Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Pair of New Knitting Books

I added two new knitting books to my bookshelf in December; the first, Stitch 'n Bitch Superstar Knitting, I bought for myself and the second, The Ohio Knitting Mills, came to me as a Christmas gift from my sister. They are both excellent books and it's worth telling you a little bit about them.

I've raved about the Stitch 'n Bitch crochet book in a recent post and I have to say that this new Stitch 'n Bitch book is even better. Unlike the previous Stitch 'n Bitch books, this book covers advanced knitting techniques, giving pointers on everything from fair isle and lace to cables and designing your own sweaters. Everything is covered so well that even more experienced knitters will learn a new trick or two here.

While this book discusses more advanced techniques than the other Stitch 'n Bitch books, the creative and varied selection of patterns are just what I expect from this series. The patterns themselves build upon the techniques discussed in the first part of the book and include socks, sweaters, blankets, gloves, hats, and even a pair of beautiful skirts. I was also happy to see a few previously published patterns in the pages of this book, including Ysolda's Gretel hat, Elli Stubenrauch's Squirrelly Mittens, and Elena Rosenberg's Rococo Shawl (above).

The new Stitch 'n Bitch book is worth buying for the patterns and the useful information on advanced techniques, but it's the chapter on designing your own sweaters that really makes this book a keeper. This chapter cover a variety of sweater constructions and customizations, as well as how to work out the math for these designs. While this information can be found in other books, such as those by Elizabeth Zimmermann and Barbara Walker, this Stitch 'n Bitch book's lighthearted writing style makes sweater construction accessible to the modern knitter.

Now that I've waxed poetic about the first book, let me move on to the second. The Ohio Knitting Mills chronicles the history of the Rich-Sampliner Knitting Mills Co. the Ohio Knitting Mills in Cleveland, Ohio and focuses on its sweater designs from the 1940's through the 1970's, providing modern patterns for these vintage styles. This selection of 26 sweater patterns for men and women is brightly colored and sometimes kitschy, but really captures the style of these four decades.

I love looking at vintage pattern books to see how styles change over time and sometimes come back into fashion. I'm happy to add this book to my knitting collection alongside my other vintage pattern book, A Stitch in Time, which covers the 1920's through the 1940's. I will have to review that book in a future post because it is also a really lovely book. In the meantime, I will be enjoying lots of vintage inspiration!


Steven Tatar said...

Hi Kristin- many thanks for your kind words about my book! I'm glad you like it, and look forward to seeing what you make from it. One little detail to correct: the mill that is chronicled is the Stone Knitting Mill, which started out in 1927 and changed its name to Ohio Knitting Mills in 1947. Rich-Sampliner was the mill where Harry Stone, and his partner, Walker Woodworth worked prior to founding Stone Knitting. Rich Sampliner folded in 1926.

Kristin said...


Thanks for writing such a great book! I always find vintage patterns to be very inspiring, and your sweater selection makes me want to get knitting!

Thanks for pointing out my error in the history--it's important to get the facts right, so I've corrected my original post.

Thanks again for sharing this wonderful story with us!