Book Sale!

I saw that Knit Picks is running a sale of 40% off on all books through August 17th.

I'm thinking about stocking up and have a couple of questions...

What books do you consider indispensible?

If you were going to get an Elizabeth Zimmermann book, which one would you buy first?



teejtc's picture

I'd definitely recommend the Knitting Man(ual). It's nothing fancy, but I'll admit, I really like it.... and at 40% off!!

I'm not an EZ expert, but I'd recommend The Opinionated Knitter -- I haven't made anything out of it (although I HAVE made the BSJ, I just got the pattern somewhere else) but it's fun reading. Surely someone will give you a more experienced recommendation of her stuff....

Grace and Peace,

ronhuber's picture

I would buy "Knitting Without Tears". Recipes for everything in that book.

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

Gosh, where to begin? I bought Knitter's Almanac first but rejoiced when I could finally get a copy of Knitting Without Tears. As it is I now have copies of all the books except Opinionated Knitter, planning to get it someday. My vote (if absolutely pressed) would be Knitter's Almanac - lots of projects and fun reading to boot. I consider it one of my "desert island" books. --- Other Books? Knitting From The Top Down; a really good one-volume stitch dictionary (with clear photos) that covers intarsia, cables, etc.; Heirloom Knitting (Sharon Miller's grand book on Shetland lace) if you do that type of work, and - to soothe your soul - Zen and the Art of Knitting. Now, to resist going to Knit Picks and browsing on my own behalf. -- Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

MWK - Houston's picture

Darn! After listening to you guys I bought Knitting without Tears on Amazon yesterday. From what I've learned here its the definitive guide to have around.

New York Built's picture

My Indispensable Knitting Library

Any Book that you don't have by EZ, Knitting Without Tears is the top cream.

Knitting In The Old Way by Priscilla A. Gibson-Roberts and Deborah Robson

Knitting From The Top by Barbara G. Walker

Mary Thomas's Knitting Book by Mary Thomas

Designing Knitwear by Deborah Newton

All of these I took to Kinkos and had them spiral bound so they lie flat. Knitting in the Old Way I left alone.

Design books come and go...usually paid for and featuring the latest yarn brand and/or the current design flu caught by the masses. Be a hunter...most are for women and if you plan to go there, by all means, stock up. There are other more specialized designers for Fair Isle, socks, lace, bead work, bast fibers, etc. Knock yourself out if you love it. Whatever floats your boat.

To whit, check out, if possible, the crop of knitting coming out of Japan. Whoa!

"Why these books?", you may ask. In my travels and correspondence, the most oft asked questions are:

1.) "How did you know how to modify that pattern to fit that guy? He's built like a tank!"
2.) "You are making that up in your head? Geddowdahere! How did you learn to do that?

Read 'em and reap! You will be able to make anything, calculate the correct size, dimensions, cubic footage, whatever, with great confidence. The application to lace, openwork and other forms of knitting are all intertwined, poetic but true. Become a thinking knitter.

"Champagne for my real friends, real pain for my sham friends."
– Francis Bacon

Every person I encounter teaches me more about myself. Without whom not.

Knipper's picture

Goodness, you are definitely going to get plenty of advice and opinions.

I echo having everything by Elizabeth Zimmerman.

Also, the Vogue Reference Book is very helpful.

Barbara Walker's Knitting From the Top Down.

If you are thinking socks - Knitting on the Road by Nancy Bush

If you have any idea, think you might, burning desire regarding lace and shawls get Cheryl Oberle's Folk Shawls book. Very very good.

For male sweaters pamphlets and books by Martin Storey are good to have in the library.

Hope it helps.

If I had to pick one author, I would say Barbara Walkers Treasury series and/or Elizabeth Zimmerman. That is two but what the heck.

mrossnyc's picture

I also just added a few books to my library, including The Opinionated Knitter to finish my EZ collection.

If I had to take one with me somewhere:
Knitting in the Old Way by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts and Deborah Robson
I used this book to knit my first sweater, using no pattern and just the instructions in the book. After knitting several others from modified patterns I've come back to this book for my latest project and forgot how great it is.

Others that I also refer to frequently:
Knitting without Tears by EZ
The Knitters Book of Finishing Techniques by Nancie M. Wiseman

When I started out, The Sweater Workshop by Jacqueline Fee was a great resource, has one of the best descriptions and illustrations of paired decreases (for raglan sweaters) that I've ever seen.

I also feel that the series of Treasury of Knitting Patterns by Barbara Walker are essential, but not available at Knitpicks.

If you want to make socks without a pattern, Simple Socks by Priscilla Gibson Roberts is another great resource.

AKQGuy's picture

It depends on where you plan on taking your knitting, but I think everylibrary should have a down and dirty knitting reference book. I love my Readers Digest Knitting Handbook. It's crossreferenced wonderfully, and has great easy to follow directions and pics to help remind yourself of a skill you learned years ago, but haven't used in a bit and just need a quick skill brush up. I love New York Built's idea of getting it spiral bound at Kinkos for ease in use when you have needles and yarn in your hand. I will definately be doing a run to Kinkos this week. There are spiral bound references out there, but I don't know how well they're written. There is a small pocket sized one that is spiral bund and the knitters at the shoppe here in town love it. It's brown and red, and I want to say it's titled "Knit Lit" but I could be very wrong on that.

I agree on Elizabeth. I have a copy of the opinionated knitter on order myself. I have used just some of her loose patterns and love the personality and awesome instructions she has.

If you are looking at lace patterns, I find my copy of "Folk Shawls" by Cheryl Oberle awesome. There are beautiful lace patterns, most of them more simple than you can imagine, and easily sltered for other projects.

"Cables Untangled" by Melissa Leapman is a great beginners guide to Cables, with some of the best illustrations and directions I have ever laid eyes on. I have even used this book as a reference before breaking out my above stated reference. I know Melissa Leapman aslso has atleast one other book I saw a new local knitter with, that had great patterns and instructions in it as well.

I have many many many other books in my collection, but those are my favorites. If you can though, pick up Jared Flood's first one that just came out, "Made in Brooklyn". I went down to our local shop (I know I can get it quicker, but I love supporting her in a small town), and asked her to let me know if she can get it before I look elsewhere.

Good luck, and hope you don't spend too much!


New York Built's picture

I have a BLACK and red, spiral bound, technique, down-and-dirty, how-to, called The Knitter's Handbook, published by XRX. With great foresight, they also included blank note pages after every section. I put my annotations there.

Most books of late have been ridiculously redundant with few innovations, as I become Diogenes the Cynic in a search for honest and innovative knitting designers and technicians.

"Champagne for my real friends, real pain for my sham friends."
– Francis Bacon

Every person I encounter teaches me more about myself. Without whom not.

jessemkahn's picture

wow, you boys sure make a hot pocket burn!! i just ordered 'knitting without tears', 'knitting in the old way', the vogue 25 years reference manual, AND 'the knitters book of finishing techniques'. i WILL not check this page again. i SWEAR. really.