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Available at Amazon

The Museum of Kitschy Stitches: A Gallery of Notorious Knits
by Stitchy McYarnpants
Quirk Books
$15.95, hardcover

Every knitter needs this book. It should sit on your shelf with Elizabeth Zimmermann, Barbara Walker and Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. If you ever get the urge to knit a jumpsuit or use foot-long fringe you can pull down this book a see how knits can go wrong, hilariously wrong.

JM

My non-knitting husband, usually immune to the huge piles of knitting books that fill our house, picked up this one and started paging through it and laughing. High praise indeed.

AS


Available at moving mud

Moving Mud Glass Buttons and Closures
$4.00-$30.00

Moving Mud has been everywhere this year. When I last saw them, it was Rhinebeck and their booth was full to overflowing with shoppers, and with good reason.

Moving Mud creates buttons and closures with ethereal beauty. They work with such skill that they capture the glass and hold it as if it were suspended in its molten state. They produce works of liquid light.

JM


Available at Amazon

Knitting Memories: Reflections on the Knitter's Life
by Lela Nargi, editor
Voyageur Press
$16.95, hardcover

I'll admit that I'm not a huge fan of knitterly writing; most knitting writers' skill lies in knitting not writing. Lela Nargi is an exception; she is a skilled writer and editor.

In this book she gathers essays from a variety of people in the knitting world, knitters, designers, artists and a knitting spectator and works them together in a manner that allows the essays both an individual voice and a community feel.

JM



Available at Catrun creations

Olivia

custom-built, starting at $80.00 CAD

The Olivia Bag from Catrun Creations is incredibly evocative. Everywhere I go people compliment the bag and comment on how it reminds them of their grandmother (or mother)'s old sewing bag. People ask me whose bag it used to be. I always feel a little sheepish when I tell them it's new.

This bag is now my default carry-all. It easily fits two sock projects and all of my associated paraphernalia. There are five deep pockets on the inside (four small ones, plus one that runs the length of the bag and has a snap closure). Catherine McLean does an excellent job with her bags. The construction is rock solid: stitching is neat, tidy and sturdy, the hand-made wooden handles are nice to hold and the fabric is a lovely tapestry weight both inside and out.

For me the size of this Olivia Bag is a bit awkward. I'm one of those people that will fill up any available space with *stuff*. This bag is just big enough that I can take more things with me than I ought to; but not quite big enough for a large project on straight needles. When you order yours be sure to get a bag that is at least 3" (8cm) longer than your longest set of needles.



Available at Amazon

Vogue Knitting Stitchionaries
Volume One: Knit & Purl
Volume Two: Cables
Volume Three: Color
By the editors of Vogue Knitting
Sixth&Spring Books
$29.95 each, hardcover

This new stitch dictionary series is on my stranded on a desert island list for knitting books. I think they give the Barbara Walker books stiff competition.

Maybe not in sheer number of stitch patterns, though they come in at a more than fabulous over 200 patterns per book, but in clarity, readability and dreamabilty. The books are beautifully put together and easy to read and follow.

All the stitch pattern samples are knit in smooth wool and are photographed in color and at a larger size than I've seen in any stitch book and printed on slick white paper so they pop off of the page. Cable patterns are given in both line by line and chart form.

It is a joy to flip through these books and dream about what's next. And for the record, for me that's neither Jack or Sawyer, but Sayid.

JM


Available at Amazon

Home Knits: Luxurious Handknits for Every Room of the House

Potter Craft
$32.50, hardcover

Employing her usual sincerity and warmth, Suss Cousins invites you to dress your home in stylish knits. Inspired by the colors and textures of nature, and sparked by a move to a new house, she reinvents and moves beyond the ubiquitous afghan and pillow outfitting every living space in her house in a fresh modern style. She inspires and guides you to create your own knitted oasis at home.

JM


Available at KnitKlips.com

Knit Klips

5-pack: $6.95 USD, 10-pack: $13.90, 15-pack: $20.85

I haven't knit anything that required seaming together in ages [I've been on a shawl/wrap kick], so these little wonders sat unreviewed for more than a year. What a waste! They are absolutely brilliant!

They're the simplest of devices, yet unequalled for seaming. A strong spring-loaded clip is attached to a smooth [non-snagging!] post that goes through your knitted work to hold it in place for seaming. Very cool for laying two right sides together and making sure they behave till you've finished with the needle and yarn.

But even cooler? Try them for mattress stitching [see pic at left]. Things stay where you put them, you can see what you're doing clearly, without obstruction, and seaming becomes, dare I say it, fun! Buy the big packs. You'll want tons of these babies. Knit Klips are an essential, affordable tool that every knitter should have in their accessory case.


Available at Amazon

Nature Babies: Natural Knits and Organic Crafts for Moms, Babies and a Better World

Potter Craft
$27.50, hardcover
SR: 21" - 28"

When I knit for babies and children, my thoughts frequently wander around our next generation and what our legacy is for them. Tara Jon Manning embraces this legacy in her new book Nature Babies. She speaks to the environment by using organic materials, she speaks to creativity by offering several crafts to explore (knitting, felting and sewing) and she speaks to tradition and remembrance by presenting 30 projects -- hats, sweaters, toys, a bag, a shawl -- full of simple and creative charm. This book invites you to create things of lasting and practical beauty and express the love for the babies and children in your life.

JM

available at Books, Yarn & More

Montana Mountain Handmade Needles
By Books, Yarn & More
$19.95 and up

Cardinal wood - US#8
There is something inherently luxurious about knitting with handmade needles.  One of a kind, not unlike the garment I work for hours on.  These needles are made from Cardinal ("Blood" wood) which gives them a deep red hue. Bloodwood is a hardwood so the needles themselves feel very sturdy and unlike most bamboo needles I use, they don't crack or flake which means that my yarn doesn't get caught on the needles after a mere three rows.   As a knitter who has a history of needle destruction, this sturdiness is of great importance.
 
Not only are they beautiful but they are stronger and more portable than my other woodens. Handmade, functional, one-of-a-kind needles that would make even the most picky of knitters glow with inspiration.

Curly maple - US#8
The needles are nicely pointed, smooth, and very pretty with a translucent grain in the wood and turned finial ends. The size is charmingly handwritten on the end of the needle in small print. They are nice to knit with, too. The tips were not as smooth as my bamboo needles, but that was easily remedied with a quick rub with a little wax paper before I used them with coarser wool. They are impressively strong for such dainty little things.

These needles are an elegant addition to my needle
collection and fit right in next to great grandma’s old 1920s decorative needles. They are guaranteed for a lifetime, “yours” specifically, as it says on the accompanying card.



Available at Amazon

 

 

Cables Untangled: An Exploration of Cable Knitting

Potter Craft, $32.50, hardcover
SR: 34" - 60"

Why has no one ever done a book this practical before? Cables intimidate knitters who haven't done them before, but once they learn and practice, most knitters are off like a shot cabling everything in sight. From the brain of Melissa Leapman comes a brilliant book on cables.

The first part of the books takes you through the cabling process, hows, whys, charts, even designing with cables. The middle portion is all patterns from a very first cable pattern hat to a practically every stitch you knit is crissed or crossed sweater (I love those). There is variety in the patterns both in difficulty and time commitment. Don't want to knit a sweater? How about a bag or pillow, a tank or a skirt? The last portion of the book is what seals the deal for me, simple and inspired: a cable stitch dictionary. And not just a handful, but 120 stitches. You can approach this book from any level, as a cable student, as a cable pattern knitter, or as a cable pattern designer. Like I said, brilliant.

JM


Available at Amazon

Domiknitrix: Whip Your Knitting into Shape

North Lights Press
$19.99 USD
SR:28" - 44"

Before you discount Domiknitrix because it might look like a gimmicky knitting book, give it a good once over.

There is good how-to information (beyond knit and purl) increasing, decreasing, color knitting, and putting in zippers and pockets, all with crystal-clear close-up photography. The patterns are pretty tasty too, especially once out of the beginner projects. The women's garments have interesting construction and shaping that makes for shapely fit. And really you can't help but giggle imagining whipping your knitting into submission.

JM


Available at Dawnbrocco.com

Curvaceous Cables Collection: How to Shape a Cable's Inner and Outer Edges

Dawn Brocco Knitwear Design
$16.95 USD

The ideas in this book will haunt you. The premise and skills taught are about freeing cables, opening them up, and lightening them. By eliminating most interior and exterior stitches Dawn Brocco has devised a way to shape cables so you can have an edge cable that curves around air, not reverse stockinette, or a braid that is held together only where it crosses, with no interior anchor stitches. She teaches the skill through a series of 6 small patterns with increasing complexity.

JM

 


Available at Lexie Barnes

Superstar
[shown in Neptune print]

$140.00 USD

It's no secret that I love me the knitting bags, and that Lexie Barnes makes my very favorite: the Lady B. Meet my new travelling companion.

Like the Lady B, the Superstar is strongly constructed, made of laminated fabric [watch for Lexie's new original fabric designs in December like the Viona, shown bottom left], accessorized with strong-yet-attractive adjustable length seatbelt straps, a non-slip shoulder cushion, two water bottle pouches [one on either side of the bag] and a nifty magnetic closure that's much stronger than you'd expect. The back has a wide but slim pocket, perfectly sized for a magazine or knitting pattern.

Inside, pockets, pockets, pockets...oh, and more pockets. The inner back pocket runs the width and height of the bag and holds an entire Denise needle kit. Really. An amazing knitting bag to travel with. Go check out her new offerings.

AS


Available at Amazon

Victorian Lace Today

XRX Books
$29.95 USD hardcover

40 lace shawl and stole patterns updated from original vintage patterns, help to trace the history of Victorian knitting in England. Jane Sowerby examines popular knitting of the time by discussing and showing several popular knitting books/series of the day, with about a third of the book devoted to Weldon's Practical Needlework.

An interesting read and knit along through one the most prolific times in knitting history.

JM

Available at Amazon

Knitting Beyond the Edge

Sixth&Spring Books
$29.99 USD, hardcover
SR: 36" - 46"

150 variations on collars, closures and cuffs can make something plain into a sweater that expresses your personal style. Along with the patterns for the finishes and flourishes, there are four sweater patterns and two (tucked in the back) excellent how-tos, one on fitting necklines into a pattern, and another on making a pullover into a cardigan.

JM


Available at Amazon

Knitted Toys

North Lights Books
$19.99 USD

Children's knitwear designer Zoe Mellor has turned her unique designing eye to toys. These toys are clearly designed for children with play in mind, which isn't always the case with knitted toy books. The animals and fantastical creatures here are squeezably plump, large enough to cuddle, and they are constructed in single or large parts to hold up under even the most ardant love.

JM




Available at Persnickety Design

Knitter

$80.00 USD
7"x 18" x 4"

This is a bag that begs attention, and it deserves it. Made by hand in the US from all-vegan materials [leather alternative, aka vinyl], fully lined with cute as hell prints, full of deep pockets [6, actually] and closes with a snap. The straps are made of seatbelt material, so they're strong. Especially good for small projects on straight needles or even for a spindle and roving. A trick to help keep your yarn inside the bag: put the ball under the closed snap and run the yarn over it and out.

Helll, it's cute enough to use it as a purse. I sure have.

AS


Available at Amazon

Naughty Needles: Sexy, Saucy Knits for the Bedroom and Beyond

Potter Craft
$19.95 USD
SR: 30"- 44", with lots of instruction on customizing to size

Unleash all of your sexy knitting fantasies with this book. From bikinis to bondage Nikol Lohr lays down the goods on creating sexy garments and accoutrements. Her designs take much of their inspiration from vintage lingerie and movies, and along with being flirty -- they fit. The patterns have excellent instruction on shaping and fitting.

JM


Available at Amazon

Knitting with Balls: A hands-on guide to knitting for the modern man

DK Publishing
$20.00 USD
SR: 38" - 60.5"

A stylish book of knitting patterns and how-to by the editor of Menknit magazine. I did a quick and non-scientific pass around to men I know, both who knit and others who just enjoy wearing knits and each one found several things they wanted to make or own -- the aran laptop bag was the all-around hit.

And even though it's a book of men's patterns, I have a few marked for myself.

JM


Available at Amazon

Arctic Lace: Knitting Projects and Stories Inspired by Alaska's Native Knitters
by Donna Druchunas
Nomad Press
$26.95 USD
SR: 42" - 49"

A comprehensive book that clarifies the history and mystery behind qiviut, tells the story of the Oomingmak Musk Ox Producer's Co-op, gives a knitting and designing your own lace project tutorial and presents 11 lace projects. It has that instantly engaging tone of an author who honors and obsesses over her subject. I was so sucked in to reading this book that it went everywhere with me until I was finished. The lace projects and tutorial are easy to follow and have that almost indescribable quality of "let's try this together" that makes learning new knitting skills a breeze.

I would also like to tip my reading glasses at the publisher of this book who made charts and directions big enough to read.

JM


Available at Amazon
Yarnplay: Colorful Techniques + Projects for the Creative Knitter
by Lisa Shobhana Mason
North Lights Books
$22.99 USD
SR: 31" - 43.5" (one man's sweater is 51")
See the author's blog for larger sizes for at least one sweater.

This book should really be called Inspired Knitting or something that hints at the depth and breadth of elements that Lisa Shobhana Mason calls up in her designs. She knits and teaches knitting as an intuitive process, following what speaks to you, and finding unique ways to incorporate ideas. All of her designs are stylish and charming, but her intuition really sings in her sweater designs -- they are artistic yet wearable. They inspire knitters to take an extra step outside.

JM


Available at Amazon

Knitting Color: Knitting Inspiration from Around the World

Sixth&Spring Books
$24.95 USD hardcover
SR: 38" - 72"

Inspired by his travels around the globe, this book reveals the process Mably uses to take a visual inspiration to a garment design, and showcases 20 new garment designs.

For knitters ready to do their own color design, the book has a useful 3-stage color workshop based on his "Color in Design" class.

JM


Winter Knits Kit: Instructions and Tools for
25 Cozy Cold-Weather Projects

By Sara Lucas and Allison Isaacs
Chronicle Books, $24.95

25 individual laminated patterns
to take along and knit quick gifts.


Knitted Flowers
by Nicky Epstein
Sixth&Spring Books, $24.95, hardcover

47 different varieties of felted flora to accent, adorn or cover your world.

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Romantic Home Sewing
by Christina Strutt
Potter Craft, $24.95

the bucket bag you've wanted to sew...
the pattern's in here!


Knits for Pets
(Vogue Knitting on the go!)
Trisha Malcolm, editor
Sixth&Spring Books, $12.95, hardcover

Sport your feline and canine love
with these 21 pet and pet-themed knits.

\
By Hand: The Use of Craft
in Contemporary Art

by Joseph Magliaro, Shu Hung
Princeton Architectural Press
$34.95

\
Vintage needle earrings
by The Big Yarn
sold individually

\
Crocheted Scarves Two

(Vogue Knitting on the go!)
Trisha Malcolm, editor, hardcover
Sixth&Spring Books, $12.95
\
Amazing Crochet Lace
by Doris Chan
Potter Craft
$21.95

\
Toys to Sew: Dozens of Patterns for Dolls, Animals, Doll Clothes, and Accessories
by Claire Garland
Potter Craft
$19.95

\
Amy Butler's In Stitches:
More Than 25 Simple and Stylish
Sewing Projects

by Amy Butler
Chronicle Books, spiral bound
$24.95