Any good books out there?

I have some leftover Christmas money (along with accumulated "mad money") and was thinking about investing in some good knitting books. The Knitting With Balls book sounds like it would be good. I saw someone mention The Knitting Man(ual) on another blog. Any other suggestions?


trpc's picture

I think it's a matter of taste. I have both of the books that you've mentioned, and neither really inspire me. I just bought Son of Stitch 'N Bitch and think there are some cool projects in it. The opposite may be true for you. The best thing would be to look at them at your LYS or bookstore and then order them from amazon or You're supposed to shop local, I know, but the price difference is too much. Good luck!

QueerJoe's picture

I agree that it's a matter of taste. I found Knitting For Him by Martin Storey to be a beautiful book, with some classically beautiful sweaters, but I haven't even considered making anything from it (it makes a great coffee table book :).

However, I also got The Knitting Man(ual) by Kristen Spurkland, and I've already made three of her designs. Kristen's book is geared much more to a beginning knitter, but even after knitting for over 20 years, I still liked working her patterns.

potterdc's picture

Hi John,

There are a ton of books out there, and I agree with trpc - what you find inspiring may not work for someone else. The knitting "classics" in my library that I find myself going back to again and again include:

Anything by Elizabeth Zimmerman (Knitting Without Tears, The Knitter's Almanac)
Barbara Walker's knitting pattern books (A Treasury of Knitting Patterns I and II)

Two books that I bought in the 80's that I have found quite usesful and are quite dogeared at this point are:

Knitting in the Nordic Tradition by Vibeke Lind
Knitting in the Old Way by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts

Two new books whose designs I really love include:

Knitting Out of Africa by Marianne Isager
Mason-Dixon Knitting by Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne (a fun, break-all-the-rules knitting guide)

And finally, two books (why do they all come in twos? A bit prosaic, really. I need to branch out into threes!) that are writing about knitting that have inspired me:

Zen and the Art of Knitting by Bernadette Murphy
Two Sweaters for my Father by Perri Klass (a small and not well known collection of essays about knitting by a Boston doctor - really great read).

I have not found any of the knitting for men books very good. I love the concept of Knitting With Balls, but I don't like the projects very much. I think the time is fast approaching that a collection of designs by members of menwhoknit should be published!

I often peruse my local library too to see what they have - with the current knitting craze, they have quite a nice collection of new knitting books.

Happy Reading,
Jonathan in DC

Think less, enjoy it more.

Think less, enjoy it more.

ronhuber's picture

I would recommend Elizabeth Zimmermann's books as a great place to start. Mainly because they free your mind and allow you to be creative.

I recently bought Barbara Walker's Treasury I and II, along with Vogue's stitchionary 2: Cables - I vote for the Walker books as they are fairly comprehensive and enjoyable - as well as useful...

purlyman's picture

Like every has said, it's a matter of taste and there are lots of them. One that I recently bought is _The Knitter's Handbook_ by Eleanor Van Zandt. It's a basic manual without any projects but has pages and pages of really nice photos of swatches with various patterns (textures, lace, colorwork, etc.). Here's the link to Amazon:


MMario's picture

As others have said, it's a matter of taste - but my money would go more for the reference type books - stitch libraries (Such as Walker) or books that foucs on cunstruction, fitting, etc, rather then a specific technique or patterns. I just think in the ong run it's more bang for your buck.

MMario - ambiguity is cultivated, it doesn't happen in a vacuum!

MMario - I'm not divorced from reality - we're having a trial separation

Asbjörn's picture

Next pile of free (non-bill paying), money I have is going right toward Barbara Walker's stitch libraries.


Parrot's picture

I just recently acquired Men in Knits by Tara Jon Manning. It has a lot of very useful information about knitting for men, with excellent, classical and timeless patterns.

I would recommend that if you have a good LYS in your area, go by there often and establish a good relationship with the owner. Hopefully they will have a very nice book selection and can assist you in what you are looking for.

I'm in a position whereby I can frequently visit my LYS and have a wonderful relationship with the owner . . . to the point that she invited me for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners with her family! She also now sells some of my work . . . needles, shawl pins, and drop spindles, as well as finished knit goods . . in her shop.

The LYS can be as much of an important resource for you as a good book. For one thing, you get a good chance to fondle all the new fibers that arrive . . :O The owner has also seen an increase in the number of men (mostly tourists) that are in the fiber arts, so she has a good selection of books with men's patterns and a very good selection of yarns that will appeal to men.


scenter's picture

I like Claire Crompton's "The Knitter's Bible" as a good all around reference. She has how to's from basic techniques to complicated things like entrelac and shaping, demo projects to improve your skills, and a moderately good stitch library therin.

For other stitch libraries, the Harmony Guides are a good source also.

Kerry's picture

I'm enjoying The Knitting Man(ual) at present, currently knitting the twisted stitch sock from it. The book I refer to more than any other is Vogue Knitting, it has almost everything in it.

Applew's picture

If you decide to expand into the Lace World, I suggest "Knitting Lace Triangle" by Evelyn A. Clark.