best knitting books

When you’re still finding your way around a pair of knitting needles, a good knitting book is indispensable. Equally, knitting books can help confident knitters expand their skills, learn a particular stitch or create innovative projects.

11 Best Knitting Books

There are so many knitting books around, it can be difficult to know where to start, particularly as a beginner. We’ve done the leg work for you and found the 11 best knitting books for all levels and covering a range of styles.

And if you like searching the web for some inspiration, we also have a post about our favorite knitting blogs, where fellow knitters share their knowledge and experience.

1. 750 Knitting Stitches: The Ultimate Knit Stitch Bible

As the name suggests, 750 Knitting Stitches is a comprehensive guide to knitting stitches, featuring hundreds of different stitch types.

However, this book is more than just an encyclopedia of stitches. It is a how-to knit primer that tells you everything you need to know to get started with knitting.

This handy volume covers important topics like choosing the right yarn for your knitting project, checking the gauge, and how to read knitting patterns. It also explains how to work basic stitches, increase and decrease, and join pieces together.

And of course, the book tells you how to knit 750 different stitches. These range from basic knit and purl stitches through different kinds of cable knits to complex intarsia designs and rib and edging patterns.

Each stitch is clearly broken down with comprehensive instructions and a color photo of a knitted swatch. You’ll never wonder how to do a stitch or be perplexed by the stitch mentioned on a knitting pattern again!

2. Knitting Without Needles: A Stylish Introduction to Finger and Arm Knitting

If you feel clumsy with a pair of knitting needles in your hand, you’ll be delighted to know you don’t need needles to knit! This innovative book explains how you can knit incredible projects with just your fingers or your arms.

This introductory volume breaks down the basic techniques of the craft, showing you how to loop yarn around your fingers and forearms to create this particular type of knitting. You can then put your skills into practice with thirty different patterns including cowls, totes, rugs, poufs and scarves.

Each project includes detailed instructions and is accompanied by step-by-step photos. These simple projects are also nice and quick, and you’ll be able to produce knitted items in practically no time at all. In fact, many of the projects in the book can be completed in an hour or so!

This is a great book for experienced knitters who are looking to try something new. Equally, this technique can easily be mastered by those who have never tried knitting, so is perfect for beginners.

There are even some cool projects for kids and teens that youngsters will love!

3. Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Knitting Book (Completely Revised & Updated)

Vogue Knitting has long been one of the most recognized publications in the knitting world. The same publication brings us a comprehensive reference book for knitters.

Knitters have relied on the Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Knitting Book for decades, but this volume recently received a thorough facelift. The updated book features 1,600 color images as well as entirely new technique sections and designs.

These new sections reflect the changes that the craft has seen in recent years, and this book covers exciting advances in knitting. It includes contemporary knitting techniques including brioche, entrelac, double knitting, and mosaic knitting, as well as more basic and traditional techniques than ever before.

Along with explaining cast-ons, increases, decreases, and bind-offs, this book covers dozens of design and construction patterns from sweaters, gloves and hats to mittens, socks,  and shawls.

Finally, this comprehensive reference book for knitters discusses useful tips and tricks including how to correct errors, finishing, embellishing, garment care, and knitters’ tools.

4. Stitch and Bitch Handbook: Instructions, Patterns, and Advice for a New Generation of Knitters

These days, knitting is far more than the stereotype of elderly ladies knitting cabled sweaters. There is now a new generation of knitters who thrive on contemporary styles and love to push the envelope with revolutionary techniques and designs.

This exciting book by Debbie Stoller speaks exactly to that new generation of knitters. Stoller is editor-in-chief of Bust magazine and her Stitch ’n Bitch books and calendars are wildly popular.

In this comprehensive volume, you’ll find the knitty-gritty of modern knitting techniques, advice for flawless contemporary knitting and patterns for innovative projects. All of the subjects are accompanied by detailed instructions and step-by-step illustrations.

This book is truly suited to all levels, from absolute beginners to advanced knitters looking to branch out into new techniques. It also covers useful advice from the best yarn to use for a particular project to the history of knitting.

5. Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Knitting Workshop

This book from a popular knitter and master instructor Elizabeth Zimmerman will teach you how to master knitting, from the basics to advanced techniques. Her tutorials featuring her own, innovative knitting techniques were first featured on a popular CBS TV show and are now available in book form.

The volume is structured as a series of lessons which cover a range of topics knitters should know as well as useful tips and tricks for flawless knitting. The lessons start with the basics of how to knit, progress through topics such as knitting with two colors, and cover techniques and styles including garter stitch, lace, Aran sweaters and drop-shoulder sweaters.

You’ll also learn Zimmerman’s own “Elizabeth’s Percentage System” (EPS), a fail-proof system for sweater design. This updated version of the book has expanded directions and editorial notes that go into even more detail than before, new sizing for garments, and detailed technique photos and drawings.

The book has a pattern section with a range of projects for you to practice your skills, including the author’s renowned Baby Surprise Jacket, an Epaulet Sweater, and Heart Hat. All of these are unique designs by Elizabeth Zimmerman.

6. Boye Teaching Yourself Knitting Set

This is not just a book, but a complete set for beginners. The set from legendary American crochet and knitting needle manufacturer Boye Needle Company includes an instructional book, two sets of knitting needles (size six and size eight), a cable stitch needle, tapestry yarn needles, a knit stitch tally, a stitch holder, a knit gauge, and point protectors.

There is also a DVD that accompanies the book’s instructions and pictures, to help even absolute beginners to cast on their very first stitches and knit their first project.

In short, this set has just about everything you need to not only learn to knit (although you will need to order some yarn separately), but to teach yourself a range of knitting styles. The book is also translated into three languages.

Along with instructions and tips on basic knitting techniques, the book includes a number of easy patterns so you can practice your skills by creating your first projects!

7. The Principles of Knitting

The Principles of Knitting has long been an extremely popular volume that has been indispensible to knitters for decades. This new, updated volume has been fully revised and updated.

Like the previous version, the book includes a definitive guide to knitting techniques, covering just about everything all knitters need to know, from beginners to advanced. The information is not only presented thoroughly, but also with a passion and love for the craft.

Each knitting technique is explained clearly, and with supported detailed illustrations as well as advice on how to use them in your projects. Common knitting challenges are addressed with advice on how to solve them.

This extremely comprehensive book is backed up by decades of research, with every technique thoroughly tested. From basic stitches to more advanced techniques, it covers just about every knitting technique you can think of, including circular knitting, knitting with beads, adapting patterns, and more.

8. Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Knitter’s Almanac

Another book from the legendary Elizabeth Zimmerman, this volume provides a years’ worth of projects for the “busy knitter” as Zimmerman herself puts it. Each project is tailored to the appropriate season, moods, or needs of knitters, with particular attention paid to those knitters who like to design their own projects.

Throughout the year you’ll be able to explore different knitting techniques and produce stunning projects, from an Aran sweater in January to a last-minute wishbone sweater in December.

 Each project comes with not only detailed instructions, but also intriguing details about the project’s history, associated ancient and modern customs, and the author’s own beliefs.

The book also has handy ideas for alternative methods: as any knitter knows, it is sometimes necessary to take a different approach for a successful result! This book is suitable for all levels, with the comprehensive instructions accessible to ambitious beginners, with there being enough to keep even the most experienced knitters satisfied.

9. Custom Socks: Knit to Fit your Feet

Anyone who’s tried knitting a pair of socks knows that fitting socks to your own unique fit can be a challenge. This comprehensive guide to custom sock knitting will teach you everything you need to know about making the perfectly-fitted item to keep your feet warm.

The book explains what you should know about sock fit, so that you can knit a pair that are perfect for your own feet! It is appropriate for knitters of all levels, and explains the techniques clearly enough for even beginners.

Author Kate Atherley is the long-standing Managing Technical Editor of the publication Knitty, and breaks down the knowledge gained from years of experience in a simple way. She demystifies the process of knitting socks, a project that has long confused knitters of all levels.

15 completely original sock patterns are also included, specifically designed to be easy to customize to your individual feet.

10. Cast On, Bind Off: 54 Step-by-Step Methods

Casting on and off are often overlooked, but these are both essential parts of any knitting project. It’s no good knowing the most advanced stitches and techniques if you cannot start or finish your rows!

In this book, knitting teacher and fiber artist Leslie Ann Bestor walks you through a range of different techniques for casting on and binding off your knitting projects. She offers techniques for every different type of knitting project, from simple bind-offs to ornate lace ones.

Each technique is comprehensively broken down and accompanied by photos for each step to help you to master the stitch and create the perfect edges. This empowers you to customize your projects and even create your own designs.

You can apply these cast-ons and bind-offs to improve on an existing pattern, customize it to your needs, or simply play around with different effects. This book has a truly comprehensive collection of techniques that are well-organized and easy to follow.

11. Mastering Color Knitting: Simple Instructions for Stranded, Intarsia, and Double Knitting

This book is ideal for knitters who’ve mastered the basics and are looking to take their skills to the next level. It features innovating techniques that play with the magic of color and use every imaginable tone and shade.

Among the advanced color techniques covered is reversible double knitting that lets you create two projects in one. Although the methods mentioned are generally pretty complex, author Melissa Leapman breaks them down with her intuitive methods.

Each technique is clearly explained, with diagrams to help you understand how to properly execute each method. You’ll also be able to practice the skills you learn with the 12 sample projects and over 50 patterns found in the book.

There’s even a Designer Workshop that skills you up with the concepts you need to know to create your own colorful designs, and a crash course on color theory to help you choose the right yarns to complement your projects.

Final thoughts

Whether you’re picking up knitting needles for the first time, an experienced knitter looking for new inspiration, or simply want to buy a gift for a fellow knitter, the value of a good knitting book cannot be underestimated. The awesome books on this list cover a range of topics, from comprehensive references of stitches to advanced techniques and how to create your own designs.

If you’d like to learn a specific knitting technique or develop your skills in general, you’ll find investing in the right book well worth your while.

Go ahead and share this book on social media so others can find the perfect knitting book!

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