The other day, when an unfamiliar knitting term tripped me up and I reached to my knitting books to find the answer, I realised just how important it is for every knitter to have a really great knitting reference book. It needs to be a book that you can turn to when you’ve tried to figure things out for yourself and nothing has worked, when you’re frustrated and contemplating pulling the needles out and frogging the whole project. It has to be a book that you trust and, most of all, one that really makes sense to you.
And if it also happens to be a book that inspires you, challenges you, helps you to grow as a knitter… Well, then, you’ve found a keeper — a book you will turn to year after year.
I found exactly that book, back when I very first started knitting, and it has been my go-to knitting reference ever since. It’s Vogue Knitting, The Ultimate Knitting Book and it’s excellent. When I bought this book, I had been shown how to cast on and I could make knit stitches, but nothing more — and I had a real hankering to move past garter stitch! This book taught me everything. I started with mastering purl stitches and binding off (very exciting additions to my repertoire!), and then used it to move onto increases, decreases, cables, intarsia, stranded colourwork… All learned on my own, just me and my trusty reference book.
The thing that I loved about this book is that the descriptions are so clear. The pictures just made sense to me — I could see exactly what I was supposed to do for every single technique.
And it’s comprehensive. As well as basic and advanced knitting techniques, it covers everything from the history of knitting, to the properties of different yarns, the care of knitted garments, and even the principles of knitwear design.
I tried other books as well — in fact, I began acquiring them with all the enthusiasm of, well, a new knitter — but none of them ever worked as well for me as the Vogue Knitting book. Often the descriptions simply weren’t as clear, or the illustrations were too confusing, and always, always they simply weren’t as in depth. Eventually I stopped collecting other reference books and realised I had found The One.
And we’ve been together for over 20 years now. I couldn’t be happier.
So what is your favourite knitting reference book? I’d love to know!