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Fresh as the first crocus, here are the books that are filling my spring with the joy of making and learning. Brew a pot of your favorite tea and browse on, friends!

Handknits from Rauma, Norway: 30 New Takes on Traditional Scandinavian Designs by Bente Presterud

What Lopi yarn is to Iceland Rauma Garn is to Norway. Bente Presterud took on the dauting task of selecting and reimagining nearly a century’s worth of patterns for this book. The results are things you might expect like classic Norwegian-style colorwork, and surprising things too, like dresses and a lot of textured patterns all presented in updated silhouettes and colors.

Modern Japanese Crochet: Classic Stitches Made Easy by Nihon Vogue

Perfect for spring and summer carry-along projects, this book is full of quick and cute crochet accessories. The patterns are easy to follow and delightfully cute. The stitches, if you are newish or need a reminder, are presented in progressive photos which makes them a snap to work.

The Nordic Knitting Primer: A Step-by-Step Guide to Scandinavian Colorwork by Kristin Drysdale

New to or intimated by colorwork? This book will walk you through Scandinavian-style colorwork from your first two-handed, two-color project to a complex multi-color sweater. The encouraging, unintimidating approach along with detailed and copious step-by-step photography makes this book a gem.

Stripes by Vera Välimäki

In Stripes, Vera Välimäki helms a group of designers who remind us that this humble motif can be whimsical or classic, but always in style. The designs span the simple, but chic, striped scarf to adventurous sweaters that combines color, lace and texture.

Knit Fold Pleat Repeat: Simple Knits Gorgeous Garments by Norah Gaughan

36 patterns start with a basic simple knitted shape—a rectangle, triangle, or square—transformed into swooping, swirling, ruched, and puffed magnificence and proving once again that Norah Gaughan is one of the most unique knitting designers working today. If you need to be reminded (or introduced) to how creative knitting can be, spend some time with this book.

Icelandic Mittens: 25 Traditional Patterns Reimagined by Guðrún Hannele Henttinen

Interested in Icelandic knitting, but not ready to tackle a sweater? These Icelandic mittens use traditional motifs on a smaller canvas, like a tasting menu of Icelandic knitting. All of the mittens in this book are updated in color and yarns from historic mittens that are in the Textile Museum of Iceland in Blönduós.

Shedding the Shackles: Women’s Empowerment Through Craft by Lynne Stein

Artist Lynne Stein introduces us to women deeply involved in textile crafting around the world. The first third of the book explores women who are preserving traditional crafts, and the rest of the book is devoted to women’s craft collectives and initiatives that are their means to economic empowerment. I was enthralled by the inspiring stories and vast talent from the very first page.

Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon

When my creativity starts to wane, I turn to this book with its short, pithy calls to action.

I’ve used it to unstick myself in everything from my textile work to rearranging our house. This book will remind you how wildly creative you are.

All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, A Black Family Keepsake by Tiya Miles

All that She Carried is a seamless melding of the history of a single artifact and a meditation on the matrilineal history of slavery. If you read one textile history book this year let it be this beautiful book.

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About The Author

Jillian Moreno spins, knits and weaves just so she can touch all of the fibers. She wrote the book Yarnitecture: A Knitter’s Guide to Spinning: Building Exactly the Yarn You Want so she could use all of the fiber words. Keep up with her exploits at


  • Will MDK start linking to as well? Some of us have stopped using Amazon.

    • Adding my voice to this request! Amazon doesn’t need our money. If you can get out of the house, shop local bookstores. My local bookshop cheerfully orders books for me. If your budget doesn’t have room in it to buy books, use your library card!

    • Why were my comments on Amazon and other bookstores removed from this conversation?

    • Hear, hear!

    • Booksellers actually lose by going with this company if you want to support your local bookshop buy local please many shops can order what you want, offer ship to home or curbside pick up. Disclosure: I am a bookseller.

      • Agreed. I shop at my local indie bookstore (LBS, like LYS) and can pick up at their back store, if I don’t want to go in! You can also request your local library buy a copy. Disclosure: I work in a library, but still buy the books that need to be in my collection!

        • I have knitting books I find I don’t need to have. I wonder whether my local library could accept them to stay in their collection. I live in Philadelphia, PA. I’m going to find out.

    • Yes, I second this.

      • I’m with you!

        • Me, too. Support independent bookstores like you support independent yarn shops. Bookshop links support local stores if you want to order onLine.

  • Stumbled across Norah’s book just a few days ago and bought it on the spot. After maybe about 40 years, Norah hasn’t lost her touch, and is as innovative as ever. It’s a beautiful book, one of those things I love having on my shelf. As a rather simple-minded knitter, I really love her rectangle designs which are amazingly sophisticated. I can’t wait to start a couple of them. But there are plenty much fancier and more challenging designs for you crazy knitting-acrobatics people. Looking forward to checking out other books on the list, too. Thanks, Commenters, re Never heard of it before!

    • This is such a wonderful round up of recommendations, thank you!! I have the Norah Gaughan book and adore it, she’s so incredibly clever. Quick question – does anyone know which book the “fine dress with stripes” pictured in the cover images is from? Is it the Raume book?

      • Maybe “Stripes” by Vera Välimäki? Just a guess.

  • Thanks for the recommendations Jillian. I want them all! Nora’s book has been on my list, but today I’m adding Lynn Stein’s. The content sounds fascinating and the cover art is fabulous.

  • P.S. I bought mine from a bookseller. I try to buy local whenever my budget permits. My thinking is that there is a certain amount of hand-in-hand benefit between the two sources. Up to a point online discount sites can feed the impulse to shop all bookstores. Of course, the reduced number of brick and mortar shops prove that discount stores always win. I am wondering if better marketing may be a help. Well-trafficked locations, cafe and gift-item departments, theme weeks, engaging staff, and so on. The world would be a poorer place without bookstores!

  • I checked out an e-copy of Nordic Knitting from our library and was blown away. I’ve been knitting for ever, I think, including color work and I learned so much that I ordered my own copy. It’s full of great tips even if you’ve been knitting for a while -like how to weave in ends in fair isle.
    Such great books here!

    • Good to know because I have too many books that are just so-so

  • Would you please add ratings for the reading level of each in your book reviews? Just like we have in Knitty?

  • Please tell me in which book I can find the pattern for the flat tote bag. Thank you.

    • That pattern is in the Modern Japanese Crochet book, Patricia.

  • Thank you for Icelandic Mittens recommendation! We are traveling to Iceland next month and I am filled with inspiration ;-D

  • Than you for all the wonderful (and diverse) recommendations, Jillian. I have purchased Kristen Drysdale’s Nordic Knitting Primer and second the observation by another commenter that there is lots of useful (even new) information for a longtime colorwork knitter. I haven’t heard of several of these titles and appreciate the introduction. I just went to Cloud Library (which one of my libraries uses) and was able to download the audiobook of “All That She Carried”.

  • I have Norah Gaughan’s new book and it was well worth the money.

    I bought ‘Worsted’ (from a online yarn store) subtitled ‘A Knitwear Collection Curated by Aimee Gille’. It has multiple patterns by well known designers and they are beautiful. All of the designs call for Corrie Worsted by La Bien Aimee, but I’m thinking Atlas might work well. I’m making the Blanket of Joy so I’ll be able to swatch with my leftover colors.

  • Thanks for an amazing list of books to add to our collections! It would be helpful if you could add the title of the book to each page displayed in the photos at the top of the article.

    • The pictures in the gallery correspond to the books in the order they’re listed in the post. Hope that helps!

  • Thank you for including a crochet book, Jillian. Having not crocheted in a while, I recently picked up a hook again and was reflecting on how crochet is so unfairly maligned. Today’s crochet designers are doing spectacular work!

    Kay and Ann, how about a future field guide around a “Knitting loves crochet” type theme? Some of are already bistitchual and I’m sure the rest are bi-curious! You have a loyal and sizable following, it would be a service to everyone. And beautiful and useful too, in memory of William Morris.

    • I second this!

  • I have been reading for as long as I can remember and when you combine books with yarn I’m a goner ( or is it GOMER ) get out of my emergency room

  • 10 great advices. Thank you very much (I’ve just bought almost all of them)

  • I am listening to All that She Carried now. It is wonderful! I highly recommend it.

  • I would love reviews of the books, especially as 2 friends got the Rauma book and found it utterly disappointing. I loved the format of the book reviews Carol gave on her Go Knit In Your Hat blog, perhaps she could write some for MDK? I love what she’s written in here, too.

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