The limited shelf space that we have in the shop means that Brontë and I spend a lot of time thinking really hard about which books we’d like to keep on them. Luckily the indie knitting publishing scene, has become an ever richer seam to draw from. Meanwhile it’s no secret that with so many new titles appearing with ever more lavish photography, it’s quite easy for busy knitters to get swept up in hype over content. So we’ve put our heads together and come up with a round-up of some of our most tried, tested and treasured books, to help you get beyond the pictures and pattern names to the stuff that really makes them worth it..
Brontë’s Book Picks..
Architectural and detailed with echoes of Japanese textile heritage: Celebrated designers, Alice Caetano and Fiona Alice’s refreshingly original collection may have passed you by when it came out back in 2021, but is worth more than a second look now. Beautifully bound in Daruma’s signature style – and still light enough to send as a large letter. Most importantly the patterns are well written and thoughtfully conceived.
Charlotte Stone takes her colourwork cue from holidays, farmyard animals, ice cream cones and chilli peppers. The patterns use standard stranded colourwork techniques to create socks which are colourful, playful and much more pictoral than traditional fairisle patterning. A perfect (and speedier) alternative to the Christmas jumper – and definitely as much fun to make as to wear.
Wearable AND knittable is always a winning mix. But throw in a really solid range of proper summer projects as well as winter ones, and garments that none of our other regulars are designing – (like culottes for example!) plus miniaturised versions of sweaters for kids too, A Knitter’s Year is a keeper that you’ll go back and back and back to.
Anna’s Book Picks..
Take a knitting ride with a sweater pattern like you’ve never had before. Åsa Tricosa has ingeniously re-thought sweater engineering in a series of stages that she’s named after the steps of the famous Ziggurat buildings. From perfectly fitting seamless shoulders, to contiguous button bands that add structure, and delightfully zaney double knitted secretly coloured hems and blink-and-you-might-miss intarsia detailing, this one’s not for a nervous newbie, but if you’re a knitter who really wants to see what hand knitted fabric can do, and (Oh yes please!) really wants their sweaters to fit properly, this is the one.
Making the characters in Cinthia Vallet’s troupe of enchanting toys requires tiny needles, focus and an up-for-it attitude for new techniques. But helping you along the whole way through, are CV’s thoughtfully written instructions and explanations: writer-designer-toy maker, she has an unmatched way of gently getting you there before you realise you thought you couldn’t do it. And of course, you’re never alone with the knitting anyway, as within rows of starting, you have an emerging new friend who will keep you company and tell you stories all the way down to their toes and for many many more years to come.
Another artful designer who delights in the details and how to perfect them. In Seasonless, KT takes the perfect raglan as her starting point, spinning it out into a sweater, a tank, a cardigan and a waistcoat, and then reworks them all to create new columns in her raglan matrix for colourwork, texture and stripes. With the addition of a hat and mitts, the finished book is more or less a complete winter capsule wardrobe for your top half. Brilliantly conceived and beautifully executed.
Turn your knits into a canvas for a whole new layer of artistry and design. After years of embellishing her hand knits with flora, fauna, insects and birds, Designer-costumier-writer, JG decided to try and document her practice so she could share her skills with others. The result is a definitive reference book with stunning photography by Simone Hawlisch that makes it as sumptuous as it is instructional. Meticulously detailed and gloriously illustrated.
‘It’s time to set knitting free again.’ This riotously colourful book is part treatise on how we think about knitting, part pattern collection, part chart library. Unapologetically following in the great Hönsestrik traditions of the 70s, the Alterknit Rebellion is a fantastically accessible book that works as well for knitters who want a step by step guide as those who just need some colours and pictures to inspire them in a new direction. Joyful and humorous with a solidly progressive vibe running through.
IW’s compelling story of her travels and learning amongst the Amazight shepherd knitters of the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco is a wonderfully readable and surprisingly relateable window on a remote community that we all connect to through wool. Interspersed with patterns that have been carefully transcribed into modern knitting pattern parlance, the book has also become a critical record of a craft and a way of life that may otherwise be lost.