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Even before I loved yarn and fiber, I loved books. My house is full of teetering piles of books propped up with skeins of yarn and braids of fiber. I’m always on the lookout for books that are new and interesting in the fiber world, and Kay and Ann are 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.

Sit, have a cookie, do you want coffee or tea?

Embroidery on Knitting: Inspirational Modern Designs for Stitching onto Knitted Garments by Britt-Marie Christoffersson

The 250 designs in this book are like no knitwear embroidery I’ve ever seen, and I’m so excited.  The embroidery is all clean lines and geometric shapes, there’s not a lazy daisy in the bunch. Embellish your knits or elevate your mending with just a handful of stitches and techniques.

Norwegian Knitting Designs 90 Years Later: A New Look at the Classic Collection of Scandinavian Motifs and Patterns by Wenche Roald and Annichen Sibbern Bohn

What would you do if you were given free reign to reinterpret the classic book of Norwegian knitting motifs from 1929? This reimagining throws a knitting party full of modern colors and shapes in 30 patterns.  Of course, there is a history of the original book and its author—and in a squee-worthy move, there is a facsimile of the original book tucked inside the back cover.

Journeys in Natural Dyeing: Techniques for Creative Color at Home by Kristine Vejar and Adrienne Rodriguez, with Sarah Ollikkala Jones

I can’t stop spending time with this book. I’ve traveled to Iceland, Mexico, Japan, and Indonesia, met local dyers and observed their natural dyeing technique, using local ingredients. I’ve studied ways to naturally dye 400 colors and color variations with consideration for the environment. I’ve planned quite a number of the projects that use naturally dyed fabric and yarn. It’s a beautiful book that cultivates creativity and eco responsibility, inspires fiber artists and captivates adventurers itching to travel.

Easy Knitted Fingerless Gloves: Stylish Japanese Knitting Patterns for Hand, Wrist and Arm Warmers 
by Nihon Vogue, Cassandra Harada (Translator)

I am totally lying about this book being a new publication (it’s from last fall). But it’s such a fantastic book for the gift-making and -giving time, the short-attention-span time, and the stash-diving time, that I slipped it on the list.  There are 21 fingerless mitt patterns for multiple gauges, multiple moods.  I dream about making all the patterns so I can effortlessly rock an Oliver Twist meets 1980s Madonna meets Cottagecore-cute look. A sneaky bonus to this book is that it’s a nearly painless way to learn to use Japanese knitting patterns.

Everything She Touched: The Life of Ruth Asawa by Marilyn Chase

Raise you hand if you need to be inspired by an artist who worked fiercely in the face of racism and sexism, was a tireless art activist, and created ground-breaking art her entire life. This first comprehensive bio of Ruth Asawa moved me and gave me hope. There is so much to absorb about the artist and how she wove glorious life into wire, and art into all aspects of her life.

Custom Shawls for the Curious and Creative Knitter by Kate Atherley and Kim McBrien Evans

Kate and Kim’s book is a goldmine for my mercurial knitting moods. This book lets me approach shawls in a couple of ways. When I just want to knit here are 13 fabulous ready-to-knit shawl patterns. When I want to step it up and try my hand at design, I can use their directions to plug and play stitch patterns into specific shawl shapes, or go whole hog designer and let Kate hold my hand while I do math, and Kim guide me through color and creativity.

A Short History of the World According to Sheep by Sally Coulthard

I wish all history could be presented in this book’s great combination of nerd-level research and breezy, engaging style. Also all history needs to have sheep and wool, they really do make the world go round. This book is packed with world history, folk tales, science, and social history. Be prepared to be the belle of the ball at your next Zoom cocktail party as you spill fact and fiction about our dear friends the sheep.

English Pastoral: An Inheritance by James Rebanks

In The Shepherd’s Life, James Rebanks captivated the world (not just us fiber-folk) with his well-crafted stories about farming Herdwick sheep as a third generation farmer in Cumbria. English Pastoral takes on farmingthe past, the present and the utopian future that is within our reach. He posits that how we care for our land and farms is ultimately how we care for the future of feeding the world.

MDK makes a commission from all books purchased through the Amazon links in this article. For even more books we recommend to knitters and fiber enthusiasts, browse our Knitter’s Bookshelf. Thank you.

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


  • Re natural dyeing, I had a favorite Christmas book as a child which had a story in it called something like “Granny Glittens and Her Amazing Mittens.” Granny Glittens knitted mittens for all the children in hef little town, but just before Christmas, she ran out of colored yarn. So in the story, she dyed her white yarn with peppermint candy, licorice sticks, and I forget what-all else, and of course the children loved their mittens even more because they smelled so delicious.

    • I loved that story, too. Although my memory is that they didn’t just smell their mittens, they ate them! I remember having feelings that mixed up wool and cotton candy, burnt sugar and peppermint

  • Ordered the sheep history (from Blackwells in London for the Amazon adverse, same price, free shipping, support an historic bookstore!). It looks like just the sort of book I love. Also, another embroidery on knitting book that is really fun to look through is Anna Zilbourg’s Splendid Apparel.

    • Thanks for the Blackwells tip. Much more affordable than Amazon too.

    • Thanks for mentioning Blackwells, I will check it out! Always prefer to order UK books directly from the UK.

  • Thanks for the recommendations. I see a few books I’ll be ordering soon. My 2021 goal is to expand my knitting knowledge and now I know where to head first (and second)!

  • Wouldn’t it be fun if everyone sent in their 5 favorite knitting or knitting-related books and a tally was made to see if there were any consistent winners?

    • For starters, I propose we go on the book path where Jillian is shining a light. I have the Japanese stitch bible, but like all bibles it’s daunting!

  • Love these titles, but not Amazon. Would you consider linking directly the the publisher, or instead?

    • Yes, please!! That would be wonderful

  • I have always loved books since I was a child and I was fascinated by the ladies at the knitting store. Being an only child I learned to entertain myself but I took my first knitting class in 1983 and I haven’t stopped

  • Santa must have seen my “aha moments” when I’ve read Kate Atherley’s articles on MDK – I have it on good authority under the tree this Christmas will be a copy of Custom Shawls for the Curious and Creative Knitter. I’ve been wanting to design a shawl but didn’t know where to start – looking forward to curling up with a cup of coffee and the book.

  • There used to be Ruth Asawa stamps for sale, but it seems they’re gone now. I still have a few!

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