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.

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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.

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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?

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Serein Socks – A Free Knitting Pattern

Hey, how goes it, Crafters? As you may know, socks are my all-time favorite item to knit. Well, let me introduce you to my newest snugly feet wraps: Serein Socks.

Serein socks knitting

My usual method of madness for socks follows a cuff-to-toe pathway, with a heel flap and turn. But this time, I decided on the reverse. You know, to change it up a little. But mostly because I thought the stitch pattern would look better turned right-side-up.

Stitch pattern

Speaking of the stitch pattern, check it out.

I modified a stitch pattern that I found on the interwebs. The original was a video where the pattern was worked flat, and I had a to figure out how to convert it to the round. I had a few challenges. First, the video was in Russian. And the knitting itself was different than I’m used to because the style, stitch mount, and other things were different.

And, I really want to learn Russian. Seriously. I love how it sounds.

The pattern is a relatively simple 4-round repeat. The first two rounds consist of only knits and purls. The third round contains a stitch that takes 3 stitches and knits them through the back loop, while adding a Yarn Over and another stitch. Here are the pics:

Stitch 1
Knit 3 through the back loop, but leave stitches on needle.
Stitch 2
Yarn Over
Serein Socks Stitch 3
Knit first stitch on left needle through the back loop.
Serein Socks Stitch 4
Three new stitches after slipping original ones off left needle.

And a short vid:

IMG_7077[1]

Finally, the 4th round includes a simple right cross cable.

Heel Turn and Flap

This is my first toe-up design with a heel flap. If you don’t enjoy picking up stitches, this is the way to go.

Serein Socks Heel Flap
How pretty is this heel flap?

Other Stuff

I decided to incorporate a couple of other of my favorite techniques in this pattern.

Each Serein Sock begins with Judy’s Magic Cast-On. You certainly don’t have to begin with this; use whatever method you usually use for your socks. Maybe you prefer a Turkish Cast-On or a Short Row toe.

For the final cuff Bind-Off, I used Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off. This method is great for keeping the top of your sock from cutting off circulation to your foot. Again, feel free to use your favorite method.

Download the pattern here: Serein Socks

I truly had a ton of fun designing these. While I think that the cuff-down construction will always be my favorite, this was an unique challenge and of course, increasing my knitting skills is always a bonus. I hope to do more toe-up socks soon.

Please, if you enjoy this pattern, share it or let me know! I haven’t had it tested, so let me know if you find any errors or contact me with any questions or comments.

Happy sock knitting!

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Crunchy Leaves Socks: A Slipped Stitch Pattern

Howdy, fellow creative persons.

I’ve got a new sock pattern for you just in time for the weekend. I gave them the same name as my Crunchy Leaves Hat Pattern because I used the same stitch pattern. I never said I was creative with naming.

Crunchy leaves knitting socks pattern

The socks contain a two-color slipped stitch pattern with only one color worked per round. Each color is worked for two rounds, then the alternate color is used.

I’ve created the pattern for 4 different sizes, but make these suckers any size you want. Just cast on a multiple of 4, and you’re on your way. Feel free to contact me for different sizing help.

If you’ve made socks before, you’ll have no problem with these. Just use the size of needle you use for all your other sock patterns. I have the most ridiculously tiny feet in the world, so I always use size 0 for my socks.

Just like with needle size, cast on the same number of stitches (multiple of 4) that you cast on for other socks.

Please let me know if you have any questions. I’m happy to help; have a great weekend.

Enjoy!

Sizes and Gauge

Extra small (52 stitches), Small (60 stitches), Medium (68 stitches), Large
(76 stitches)

Gauge: 4 inches = 30 stitches in pattern.

Materials

Size US1.5 (2.5 mm) long circular needle for
Magic Loop OR two circular needles OR set of
double pointed needles, OR size needed to
obtain gauge.

140 (150, 160, 170) yards fingering weight sock
yarn in Main Color. I used Premier Yarns Serenity Sock in Soft White

90 (100, 110, 120) yards fingering weight sock yarn in Contrasting Color. I used Premier Yarns Serenity Sock Weight in Burgundy.

2 stitch markers

Tapestry needle for weaving in ends

Abbreviations

K – Knit

P – Purl

MC – Main Color

CC – Contrasting Color

SSK – Slip, slip, knit

K2tog – Knit 2 together

P2tog – Purl 2 together

Sl1 – Slip 1

St(s) – Stitches

Wyib – With yarn in back

Wyif – With yarn in front

Method

Cuff and leg

Crunchy leaves knitting socks pattern

CO 52 (60, 68, 76) sts. Join for knitting in the round.

K1, P1 to end. Work 1×1 ribbing for ¾ inch or desired cuff length.

Attach CC.

Setup Round: Using CC, K2. *Sl1 wyib, K3. Repeat from * to last 2 sts, Sl1 wyib, K1. Switch to MC.

Round 1 (MC): *Sl1 wyif, K3. Repeat from * to end of round.

Round 2 (MC): *Sl1 wyib, K3. Repeat from * to end of round. Switch to CC.

Round 3 (CC): K2. *Sl1 wyif, K3. Repeat from * to last 2 sts. Sl1 wyif, K1.

Round 4 (CC): K2. *S1 wyib, K3. Repeat from * to last 2 sts. Sl1 wyib, K1. Switch to MC.

Work Rounds 1-4 for 5 inches or desired length, ending with a Round 4.

Continue with MC for Heel Flap and Heel Turn

Heel Flap

Place the next 25 (29, 33, 37) sts on hold for top of foot. The remaining 27 (31, 35, 39) sts will be worked back and forth for the heel flap, beginning with a WS row.

Setup Row (WS): Sl1 pw, P2, *Sl1 wyib, P3. Repeat from * to end.

Row 1 (RS): *Sl1 wyib, K1. Repeat to last stitch, k last st.

Row 2 (WS): Sl1 purlwise wyif, P to end

Repeat rows for 2.25 inches or desired heel flap length, ending with a WS row.

Heel turn

Row 1 (RS): Sl1 wyib, K 15 (17, 19, 21) sts, SSK, K1, turn work.

Row 2 (WS): Sl1 wyif, P6, P2tog, P1, turn work.

Row 3 (RS): Sl1 wyib, K to 1 st before gap, SSK (to close gap), K1, turn work.

Row 4 (WS): Sl1 wyif, P to 1 st before gap, P2tog (to close gap), P1, turn work.

Repeat rows 3 and 4 until all sts have been worked. 17 (19, 21, 23) sts remain.

Resume working in the round.

Shape Gussets and Foot

Crunchy leaves knitting socks pattern

Rnd 1 (MC): Continuing with MC, Sl1 wyib, K to end of heel turn sts. Pick up one st in each slipped st along right edge of heel flap, plus one st between heel flap and top of foot. Place a marker for right side. *Sl1 wyif, K3. Repeat from * to last st of top of foot. Sl1 wyif. Place marker for left side of foot. Pick up one st between top of foot and heel flap, and in each slipped st along left edge of heel flap. K to end of heel flap, then K the picked up sts through the back loops to the right marker for beginning of round.

Rnd 2 (MC): Continuing with MC, *Sl1 wyib, K3. Repeat from * until one st before left marker, Sl1 wyib. K picked up stitches (on left side of heel flap) through the back loops, then K to beginning of round at right marker. Switch to CC.

Rnd 3 (CC): K2. *Sl1 wyif, K3. Repeat from *to 3 sts before left marker. Sl1 wyif, K2. Slip marker, K1, SSk, K to last 3 sts before right marker, K2tog, K1.

Rnd 4 (CC): K2. *Sl1 wyib, K3. Repeat from * to 3 sts before left marker. Sl1 wyib, K2. Slip marker, K to end of round. Switch to MC.

Rnd 5 (MC): *Sl1 wyif, K3. Repeat from * to last st before left marker, Sl1 wyif. Slip marker, K1, SSK, K to 3 sts before marker, K2tog, K1.

Rnd 6 (MC): *Sl1 wyib, K3. Repeat from * to last st before left marker, Sl1 wyib. Slip marker, K to end of round. Switch to CC.

Repeat rounds 3-6 until you are back to your original number of stitches. Continue working in pattern (slip stitch on top of foot and even knitting on bottom) without the gusset decreases until the sock is about 2 inches shorter than desired, ending with a Rnd 4.

Continue with MC.

Toe Decreases

Setup round: *Sl1 wyif, K3. Repeat to last st before left marker, Sl1 wyif. Remove marker, K1, replace marker. K to end of round.

Rnd 1: K to end of round.

Rnd 2: K1, SSK, K to 3 sts before left marker, K2tog, K1, Slip marker, K1, SSK, K to 3 sts before right marker, K2tog, K1.

Repeat Rnds 1 and 2 until toe is desired length, ending with a Rnd 2. Graft sts together.

Crunchy leaves knitting socks pattern

Repeat pattern for second sock. Block if you want; I never block socks. 🙂

Pattern has only been tested  by me. Please let me know of any errors or questions.

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