Saturday, May 27, 2006

Poll: What's your most indispensible knitting book?


I have accumulated a lot of knitting books--some more useful than others. Sometimes I go through phases of what the Darling Marxist Curmudgeon refers to as 'late-night clickety', which is basically ordering things from Amazon.com in the wee hours of the night when judgement is impaired and wants and needs are amplified. It usually goes a little something like this: Jane Q. Knitter raves about a certain knitting book on her blog, I follow the link and am instantly seduced by the lurid photo and salacious reviews on Amazon.com [N.B. I do not normally promote large multinational corporations and/or big-box stores and always root for all that is marginal, indie and local, but there are literally no independant booksellers where I live, so please forgive me.]. And then I order it. And I forget all about it until I arrive home from work (hopefully before the DMC) and pluck the package from my porch. After several moments my memory is jogged and I remember, "oh. it's that book". And then the package sits there for anywhere from 15 minutes to 36 hours, and I open it. Blah blah blah-blah-blah. Usually the book is somewhere between fine to mildly intriguing. The most recent late-night clickety produced a book that was so much more than that, as it is (are you ready?) literally the best knitting book in the entire world. I have been waiting for a book like this for a very long time. Charlotte Schurch's Sensational Knitted Socks is nothing short of a miracle. It's amazing--everything about the book is helpful. Similar to the Ann Budd books, the patterns are all based on gauge, which is incredibly freeing. Like the Vogue Stitchionary series, there are close-up images of all the stiches featured in the book. Schurch also provides instructions for each pattern using 4 dpns, 5 dpns and two circular needles--again, totally useful. Her book is so strong because it can be adapted for use by any knitter, no matter what her style and ability. Simply put, this book is indispensible for any sock knitter. I [heart] Sensational Knitted Socks!!
My unbridled enthusiasm for this tome has me thinking about knitting books in general. Some are average, many are not worth the money, others are riddled with errors, many are all flash and no substance and a great deal of them feature impossible patterns. And yet somehow others are indispensible. What makes for a good knitting book? A balance of technique and artistry? Awesome photos? A big-name celebuknitter? Tell me: what is your most indispensible knitting book?

16 comments:

Karen said...

Over and over I hear great things about that book. I really need to invest in it soon!!! I like Stitch n Bitch because when I don't know how to do something - I can usually look it up in there. I really think that's the book that was most helpful in teaching me to knit. I also really get a lot of use out of Last Minute Knitted Gifts. Great patterns in there.

Gingersnaps with Tea... said...

That is a great book! I (heart) it too! I also love "Knitting Rules" because it's both funny and practical too. "Last Minute Knitted Gifts" is one I love because of the use of colour and great photography. "Stich 'n Bitch" is the book I used to teach myself to knitt. I have around 10 books on knitting and they are all pretty good but those are the ones that stand out for me.

Shannon said...

I love that book. I use it for all my socks. LOVE it.

I was surfing the knitting blogs, when I saw the picture of my favorite knitting book, and I *had* to comment.

Melissa said...

I don't have too many books (I'm kinda new at the knitting thing) but I'm loving the Mason Dixon Knitting right now. And that sock book. I love it!

amanda cathleen said...

I LOOOOOVE that book!! I have to say its my absolute favorite too
: D

Dove Knits said...

I just got that book, but haven't used it yet.

Never, ever mess with my Barbara Walker's Second Treasury. Ever. It's awesome. There are sooo many stitches in it. See, pattern books tend to be dated, and I can get knitting instructions on the net for free, but unique stitch patterns are hard to find.

I also ADORE my Jean Greenhowe Knitted Animals book. I love all four of her books that I own (Jemima-Jean and Friends, 28-Page Christmas Special, and The Scarecrows), but this is the one I use most often. It's indespensable for quick, easy, and adorable knitted gifts for babies, kids, and even adults.

PlumpKnitter said...

Ok so after pondering over this question and bouncing back and forth between answering I have finally found my answer..

THEY ARE ALL INDISPENSIBLE!!!!!
Now that I have my books I couldnt go on if I didn't have them.. and whenever I add a knitting book to my collection I welcome it like a new child.. *lol*

The_Add_Knitter said...

Wow I will definitely be checking some of those out, thanks!

trek said...

I like Sensational Knitted Socks - it is the only knitting book that I have ever purchased for myself (though not the only one I own).

Sally P. said...

Have you read Charlene Schurch's earlier "Knitting Marvelous Mittens"?

I think you'll instantly be addicted to the designs of the Russia's Komi people!

Lauri said...

I haven't had a chance to buy that book yet, but it is on my list. The book I reference most often for socks is "Folk Socks" I have used a few of the different toes; although haven't made any of the patterns yet.

Courtney said...

I love Sensational Knitted Socks. I'm currently packing up my entire house to move and then I will be away from my yarn and my knitting books for over two months. The two knitting books I've chosen to bring are SKS and Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks. I like KVS because the pictures are really good and I find it inspiring. I have yet to knit a single pattern from it, but it's a good book to have if you want a challenge.

K & C said...

If I had to give up every knitting book but one (and that is a LOT of knitting books!), it would be Alice Starmore's Aran Knitting. I'm glad I bought it back when it was still in print! Cynthia

Diana said...

Okay, I'm caving into the pressure.... I must buy this book NOW!

Diana said...

Done! I bought it!

Shanidy said...

Guess what! Charlene has done another one...out in March, I think! I got the honor of test knitting two of the patterns and they are just as neat as the first!