My Favorite Knitting Books (Part 1)

Knitting and books. Books and knitting. Love them both, but you know what really winds my skeins? Knitting books.

If you found your way here from Pinterest or Instagram, welcome to my tiny cupboard under the stairs of the Big Wide Web. Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter and follow us here and here.

I tried narrowing it down, but there are Just. So. Many. Great ones. So I’ll begin with 5 (plus a bonus one). For now. I will add more in future posts.

The following is a pretty eclectic list, with some books containing patterns, and others containing tutorials or stitch patterns, or a combination of everything. Some are old. Some are newer(ish). All are for the adventurous knitter.

Post may contain affiliate links. Please see Affiliate Policy here.

Short Row Knits: A Master Workshop With 20 Learn-As-You-Knit Projects

Short Row Knits
Short Row Knits: A Master Workshop with 20 Learn-As-You-Knit Projects, by Carol Feller

Short rows are some serious voodoo. They can take an angular, flat piece of knitting and transform it into something curvy and 3-dimensional. They can raise sweater necklines, provide smooth shaping, construct sock toes or heels, or form your very own stuffed Octo-buddy.

Carol Feller’s book describes in great detail several methods of knitting short rows, including wrap & turn, German short rows, and Japanese short rows. Additionally, patterns are provided to try out all these cool techniques. My favorites are my Frio hat and Claro socks.

I’ve also used short row techniques to shape the shoulders of myLion Brand Tabard Vest. (Instructions in a future post.) The pattern calls for binding off shoulder stitches; rather, I used short rows to give them a smooth curvy shape in order to make it easier to seam the front and back together.

Find the book here.

Knitting Brioche: The Essential Guide to the Brioche Stitch

Knitting Brioche: The Essential Guide to the Brioche Stitch, by Nancy Marchant

Nancy Marchant’s book is a must-have for anyone who loves the Brioche Stitch. She presents a brief history of the technique (if you’re into that), and clear, straightforward explanations of the terminology and methods. Helpful pictures of each step make it simple to follow along, and in no time, you be a pro at the basic stitch.

Afterwards, you’ll be able to take it up a notch with knitting brioche with two colors and increases and decreases.

Stanton Brioche Stitch
Stanton Brioche Stitch on Eira Shawl

However, my favorite part of the book is the Stitchionary. So. Many. Variations. I’ve included one (the Stanton Brioche Stitch) in my Eira Shawl.

Find the book here.

Bonus: Knitting Fresh Brioche: Creating Two-Color Twists & Turns

Once you’ve exhausted the Stitchionary of the first book, check out Marchant’s fresh variations made with increases, decreases, yarn-overs, and more. Seriously, the possibilities are endless with this entertaining stitch.

Find it at here.

Knitting from the Top

Knitting from the top
Knitting from the top, by Barbara Walker

This oldie-but-goodie from Barbara Walker is less a pattern book, and more a coffee date with a friend. Don’t be turned off by the cover. (Umm, the 70’s called…) You won’t find any line by line instructions here. What you will find, however, is Barbara’s quirky and entertaining style of writing explaining how to knit almost any garment from the top down. All you need to do is bring your yarn, needles, gauge (and maybe a calculator).

Find it at Amazon here.

New Pathways for Sock Knitters

New Pathways for Sock Knitters
New Pathways for Sock Knitters Book One, by Cat Bordhi

You think there are only a handful of ways to construct socks? Well, think again. Cat Bordhi takes the typical toe-up sock with short row heel, or cuff-down sock with heel flap and takes them to the next level. Like, to several new levels. A heel flap on the bottom of the foot or gusset shaping in atypical areas are just the beginning.

Patterns for baby socks representing each technique are included (for a quick knit to try them out), so if you’ve got tiny feet to knit for, even better.

I knit the Rushing Rivulet Socks in the book, constructed with the Riverbed Architecture, and they are some of the best fitting socks I own.

As an avid sock knitter, I know we all are passionate about our favorite method of constructing socks. Mine happens to be cuff-down. But check out this book for some crazy varieties on your favorite method.

Find it at here.

Reversible Two-Color Knitting

Reversible Two-Color Knitting
Reversible Two-Color Knitting, by Jane Neighbors

With this obscure and currently out-of-print book, you can create and design your own two-color reversible knitting patterns. Written by Jane Neighbors, it was published in 1974 and consists mostly of stitch patterns that are written out (no charts) for two-color knitting that looks similar on both sides, or both sides are attractive/interesting. There are a few patterns for items like blankets or sweaters for getting you started though.

Techniques included in the book consist of simple reversibles, chain patterns, and what is known today as double knitting.

While the book itself is not particularly attractive (most photos are in black/white), the stitch patterns are quite fun and can be used in a variety of ways. I’ve used a couple of them in my Joy Comes in the Morning and Where Feet May Fail Shawls.

Find it at here.


Well, there ya ago. Some of my favorite challenging pattern and technique books to provide a much needed kick-in-the-creative-pants.

What are your favorite knitting books?