Skip to content

Dear friends,

Today is the day we pull back the curtain to introduce a project that we have been working on for the past year—and for the past 20 years.

It’s a small book that distills our decades of knitting experience into 9 simple lessons.

It’s called Skill Set: Beginning Knitting, and we are thrilled to share it with you.

Order a copy here.

Scene: Ann’s Kitchen Table, December 2019

Back in the Before Times, we held a knitting getaway in Nashville, and our friend and editor of the Field Guide series Melanie Falick was in town to be a part of it.

We don’t often get the chance to brainstorm with Melanie—we’re usually working on a Field Guide at a granular level. So when she said, “What do you want to do next?” it just sort of burst out of us: we’ve always wanted to write a how-to-knit book.

But we didn’t want to write an encyclopedia of knitting. We didn’t want to stuff a bunch of patterns in there. We wanted to make a book as short and clear and distilled as we possibly could.

In other words, we had to stop typing so fast, and boil the gigantic world of knitting down into as few lessons as possible.

That is easier said than done. We have a lot to say about knitting, as our blog dating from 2003 amply illustrates.

Short Is the Way

So that’s what this book is. We all know that knitting is a vast, never-ending universe of dazzling things to explore. But that first moment, when knitting is just a possibility of a new little hobby to try? It needs to be as uncomplicated as possible.

The Book

Small is all you need.

It’s the same size as our Field Guides, 5.5″ x 7.25″ (14 x 18.5 cm).

Nine lessons. 108 pages.

Clear and simple drawings, by the exquisite hand of Patti Pierce Stone.

A book design by Lily Piyathaisere that is clean, modern, and beautiful.

Lessons that are, in the words of a famous Nashville guitar teacher, all killer no filler.

This book is the result of Melanie’s superb editing skills—and our belief that the world needs more knitters, more love, more fun, more joy.

The Skill Set Box of Joy

Part of the fun of learning to knit is discovering a new world of beautiful materials.

So we have created the Skill Set Box of Joy. You’ll find it in the MDK Shop, right here.

It’s our brand-new kit with everything a new knitter needs to make the swatches that are at the heart of Skill Set: Beginning Knitting.

We’ve been sweating over this thing, making sure every single component is beautiful, excellent, and necessary.

In it, you’ll find:

• The book. (We are also offering the Skill Set Box of Joy without the book, in case you already have one.)
• A matchy-matchy zippered canvas pouch.
• A supercute tin filled with matchy-matchy stitch markers, circular and locking.
• Straight needles.
• Circular needles.
• Double-pointed needles.
• Small, sharp scissors.
• A tape measure. (Matchy-matchy.)
• A crochet hook.
• Cable needles.
• A tapestry needle.
• Three skeins of the most beautiful yarn we could possibly find.

What’s That Yarn?

Atlas. By Modern Daily Knitting.

It’s the first yarn we have ever developed ourselves. It’s brand new.

The Skill Set Box of Joy is the first place we are making it available.

It’s Rambouillet wool, as soft and lofty as a new knitter could ever want.

It’s 100% U.S. made, climate beneficial, light worsted, three ply.

These three skeins are enough to set up a new knitter to make all the swatches in the book.

The full range of Atlas will launch later this year. But there was no way we could have a Box of Joy without including this exclusive new yarn. Start as you mean to go on, we’ve always said. Atlas yarn gives the new knitter an experience with the loveliest of natural fibers.

And, of Course, the Skill Set Tote

Because the new knitter needs to understand the importance of a good tote . . .

We cooked up our favorite, sturdy Baggu bag in a new colorway to coordinate with all things Skill Set. You’ll find it here.

Each One Teach One

If you’re reading this, you probably already know how to knit. And you probably know someone who would like to learn to knit.

A few months ago, we sent copies of Skill Set to 241 MDK readers, so they could teach someone to knit, and try out our new book.

The response has been gratifying to hear. New knitters are springing up like daisies, and we hope this is the start of something great.

It’s a big day for MDK. Thank you for your encouragement along the way! And thank you for sharing the news of Skill Set with the soon-to-be-knitters in your life.


Ann and Kay


If perchance our Comments aren’t working, please leave a comment here!


  • Comments are working again! So glad!

    • I would love to give this fabulous skill set box to my daughter, but she is allergic to wool. Would it be possible to put together a box with synthetic or non-wool yarn? Thanks!

  • So happy this day has finally come!

  • Congrats you two! And to your wonderful team. I am currently working on some linen hand towels from your first book and remembering what a breath of fresh air it was for then new knitter me.
    I bet your new book becomes a classic!

  • This is such a good idea, and the related goodies look perfect! I’m already pushing it to my beginner knitters!

  • Brilliant! Very likely THE book I have hoped for. Your producing your own yarn is stellar, simply over the moon. So ridiculously happy for all involved.

  • I am really glad to see such a kit – it looks very thoughtfully prepared. I have taught many elementary school children how to knit, for 10 years in the Before Time, and it looks like your kit would be a great gift for new knitters. Just a thought – did you explain how to wind a skein of wool? One of my little knitters showed up one day, trying to knit with a yarn right from the skein!

    • Thanks so much for your kind words!

      We do teach how to wind a ball of yarn, so I hope your small folks will find it helpful. 

      How wonderful that you’ve been teaching knitting to children for so long. Wow!

  • What I would like is a clear set of instructions for left handed people too old to retrain that right hand easily.

  • This sounds so wonderful. I have two daughters that knit, one granddaughter knits and one crochets. I’m excited to start a granddaughter on the same path. I will be ordering this lovely book and a box to get her started. Thanks to all of you for your hard work, and being here for all of us.

  • Is it by coincidence or by intent that your new book has 108 pages, a number of great significance in Buddhism and Hinduism?

  • It just occurred to me that you might think there was criticism or suspicion behind my comment about “108”. There’s not. By coincidence or intent, I think it’s delightful! Looking forward to seeing your new work. Thanks for doing it!

    • Thank you for pointing that out! It was a coincidence, but a happy one that kind of blows my mind. I’m thrilled also because 108 is a multiple of 18, my favorite number for sentimental reasons and also for its prominence in Jewish numerology.

  • Is continental shown in the book?

    • Looks great! Q: are both English and Continental methods taught? See that someone asked below in this chain; however, could not find a reply.

      Bought a beginner’s kit online from a well-known shop here in NYC for my granddaughter’s birthday, not knowing it only taught the English throw method. She has had a bit of prior instruction using the Continental method, and became very confused. As this was during early COVID it was long-distance and difficult to figure out the problem. She is now discouraged and am so hoping to get her back on course. Maybe your app and book will be the right thing.

      Many thanks for all the wonderful work you do!

      • Hi everyone,

        The book does not teach Continental. It was a priority to not overwhelm a beginner with many choices, so we show one way–throwing, while showing very clearly the path the yarn needs to take to form stitches. If a beginning is already knitting another way, they should knit that way! Comfort is key! The instructions are adaptable to different styles of knitting, especially when it gets into the increases/decreases, etc., where the style of knitting is not as relevant as what happens to the stitches on the needle.

  • Skill Set is already a big hit here at Camp Nana, even though we’re not yet in session. DH’s family raised Rambouillet before transitioning to cattle and feed only in the late 80s. (I did too when we lived there in the 70s.) He’s been asking for something knit of Rambouillet. A merino/silk cap with an alpaca lining just didn’t quite rock his world.
    The kids were here yesterday picking blueberries and got to see their sets. They are beyond excited. The graphics on the tote and bag really caught their eyes. The illustrations in the book are perfect. (I love that they are generic rather than style-specific as I’ll be teaching them to knit, and purl, in both directions. When I was learning to “knit backwards” well into my knitting life I found it awkward at first. A forum commenter posted she learned both directions in school when she first learned to knit. That seems like a plan for a righty to teach two lefties. Hopefully they’ll be comfortable in both directions before too long.) I think I’ll be adding a line drawing, though, for knitting into the back loop in kfb.
    The tools are top-notch. I love that the circular needle is an addi square rocket. I find those SO much easier to hold, and the finger grooves (notches) also help separate the stitches as they near the points. (I’m currently knitting Shetland lace with mohair and I’m convinced my square Addis are contributing to my success.)
    Congratulations on the launch and thank you for your perfect timing.

  • This is a great book even for experienced knitters who can rely on it to support them in schooling new knitters. Even years of knitting may fail you when looking for the right way to show an aspirant how it’s done. Thank you for the gift of your guidance.

  • Just a small consideration, everything looks so perfect and pretty but I think it would help beginning knitters to have the yarn wound into balls/cakes. Though, this does get them into a yarn shop to have their yarn wound, which–if that was your intention–was very clever of you.

    • Hi Kirstin! The book definitely has a lesson in winding yarn by hand, so our hope is that the enterprising new knitter will find it easy enough to manage–with the bonus of giving them more time to work with their yarn and gain that skill. Of course, new knitters will beeline for a yarn shop no matter what once they get started knitting, there is no doubt about that!

  • I love the idea of having a copy for myself and one to give away!
    I knit Continental and that’s what I teach when someone asks me to teach them, does this book teach one style or both or does it matter? Thank you!

Come Shop With Us

My Cart0
There are no products in the cart!
Continue shopping