As an educator I love all books. As an art teacher I love history books, instructional books and reference books. As a knitting teacher I love pattern books, vintage books and stitch books. So when I started knitting about 6 years ago, I needed books. I seem to want to gather books like I want to gather yarn, patterns, needles and all things dealing with knitting. When I began to learn to knit and teach others I found it helpful to recommend books that helped and continue to help me. I am convinced that no single book can hold all the answers to all of my questions. I need an arsenal, so here are my top 5, in priority order, for the beginning knitter.
A to Z of Knitting: The Ultimate Guide for the Beginner to Advanced Knitter is my first choice. This book is has great photos of real hands engaged in knitting which makes replication easy as you decipher each technique. They use bright colors and contrasting yarns so that you can see how they are manipulating the yarns. The layout is user-friendly and easy to follow. This book covers a wide range of topics from a brief history of knitting to basic stitches and techniques to finishing techniques. A must have for any new knitter.
The Knitter’s Companion Expanded & Updated by Vicki Square is my second choice. Spiral bound and easy to drop into your knitting bag, this small book is jam packed with how-to’s and simple explanations. The color pencil illustrations are vivid and high quality. There are also photos that depict the way the end result should look. There are also tips highlighted in blue-violet text boxes that are helpful. The newer versions come with a DVD and an App so that you can have the entire book on your IPad.
The Knitter’s Handbook Essential Skills & Helpful hints from Knitter’s Magazine is my third choice. This handy little book is also spiral-bound and easily fits into your knitting bag. I love its layout. It provides a quick access listing, and the sections are arranged alphabetically, which I found helpful. illustrations are well done and easy to understand. There are also close-up photos of the end result of the specific technique featured. I like the title page that lists the contents of each section. Then there are empty note pages at the end of each section for your notes. This is truly a “workbook,” and I love it. There is so much information in this small book that it is a must have.
Knitspeak by Andrea Berman Price An A to Z Guide to the Language of Knitting Patterns is my fourth choice. Haven’t you thought that knitting has its own language? As you navigate through patterns from all over the world, wouldn’t be helpful to have a guide to translate along the way? Well, this is that guide. This book also packs a ton of information between the pages. This first section gives an overview of how knitting patterns are organized and how to read them. The second deals with knitting terms in alphabetical order. I like the illustrations and the variety of visual aids included throughout. The appendix deals with many helpful topics, from how to read a yarn label, estimating yarn needs to worksheets for projects, planning and schematics. Love this book.
The Knitting Answer Book by Margaret Radcliffe’s Solutions to Every Problem You’ll Ever Face/Answers to Every Problem You’ll Ever Ask is my fifth choice. Now, I take issue with the premise that this book can answer all my questions; no one book will. This book uses a question and answer format where a common question is posed and then answers are worked through and definitions given. This conversational tone is informal and a nice change to merely defining terms. So, for example, under Binding Off you get a basic definition, then When to use it: then How to do it: and then you get a Hint for almost every situation. I like that Radcliffe uses illustrations, charts and diagrams to help us visually see explanations. This is also a knitting bag book, easy to carry along with all your other knitting tools. This book has sentimental value to me. It was the first book my Mom gave to me after she taught me to knit. So I will treasure it always.
Please know that there are thousands of great knitting resource books out there. And, no, you do not need to buy all of them, but I cannot imagine that I would have been able to become the knitter I am today without lots of knitting, pulling out, and research using these books. This is just a starting point, the tip of the iceberg. I have other books that I would recommend for specific topics like finishing or designing, and as I get better at this blog I will continue to share. Let me know if my suggestions help you!