The world of knitting is fascinating, with so many different techniques, materials, tools, and garment care. Even if you are an experienced knitter, there are still hundreds of techniques you probably haven’t tried or new ways to knit a garment that you aren’t familiar with.
Many of us learn knitting from our moms and grandmothers or by following instructions that we find online, so we never really learn the basics of constructing a garment or how to troubleshoot common mistakes. Knitting books are great sources of knowledge to help you improve your knitting and be more creative with this hobby.
Although it’s quite easy to find YouTube tutorials and knitting blogs nowadays, having a comprehensive guide can come in handy. Having a reference book around allows you to explore new techniques and bookmark your favorite ones.
These books are also great to help you discover new stitches and patterns, allowing you to be more creative with your craft. An added bonus: they also make great coffee table books, thanks to the beautiful illustrations and design.
If you are interested in purchasing a knitting book that can assist you in every knitting project, below are some of our recommendations for the best knitting books to have in your library.
Choosing a Knitting Book
When it comes to the best books for knitting, you just want to consider a few things:
Your Skill Level
If you’re an absolute beginner or still breaking your first pair of needles in, you’ll want to start with a thorough knitting book that includes more than just patterns.
Stitch guide books (sometimes called stitch Bibles) and other books that are geared toward understanding knitting on the whole – from stitch techniques and choosing yarn to shaping, finishing, and more – are a great investment. You will likely still want a book that includes patterns as well, giving you a guided practice for understanding those new techniques.
For a more advanced knitter, however, concerns like the number of stitches or amount of explanatory material will likely be less of a concern. Experienced knitters of varying levels will likely prefer more patterns and ideas, unless they are picking up a new style such as Fair Isle, Aran knitting, or lacework, which tend to be specialized.
An intermediate knitter will likewise benefit from a more specialized book – such as one that explains only the basics for sock knitting.
What You Want to Knit
As long as you have a few projects under your belt, you can opt for any style or type of project you want.
Whether you’re ready to tackle socks, but want a guide to help you through, or want some inspiration for making chic Aran knits, you will naturally want to choose a book with the right kinds of patterns.
Style and preferences can also come into play here. If a book is very helpful and well laid out, but you personally don’t care for any of the patterns in it, there’s probably no reason to invest in that particular one.
Clarity of Instructions
No knitting book is helpful if you can’t read it! Your knitting book should be easy to read and follow along. You should also look for books that include pictures and diagrams for explaining stitchwork.
It is also a good idea to choose a book which includes pattern charts along with written instructions. Not every knitter works equally well with both chart and written notes, so having both is your best bet.
How thorough the instructions need to be is dependent on your skill level. A beginner will benefit from extra instruction, but a more advanced knitter will get along fine with little to no explanations.
As for the rest, it’s all about fun! When you look through knitting books, your eye and your creativity beginning to spin around will naturally draw you to one or another. As long as you can handle the skill level and as long as the instructions are clear and easy for you to follow, there’s not much else to worry about.
The Best Books For Knitters
Once you’ve decided what kind of book you need and what projects/techniques you’re looking for, you can get to the fun part: choosing a knitting book!
Here are our top 11 recommendations for knitting books:
|1.||Vogue® Knitting||Chic knitting, well-explained|
|2.||The Knitter's Book of Knowledge||Understanding techniques, finishing, materials, etc.|
|3.||The Knitting Book||Patterns and guides for beginner & intermediate knitters|
|4.||The Knitting Answer Book||Explanations on methods, techniques, and problem-solving|
|5.||Knitting in Plain English||Providing a clear foundation for beginners|
|6.||The Big Book of Knit Stitches||Clear guide to 360 stitches|
|7.||Big Book of Knitting||Introduction & patterns for beginners|
|8.||Alice Starmore's Book of Fair Isle Knitting||Understanding traditional Fair Isle colorwork|
|9.||Amy Herzog's Ultimate Sweater Book||An introduction to sweater-making|
|10.||The Knitter's Book of Socks||Providing foundation of sock knitting|
|11.||Our Best Knit Baby Afghans||34 classic afghans (adjustable to adult sizes)|
It’s impossible to satisfy everyone in one list, but we think this is a great start to different project and style needs, experience levels, and preferences.
So check these books out below and happy knitting!
1. Vogue® Knitting: The Ultimate Knitting Book
At first glance, the Ultimate Knitting Book from Vogue can capture your attention thanks to its aesthetically pleasing cover and illustrations inside. Since 1989, Vogue has released three different versions of this book. Each new edition is updated with the latest advances in knitting – and style.
There’s something in this book for everyone. For beginners, this book is a comprehensive source, with illustrated instructions to help you learn new techniques like brioche, entrelac, double knitting, and mosaic knitting.
If you are an aspiring knitwear designer, you can also find tips for designing and constructing popular garments like sweaters, shawls, hats, mittens, socks, and gloves. If you are hoping to design your own garment and knitting patterns, there are chapters on measurements, constructing, and shaping your garment to fit every type of body.
Lace knitting is notoriously difficult, even for experienced knitters, so this book dedicates a whole chapter to this subject to help make your entry into the world of lace knitting a little easier. Similarly, cable knitting also gets its own chapter, covering popular patterns and techniques that can help you create beautiful patterns.
We love this book because it is clear and easy to navigate, with clear sections and thorough indexing to help you find what you need. Even if you are a beginner, you can benefit from having a handy referencing source for stitches and how to fix common mistakes.
If you are an advanced knitter or a knitwear designer, this book will allow you to have a firm grasp of how to construct a garment and let you be as creative as you’d like with your craft.
We recommend this book not only because it is a beautiful coffee table book but also because it is a comprehensive referencing source that will be useful to you for years to come.
2. The Knitter’s Book of Knowledge: A Complete Guide to Essential Knitting Techniques
Of course, we have to mention Debbie Bliss when we mention knitting books. Bliss is one of the most popular knitwear designers in the world, with several best-selling books on knitting techniques and pattern designs.
The Knitter’s Book of Knowledge is one of her best-selling books, helping knitters learn valuable skills and techniques to advance their knittings. This is the ultimate guide to knitters, with comprehensive guides and illustrated instructions to a wide range of knitting methods, techniques, and stitches.
We appreciate that Bliss has included a lot of different methods to approach the same knitting technique, for example, when casting on and binding off. Even experienced knitters who are used to doing things a certain way will still find new things to learn in this book.
The book is quite well-organized and easy to follow, so you can easily find what you are looking for if you need to reference a new stitch or technique. You can expect to find instructions to create simple stitches as well as difficult techniques like entrelac and cabling, which will help you gradually advance your knitting skills.
We love that this book even tells you all about the different tools and techniques that will make knitting easier for you, like how to wind a ball of yarn so that you can pull the yarn from the center of the ball, which is something that not every knitter will know (or even thought was possible) but will surely appreciate.
One of the most useful chapters is titled “Troubleshooting,” which shares some easy ways to fix common mistakes while knitting, whether it is a dropped stitch or a miscalculated length of a garment. For beginners, this section is especially useful because it helps them identify mistakes and fix them without having to undo a whole section of knitting.
Surely, beginners and advanced knitters alike will benefit from having this book in their libraries.
3. The Knitting Book: Over 250 Step-by-Step Techniques
As a coffee table book, The Knitting Book demands attention thanks to the many, many bright and big photos that are laid out neatly on the spread. But those photos aren’t only for decorations – they are helpful guides to help you understand the differences in texture and how to work the stitches and techniques shared in the book.
This book is often praised for its clear writing and step-by-step photo instructions, added by helpful annotations to help you follow along. However, the beautiful, magazine-like spreads are not the only thing to appreciate here.
This book is an extensive guide to knitting, covering a wide range of topics, including popular types of yarn, helpful tools, equipment, and step-by-step instructions to create over 120 different stitches.
You may have seen all of these types of yarn and tools at the craft store, but have you learned all about the yarn’s properties, care instructions, and how to use the tools to make knitting easier? This book will tell you everything you need to know about the yarns and the tools, and the photos are quite helpful to help you easily understand the guide.
When it comes to stitches, patterns, and colorwork techniques, the photos also come in handy. Whether you are learning a new stitch or flipping through the book to appreciate all of the beautiful colorwork patterns, this book can satisfy your senses.
If you are a beginner knitter, there is also a helpful guide to help you understand knitting patterns and follow along to create the garment of your choice. Of course, if you are an experienced knitter, you will appreciate the section that helps you alter a knitting pattern to your liking.
Beautiful visuals aside, this book is quite useful for knitters at every skill level. If you are looking for something to brighten up your coffee table and a book that you can pick up whenever you need a reference, this book is definitely the one.
4. The Knitting Answer Book
Knitting can be a bit daunting at times, especially when you are picking up a new technique or following a new pattern. Sometimes, you just are not sure if you are doing things right or your work should be looking a certain way, and most of the time, you don’t know what you are doing wrong to be able to find the answer on Google.
If you are in one of these sticky situations, The Knitting Answer Book can help! This book is designed to have all the answers (literally), from how to adjust knitting patterns, how to fix mistakes, how to measure gauge for tricky materials like lace, what to look for when you purchase certain tools…You will find the answer here.
This book covers almost every common question that knitters may face when they knit, so you can rest assured knowing that you are not just making it up as you knit. This book also gives you assurance in the form of solidarity – it helps to know that you are not the only person experiencing these difficulties.
For beginners, this book is truly a godsend because it allows you to identify mistakes and avoid them, learn new techniques that help your knitting look more polished, and follow steps to make knitting a more pleasurable time. For advanced knitters, you can also find useful questions related to difficult techniques like lace knitting or the magic loop method.
This book would also make a great gift for the knitters in your life. Many knitters surely have one or two knitting reference books in their library, but a question-and-answer format like this is quite hard to find. With this book, you will surely have a unique present that can be quite useful in their everyday knitting projects.
5. Knitting in Plain English
If you are a self-taught knitter, you know the struggles of buying the right yarn, the right tools, of holding and maneuvering the needles and the yarn, of making mistakes but not knowing how to fix them…
If you want your very own knitting instructor who can walk you through all the daunting problems of first learning how to knit, Knitting in Plain English is the next best thing.
An experienced knitter herself, author Maggie Righetti carefully guides you through the step-by-step instructions for different stitches and techniques and helps you avoid and fix common mistakes that knitters often face. If you are a beginner or intermediate knitter, you will appreciate the detailed instructions shared here.
With humorous writing and amusing anecdotes, Righetti gives you the impression that you are learning knitting from your own grandmother. She translates her knitting experience into detailed advice on how to pick the right yarn and the right tools, as well as the basic principles that you need to know in order to make knitting easier and more efficient for you.
What we appreciate the most about this book is that it feels quite personal. Unlike other reference books with straightforward information, the stories in this book feel partly autobiographical, giving this book a splash of personality that no other knitting books can have.
If you are a knitter who wants to feel inspired by personal stories, we definitely recommend this book.
6. The Big Book of Knit Stitches: Cables, Lace, Ribs, Textures, and a Whole Lot More
Knit and purl are the most basic stitches that knitters learn when they first pick up knitting, but they are so versatile in terms of application. By incorporating knit and purl stitches in different patterns and employing different knitting techniques, you can create a wide range of designs that add personality to your garment.
The versatility of knit stitches is partly the reason why The Big Book of Knit Stitches is so fascinating. The book covers over 360 ways to manipulate the knit and purl stitches to create a beautiful and unique pattern for your design.
The patterns are illustrated by photographs of the swatches, which allows you to easily choose the look that you like. The photographs are also quite useful when you need a reference to understand the pattern chart. Under each of the swatches, you will also find written instructions to help you create the exact look in your own knitting.
The book is quite comprehensive, with patterns ranging from basic ribs or cable patterns to beautiful, complicated lace patterns. All the patterns are quite well-organized, so you can easily find what you are looking for.
This book is a great reference for intermediate and advanced knitters who are looking for new patterns to incorporate into their own knitting. If you are a knitwear designer, this is a great reference book to help you design new and unique patterns for your portfolio.
7. Big Book of Knitting
Some knitters love following written patterns – it gives them a sense of assurance knowing how the project will look when it is finished and the steps to get there. That’s why knitting patterns for garments like sweaters, hats, mittens, socks, afghan, and blankets are always so popular.
The Big Book of Knitting is a collection of patterns to help you create over 100 projects that would be loved by the entire family. If you love following patterns to create beautiful, professional-looking garments, this is the book for you.
In addition, the book also has some basic information about different types of materials and tools to use, techniques to employ, and how to knit basic stitches.
Even if you are a beginner, you will appreciate how this book teaches you how to knit and gives you specific projects to accomplish. As a result, you can feel a sense of accomplishment, having learned a new technique and craft a finished project using what you’ve just learned.
For seasoned knitters, this book can serve as a source of inspiration to help them find new designs for their next projects. Since this book is so comprehensive, there is a design here for everyone, and you can follow these detailed patterns to make something for each member of your family.
8. Alice Starmore’s Book of Fair Isle Knitting
Fair Isle Knitting is a fairly advanced knitting technique, allowing you to create different patterns using several strands of yarn in different colors. This technique requires you to have expert control over several strands of yarn to create a neat and colorful pattern on the right side of your work.
Although it sounds intimidating at first, Fair Isle knitting is quite rewarding. Once you have mastered this technique, you can customize your own designs and create any colorful patterns you can dream of with your knitting, whether it’s snowflakes, customized initials, or even classic paintings!
If Fair Isle knitting sounds interesting to you, Alice Starmore’s Book of Fair Isle Knitting is definitely a book that you need in your library. Starmore is quite well-known in the knitting world, and she has translated her expertise into this book.
The Book of Fair Isle Knitting has everything you need to know about this knitting technique, starting from its history and Scottish origins. Starmore also offers detailed instructions on how to develop a color scheme for your pattern, techniques to help you neatly incorporate different colors into your design.
In addition to basic information and techniques, Starmore also shares some of her own original designs in the book, which you can easily follow to create your own colorful cardigans, hats, and gloves.
All of the instructions and original designs are accompanied by beautiful photographs, which inspires you to get to work. The included pattern charts are quite easy to follow, so if this is your first time exploring Fair Isle Knitting, you won’t have any issues following the pattern to create your design.
Whether you are an experienced knitter looking for inspiration or this is your first time exploring the Fair Isle knitting technique, this book is definitely the one for you!
If you find yourself yearning for the sumptuous textures of the Emerald Isle instead, Alice Starmore also has a great guide to traditional Aran (Irish) knitting.
9. Amy Herzog’s Ultimate Sweater Book
Amy Herzog has written so many beloved knitting books, and the Ultimate Sweater Book is the newest one in her collection.
This book is designed for sweater enthusiasts and knitwear designers, allowing them to learn the A to Z when knitting a sweater from scratch, starting from how to take measurements and create a custom-fit garment according to your liking.
You will learn how to sketch and plan a pattern from a set of measurements and customize your sweater with a hood, cowl neck, pockets, button bands… Herzog walks you through the four basic sweater types: yoke, raglan, drop shoulder, and set-in sleeve, with detailed instructions to knit each one.
If you are a knitter who is used to following commercial patterns, you will appreciate how this book teaches you how to customize a pattern for your body type.
If you are an aspired knitwear designer who doesn’t know where to start, this book has everything you need to start drafting your first design.
You will appreciate the clear instructions and expert tips that allow you to make a custom-fit, well-designed garment that complements your body type. At the end of the book, there are also original sweater patterns in different sizes and yarn gauge that allow you to start your very first sweater with ease.
10. The Knitter’s Book of Socks
Everyone loves a good pair of socks. A quality pair of socks is supposed to be light, snuggly, moisture-absorbent, and durable enough to handle the friction that happens when a person walks.
Many knitters are intimidated by socks, not just because it is a tricky garment to construct but also because it is so, so hard to knit a pair of socks that will both be comfortable and long-lasting. If you don’t choose the right yarn, it may not be breathable enough (resulting in stinky feet). If you don’t choose an enduring yarn, it may be worn out after just a few days.
Understanding these difficulties, Clara Parkes’s book of socks offers everything you need to know about knitting a quality pair of socks, starting from choosing the right sock yarn. In this book, you will learn about what to look for in a yarn by considering the fiber, twist, and ply.
After that, Parkes walks you through all of the steps, including tips and tricks, that help you construct a comfortable, enduring pair of socks. While mastering the techniques, you can test your skills with one of the included patterns, which ranges from beginner to expert level of difficulty.
If you want to test your skills and knit your very first pair of socks, this is a quality addition to your personal library. For experienced knitters who are struggling to find a quality yarn or design to craft a perfect pair of socks for their loved ones, this book will also solve your problems.
11. The Big Book of Baby Afghans
A baby afghan is every knitter’s favorite garment to knit, and not just because it is essentially a big rectangle. Although you don’t have to worry about fit or sizes when it comes to knitting baby afghans, there are other ways that you can be creative while knitting this garment.
The Big Book of Baby Afghan allows you to explore numerous beautiful designs to find the best one for the parents-to-be in your life. You can experiment with new stitches and patterns, even trying out your hands with difficult techniques like lace or cable knitting.
Similar to other knitting books, this book comes with plenty of photos and illustrated instructions that inspire you to get started on your next project. This book is a great source of inspiration and references to help you craft a beautiful baby blanket for a loved one.
Plus, you can always use the gauge and triple or quadruple the patterns to make adult-sized throw blankets! Sometimes an afghan is just too beautiful not to make again and again – for all members of the family.
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