As I mentioned recently, I consider Annie Maloney to be one of the best knitters I know of. But that is far from all she has to offer. Annie has written and self-published seven knitting books, of which I currently own five.
Her books have a few things in common. Firstly, most of them are in a sense stitch dictionaries. They contain a collection of knit stitch patterns which Annie has developed. She does her best to ensure that each of her stitch patterns is original. And her patterns are presented both in stitch form and written out. But it is not just the patterns that make her books valuable. Each of the books contains gems of wisdom that Annie has developed in her years of knitting. The ratio of information to stitch patterns varies from book to book, but all the books I’ve seen follow this pattern.
It’s hard to decide what I find most valuable in these books. I’m highly interested in what she has to say, and I love her stitch patterns. Most of them are beautiful and somewhat complex, though there are certainly some elegantly simple ones. I’ve had two of the books for some time and received three others (plus a supplement to one of my original two) much more recently. I will review each of these books over the course of time.
First I’m going to review the book that I have got the most use out of so far: The Knitter’s Guide to Stitch Design. This is a book that covers a variety of types of stitch and gives tips on designing each. Along the way, she gives tips on all kinds of things: swatching, selecting stitches that go together, translating a chart into written directions, and many other things. Scattered throughout the book are little extras such as directions on her favorite bobble-making method, an interesting bind-off, and a whole collection of interesting cords. This book is one that can be read many times – something new strikes me each time I read it.
Plus the book contains a lot of stitch patterns. These are divided into categories as follows:
- Knit & Purl Texture Stitches: 1 – 28
- Lacework Designs: 29 – 69
- Cable / Aran Patterns: 70 – 116
- Fair Isle Stitch Designs: 117 – 150
I have used several of these stitch patterns in my projects.
The Jaunty Stole that some of you admired recently uses pattern number 58: Drooping Leaves. Here’s a detail of the stole:
I loved this pattern the first time I saw it and really enjoyed knitting it.
Another pattern that struck me immediately is the Braids and Beads pattern, number 72. I placed a larger cable together with this stitch pattern in one of my fingerless mitt patterns, the Mixed Rib Fingerless Mitts:
Then there’s cable number 84, which I used in my Framed Cable Fingerless Mitts. Here’s a detail of the stitch pattern.
These are just a few of the stitch patterns in this book that I really like. I will continue to draw on this book’s stitches in the future. And I hope that I will be making more use of the first part of the book in the future and actually designing my own stitches. All in all, this is one of my most treasured knitting books.