a clear
view of what you are knitting.
The Complete Guide to Natural Dyeing: Fabric,
Yarn, and Fiber by Eva Lambert, Tracy Kendall
When I first became interested in all things
fiber (many years ago) I took a class that was
split into the use of natural dye and learning
to spin. I gained a ton of good information, but gave up on
natural dyeing in the interests of making sure I could get
repeatable colors and the time it would take me to find or
grow the natural dyestuffs.
This book is so beautiful, it made
me want to drop everything and go searching
for the natural material I need to repeat some of what
Lambert & Kendall
showed me – in the middle of winter!
book is practically the natural dyeing class
I took in book form. You will learn how to collect and prepare
your natural dyes as well as the use of mordants. There’s a giant chapter with step-by-step
recipes and tips to insure you’re going to get the color
you want. Tired of the same old vat dyeing?
Go for the chapter with all the different techniques,
from tie-dyeing to ikat to batik to resist dyeing with indigo.
I would have bought this book just for the
juicy photography. I’m
so glad there’s more between the covers than splashy eye candy and
will be using this book until those lovely pictures are splattered with
all sorts of natural dye spots.
The Very Easy Guide to Cable Knitting:
Step-by-Step Techniques, Easy-to-Follow
Patterns, and Projects to Get You Started by Lynne Watterson
St. Martin’s Griffin
Cables can be intimidating to new knitters;
this book is perfect if you are new to cables. Aptly titled The
Very Easy Guide to Cable Knitting, it takes a beginning
cabler through Mock Cables, Cable Panels and Cable Patterns in
a very methodical, not scary way.
For each of the three cable sections a practice
stitch pattern is given and discussed in detail, including a
large photograph of a knitted swatch with each row of the stitch
pattern numbered on the swatch – incredibly helpful to
a new cable knitter who may be not quite sure what she’s
seeing between the printed stitch pattern and the knitted stitch
pattern. Next several stitch patterns are presented with large
light-colored knitted swatches, the pattern both charted and
written out, then 4-5 project patterns are offered. All patterns
are for accessories and home décor. This is a fantastic
book for a newbie cable knitter.
Northern Knits: Designs Inspired by the Knitting
Traditions of Scandinavia, Iceland, and the Shetland Isles by Lucinda Guy
Known mostly for her children’s designs, Lucinda Guy
breaks from her own design tradition and
gives us 20 women’s
garments and accessories inspired by Scandinavia,
Iceland and Shetland. The designs are wonderfully
feminine and light feeling, not the heavy,
thick yarned sweaters sometimes associated
with these regions.
The colorwork is interpreted by Guy from
the traditional colors -- it has a fresh
quality and is not overly fussy. Clearly she has followed
a passion in these designs and it shows
in the attention to detail and sparkle in this
No new spinning
books to review this issue. So instead, we
bring you the brand-new Spinner's Bibliography...books
old and new, reviewed and evaluated for spinners
of all levels of experience!
bulletproof, lightweight, flexible bucket-baskets.
Carrie [the tall one]
carries tons of stuff and you can fill Phil [the short one] with anything...yarn
you're felting or dyeing,
even! so flexible that, to carry one of them,
just squish the handles together and off you go.
Caro's been making these longer than almost anyone else in our world, and
her attention to detail is awesome. super fabulous fabrics like the scooter
shown above. generously sized.
subscribe to her shop RSS
feed to know when she lists new stuff. it goes fast.