Knitting Library. Treasures And Disappointments

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Knitting Library. Treasures And Disappointments

Knitting and Reading Yarn Along

knitting books

Today I want to share with you some books from my knitting library. Some of them became my constant reference books and some of them unfortunately were a disappointment…

Knitting library

“Sweater Design in Plain English” by Maggie Righetti.

knitting books

For me it is a good old technical knitting book that breaks down and explains the main aspects of a sweater construction. It’s definitely not an inspirational book that sits on your coffee table that you pick up from time to time to look at beautiful pictures of knitwear and dream of future projects. Black-and-white blurry photography and lots of schematics of different sweater shapes with a great amount of technical text and lots of basic mathematical formulas are what to be found inside of it. And you know – I absolutely love it! All the information is concise and clear with a great amount of technical tips. I referred to “Sweater Design” in my modification project – St. Brigid cardigan – a lot. And it served me well.

“Designing Knitwear” by Deborah Newton.

knitting books

When my friend told me that she wanted to thank me in some way for the dress that I made for her as a gift to one of her best friends (Pure dress), I immediately knew what I wanted – “Get me Deborah Newton, please!!!”. “Designing Knitwear” can be called a technical book as well, but it is so much more! I had a feeling that I got into a studio of a knitwear designer and she walks you through her creative process starting with inspiration and ending with a finished product. The book gets some criticism that there is a lot of “I” in there – “This is how I do it”, “My process looks like this…”, “I use…”, “I choose…”. But in my opinion there is no other way to show the designing process! Each designer has a unique style and Deborah mentions it in the book – over the time you will develop your own style, but you can start with the process that I show you here (not the exact quote, but this is the phrase that really stuck in my head). There is no book that can show you the universal method! As for the knitting projects, honestly, I wouldn’t knit any of them, but again so many years have passed since the publication and of course, some styles are outdated! I am sure that some popular patterns of our days will look old-fashioned in the future. You can’t help it.

“The New Knitter’s Template” by Laura Militzer Bryant and Barry Klein

knitting books

You know how I love modifications and when I saw this book I thought – this is exactly what I need! But when it came in mail, to be honest, I felt slightly disappointed… The book is just 80 pages and many of these pages are just pictures of yarn. I don’t mind looking at yarn pictures at all, I love them! But I expected more information. Basically this book didn’t have anything new for me. Templates for different gauges and sizes are pretty helpful, but if you are looking specifically for this kind of information, I would recommend “The Knitter’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns”. I got it back in August and had it for three weeks before the hurricane came and torn it apart ๐Ÿ™‚ But I am definitely going to rebuy it – it was very helpful!

Last but not least, “Knitwear Design Workshop” by Shirley Paden

knitting books

This is my favorite reference book! 300+ pages of valuable information, beautiful layout and gorgeous intricate patterns as a bonus! This book really made me more aware of the knitwear construction and the logic behind it! Though I was always fond of modifying and customizing the patterns, I was doing it mostly intuitively without fully realizing what I was doing. It is not the only book that you will ever need in your knitting library, of course. Not all construction methods are touched upon, but the amount of provided information is absolutely worth the money! I used it a lot while figuring out the construction of my Soho Dress.


This is where you can find me these afternoons catching the last glimpses of sunshine.

crochet blanket

I carry my crochet blanket everywhere now ๐Ÿ™‚ Slowly progress on the Flax sweater for my husband and my favorite book of all time. 3 years ago I fell in love with “A Moveable Feast” and it still doesn’t let me go…

What’s on your needles and your book shelves? Join the fun Yarn Along at Small Things!


By | 2015-09-09T08:09:10+00:00 September 9th, 2015|Books, Knitting|14 Comments


  1. Becki September 9, 2015 at 10:34 am - Reply

    I came in here to see the close up of that crocheted blanket, but I enjoyed reading your comments about the books. :^) I love reading reviews of great resource books. Thank you for sharing.

    • Alina September 9, 2015 at 7:12 pm - Reply

      You are welcome, Becki! I am glad you found it helpful!

  2. Pat September 9, 2015 at 10:43 am - Reply

    Ok, this is just plain weird. I just loaned A Moveable Feast to my son. Thanks for the input on the reference books.

    • Alina September 9, 2015 at 7:13 pm - Reply

      Wow! What a coincidence ๐Ÿ™‚ The world is small for sure!

  3. Zeta September 9, 2015 at 11:14 am - Reply

    Since I don’t own a single knitting book, thank you for the information. By the way, I think your knitting spot is to blame for the slow progress of your husband’s sweater! Too beautiful to focus on your needles!

    • Alina September 9, 2015 at 7:14 pm - Reply

      This blanket is seriously dangerous! ๐Ÿ™‚ It completely slows down my life and productivity!

  4. Tracey September 9, 2015 at 11:36 am - Reply

    That is quite an impressive stack of knitting books and I wouldn’t mind have a few of those titles on my shelf.
    I haven’t read A Moveable Feast, but with you stating it’s your favorite I will check it out.
    I do wish I could sit outside and knit today, the rain is gone, at least for now, but the ground is
    a soupy mess and the mosquitos are horrid.
    Enjoy your fiber time.

    • Alina September 9, 2015 at 7:15 pm - Reply

      Oh, you would love “A Moveable Feast”… So simple, but at the same time so deep. I hope you will be able to enjoy some nice weather soon!

  5. alexis September 10, 2015 at 1:48 am - Reply

    This is such a timely post for me. I’ve been thinking I want to expand my knitting library with a bunch of more theoretical reference books. I have dozens of books of patterns, but making my own patterns is my favorite part so I need books that talk about construction choices and theory. Now if only I could find a great reference book not just about garment construction, but about constructing knit toys…

    • Alina September 11, 2015 at 7:11 am - Reply

      I’ve never heard of a book focusing on constructing toys… I guess because it is so diverse and the forms are so different, I guess it’s very hard to put it in one universal method. I think Craftsy has some classes on toys, though I am not sure if for knit or crochet toys. Well, the good side I guess is that this field is wide open for you, Alexis! ๐Ÿ™‚ Maybe someday you can contribute to the knitting library and write your own reference book on knit toys!

  6. Julie September 10, 2015 at 10:31 am - Reply

    I adore A Moveable Feast, ti’s so good!! And I liked your feedback on the knitting books that you discussed- I do find the Shirley Paden one crazy dense, I own it but I have a tough time digesting all the info in it!

    • Alina September 11, 2015 at 7:12 am - Reply

      Yes, Shirley Paden’s book is packed with information! The only way to take it all in is step by step and very slowly…

  7. Tien September 10, 2015 at 9:49 pm - Reply

    I love Maggie’s Knitting in Plain English so will have to check out her Sweater Design in Plain English. She has a funny and direct way of explaining things. One of my favorite sweater references is Ysolda Teague’s Little Red in the City. Besides lots of cute projects, there are great tips on modifying patterns for a good fit. I also like the first Custom Knits book by Wendy Bernard for top-down sweater mods.

    • Alina September 11, 2015 at 7:13 am - Reply

      Thank you for recommendations, Tien! I’ve heard so many good things about Little Red in the City and Custom Knits! I will put it on my must-read list!

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