Knitting Love, top 10 knitting books

February 12, 2013

Day 3 of Knitting Love in honor of St. Valentine and another top 10 list.  Welcome to my little knitting blog and read on to see what rocks my world!

Even if you are unfamiliar with the knitting world, I doubt you will be surprised to learn that the internet has revolutionized the way we knitters do things.  First, long ago, we were alone.  All alone.  We hardly knew anyone that knit.  We thought, "Am I the only one obsessed with this?"  There were a few yarn stores and we felt good inside the wooly walls.  We still do.  But then all of a sudden, knitters started appearing on the internet.  We found like-minded friends, lots of them, all over the world and they were just as obsessed as we were!  Who knew?

So here is where I need to pause and give a shout out to RAVELRY!  How did we manage before you came along, dear Ravelry?  Ravelry put us all together, the yarn manufacturers, designers and knitters, one big happy Rav family.  By the way, I'm kristenlynnea on Rav, let's be friends!
So, back to books and my top 10 list.  I love to buy knitting books and magazines... but now however, by using Ravelry as a starting point, many of my patterns are purchased individually as a PDF directly from the designer.  I do still purchase 90% of my yarn at my LYS.  I am a big believer in supporting my local yarn shop and shopping locally in general.

Here are 10 knitting books that I love and cherish for their inspiration.

1.  Kim Hargreaves left as head designer at Rowan about 10 years ago to become an independent designer.  Originally through her website she sold kits of her original designs paired with Rowan yarn, but soon she abandoned that and started publishing books of her own designs and discontinued the kits.  Now, twice a year we are treated to a Kim collection.  Her fans can never get enough of her.  Of all her beautifully styled books it's hard to pick a favorite, I really do love them all.  Some early beauties are Cherished, Precious and Heartfelt.  My prettiest sweaters have come from her books.

2.  Coastal Knits by Hannah Fettig and Alana Dakos, a must have for me.  I have knit about half the designs from this book and not finished yet.  A beautifully illustrated book with stories of what inspires them.  Hannah is from Maine and Alana is from California and their home states have influenced their knitting in beautiful ways. 

3.  Botanical Knits by Alana Dakos, just out!  I purchased it in digital form, but you can pre-order the book which will come out in April.  Alana is inspired by her home in the beautiful central California coast and came up with some lovely leafy themed designs.  I would not be surprised if this became the must-have book for 2013.  I would make every single one if I just had 4 hands and didn't require sleep.

4.  Now we get into some Rowan territory!  Transport yourself to the Yorkshire dales while you knit away on these timeless designs.  Vintage Style, 2004 and A Yorkshire Fable, 2003, both are collections of gorgeous knits from designers associated with Rowan such as Kaffe Fassett, Sarah Dallas and Martin Storey.  I've made several from these books and still look to them for inspiration.  Beautifully styled.  These last two and the next are most likely out of print.  If your LYS doesn't have a copy, look to the internet.  Next, the classic, A Season's Tale by Kim Hargreaves, 2001.  Looking through it I've made several of these patterns but it was before Ravelry so I never got pictures of them.

5.  Elizabeth Zimmerman.  Anything by her.  Master knitter and grandmommy to knitters around the world.  This little collection was found at a tag sale for $1 each.  The kids were unloading mom's knitting supplies and I bought some good things that day.  EZ has come up with ingenious ways to knit sweaters and shawls.  The Pi Shawl, that's her, the Baby Surprise Jacket and the February Baby Sweater, that's her too.  She thought of it first, must be some kind of mathematical genius.  You'll love her style of writing, in her own words, she is very opinionated!

6.  Classic Knits by Erika Knight has to be included if only for the Kelly Cardigan and the Deep V Sweater.  The book jacket says, "15 timeless designs to knit and keep forever."  I agree.  Funny, I used to think that hand knitting meant adding every knitted detail possible, cables and lace and bobbles.  But now I have moved toward the most simple styles in the perfect yarn with the perfect fit.  What could be better than that?

7.  Rowan Magazine.  Every 6 months a new magazine and a new collection from the venerable English brand I love so much.  Their subdued English fashion paired with some cutting edge and plenty of classic make the bi-annual magazine highly collectable.  Beautiful styling and wonderful stories to read.  I have quite a collection now and use them for inspiration as well as for knitting patterns.  Vintage copies are easily found on the internet.

8. One of the great joys for a knitter is whipping up a teensy knit for a wee one.  It takes no time at all, and it's a fact that anything in miniature form is preferred over all other forms, AND little ones look so darn cute in a cuddly sweater.  The Rowan Story Book of Little Knits by Marie Wallin gets my vote.  Confession, I have not actually made anything from this book, but I want to!  Fab photo styling, sweet little stories and super adorable mini sweaters for the super adorable mini in your life.

9.  Knitters love to knit things even smaller than a baby's sweater.  We like to knit dolly clothes too, or at least this knitter does.  Hands down the very best doll's clothes are from Marjory Fainges and her books, Classic Knits for Baby Dolls, More Classic Knits for Baby Dolls and Classic Knits for Girl Dolls.  One day I'll do a separate post just for dolly clothes, but in the meantime, if your fingers are itching to make something classic for your American Girl or other darling, these books are for you.  The dolls in the Downton Abbey nursery are surely dressed in the likes of these.

10.  I don't often knit toys or animals, but when I have the urge I go to these two books by Debbie Bliss.  Toy Knits and Teddy Bears.  Bears and bunnies, camels and mice, oh my!  You will not find anything cuter and they are fairly easy to knit with good instructions and adorably styled photos.

Have I missed any that you love?  I'd love to know what they are, please share!

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  1. Another grest post! You've got lots of my favorites in there :-) I also treasure my Alice Starmore books - the pattern books which have long been out of print. I'm so glad I bought them when they were current!

    1. Gail, I agree about the Alice Starmore books. I have a few here and know they are hard to find now. I wonder if they will ever reissue them?

  2. Again, I have some of these same books....The Kim ones are because of you and your beautiful sweaters.

    I have all of the EZ books. I go to Meg's Knit Camp in Wisconsin every July. EZ was simply amazing and I wish I could have sat at her feet.

    Looking forward to tomorrow's post!

    1. Penny, I am so jealous you can go to Meg's Knit Camp! That sounds like heaven.

  3. like you, Ravelry and individual pdf downloads is mostly how I buy patterns these days. and I'm sure you're not surprised (I wasn't!) that I have - and love! - many of the knitting-for-adults books you've listed (LOVE A Season's Tale!). the only one I'd add to your list is Wendy Bernard's (Knit and Tonic) first Custom Knits. My children's collection, however, is much different...all pattern books from my grandmother and I haven't even catalogued them (I wonder if Ravelry will recognize them when I want to add them to my library?!)...can't wait to see (just!!!!) ten favorite patterns!

  4. A Seasons Tale is the book that i could knit every design from, even the men's knits!


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