Reader's Digest Knitter's Handbook Paperback – September 6, 1999
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I don't like the way that numbered, like something out of some 50s engineering text (figure 1.3.15?) It's a minor issue. Adapt.
It's essential to have books which you can understand to backup your existing store of knowledge. It's great if you know Kitchener Stitch, but what if you forget a step? There are often more alternatives to a particular technique then whichever one your teacher prefers. We all need options, and I love being able to expand my skill-set when it is convenient for me, not for whatever mumbling Russian YouTube contributor decides to post a fuzzy, poorly lit tutorial. Like paying for things I can teach myself from a book. Granted, I'm an autodidact, so it's easier for me to self teach from a book. But, even if you learn best from instructors, backup on your shelf. If you come across a problem do you want to have to drop your project until you can consult your teacher?
I recommend this book, Principles of Knitting by June Hemmons-Hiatt, plus Debbie Stoller's 2 brilliant texts, Stitch 'n Bitch: the Knitters handbook and Stitch 'n Bitch: Superstar Knitting.
I must have more than a hundred knitting books, judging by shelf footage alone. More often than not, they are reference books rather than pattern compendia. This, along with the Barbara Walker Treasuries, is what I turn to most often, and with the most hope of finding what I need. The organization is a bit strange until you learn to work with it. The names of many techniques don't match what other experts call them. But who cares? Stanley's comments are so sensible and personal that any quirks are easily forgiven. For new and experienced knitters alike, this book is indispensable. The other one is Vogue Knitting, which is clearer and prettier but not as packed information, basic and esoteric. To me, the difference is: I respect Vogue Knitting (which is written by a committee) but I love Montse Stanley's book.
My personal copy of this book is on my nightstand and I review something in it at least a couple times a week.
Top international reviews
If nothing else, the price is worth it just for the hilarious photo of the knit skirt with pompoms along the hem.
BTW I have been knitting freestyle for 50 years !