In my book, it’s always time to curl up with a good book, but winter makes one of my favorite activities especially inviting. Thanks again to Kay and Ann for letting me share my discoveries with you. These aren’t reviews; this is my way of inviting you over to take a peek at what’s new on my shelves.
Knitting for Radical Self-Care: A Modern Guide by Brandi Cheyenne Harper
We need books that go beyond knitting patterns. They remind us why we knit and how it feels. This is a handbook to empower and nurture yourself. Not just for ourselves, individually, this is not the self-care that drives us to buy another candle, but the type of care that allows us the courage and strength to live in our creativity and cultivate our communities. Brandi Cheyenne Harper writes with authority and kindness. She lays out her principles of radical self-care, and how she lives them daily.
There are also ten killer knitting patterns in here, all with modern shape and structure, most would be equally at home on display in an art gallery or worn to a coffee shop.
This is the most significant craft book to come out this year. I encourage anyone who is interested in the perspective, and experiences of BIPOC makers to buy and read this book of essays and interviews. If you are interested in fostering change and care in our community, please read this book.
Brioche Knit Love: 21 Skill Building Projects from Simple to Sublime by Michele Lee Bernstein
Are you a brioche knitting wanna-be like me? I’ve always been intimidated by brioche knitting, I can do it, kind of, but not in any relaxed way. Apparently, all I needed to understand and enjoy brioche was an easy-to-follow book, and this is it.
This is my favorite type of technique book, where an author leads you, almost sneakily, through a bunch of techniques hidden in projects. There are 21 worsted and chunky weight accessory projects in this book, that is a lot of learning that goes quickly.
An excellent bonus to this book is the video tutorials for stitches and techniques that Michele has on her website.
Moon and Turtle: Knitting Patterns with Variations by Kiyomi and Sachiko Burgin
This is the rare knitting book that is creative, unique, and has interesting and beautiful things to knit for a wide variety of people.The styles of the patterns are simultaneously modern and timeless, and perfectly gender neutral. The shapes are easy to wear, and the colors and colorwork are grounded in saturated neutrals with bright accents.
The designers are twin sisters and the all of the writing in the book, the pattern descriptions, introduction, and the biographies that they wrote for each other, feels like a wonderful, inspired conversation.
52 Weeks of Shawls by Laine Publishing
52 Shawls is a knitting book that transports you. I relaxed as soon as I held it and flipped through. The book itself is comforting, weighty and textured. Inside there are 52 shawl designs by a world of creative designers, shot in an atmosphere of dreamy tranquility and comfort. Please don’t disturb me; I’m pretending I’ll peacefully knit all 52 shawls over the holiday break.
Fair Isle Weekend by Mary Jane Mucklestone
Mary Jane, take me away! Mary Jane Mucklestone has designed eight patterns worthy of a weekend getaway to Shetland. There is something for every level of knitter; those dipping their toe into Fair Isle all the way to seasoned colorwork knitters. They are beautiful and approachable. The essays in the book show the awe and respects she has for the people and history of Fair Isle. It’s a treasure box of a book.
Do not pretend you have always wanted to spy on Kaffe, to rummage around his house and studio. “Oh hi, I was just in the neighborhood, and thought I’d stop by!”
The visuals are everything you might want, full-page photos of room after room full of painting, knitting, pottery, needlepoint and quilting. His living and working style is gorgeous—layers and piles of interesting things, his own art, and color everywhere. It is exuberant, so full of life and creativity. He does spill on how he gets so much done: no phone, no computer, with focus, and many helping hands.
This book is like settling in to watch a favorite movie—familiar, but there is still a bit of excitement since there is something new to discover each time.
The designers are well-known and at the top of their game, and each pattern is superb and beautifully photographed. Make sure to check out the jaw-dropping Amina, a sweater by Sylvia Watts-Cherry, that combines colorwork, and texture stitches and is inspired by indigenous tribal African textiles.
The Gansey Knitting Sourcebook: 150 Stitch Patterns and 10 Projects for Gansey Knits by Di Gilpin and Sheila Greenwell
It’s a gansey gala!
There are pages of gansey specific techniques. Somehow, they managed to pack 150 gansey stitch patterns in here, divided by their overall shape, diamonds, cables, herringbones, etc. There are ten gansey inspired patterns, using traditional techniques and motifs in modern silhouettes of sweaters and accessories.
Selbu Patterns: Discover the Rich History of a Norwegian Knitting Tradition with Over 400 Charts and Classic Designs for Socks, Hats, and Sweaters by Anne Bårdsgård
If there is such a thing as a Selbu knitting scholar Anne Bårdsgård is it. After completing her bestselling book Selbu Mittens, she clearly didn’t rest. This book has recipes for a hat, socks, and two sweaters, where you can plug in the motif of your choice. Knitters are spoiled for choice as far as motifs go, there are more than 450(!) here gathered from museums and personal collections.
The history is what I love about this book. Anne has done exhaustive research, talked to knitters, examined vintage and modern knits, and combed through masses of paper patterns, and knitters’ notes. The historic photos are amazing, and she goes to the effort of pulling one motif seen in a photo and placing a chart for that motif nearby. I made a lot of cooing noises reading this book.
MDK makes a commission from all books purchased through the Amazon links in this article.