knitting books

Books: 3 knitting books

by KateG on 18/05/2011

in Books

Knit Kimono Too. Vicki Square, 2010, Interweave Press.

Vicki Square has an obvious love affair with kimono, and her passion for colour, texture, shape and textile history all contribute to making Knit Kimono Too a visually exciting book full of innovative and original projects to knit. Following on from her previous volume, Knit KimonoFashion Craft Books), this book has a focus on using colour, and includes projects based on, but not confined by traditional shapes and textures. Knit Kimono Too also includes projects to knit tops that are designed to be worn under kimono, but are equally beautiful worn by themselves.

Each pattern has an introduction to the style of garment and the colour choice, and information on the yarn used. There are clearly written instructions and a detailed schematic diagram. The larger coat style garments are written with only one size, and the tops are written with a few sizes for each pattern. This book comes with an instructional DVD, where Vicki Square demonstrates all of the techniques used in all of the projects, including surface embroidery, stranded colourwork, short rows and attaching knitted cord.

I am completely in love with the twin set of the Keshi Murasaki shell with the Mijikui Dofuku battle jacket work over the top, the decorative ribbings used on Under Kosode Shell, Ao top, and I would love to make the gorgeously elegant Inperiaru Murasaki top with its stand up collar and smooth lines.

A Knitting Wrapsody. Kristin Omdahl, 2011, Interweave Press.

Kristin Omdahl is a designer of both knitting and crochet patterns, and in this book she has made many crochet look techniques accessible to knitters in a collection of scarves, shawls, wraps and skirts. The patterns in this collection have a wide range of textures, from the ruchey ruffly Nernia scarf and Serpentine shawlette, the wispy Tide Pool shawl and I Do scarf, to the blankety Lelani shawl and Summit wrap, and the canvassy Tree of Life ruana and Lucky Clover scarf.


My favourite project in this book is the Ring Of Cables shrug [from the cover], which is cute and short and chunky but with a nice drape, and looks obviously knitted. I think it is interesting to explore the flow between knitting and crochet techniques, and how these are presented for knitters to create, but I think that some of the patterns might have been better left for crochet.

As in a number of Interweave books, A Knitting Rhapsody is accompanied with a DVD explaining and demonstrating the techniques used in the book. I find these tutorials very helpful, as would any knitter that is unfamiliar with unusual techniques or would just like to see someone doing the knitting in real life. Most of these projects would be relatively quick to finish, and a good opportunity to try some new techniques in smaller garments that are not dependent on getting an exact size or gauge.

Knitting in the Details. Louisa Harding. Interweave Press, 2010.

Louisa Harding has compiled a collection of projects that include fairly classic knitted hats, scarves, mitts, sweaters, bags, tunics and blankets. Each project is then embellished, using embroidery, beading, or adding elements such as rosettes, ribbons, buttons, appliqués and fringes. The embellishing techniques described in these projects would be a great springboard for embellishing other knitting or yarnwork projects, and are a good way to learn about incorporating beads into knitting, or to embroider designs into knitwear.

I’m looking forward to making the April bolero with knitted flowers and a ribbon tie, and the Amelia cardigan with knitted rosettes and mother-of-pearl buttons.

About the reviewer: Kate is a busy mother of four with many craft projects on the go, including, but not limited to, crochet, knitting, sewing, dyeing, paper making, spinning, felting and bookbinding. Kate has challenges in the areas of finishing things, saying no and craft supplies storage. She also has a very very patient and tolerant husband.

Disclosure: Interweave Press provided reviewer Kate with a free review copy of these books. The Amazon links are Affiliate links.


Recently I had sent to me a parcel of 3 books about knitting that could not be more different if they tried. As a moderately competent knitter of mostly plain garments for children of my extended family, all of whom seem to have decided that they “don’t wear wool any more” much to my disappointment, I had not perused a knitting book for quite some time. Well I was in for quite a surprise. In the first place all three books had a lovely tactile feel, were beautifully produced and a pleasure to handle.

Knit Aid: A Learn It, Fix It, Finish It Guide for Knitters on the Go by Vickie Howell published by Sterling (May 6, 2008).

Not a single pattern or photo of a finished garment! What! Just under a hundred pages of incredibly useful information with excellent hand drawn illustrations of the myriad things a knitter needs to master when progressing from knitting squares and sewing them together, to being able to graduate to more ambitious work. A complete beginner would also find this book invaluable. The section on measurement is a work of art, as is the glossary of terms and abbreviations. I loved the fact that the book had glossy ring bound small pages, you can actually put it on a table and it stays open! An excellent index, what more can I say?

* Yes one more thing; after the apocalypse, this book will be a “must have” item.

Closely Knit: Handmade Gifts For The Ones You Love by Hannah Fettig published by North Light Books (March 5, 2008).

This much larger volume (142 big pages) is beautifully photographed and produced, very up market beautiful people and great ideas for gifts. The glamorous grandmother made me reach for my hairbrush and eye shadow (quite a good idea really!) It also made me realise that I only had one garment of my own that I had made and this was more than 10 years old. Because the author had chosen a number of fashion ideas for the hats and scarves for example, the book would possibly date in a few years time, however there were sufficient classics in there and the great cushions and blanket inspired me to get knitting again. I am off to get some yarn.

Things I Learned From Knitting (Whether I Wanted To or Not) by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee published by Storey Publishing, LLC (March 19, 2008)

The third book is a little treasure, there are no photos, patterns or drawings and no instructions or ideas for items to be knitted, 160 tiny pages that will easily fit in your purse. The author presents the book as 44 things you need to know. The stories cover such matters as patience, trust, denial, fortitude, enrichment, generosity, productivity and punishment. All of these themes are cleverly and sometimes poignantly presented as “lessons that knitting has taught me”. The philosophy and joy and relevance of being a knitter, the exquisite pleasure of yarn, handling it, choosing it, hoarding it (her “stash”) really rang a bell with me. The vital information about conducting ourselves at a yarn sale was most useful and very funny. The author looks much too young to be such a wise and witty writer, The book has a delightful honesty about human frailty and I have at least 3 people who would love this as a gift.

About the author: Dace lives in Tasmania, Australia, and loves to knit and sew for her grandchildren and many grand nieces and nephews.

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