My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


Sensitive Blog Readers Take Note

Warning: some content and a photo in this blog entry may alarm you.

My sock-in-progress has been looking pretty smug after your comments about its beauty. But imagine my surprise when I caught it on the photocopier at the office this morning.


My worst fears were quickly confirmed. Yes, it was photocopying its butt.


Fortunately, I caught it before it created a pdf of the copy and emailed it to everyone at the office. (We’ve got one of those whoop-di-do machines that can email pdfs straight from the copier. But we have no microwave or refrigerator. What’s wrong with these people’s priorities?)

You know I am scraping the bottom of the blog barrel when I resort to candid photos of my sock-in-progress photocopying its butt. Apologies to sensitive readers.

Moving on.

This sock is being knitted from the Yarn Pirate superwash wool, not the wool/tencel blend. Call me weird, but I’m not overly fond of tencel blends for socks. I can’t give you a rational reason for that, it’s just not to my liking.

Mary asked:
Do you swatch for socks, or have you knit so many of them that you really don’t need to, anymore? If you do swatch, do you knit your swatch in the round, or do you just knit a flat square?

If I’m knitting from fingering weight sock yarn, I don’t swatch, because I know from experience how many stitches I need. Any minor differences in the yarns don’t really matter, because I am knitting socks with negative ease, so all that happens is that I have socks of very slightly varying snugness.

If I’m knitting socks from something other than fingering weight, then I do swatch. But just barely — I just knit a tiny square to measure.

Beth in WI asked:
Why the tapering interest in Cromarty? Is it that once the repeats are memorized, there’s nothing new to do?

It’s not so much that my interest in Cromarty is tapering, it’s that I’m bored with all knitting right now. I’ve not even thought about what I’m going to knit after Cromarty — I simply can’t muster the enthusiasm. I’ve been putting in less time every day on my knitting as well. I’m not concerned, though. Even though my knitting mojo has deserted me at the present, I know at some point my enthusiasm will return.


Lynette asked:
I am a beginner/advanced beginner, and was wondering what books you would suggest as “must haves” for the beginner, both as reference, and as patterns beyond scarves and basic wraps. Is there a remedial lace book? Intarsia? General sweaters? I know that once we get to intermediate and advanced, knitters will differ as to what is essential in their libraries, but could you help out a beginner?

I need some help on this one. I’ve been knitting since I was a tiny tot, so I don’t really have much experience with must-have books for beginners that are currently available. Anyone want to weigh in with opinions here?

In a blatant and shameless attempt to keep you coming back here when I don’t have much of anything interesting, I will give away something really nice. Details in tomorrow’s blog entry!

Lucy is intrigued.


“Hmmmmmmm . . . ”



  1. Mahta Lucy Hari – skulking around behind the fur shield to see what you have up your sleeve. She’

    I’m glad to know you get a lack of knitting mojo occasionally too because that’s where I’m at right now. Let’s face it – we need crocus and daffodils!

  2. It’s always interesting – you don’t have to bribe us! (not that we’d turn down a gift, though)

    Cromarty is looking beautiful – that’s a yummy color.

  3. Books for beginners:
    Knitter’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns- Ann Budd
    Big Book of Knitting – Katharina Buss (Excellent for finishing details and things like pockets, collars, etc)
    I love Victorian Lace Today, but would recommend an Evelyn Clark shawl for a lace beginner.

  4. Wendy- Hope the mojo returns, for your sake and the photocopiers.
    I always recommend Vicki Square’s “Knitter’s Companion” for reference, and for inspiration/easy to follow patterns- any Rowan magazine.
    I’d say Starmore, but that may be less available.

  5. Per Lynette’s question: I find The Knitter’s Handbook by Monste Stanley my favorite all-around “how do you do that?” book. For socks, I would recommend Charlene Schurch’s Sensational Knitted Socks, as she has toe-up, cuff-down, all sorts of stitch patterns, etc. She doesn’t mention negative ease, which is the only real flaw with that book. I’ve been given the Sally Mellville series The Knit Stitch, The Purl Stitch, Color, and I like the advice and techniques in each of them, although I haven’t really wanted to knit any of her patterns. I hope this helps!

    Lucy looks so intent today. I think she is trying telepathically to send you to the kitchen to get her tuna.

  6. Oh! Is the giveaway going to be an 8×10 glossy of the Sock Butt? Woo hoo!

  7. As a beginner, I have found “Knitting in Plain English,” by Maggie Righetti a great basic book, complete with beginner’s learning lessons and learning lessons for intermediates, which include the “Dumb Baby Sweater” and “The Stupid Baby Bonnet.” Great fun reading is “Knitting Rules,” by Stephanie Pearl McPhee, which has some basic patterns, one of which inspired me to learn sock knitting, and last but not least, “Wendy Knits!”

  8. There’s only one sure cure for your knitting boredom, a cure that will provide much entertainment for you and for your devoted followers: Fair Isle. Dig into that stash, grab all of the shetland weight yarn ya got, fiddle around until you have a fabulous combination of colors, and design a new stranded knitting piece to dazzle and amaze us. Lucy suggests something in a blue/brown colorway.

    Oh, and I’ve recommended “Knitter’s Handbook” by Montse Stanley to several beginning knitters, with much success. It’s a wonderful how-to resource for knitters of all levels.

  9. That sock is a real party animal!

  10. I needed a good laugh…thanks!

  11. Another vote for the Big Book of Knitting and Vogue have a similar edition that is also a great reference. I also really like Knitting Rules by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee – lots of practical tips on everything from yarn choice to patten storage that would be helpful to know sooner rather than later. But I have to say that in the absence of any fellow knitters in my physical location I have solved my most perplexing knitting issues via Google and the generosity of Knit Bloggers in posting tutorials and how-tos. Lucy Neatby’s dvds also look like a valuable resource for those of us with no ‘real life’ knitting gurus to consult.

  12. Strange as it may sound, I think that Vol.1 or Vol.2 of Barbara Walker’s Treasury of Knitting Patterns is a great addition to a beginner library. Of course it won’t help to teach how to shape a garment, but my kids (and I) have learned a great deal about how stitches behave, and our confidence has grown greatly from the swatching we all have done from these books. From these books, my daughters have learned to knit lace patterns, colorwork, cables, and all sorts of other types of stitches/patterns. They are a great value, and a book that will serve a knitter well even as she/he progresses.

  13. Kathy Klinge says:

    My choice for a beginner book is The Knitting Experience, The Knit Stitch, and Book 2, The Purl Stitch. They never make it on the shelf, I’m always looking something up in them! Good pictures and explanations.

    I’d keep coming back for the pics of Lucy. Although my Vizsla(dog), Penny is wondering when I’m going to get a blog so she can have a sock yarn named after her!

  14. I vote for the big Vogue Knitting book. I refer to it *all* the time.

  15. Vogue Knitting is an excellent reference to have and I’d recommend it to a new knitter. Other than that, I think the internet is an excellent resource and a new knitter couldn’t go wrong with almost any Knitty pattern. I hesitate to get more specific than that because even at the beginning level, knitters tend to specialize. There are more techniques to choose from than any one person has time to knit!

  16. Is the prize a photocopy of Lucy’s butt? (Oh, I’m sorry. She would never. Sweet thing!) ๐Ÿ™‚

    I learned to knit about 5 years ago, and the first real knitting book I bought for myself (“10-20-30 Minutes to Learn to Knit” doesn’t count) was “Knitting Pretty” by Kris Percival. It has a lot of fun patterns, everything is clearly explained, and it contains the best baby-bootie pattern ever. Also a right good mitten pattern, which comes in handy when you live in Michigan. (Handy! Ha! I didn’t mean that, but I’m totally leaving it.)

    I also like Debbie Stoller’s “Stitch & Bitch Nation.” The original S&B book is also good, but I personally like the second one better. And also “A Passion for Knitting” by Nancy J. Thomas and Ilana Rabinowitz.

    Your sock, vain though it may be, is looking wonderful, and I am pretty fond of the name “Yarn Pirate” as well. ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. I’ll try again, I’ve had rotten luck posting comments today… I’m at a similar knitting level as Lynnette- advanced beginner, beginning intermediate. Have not yet done a sweater or similar garment. MIldly paralyzed by (not) getting gauge and ending up with a mutant garment. I recommend Knitter’s companion (quite portable); Readers’ Digest book of needlework; the condensed version of the Vogue knitting book (much less expensive, portable, and has all the good stuff); Knitter’s book of finishing techniques, plus a good stitch dictionary- I also like (but don’t have) Barbara Walker #2.

    Lucy looks like she’s intrigued by a can opener/pop top can or nip.

  18. Lucy Neatby’s DVDs are excellent – even for knitters (well) beyond the beginner/advanced beginner level. I also recommend Sally Melville’s books, specifically the Knit Stitch and the Purl Stitch. Also Stitch N Bitch. I think beginners should have several sources for instruction and reference so they can read various explanations to find the one that makes sense.

    That sock is a wiley one! I have that yarn too, from The Loopy Ewe, of course. I’d better check that it’s not corrupting it’s compadres in the sock yarn stash cabinet. And, with a different opinion, I love the merino/tencel yarns! They wear really well and the sheen is so lovely.

    Speaking of lovely, Lucy is looking regal as always!

    And yes, we’ll keep coming back not matter what you write!

  19. My neighbor girls (age 15 & 10) asked me to teach them to knit and I found Melanie Fallicks book exceptional.

  20. A must have, for attitude if nothing else, is Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitting Without Tears. There are basic and not-so-basic techniques, but really not being afraid of your knitting is priceless.

    Many new-ish knitters at our shop love Sally Melville’s instructions in the Knit & Purl books, and find them easy to follow.

    For pure reference book, Vogue Ultimate Knitting.

    I often refer to Nancy Wiseman’s Finishing Techniques for a straightforward refresher on seldom-used techniques.

  21. I agree with most everybody’s book assessments and I’m surprised that no one has mentioned The Knitters Book of Finishing Techniques by Nancie M. Wiseman. INVALUABLE. If you have a severely limited book budget I would suggest that plus both of Ann Budd’s “Handy Pattern” books and as many Barbara Walker treasuries as you can afford. With those you would have a lifetime of knitting bliss, right there.

  22. It’s not a knitting book per se, but I’ve always liked The Reader’s Digest Guide to Needlework. I have been referring to that book for almost 20 years. It covers all the basics in simple language. There’s even a stitch directory if you’re feeling adventurous! And if you’re ever seized with the need to macrame, well then, you’re good to go….

  23. When you get bored with knitting, do you do any other types of needlework? I get tired of knitting every now and then and when I do I switch to counted cross stitch. Right now I stitching a really cute knitting fairy called Pearl/Purl.

  24. My favorite is the same book my mom used – The Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Needlework (the 1979 edition). She eventually gave this book to me, and it has been the best resource. They have a number of cast-ons, bind-offs, stitches, finishing techniques, the whole nine yards. This was a great book for crochet as well.

  25. I like Debbie Bliss “How to Knit” for newbies. I’ve taught quite a few classes and the students always respond well to that one. It has all the basics with terrific diagrams and skill appropriate patterns that advance in difficulty. Best of all, it isn’t so large that it overwhelms.

  26. I’d also recommend Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Knitting Without Tears. There’s far more pattern ideas in there than I thought, and I wish I would have read it much earlier. If you are a woman who is full-figured, take a look at Big Girl Knits. It one of the few pattern books from which I’ve used more than one pattern. Otherwise, you can get so many patterns from knitty and magknits, and you might want to subscribe to a couple of magazines.

  27. lol!…sock butt…ha!
    i’m home sick with the flu and needed a smile. =)
    my Lucy look-a-like cat, Cosi, is trying her best to be a nurse and get on my lap ON my knitting….

  28. Here’s another vote for Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmerman. She will teach you the basics, but beyond that she will teach you how to knit a sweater. And not just any sweater. She will teach you to make exactly the sweater that you want, without a pattern. Once you have been through this exercise, you will be much better equipped to make any other sweater that is out there. Her other books are really good too, but if you only buy one of them, make it Knitting Without Tears.

  29. Could your knitting mojo perhaps be less because your spinning mojo is more? One thing I have learned about myself from Knit from Your Stash 2007 is that I feel the same way about buying yarn as I do about chocolate. Adding yarn to my stash would give me this temporary buzz, kind of like peanut butter cups do. This discovery is having a profound effect on me and how I deal with my weight issue and how I deal with my stash issue. Thank you to you and L-B for inspiring me.

  30. One book I’d definitely want in my collection is Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Knitting Book…\

    It covers all the basics, and has lots of information on designing clothing. An excellent range of material, and a fantastic reference.
    I wish I’d known when I finally decided to buy mine (I was cheap at first and bought the cheaper version… maybe 1/10th the info for 1/2 the price) that Amazon had it for $15 less than elsewhere.

  31. Barbara Hagan says:

    Had to laugh at naughty sock. I knit socks for x-mas gifts and used sock,yarn and needles on the copier to make the wrapping paper for them.
    Barb in Fl

  32. EZ’s Knitting Without Tears was the first thing to come to mind for me.

  33. My favorite beginner knitting books are Stitch-N-Bitch by Debbie Stoller and Knitting for Dummies by I’m Not Sure Who. I consider myself an advanced beginner and I refer to those books a lot. Do NOT, I repeat do NOT get Ready Set Knit…it’s pictures are beautiful and the book is very attractive…but the patterns have a lot of errors. I like the Vogue Knitting Stitchionaries too. I am addicted to knitting books…can you tell?

  34. Hmmm, think the knitting from stash (shopping ban) is the cause of your lack of knitting enthusiam??

    If you’re not buying yarn you’ve probably limited your time spent perusing yarn shopping sites; I find a lot of inspiration seeing what yarns are out there and what is being made with new yarns.

  35. I like Montse Stanley’s Knitter’s Handbook too, but not for real beginners (although the editions are “updated” the language is not and for new knitters, I think Stanley can be overwhelming). I actually think that Stitch-n-Bitch is a great newbie book–engaging, funky patterns, good diagrams and knitting information presented in a friendly (unintimidating) manner. I also refer new knitters to for the absolutely fabulous mini instructional videos and to for a wide variety of free, hip patterns with good instructions. It may no longer be the best option out there (many new books lately), but Basic Knitting by Leigh Ann Barry got me started knitting again–lots of photographs and that’s what I needed.

  36. Lucy is so lovely!

  37. I’m just glad that that sock didn’t get caught photocopying its butt, and you got fired! ‘Cause that would be hard to explain to another potential employer …

    Lucy looks just a little bit too thoughtful – could she and the sock be in cahoots??

  38. Speaking of photocopying butts, my Paprikas has one-upped Lucy. I made a copy and when I reached in the bin to pick it up, there was another copy of something there. The something looked quite swirly and strange, until I recognized the claws of a cat’s paw, and then a second one. My Persian cat had sat on the photocopier and pushed the button. Hilarious. Photocopier $2500, ink $20, paper $.10, autobiographical copy of your cat’s butt…priceless.

  39. For Lynette’s query:
    I found the recent “Victorian Lace Today” helpful for lace knitting — i’m also an ‘advanced beginner’ and thought that it was pretty well explained. The one thing I had (well, still have) trouble with is when you pick up stitches on the side to add a border, I’m unclear on what part of the side is the part to pick up — which I got my answer from by going to the LYS and asking someone. My local library also has a weekly knitting group, so it useful to check in your area to see if there’s something going on.

    For general knitting guides, I love Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Needlework (it’s been reprinted recently, but you might find a mid-1970’s printing in an old book store).

  40. I learned to knit from my MIL while we were on vacation but when we came home, I had to find another way to answer my questions. The book that I found the most useful was “Stitch ‘n Bitch: The Knitter’s Handbook.” It was actually the only knitting book I had for quite a while and it helped me out of many jams!

    My socks never copy their butts. My socks must be nerds.

  41. A lurker weighing in on books for new knitters: I have to cast another vote for Ann Budd’s Handy Book of Patterns. I would also suggest a subscription to Interweave Knits – instruction and inspiration delivered straight to your door four times a year.

  42. Knitting without Tears has to be THE book all beginners need. Read it cover to cover. Sunny’s Mittens is good, too, it’s a kids story with instructions to make easy mittens, works for grownups, too ;-)…the point of the story is to make knitting fun, learning to knit being the purpose of the book. The Opinionated Knitter, also by EZ, is worth it. Victorian Lace Today has GREAT beginner’s lace patterns. Then get the rest of the EZ books…knitting around, knitters’ almanac, etc. Then start in on her daughter, Meg Swansen ๐Ÿ˜‰ But don’t try the Russian Prime sweater until you are pretty experienced…wonderful pattern, and not quite so convoluted as it first appears…I’m still swatching for it right now…

  43. As long as you have pictures of Lucy, I’ll keep coming back even when you’re not interesting (your opinion, not mine). You can just see the little wheels turning in that beautiful head of hers!

  44. Blue Moon Fiber had the “Lucy” colorway in Socks that Rock at Stitches West this past weekend. Several of us bought it. Looking forward to knitting something with it.

  45. Kristi Podesta says:

    I’ve been knitting for a little over a year and 1/2 and find Debbie Stoller’s Stitch ‘n Bitch Nation a very good resource for beginners. Easy to take with you as well.

  46. I really love Sally Melville’s The Knitting Experience: series. Book 1 is all the knit stitch – not being a big garter stitch lover I am amazed at how many patterns I really love in this book!! Book 2 add the purl stitch. Book 3 is Color – fairisle & intarsia. I believe (though I could easily be in error) that there are going to be more in the series.

  47. Beth P. in Maryland says:

    Hey thanks for the tips on searching your blog.
    Sometimes when I read the comments I want to respond to them with:

    It’s over there! —>

    But I behave myself!

    If you need a break from knitting how about exploring your fiber stash for something lovely to spin?


    ps Love the wayward sock photos!!!

  48. I agree that The Knitting Experience, The Knit Stitch, and Book 2, The Purl Stitch are most helpful for a beginner and returning former expert. I also agree that Miss Lucy is gorgeous. Say Wendy, don’t you agree with me that “February Is The Longest Month”?

  49. Your book is one of my favorites ! I just started last year and have done several of your projects. The Knitter’s Handbook from Knitter’s MAgazine, Elizabeth Zimmermanns,Stich N Bitch are good too. Doing the Dish Cloth KAL has been a good way to learn new stiches and is a helpful group for beginners.

  50. As I have moved over the past few years from a beginner to a more adventurous knitter, I have been so happy with my copy of “Principles of Knitting: Methods and Techniques of Handknitting”, by June Hemmons Hiatt. Sadly, it seems to be out of print now, but may be available at libraries (or on Amazon for a fortune!). The “Knitting Answer Book” by Margaret Radcliffe is small and nice to carry with you and has clear instructions and refreshers on a variety of techniques. For basic but not boring patterns, I love “Last-Minute Knitted Gifts” by Joelle Hoverson, and “Weekend Knitting” by Melanie Falick. They both offer a nice variety of patterns that are good for beginners or can be “jazzed up” as you learn new things.

  51. Beginner Must Have Book: I say “Knitting for Dummies.” It has a variety of patterns, including a sock pattern and a sweater pattern. In addition, it also has some great info on knitting, needles, and yarn in general.

    I agree with L-B: I want to win an 8×10 glossy of the Sock Butt! Woohoo!

  52. Thanks for the confession about not loving the tencel blend socks yarns… I don’t love them either – at least not for socks. Now there are two of us. I have about six skeins in my stash that will probably grow up to become scarves or shawls instead.

  53. I have to admit that your book is what inspired me to knit socks.. and I’ve started my first one. I’ll take all the other book info into consideration as I love books!
    I love the pics of Lucy so much expression!

  54. I have to say that I am at advanced beginner/ low intermediate in skill for knitting. I got a bunch of books from the library and the ones that stood out to me the most were Sally Melville’s books, The Knitting Experience, The Knit Stitch, and Book 2, The Purl Stitch. I actually learned quite a bit. I finally learned how to read knitting charts. When a pattern says sew the seams up, the book tells you the kind of seams to use. I made mittens for the first time and knitted a whole pair in five days. My husband even commented that my knitting looked better.

    I would try the library for some titles first and then purchase the one or ones you like.

    Christy in Michigan

  55. I consider myself somewhere between advanced beginner and intermediate. I would recommend the following:

    Vogue Knitting
    Stitch ‘n Bitch
    Sensational Knitted Socks

    And, for lace: I have Folk Shawls. The class offered at my LYS uses this book for the beginner lace class. My class used “North Sea Shawl,” but I know other patterns from this book were used in other classes.

  56. LOL – I’m glad to know it isn’t just me who grasps desperately for material! This was actually rather inspired. ๐Ÿ™‚

  57. Hi Wendy! I’ve only been aware of your blog for less than a month–recommended by my sister. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of your posts even though I am such a wanna-be knitter. (I need a knitter living next door to me!)

    My local knit shop is having a “learn to knit socks” class that sounds interesting. However, all your commenters seem enthralled by your toe up socks, and this class is just the opposite. I’d like to learn the best way right off the bat. Any suggestions? Which should I start off with, any difference? And would I find your toe up pattern on this site? I’ll try and do a search. Thanks!

  58. you know, i think my sock would enjoy photocopying its butt. it’s scared though, as the copy machine is right next to the boss’ office!

  59. Thanks for the tips on searching in the previous post. I think that will be useful. Another question โ€” is there a way to find a pattern when I don’t know where I saw it, nor its name.

  60. lol….Your sock photographing its butt. Thanks for making me laugh on a day that has been nothing but a major headache for me. I needed the laugh. ๐Ÿ™‚
    A good beginner sock book would be Sensational Knitted Socks….I love it. I’ve also heard that the “Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Knitting Book” is suppose to have everything in it that you would need to know.

  61. Melville I & II, hands down. Those make it to the top of my bookcase, but never get filed, and I end up replacing them here and there as I loan them out to teachees, who politely refuse to return them.

    Also Wiseman, Stanley, and Buss, but would recommend the Melvilles first, as they’re all about the clear, clear basics.

    As for the sock, I thought La Harlot’s socks were feisty and well-travelled, but I don’t guess they’ve been making lewd photocopies – such a sad oversight.

  62. Ok I was LMAO at your sock photo copying it’s butt.

    Must have books humm…

    Knit Fix
    Knitting Languages – Margaret Heathman
    Knitted Embellishments – Nicky Epstein
    The Knitters Handy Book of Patterns – Ann Budd
    Cool Socks Warm Feet – Lucy Neatby (or any other sock books/patterns)
    Last Minute Knitted Gifts – Joelle Hoverson
    One Skein – Leigh Radford
    Treasury of Knitting Patterns – Barbara Walker
    Vougue Knitting Quick Ref.
    Weekend Knitting – Melanie Falick
    And of course…
    Wendy Knits. ๐Ÿ™‚

  63. That sock is such a heel, it better watch its (in)step!

  64. i love lucy’s crossed-eyes-makes me giggle every time! i’ve had 2 siameses and a himalayan so i have a soft spot for the cross eye kitties:)

  65. Party sock at the copier!…… for Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Knitting without Tears, Mason Dixon & Wendy knits for inspiration and because they promote: fearlessness!

  66. I might be a bit old fashioned, but I love the E. Zimmermann and B. Walker books. I also love Knitting Rules! by the Yarn Harlot and most of Melanie Fallick’s books. I just got Fitted Knits by Stephanie Japel. It has some lot of hints on fitting your knitwear to your body (all sweaters and vests)and some really different patterns. Your book is also a great part of my collection!

  67. Beginner Books:

    For technical help, The Knitting Answer Book by Margaret Radcliffe can’t be beat. The instructions are clearly written and illustrated and the size of the book lends itsself to being hauled around in your project bag.

    For patterns, I like the Yarn Harlot’s (Stephanie Pearl-McPhee)Knitting Rules. She gives ‘recipes’ rather than patterns and the new knitter can use them as a jumping off point. It’s also very well written and funny, a generally entertaining read. The same is true for Mason-Dixon Knitting.

  68. I learned from Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitting Without Tears, and I still think it’s one of the best books for beginners. A little outdated, maybe, but there are lots of pattern ideas and her attention to the stuff you really need to grasp at the beginningโ€”gauge, and how to use measurements and gauge/tension to design your own knitting, and the percentage system, and not knitting tightly, and oh, so much moreโ€”are really helpful in not being intimidated by pattern books. I think those plus the Walker Treasuries give you plenty to go on for a long time, and a good grounding so you can make sense of everything else that’s out there.

  69. Nice S.I.P. Butt!

  70. I, too, am in a knitting funk. I think I’m afraid if I give it a real rest, I might not go back (unlikely, especially considering my large stash). So I’ve been dividing my spare time between knitting, reading, and needlepoint. It’s helping. As you say, the enthusiasm will return.

  71. I found Louisa Harding’s Modern Classics to be a great addition to my library. Patterns include DK, Worsted and Aran weight basic (classic) shapes. Even includes a twin set.

    I’ve also found this book, you might know it, called Wendy Knits. Great patterns and loads of helpful tips and insights to knitting.

  72. Naughty sock.

  73. Copying from Stacy above, “For technical help, The Knitting Answer Book by Margaret Radcliffe can’t be beat. The instructions are clearly written and illustrated and the size of the book lends itself to being hauled around in your project bag.” I have a ‘Knitter’s Companion’ from 2004, and I found it sadly lacking in answers. I understand that it has been revised, so others’ opinions based on the newer edition may vary.

    Barbara Walker’s Treasury #1 is IMO a wealth of patterns, enough for years, but the new knitter has to be of the kind of mind that will make the jump that can take a basic pattern and embellish it or modify it with a prettier or different stitch pattern than stockinette. Not all knitters can do that.

    Montse Stanley’s Knitter’s Handbook is a ‘Knitter’s Answer Book’ grown up. Sally Melville’s ‘The Knit Stitch’ and ‘The Purl Stitch’ books are good for those who need to move a bit more slowly and need more visual help.

    I love EZ’s ‘Knitting Without Tears’, but it may be too advanced for the very beginner knitter, who needs a bit more structure than EZ provides.

  74. I agree with Stacy, above “For technical help, The Knitting Answer Book by Margaret Radcliffe can’t be beat. The instructions are clearly written and illustrated and the size of the book lends itself to being hauled around in your project bag.” I have a 2004 version of ‘The Knitter’s Companion’ and find it quite lacking in help; I understand there is a new edition.

    Montse Stanley’s ‘Knitters’ Handbook’ is a somewhat more-advanced version of the ‘Knitting Answer Book.’ Sally Melville’s ‘The Knit Stitch’ and ‘The Purl Stitch’ are quite good for knitters who need a bit more visual help.

    Barbara Walker’s Treasuries #1 and #2 are wonderful sources of knit stitches, but some new knitters may not be ready for the jump from a carefully written-out pattern to a substitute stitch pattern and the alterations that may require.

    And while I love EZ’s ‘Knitting Without Tears’, it, too, may be a bit too advanced for some new knitters, who need more specific knitting directions, before they cease to be ‘blind followers’.

  75. Wendy,
    oh no, that crazy sock! maybe it’s confused because it thinks it really is a mouse cozy :).
    ps: I just finished another Easy One-Skein Hat from your book (I call it the Wendy Hat). I love that design, so simple and it fits perfectly every time.

  76. For absolute beginner’s, I would recommend “Knit Fix”. Speaking from experience, it’s very useful to have around! Also, Elizabeth Zimmerman’s “Knitting Without Tears” and Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (aka Yarn Harlot) “Knitting Rules”

  77. Books for a beginner

    Elizabeth Zimmerman’s “Knitting with out Tears” or Ann Budd’s Pattern books.

    These will cover basic patterns.

    Next is Stitch Dictionaries. Pick one you like.

    Barbara Walker has four of them 1&2 will cover most stitch patterns.

    The Harmony Guides.

    Vogue has a new series out. Book 1 knit and purls stitches. Book 2 Cables. There’s a book 3 but I can’t remember it’s subject.

    Next is a general reference guide for different techniques. Many have been mention already. The one by Montse Stanley is my preference.

    Vogue Knitting is also good.

    With these book you’ll be able to knit just about anything.

    As your level of skill grows add books that cover your interests. Arans, Nordic colorwork, Fair Isle colorwork, Danish Night Shirts. Lace, Socks, Victorian Knitting. The history of knitting, Techniques, etc.


  78. Well of course the right answer is “Wendy Knits! by Wendy D. Johnson” ๐Ÿ™‚

    Aside from that I concur on Katherina Buss, Nancy Weisman, Montsey Stanley and Vogue Knitting.

  79. Knitting mojo is a fickle beast. It’s not at my house, either; I’m stuck on some silly Endpaper Mitts.

    As for beginners books, I love Elizabeth Zimmerman, espeicially her “Knitter’s Workshop”. She is kind and funny and very encouraging. Plus, she helps me to really understand this knitting business, rather than just do the rote pattern routine.

    I also love Barbara Walker’s knitting pattern books. They teach lots about the possibilities of knitting, and make a unique piece in a new technique possible whenever the knitting-whim hits (rarely at convenient times, in my experience.) Well, just my 2 cents.

    As for your knitting, show it who’s boss! Cheeky creature, isn’t it?

  80. I’ve taught a couple classes and like Stich ‘n Bitch, and little project books like Hip to Knit, and Knitting for Anarchists, because it helps you think about what you’re really doing.

    What’s become of socks these days?! Next thing you know, it will have a Myspace page . . .

  81. My choices for beginner’s books would be Knitting Without Tears, followed by everything else by EZ. I would also include at least one Barbara Walker and Knitting Rules by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. I haven’t finished yours yet, but it’s probably in the running, also.

  82. Well, since I’m obsessed with sock knitting, how about a beginning sock book? I love Sensational Knitted Socks (and I’m excited for the new one to come out!) It has patterns ranging from easy ribs to more complicated lace and colorwork, it goes over many toe and heel options, and it has the “class sock” which lets a beginner go through a mini sock before starting in on their first human wearable one.

  83. Cromarty is a lovely color for a red head. Lucy looks satisfied and wise, and the sock is very crafty to get its own picture taken.

    Speaking of knitting mojo, mine is about nil. I am flagging on my Beadwork project. I miss the mailman delivering packages of yarn to boost my spirits.

    Gotta confess my friend, I fell off the Knit from Stash 2007 pledge, in a spectacular fashion. Spectacular. I fell prey to VY’s new Abalone. Gosh, I lasted almost 2 months! I am going back onto the program. Hoping to get a ‘A’ for trying and an A+ for honesty.

    It is all VY’s fault! :)But, maybe I’ll get my mojo back. Who knows, maybe you should try it?

  84. LOL!! PDF Sock butt picture!! LOL!! Lucy looks gorgeous in that picture!! Thank you for the laugh

  85. Lucy always looks so wonderful. Archie Andrews (cat in charge) tried to grab her last night. Beside the point, my KnitPiks are wonderful but working on my neck for Tara, I wish that there were 16″ cables. I have the yarn for Cromarty but still haven’t worked out the lower body in the round (always try to miss out on seaming). I’m envious that you are so far along, I’ll take much longer and probably crack up doing it in round.

  86. I like the Big Book of Knitting also. Even though I’ve been knitting for a long time, I use it for techniques that are new for me. The photos are very good. Montese Stanley’s book is good, but I find the drawings hard to interpret for unfamiliar techniques, and I have to supplement them with other references. I also like the early issues of Threads magazine for individual techniques (when they still had knitting articles). I used those articles to learn to knit socks. The drawings are fantastic. And the videos on are beyond terrific. They would supplement any book.

  87. I still really love the first basic reference book that I bought. “Knitting” by Vickie Square from interweave. It’s one of the top bound spiral books in a series. I have a few others, but I always go there first. More often than not that’s all I need without too much information to confuse. And the second edition is great, expanded and color.

  88. Crazy socks… you give them a stitch, they take a row!

    I like a lot of the books mentioned. I learned to knit in college from my best friend, and about a year and a half ago I wanted to move beyond scarves. Debbie Stoller’s “Stitch & Bitch” books were invaluable and opened me up to other books, but I should point out something. “S&B: The Knitter’s Handbook” is the one with a “how-to” on most techniques a knitter will ever need. “Nation” has more of a tutorial on understanding patterns, and a small reference section of techniques in the back. I bought “Nation” first because it had more patterns, then had to go buy “A Knitter’s Handbook” so I could execute the patterns!

  89. I am surprised no one mentioned either Maggie Righetti’s Knitting in Plain English or Ann Budd’s Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns. Maybe someone did because I just skimmed the comments. Knitting in plain English was one of my first and Patterns helped me to understand garment construction.

  90. Patty Bolgiano says:

    Most of the books I have in my collection have already been listed. I wanted to suggest that there are several patterns out there where you can insert whatever pattern and whatever gauge you get. One right off the top of my head is the Ann Norling patterns. They offer top down, and knitting in sections (sleeves, body you get the idea) second, Pure and Simple patterns. For the most part top down and there is a woman designer who use to live in AZ and I believe she died of breast cancer who designed patterns from the bottom to the top with a really great size range and a range of knitting gauges. (Someone, hopefully will recognize this knitter–so frustrating when this happens–I can even see the patterns!!)


  91. You’ll know when you’ve truly lost your knitting mojo when Lucy photocopies her butt to shame you into action. I think for now you’re safe but maybe you should turn off the copier at night just to be sure.

  92. I have found Stitch ‘N Bitch: The Knitter’s Handbook by Debbie Stoller to be a valuable resource for the beginner. It has really great pictures on how to do almost everything in a basic manner. I taught myself intarsia with it. I also love my Vogue Knitting Stitchionary Volume One. It gives you the opportunity to just try different patterns. I will make them into dish cloths or coasters, etc. Mainly, it lets me know if I want to tackle an entire pattern with it.

  93. Books for new knitters. I usually recommend Sally Melville’s series, The Knit Stitch and The Purl Stitch for beginners. Lots of pictures and detailed explanations for someone learning new techniques and clever fun patterns to practice them on. More than scarves and basic wraps. Lace for a beginner, maybe A Gathering of Lace or Lavish Lace, both have patterns to get you started and go all the way to more challenging pieces. If you get interested in creating your own, I would look at Heirloom Lace, I love it but I would think it might be overwhelming as a first lace book.

  94. Alison in QC says:

    Ok..thanks. I had to clean up a lot of sprayed coffee after the sock butt photocopy gag. My monitor may never be the same….thank Gods it didn’t come out my nose.

  95. missing mojo? not feelin’ the love? don’t worry , it will return. I think you need a new knitting book or two to stir the inspiration pot a bit.
    or the other alternative is to follow the call of the wheel and spin awhile. that always seems to help ease what ails me ๐Ÿ™‚

  96. I always recommend the Sally Melville books for moving on from rectangles. The garments are stylish and fun! And the photos of techniques are very well done. She hasn’t done lace yet, though.

  97. L-B, I like your idea of the prize!!! Photos of the sock butt. But did you notice that it looked as nice in black and white and it did in color?

    Wendy, I am knitting a sock right now of of YP merino/tencel and I am with you on not really liking it. I am finding it a little bit splity. I will finish this sock but I will not be adding more of it to the sock stash.

    I am curious to see what Lucy has dug up to excite you. And my favorite book is the Knitter’s Companion. It is great for beginners and on.

  98. Books that I find most helpful are:
    Knitter’s Companion by Interweave and The Handy Book of Patterns by Ann Budd.

    Both answer a lot of questions and are very clearly written.
    I find the pattern book very helpful because it gives you patterns for whatever gauge of yarn that you are using.

  99. Did you give your sock “The Talk” on harassment in the workplace? Naughty thing.

    There seems to be a general knitting malaise going around. Must be the time of year. I know I catch myself staring blankly out the window at all the pretty snow wondering when it is going to Go. Away.

    Lucy would keep anyone coming back for more cuteness.

  100. Wendy, I hate to ask you this in your comments, but I don’t see a link to your email address on your main page. If I remember correctly, you recently knit a sweater in reverse stockinette. I’m knitting the Rambling Rose cardigan from the Winter IK (my first sweater!) and am almost finished with the second sleeve, which means it’ll soon be time to seam the fronts and back and then knit the yoke. My question is about seaming. What method would you recommend for reverse stockinette? I’ve read tutorials and watched the video for mattress stitch, which is seamless on the stockinette side, but is it seamless on the purl side?

    Any help you could give me would be GREATLY appreciated! And your butt-copying sock? Naughty, naughty!!! Likely to lead you into mischief when worn! Thanks!