Stitch dictionaries are a brilliant addition to your craft library if you want to create your own patterns, or simply add a twist to an existing one. I already had one that I won in a competition but the stitches weren’t very exciting or inspiring. No one needs boring knitwear!
Well I saw this stitch and technique directory in Waterstones and I was impressed by the range of stitches and techniques included! Not all of the books I’ve looked at have also featured knitting techniques, nor have they included patterns to be knitted in the round, so straight away, I figured this would be a good read.
The book is divided into several sections, covering basic textures, lace, cables, how to follow patterns, decorating edgings, colourwork, Fair Isle, bobbles, and techniques like increasing/decreasing etc. Each stitch is accompanied by clear instructions, as well as a large photo to show you what the stitch is going to look like.
I’ve used the stitches in this book for two different projects. I made a neckwarmer (above) using fishtail lace, and I wrote the pattern for this hat (left) using two of the stitches included in the handbook. One was the moss stitch rib for the brim, and the other was a two-colour stranded dogtooth for the main bulk of the hat. (Cheeky sales pitch: The finished hat is available on Etsy!)
The instructions are really clear and easy to read, and it’s great to have so many techniques combined in one book. Having reading this, you really can start tackling actual patterns, and you can jazz up plain stocking stitch by including one of these stitches as a motif. A minor gripe on my part is that the stitches are always aimed at those using two needles – so they might tell you to work the pattern across multiples of 6 stitches, with an extra 2 at the end. That becomes problematic if you want to convert it to use it in the round! There is a section where four of the stitch patterns have been converted for use in the round, and it does say that you simply omit the edge stitches if you want to use the patterns in the round, but you do also need to translate knits and purls.
You can buy the 2012 edition here, although a new edition is due out in October.
Disclaimer: I bought this book. The Amazon link is an affiliate link.