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Available at Schoolhouse Press

Unexpected Knitting
by Debbie New
Schoolhouse Press

This is an exquisite book. Don't be misled, though -- it's not about the patterns. This is a book of ideas and techniques. This is the print equivalent of mind-expanding drugs. And it's legal.

Not every technique will appeal to every knitter. But there's so much in here, something will make you want to grab your needles. For me [], it's the scribble lace. But Debbie also explores her swirl, sculptural, free-form, swatchless, labyrinth, cellular automaton, virtual and ouroborus knitting techniques in detail. And even though this isn't necessarily a pattern book, there are still 30 patterns if you want to reproduce her extraordinary results.

It's a glossy wonderland of ideas, and how it only costs $40 is beyond us both.

Not for knitters who need every step spelled out or their hands held; only knitters who dance to their own drummer need apply.

Available at bookstores everywhere

Felted Knits
by Beverly Galeskas
Interweave Press

Beverly Galeskas knows a thing or two about felting. Her knitting pattern company, Fibertrends, was one of the first commercial sources of patterns for felted knits. 

Galeskas' new book, Felted Knits, covers all the bases on knitting items and felting them.  The first part of the book explains the techniques used to create felted items.  The second part of the book includes many patterns for felted projects, including hats, mittens, tote bags, vests, slippers, pillows and rugs.  True to Fibertrends' style, the projects are quite classic in design, with some novelty yarns thrown in now and then to jazz things up.  The third section of the book explains needle-felting techniques, using barbed felting needles to embellish items by "painting with fiber".

The patterns alone make this book a winner, but the detailed felting instructions will certainly give any knitter the tools needed to create many other felted designs.  For anyone interested in pursuing this type of knitting, Felted Knits is destined to become the definitive sourcebook.

Available at

Stitch 'n bitch
by Debbie Stoller
Workman Publishing
$13.95 [paperback]

This has to be the knitting bargain of the year. How is it possible a book with so much knitting content costs less than $14?

There's a good dose of historical backstory, lots of how-to-knit technique and skill building, and some of the cutest patterns you'll find outside of this magazine. I'd buy it for the patterns alone.

Okay, so the hipisms and knitting puns aren't to everyone's taste, but mama done told me you can't please everyone.

Go buy the danged thing. It's worth every penny.

Available at BagSmith

Purse kits

Cuteness in a box.

A pattern, all the materials you'll need [including the handles, button and neat purse liner] come with. The owner of the company - a knitter herself - strongly encourages you to take the ball or two of freaked-out fancy yarn you've had sitting in your stash and use it as a runalong when you knit the kit.

Unembellished, the bag is pretty, stylish and tasteful [top right]. Embellished, it can have attitude up the wazoo [knit with ribbon (bottom left) or go mental with furry eyelash and knit your own strap (bottom right)]. All depends how creative you want to get.

The kits are available in a variety of styles, each with its own characteristic color. And if you crochet, there are instructions for that, too.

Who knew such big fun would fit in such a tiny box?

Available at

Bags for people who stitch
by KnitOne

When I saw this bag in another knitting magazine, I thought stylin', but small. [Please don't make me read & make sense of dimensions - 17.5 x 5.5 inches]. And you know size does matter when it comes to knitting bags.

While this bag isn't huge - it won't hold the extra-bulky Sally Melville sweater I'm working on - it still holds a ton. It will hold a tank or large shawl or several pairs of socks, many scarves, or sweater parts, plus all of the knitting accoutrements you need.

To put it in terms you'll really understand: it is 2 skeins (end to end) of Koigu PPM long, 3 skeins (side to side) wide and 2 skeins (on top of each other) tall. It's a 12 skein bag.

So, it holds enough knitting. But how does it look? Cool. I took it on a tool around my neighborhood - LYS, coffee shop. I got lots of "Nice bag" comments, but no one guessed that it was a knitting bag. I like that; it can double as a purse. The inside of the bag is lined in a different fabric, usually in the same color family. Plus there's an accessory bag [a 2 skein bag - 1 skein long and 2 skeins wide] made out of the lining fabric. It doesn't look like any other knitting bag. Currently, there are seven colorways; this one is called "Moondance".