Thursday, December 20, 2007

Best of 2007: Knitting Books

It's time for my annual review of the year that is (almost) past. Before diving in, if you are a Black Bunny aficionado, please note that I'll be doing my last pre-Christmas update this weekend, probably Sunday morning. I know it's not a great time, but I've still got computer problems and I'd like to sneak one last update in before Christmas as I'm skeptical I'll be able to do another before the New Year. I've got some merino/silk sock yarn, some alpaca/shetland laceweight, and some roving (a merino/border leicester/mohair blend from Virginia).

In other exciting news, this week I received the page proofs of Knit So Fine. Let's just say they surpassed my expectations! I can't wait until June.

Now let's start off our look back at 2007 with my favorite new knitting books of 2007. It's hard to narrow down my list, and there were lots of good books that I didn't include just because I was trying to focus on a list of around ten books, so please don't be offended if I skipped one of your favorites. Just mention it politely in the comments and tell me why you think I should have included it.

  1. Kaffe Fassett Two-fer: Kaffe Knits Again: 24 Original Designs Updated for Today's Knitters features some of Kaffe's best-loved designs revised and updated in two ways: the patterns use contemporary Rowan yarns instead of discontinued ones, making it easier to replicate the patterns without angst over substitution of yarns and shades; and many of the designs have been simplified into rectangular or square shapes (pillows, scarves, throws) in order to avoid the boxy silhouettes that some knitters don't favor. If you've been afraid to try a colorwork masterpiece, maybe it's time to pick up this book and give it a go.

    Although not a knitting book, I have to mention Kaffe Fassett's Quilts in the Sun: 20 Designs from Rowan for Patchwork and Quilting, an absolutely luscious book with gorgeous designs. I don't quilt but when I need a mood-booster or just a shot of inspirational color, I leaf through books like this one.

  2. Knitting Classic Style: 35 Modern Designs Inspired by Fashion's Archives by Veronik Avery. Yep, she's one of my favorite designers and a new pal, but all favoritism aside, it's a really lovely book, with wearable patterns that are interesting to knit and will look good on.

  3. Kristin Knits, by Kristin Nicholas, is full of color and enthusiasm, urging the fearful knitter who says "I don't know how to use color" to play and have fun. Great for stash-busting, too.

  4. Martin Storey's Knitting for Him: 27 Classic Projects to Keep Him Warm is a great resource if you are a guy or want to knit for a guy. Strikes that difficult balance between a project that keeps the knitter engaged but isn't too cable-y or too colorful or too whatever for a guy to wear.

  5. The Knitter's Book of Yarn: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing, Using, and Enjoying Yarn by the founder of Knitter's Review, Clara Parkes, is a wonderful book full of solid technical information about yarn. There are projects, too, but the wealth of info this book contains makes it special, especially for knit-nerds like me.

  6. Knitting New Scarves: 27 Distinctly Modern Designs, by Lynne Barr, yet another one on this list that I didn't get a chance to review yet. If you think you've seen it all when it comes to scarves, there may still be some new ideas in this book for you. I love books that push us to think in new ways about old garments, and this does that for sure.

  7. Budd-A-Palooza 2007: Ann Budd must not be getting very much sleep lately. In 2007, she released Getting Started Knitting Socks, a great introduction to sockknitting that also contains some excellent patterns for already-proficient sockknitters; The Best of Interweave Knits: Our Favorite Designs from the First Ten Years, a compilation of patterns from past (often sold-out) issues of IK; Favorite Socks: 25 Timeless Designs from Interweave, another compilation containing favorites from IK, six brand-new sock patterns, and one or two from IK's sister magazines (like Spin-Off); Bag Style: 20 Inspirational Handbags, Totes, and Carry-alls to Knit and Crochetand Lace Style: Traditional to Innovative, 21 Inspired Designs to Knit, two new installments in the popular Style series.

    Whew. Even if you take into account that Ann had co-authors on some of these, that's one hell of a year.

  8. New Pathways for Sock Knitters: Book Oneby Cat Bordhi, who is another knitter thinking of untraditional ways to approach traditional knitted garments.

  9. SELBUVOTTER: Biography of a Knitting Tradition and Arctic Lace: Knitting Projects and Stories Inspired by Alaska's Native Knitters because you just can't get enough of folk knitting books. Or at least I can't.

  10. Knitting Fashions of the 1940s: Styles, Patterns and History by Jane Waller, a detailed look at vintage knitting patterns from the World War II-era, updated for today. Excellent social history and fascinating photographs, along with some interesting vintage styles.

As I've said before this year, these are good times for knitters, with a great selection of interesting knitting books being released. Let's hope that 2008 brings us even more.


Carol said...

I agree with so many of your selections - I'm still hoping to get at least 3 of the books on your list. I also really liked Rowan's Story Book of Little Knits for a great modern selection of older kids' garments. Plus Rowan 42 was amazing! Does that count as a book?

How can we get you quilting? I JUST started and can see why it would get as addictive as knitting.

Stacey said...

It was a great year for knitting books! Lucky for me, I got a lot of those as gifts! Yay!

Lynne E. said...

The year 2007 wasn't exactly a stellar year for knitting books, and you've done an excellent job of separating the wheat from the chaff. One book that I liked that isn't mentioned, is Lesley Stanfield's 150 Knitted Trims ( It's possible that the patterns are recycled from Stanfield's other stitch pattern collections, but generally I'll buy anything devoted to knitted edgings. These books are rarer than you'd expect.

SewKnitNBeads2 said...

I'll have to park myself in front of my computer for the roving.