The Knitsonik Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook.


Meet Felicity Ford’s Knitsonik Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook. This special book is not a collection of patterns, but rather a manifesto on design.


Within it, Felicity Ford shares her particular system of translating inspiring images into colorwork knitting, from selecting colors and designing charts to swatching, evaluating your swatches, and applying your designs to knitted garments.


This is a beautiful book, and one about which you may already have heard rave reviews. When it first came out, Kate Davies did a lovely write-up on her blog, as did Clara Parkes and Ysolda Teague. All three are in agreement: Ford’s Sourcebook is an inspiring one because it is so particular to its author.  It’s an interesting and galvanizing read, one that had me itching to pull out my colored pencils and Knitter’s Graph Paper Journal, and dive headfirst into a basket of Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift.


The Knitsonik Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook began as a Kickstarter project, with designer Felicity Ford seeking crowd-funding to self-publish the book. Though the subject and her approach are somewhat esoteric, Ford found many supporters, making the book a resounding success. We’re proud to stock it here at the shop, and in fact, are on our third reorder.


Look for The Knitsonik Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook on the teacart, amongst the latest books and magazines, and look to our class listings for more opportunities to learn about stranded colorwork. See you at the shop!

Barbara Walker’s treasuries.

Speaking of classic knitterly tomes published by Schoolhouse Press: we recently reordered Barbara Walker’s stitch dictionaries, something we do every now and then to be sure that all four volumes are on our shelves at all times, if possible.


Barbara Walker’s A Treasury of Knitting Patterns is a treasure, indeed, a collection of stitch patterns ready to be plugged into whatever you can dream up: scarves, sweaters, blankets, socks–any and all of the things you can knit. Walker gives written instructions (and in some cases, charts) for ribbings, texture patterns, cables, lace, slip- and twisted-stitch patterns, and two-color mosaic patterns, to name a few.


A small black and white photo accompanies each stitch pattern, and Walker lists how many stitches it is to be worked over (e.g. “Multiple of 4 sts,” “Multiple of 17 sts plus 1,” or “Any number of sts”). Most also come with a short description that says how best to use said pattern, and what qualities the resulting fabric will have.


Early on in my knitting career, I recognized that these books would take me a long way, and made sure to add them all to my own little library of knitting resources. Although I was not yet skilled enough to work every pattern from these volumes, I figured that I might be, one day, and that trying a few of them here and there would be challenging and exciting, and teach me new techniques.


I pull out my Barbara Walker treasuries often, thumbing through the pages, marking those that look promising for decorating the leg of a sock, the body of a sweater, a cowl or pair of mitts. They are truly inspiring books, and I’m always happy to have them on my shelf, reminding me of the limitless possibilities of this craft. Come by the shop to add them to your own library; you’ll find them on the top shelf among the reference books.


See you at the shop!

Back in stock: books.

Our Inventory Sale put a dent in our supply of books, especially some of the most exciting recent publications. By the end of the month, we had a lengthy list of titles to reorder, old and new. Yesterday a 48 pound box of books arrived at the shop, and now the teacart is newly decorated with fresh stacks of the latest knitting and crochet books.


All of them have been introduced here on the blog, so click on their titles below to get a closer look at them:


We also paid special attention to our stash of books by Ann Budd, knowing how handy they have proven themselves over the years. Budd’s “Knitter’s Handy Book” series offers basic patterns in a range of gauges, allowing one to construct any number of knitted garments in whatever yarn one happens to fall in love with, no matter the stitches per inch. We filled in the gaps we found on our shelves, including one longstanding gap where Getting Started Knitting Socks should be.


Ann Budd’s Getting Started Knitting Socks is a great introduction to the addictive world of sock-knitting, showing how to construct a basic sock and giving patterns for a range of gauges. It also offers guidance on sizing, fit, stitch patterns, and yardage requirements–a topic on which we always defer to Ann Budd and her Handy Guides.



If you’re seeking knitting or crochet inspiration, come by the shop to peruse our books. From the practical to the beautiful, and often both at once, there are all kinds of patterns and projects within. See you at the shop!

Knitting Pattern Essentials.

Sally Melville’s latest book has arrived.


Knitting Pattern Essentials is a comprehensive guide to sweater construction that teaches how to draft and modify knitting patterns. Melville covers the basic elements of knitted garments, different hemlines, necklines, sleeves, sides, and shoulders, then talks about how to combine them or alter them to suit your preferences.


From there, Melville gets into the fine points of sweater design, the parts that for some, can be most intimidating: doing the math, and translating the numbers into directions for creating knitted fabric.


Any knitters out there who are interested in sweater design will find a lot to chew on in Knitting Pattern Essentials. Come by the shop to check it out, and get it at 15% off if you come in during our Annual Inventory Sale!

Sweaters, knit and crocheted: the latest books.

Three new books have arrived from Interweave Press in the past couple of weeks, filling up the teacart with project ideas for knitters and crocheters interested in creating sweaters. These are sweaters broadly defined–some for cold weather and some for warm, some basic and some highly patterned, some close-fitting and some roomy.


Blueprint Crochet Sweaters, by designer Robyn Chachula, teaches the basics of sweater construction and offers advice to help you crochet a well-fitting garment.


Chachula covers sweaters constructed from the top down, from side to side, from smaller motifs, and more. Crocheters interested in taking the leap from accessories to larger garments should take a look at Blueprint Crochet Sweaters.


Vicki Square’s Light and Layered Knits focuses on creating lightweight garments using a range of different fibers.



In addition to a variety of patterns, Square also teaches a bit about those fibers along the way, offering up interesting information as well as wisdom about how different fibers behave in knitted fabric.


Another new book from Interweave is the revised edition of The Crocheter’s Companion, an excellent resource filled with all manner of crochet stitches and techniques. Not only can The Crocheter’s Companion remind you how to read a crochet pattern, it also covers basic finishing techniques and a variety of stitch patterns.


Find them all on the teacart at the shop, along with the latest knit and crochet magazines!

Two books for every knitter.

We’ve ordered and reordered these two books several times in the past few months, and with good reason. Charts Made Simple and Cast On, Bind Off are the kinds of knitting books that any knitter can use. Rather than tempting you with pretty patterns and project ideas, they give you the information you need to tackle whatever pretty projects you’ve already picked. I mentioned them briefly on the blog in August, but thought they deserved a closer review, as well.

JC Briar’s Charts Made Simple teaches how to read knitting charts, which are often used in cable, lace, and colorwork patterns. Charts are used in place of (or sometimes alongside) written directions because many knitters find them faster and easier to read, and because they give a sense of how the knitted fabric will look as you’re creating it. Many knitters are intimidated by charts, though, and don’t find them intuitive at all. This book gives all kinds of useful hints for chart-reading, and explains how to do it in plain language, giving examples along the way that illustrate the concept. I’ve been slowly reading through it over the past few months in an attempt to become a more competent, confident reader of knitting charts. I have no doubt that this book, along with some practice and knitting, can get me there. Check it out if you’d like to do the same.

Leslie Ann Bestor’s Cast On, Bind Off is perhaps even more useful for the every-knitter. It covers, as its straightforward title suggests, a wide range of cast-ons and bind-offs, showing how to do them with photos and text. Most helpfully, the cast-ons and bind-offs are sorted by kind, helping you to decide when and how to use them. Not only is this knitting-bag-sized book good for looking up an unfamiliar technique, it’s also good for making changes to a pattern, or designing your own. You know you want your cast-on edge to be stretchy, and you can easily flip to the Stretchy  section to select one. Handy, no?

Come by the shop to find these two excellent knitting resources on the teacart.

The newest books.

We’ve had several shipments of books in the past few weeks, filling the teacart with a wide variety of knitting and crochet resources.

There’s something for almost everyone here. The whimsical new book by Norwegian designers Arne and Carlos shows how to design and clothe the Knitted Dolls it’s named for. Woolbur is equally whimsical, a children’s book about a non-conformist sheep. Cast On, Bind Off and Charts Made Simple are excellent resource books offering guidance on essential knitting techniques: casting on, binding off, and reading charts. Beyond the Square: Crochet Motifs and The Beaded Edge 2 give crocheters new ideas for crocheted shapes and edgings. Knitting for Him, Knitting New Mittens and Gloves, and The Sock Report: Vol. 1 are all full of project ideas, perfect for paging through as you consider your next knitting project.

We also got the new French Girl Knits: Accessories, by Kristeen Griffin-Grimes. Hats, wraps, gloves, socks, and more are within. If you like the style, be sure to check out Griffin-Grimes’ French Girl Knits, as well.

Two books by Martin Storey also found their way to the shop–Nordic Knits and Aran Knits, each taking their inspiration from traditional patterns, but designed with contemporary knitters in mind.

And then there’s Knit Red, a collection of patterns in all shades of red to raise awareness for women’s heart health. Each pattern is by a different designer, and the list is long and impressive: Nicky Epstein, Norah Gaughan, Debbie Bliss, Jared Flood, and Ysolda Teague, among many others. Anne has just cast on for this beautiful linen stitch blanket from Knit Red, designed by Michele Orne for Swans Island Organic Merino Fingering yarn.

Come by the shop to browse all our books for inspiration, ideas, and whatever project it is that you decide you must cast on for immediately. We know the feeling!

The Knitter’s Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters.

Interweave has just published a new book by Ann Budd, The Knitter’s Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters: Basic Designs in Multiple Sizes and Gauges, and a stack of them arrived at the shop last week. After studying it during several quiet moments at the shop, I decided it had to be part of my personal knitting library. Read on to learn why it might make a good addition to yours, as well.

Ann Budd is the author of a great many knitting resources, including but not limited to Sock Knitting Master Class, The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns, and The Knitter’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns. As I’ve written here before, we’re also quite fond of her Handy Guides to Yarn Requirements for knitting and crochet.

The Knitter’s Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters is the latest in her series of Handy Books which give instructions for simple garments in a wide range of gauges and sizes. This collection, as the title makes plain, is full of seamlessly-constructed sweaters that begin at the neck, working from the top down.

Some knitters begin a new project by falling in love with a pattern, then hunting for just the right yarn to match the gauge that the pattern asks for. Some knitters begin by falling in love with a skein of yarn, then go looking for a pattern to match. Ann Budd’s Handy Books can work either way, I think, but do a real service for the second group. For each basic top-down sweater shape, Budd gives instructions for range of sizes, from children to adults, and a range of gauges. Whether you’ve fallen in love with a sport weight yarn or an aran weight yarn, you can choose from any pattern in the book and follow the directions in your chosen size and gauge. Budd also gives yarn requirements for every size and gauge, so once you’ve fallen in love with that yarn, you’ll know how much to get.

The book is divided into four sections, by the sweater’s yoke shape: seamless yoke, raglan, set-in sleeve, and saddle-shoulder. For each shape, along with the general instructions are three good-looking patterns. Some are designed by Ann Budd, and others by guest designers Jared Flood, Veronik Avery, Pam Allen, and Anne Hanson.

 Budd also includes plenty of information on modifying her general instructions, making it easy to add color or texture patterns, and create different kinds of neckbands, collars, button bands, waist shaping, and edgings.

I’ve knit very few sweaters from the top down, having grown accustomed to using Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Percentage System (EPS) to knit unique sweaters from the bottom up. While EPS makes sweater design into a doable math problem, Ann Budd’s Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters is like the teacher’s edition–a series of sweater math problems shown with every possible answer. For knitters who love to knit seamless sweaters and make them their own using whatever yarn they’ve fallen in love with, this is the ultimate resource. Come by the shop to take a closer look at The Knitter’s Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters!

Pop Knitting.

An inspiring new book has landed at the shop. Pop Knitting: Bold Motifs Using Color and Stitch, by Britt-Marie Christoffersson is a collection of graphic, modern-looking stitch patterns.

Christoffersson combines color and texture in surprising ways, making the book itself a thing of beauty.

The sweaters shown alongside many of these motifs make use of them in beautiful and often pleasantly strange garments. The results are fascinating and exciting, whether they appeal to your personal taste or not.

Come to the shop to take a closer look at Pop Knitting; you’re sure to find some inspiration there.

The Color Grid.

A few weeks ago, our hero, Clara Parkes, posted a particularly intriguing review on her excellent and very informative blog, Knitter’s Review. As soon as Anne arrived at the shop that day, I said, “Did you read Clara today?” Her response: “I already ordered it.”

The subject of that Knitter’s Review post, and the object of our desire, was the Color Grid, a tool developed by hand-dyer Gail Callahan for choosing colors. The Color Grid is a sturdy little pamphlet with a spectrum of colors arranged in a grid, as the name suggests. One of the panels is black, with holes of different sizes.

Hold the largest hole over the color that most closely matches your main color, and the smaller holes highlight the closest relatives of that main color.

A thin, rectangular slot below those holes highlights a contrasting color which Callahan calls the “spark.” A bit of that spark color is sure to make your main color sing because of their relationship on the color wheel.

The color wheel, by the way, has always been on my list of Things I One Day Plan to Understand. Until I take the time to sit down with some color theory and study, the Color Grid will join my intuition in my color-choosing toolbox. And along with the color-choosing comes my favorite part: diving into a pile of knitting books, preferably of the colorwork variety. Many of these books offer more information on color theory, if you’re curious about exactly how the Color Grid is working, and how colors interact in knitted patterns of many kinds.

What a fun toy it is! Come by the shop to snag a Color Grid of your own.