by Anna-Karin Lundberg
This colorful collection of 20 garment designs was inspired by the painted walls in medieval churches in Sweden. These sweaters–for women, men, and children–use colors in the Scandinavian style–no emphasis on value squencing or gradients, just blocks of color with additional interest being introduced at yokes, hems, and bands. The author shows the original frescoes that inspired the motifs and colors for each garment.
The garment shapes are generally quite simple, showcasing the patterning, although some of the women’s sweaters include waist shaping. Medieval-Inspired Knits is a beautiful book. The designs are charted in color and the garments are beautifully photographed, showing well the special details the designer uses. All garments are knit in the round, using steeks. You can see photos of many more projects on Anna-Karin’s Gallery Pages.
10% off if you pre-order this book before 2/15. I will be able to mail it on February 20th.
Hardcover; 128 pages.
by James Norbury
This reprinted classic (originally printed in 1962) has a comprehensive subheading: “from Scandinavia, the British Isles, France, Italy, and other European Countries.” Norbury collected Many of the 252 patterns are for lace, texture, or cables, but of more interest to us are the motifs for stranded knitting, many of which I had never seen before. The book reminds me of the early Barbara Walker stitch collections.
The lace and texture patterns are written out, while the motifs are charted. Each pattern is illustrated with a knitted swatch.
Paperback; 240 pages; b&w.
“A collection of woolly tales and memories” is the subtitle of this charming book, the result of a competition held during Shetland Wool Week 2011. Shetlanders share their stories of working with wool, of generations past who left their mark while knitting for a living, of modern felters, of children in love with their pet sheep. Each essay is accompanied by a photo, many of them vintage looks into a way of life that has changed–but is still honored. An excellent addition to your library if you are interested in knitting heritage.
Paperback; 98 pages.
Tone Takle and Lise Kolstad
This book is filled with wonderful, colorful, folkloric stranded garments in the Scandinavian tradition. But even more importantly, more than half of the 144 pages cover the process of creating motifs and using them in garments. A very useful book for the knitter who wants to develop unique designs! (The patterns themselves use a smooth-spun Scandinavian yarn but can be adapted to Shetland yarn.)
9/20/12 This book has gone out of print! Get it while you can. I’m offering a 30% discount on this title until all my copies are gone….
Paperback; 144 pages.
Sticka efter Svenska Mönster
by Karin Kahnlund
The designer was inspired by the peasant patterns collected by Jakob Kulle in 1893. Sixteen patterns: 4 sweaters for women; 1 man’s sweater; 2 children’s sweaters; 1 baby sweater and hat; 1 baby blanket; 3 mittens; 2 cushions; 3 adult hats.
In Swedish and English. Most designs are stranded; color charts.
104 pages; hardcover
by Annemor Sundbø
This utterly charming book document’s the author’s discoveries as she excavated the enormous pile of woolen goods stored at the shoddy mill she purchased in rural Norway. Filled with historical photos, pictures of garments in all stages of decay, and interesting historical tidbits about the role of knitting in Norway, the meaning of patterns, and the evolution of garment styles, this is a book that would be of interest to anyone who enjoys traditional knitting.
No patterns, although a few graphs are included.
188 pages; paperback
Edited by Margaretha Findseth
This collection of 22 garments from “Norway’s foremost knitting designers” is so sumptuously photographed that you can get lost in the fantasy. But that would be a mistake! Nineteen of the sweaters (all for women with the exception of a child’s sweater) use color patterning to great effect. The designers talk about their inspiration for the design, which is very useful to those who want to design their own sweaters. The book was originally published in 2002, but the garments—generally based on traditional Scandinavian designs—are constructed in such a forward-looking manner that they are not at all dated.
The patterns call for smooth-spun Scandinavian yarns, but many of them can be converted easily to Shetland jumperweight yarns.
Highly recommended for adventurous knitters looking for color and construction inspiration!
2013 This book is now out of print, and the publisher has no plans to bring it back into print. If you want it, don’t wait!
by Sheila Joynes
In this slim Leisure Arts book Sheila has arranged six Fair Isle patterns in increasing difficulty. The first project, a cowl, is a perfect first project, introducing corrugated ribbing and a simple stranded pattern in worsted weight with lots of plain rounds to keep up momentum. Lots of good photographs of techniques! Then it’s on to hats: the Columbia River Ear Flap hat avoids colorwork in the crown shaping; the Autumn Beanie* ups the colorwork quotient but is still fairly simple; the next project, Little Sophia’s Hat,* ups the skill level by introducing colorwork while decreasing. Ginger’s Slouch Hat pulls it all together with more complex colorwork and finer gauge (yay, jumperweight!). Finally, the lovely Cranberry Rose Hat, seen on the cover.*
Excellent skill-building lineup of projects for those who hunger to do colorwork but fear that they can’t! And at an excellent price.
* These patterns are knit at 28 stitches per 4 inches; although Sheila calls for a heavier yarn, I regularly and happily knit Spindrift at this gauge.
Paperback; 40 pages.
by Lela Nargi
This big book takes the reader on a dizzying trip through the historical and modern knitting traditions of every part of the world! The text is enlivened by copious photos, both old an new, interviews with modern knitters, patterns for small items (some taken from old flyers), and sidebars about sources of yarn and fiber. Naturally, stranded knitting traditions are well represented!
This picture is of a Sanquhar pattern gamp; of course, it caught my eye immediately!
Hardback; 264 pages; about 800 pounds (just kidding!); $34.00
by Joyce Williams
A wonderful book on many levels! First, it is filled with Joyce’s original sweaters for women, men, and children, most of them stranded. Second, Joyce was madly inventive technically—reading through her techniques section and imagi-knitting the patterns is an education in itself. Third, the back half of the book is filled with charts she developed from Latvian weaving books. You could spend the rest of your life working from these!
This is a picture of Don’s Vest, knitted in two colors of Shetland yarn.
Hardback; 165 pages; $34.00
by Meg Swansen & Amy Detjen
In 65 pages Meg Swansen and Amy Detjen have managed to cover just about everything you need to know to knit a stranded garment successfully. They cover topics from casting on and reading charts, to decreasing/increasing in pattern, to centering patterns, to shaping necklines, to Armenian knitting, to jogless jog, to steeking, to spacing buttonholes. It just doesn’t stop!
For years my go-to books on techniques have been Sweaters from Camp and Meg Swansen’s Knitting, both long out of print. This book covers everything in these two plus lots more.
I think this book is a must-have for every knitter’s library: there’s something here for the beginner and for the expert.
Paperback; 65 pages
By Annemor Sundbo
The patterns for these 25 charming mittens and gloves were retrieved from the pile of rags Annemor Sundbo unearthed in her Norwegian shoddy mill. We are all lucky that she purchased that mill and has written several books about what she found in the literal tons of junked garments! Some of the handcoverings in the book use familiar motifs, but she found many that have not been published before.
All mittens and gloves are knitted at 28 stitches / 4 inches, which make these patterns perfect for Jamieson Spindrift yarn.
Hardback; 150 pages.
By Arne & Carlos
This book is filled with festive patterns for decorative knitted balls inspired by Scandinavian Christmas traditions that can be knit quickly. Add names or dates to make them even more personal.
You can make four or five balls, depending on the chosen motifs, with two balls of Jamieson Spindrift (I used 500 Scarlet and 104 Natural White to make the not-yet-stuffed pig ornament in the cover photograph).
Hardback; 144 pgs.
This paperback book, written in Japanese, is filled with lovely photographs of some 37 Fair Isle patterns: 6 pullovers, 4 cardigans, 6 vests, 6 hats, 4 neckwarmers and capes, 8 handcoverings, and 2 legwarmers. The designs incorporate traditional Fair Isle banded motifs in a variety of colorways. Although many of the garments are classic shapes, there are some modern takes as well; for example, if you click on the photo you can see a buttoned cape and a charming tunic with short sleeves. For photographs of all the projects, go to Ravelry’s page for this book.
Every garment is charted out in color; the called-for yarn is a different brand, but these classic Fair Isle motifs could be re-colored easily using the 210 Jamieson Spindrift shades. Japanese pattern books use a clever schematic and symbols to indicate how to construct the garment, so even if you don’t know Japanese you can tease out the details. A quick Google search will lead you to sites that explain how the patterns work.
In addition to the patterns, there are many pages of well-illustrated step-by-step techniques.
Paperback; 112 pages
by Mary Jane Mucklestone
This colorful book is so much more than its title would seem to indicate! Certainly, 200 motifs are charted out, but other chart collections are available. What 200 Fair Isle Motifs offers that sets it apart is that each motif is photographed as a knitted swatch and then shown as a black-and-white chart AND as the same chart in two different colorways AS WELL AS shown when tiled, that is, expanded to make an allover pattern. Figuring out how to fill in a chart trips up new designers, and the ability to envision a chart tiled takes some practice.
The front section of the book is filled with invaluable information about gauge, swatching, how to hold the yarn, steeking, color theory, design and more. These topics are covered briefly but well.
Paperback; 208 pages
by Rachael Herron
I don’t normally stock books that don’t pertain specifically to stranded knitting, but I’m making an exception for this heartwarming book of essays by my friend Rachael. Rachael is absolutely honest about her life as she talks about family (including animals!), love, loss, and work—spinning true tales into the thread of her life as a knitter and spinner.
Plus: A pattern for an Easy Cabled Hot-Water Bottle Cozy!
144 pages; paperback
by Alice Starmore
This compendium of charts should be on every stranded-knitter’s bookshelf! No excuses, at this price. A fabulous reference newly republished after a long absence. This edition is “new and expanded,” but I don’t have the earlier edition so I can’t tell you what’s new. All I can say is filled with traditional and modern knitting motifs from around the world along with useful discussions about designing your own sweater. Starmore also includes an interesting section on using color.
158 pages; paperback
by Mary Macgregor
The subtitle of this book, published by The Shetland Times Ltd., is “Reproducing the known work of Robert Williamson.” Williamson’s biography shows that he was interested in many aspects of life in Shetland; one of his many interests was collecting knitting patterns. The volume is filled with reproductions of his stencil printed patterns from the 1930s, with some 11 pages of tartan patterns from the 1950s. Some of these motifs are familiar to readers, but many are not included in the more popular collections of patterns.
90 pages; spiral-bound paperback
This charming book of stranded knitting patterns had me from the cover image! Hats, gloves, flip-top gloves, and mitten patterns–more than 30 of them–sporting 2-color woodland-inspired motifs.
The author knits the mittens and gloves from fingertip downward, giving compelling arguments for this method (I found that I needed additional help with the Turkish cast-on, easily found on the web). The projects are knit in a number of different fingering weight yarns; Spindrift fits the bill perfectly for the hat patterns (the handcoverings are knit at 10.5 stitches per inch, which is do-able in Spindrift but not for the loose knitters out there!).
Paperback; 160 pages.
The world of Fair Isle knitters rejoiced when this comprehensive look at Fair Isle knitting written by a master of the form was reprinted recently. Excellent history and discussion of techniques and construction; Starmore’s chapter on creating your own designs is fantastic, including a step-by-step look at planning a gansey. Plus 17 pages of charts! The book includes 18 patterns for pullovers, cardigans, vests, gloves, and hats designed for men, women, and children. (The patterns do not call for a specific line of yarn.)
Paperback; 199 pages.
This is my favorite book about color in Fair Isle knitting! Feitelson’s background as an artist clearly helped her understand and organize the material showing how Fair Isle color use creates the effect of luminosity. Her introductory material on the history of Fair Isle knitting is well written, and the comprehensive techniques section is very well illustrated. The book includes 20 patterns for pullovers, cardigans, vests, gloves and hats designed for men, women, and children. (Note: These patterns were not written for Jamieson Spindrift but they can be re-colored.)
Paperback; 183 pages.
Charts, charts, and more charts from traditional Fair Isle knitted goods. Although the author includes a comprehensive history of Fair Isle knitting and some discussion about traditonal construction techniques, it’s the chart collection that makes this book an essential volume.
Paperback; 143 pages.
In addition to covering traditional Scandinavian techniques and garment construction, the author has charted out hundreds of motifs. At this price, there’s no excuse not to include this book in your library.
Paperback; 170 pages.
This is an excellent compendium of geometric patterns from the Komi people of Russia. As you can guess from the title, the book focusses on mittens: 35 mitten patterns are included, along with a few hat patterns. Not all of the mittens call for Shetland jumperweight yarn, but they are all knit at an appropriate gauge for Spindrift. But the motifs themselves are worth the price of the book–they are very easy to knit and lend themselves to allover and banded designs. (The previous edition was entitled Knitting Marvelous Mittens).
Terri Shea examined and charted some 31 original Selbu mittens and gloves from public and private collections. All the patterns can be knit with Shetland jumperweight yarn at 7-9 stitches per inch. You can recreate the handcoverings or you can appropriate the patterns for all types of garments.
Paperback; 127 pages.
Traditional Latvian mittens can sport five or more motifs! Lizbeth Upitis covers the fascinating role that these mittens played in Latvian culture as well as some interesting techniques. The construction of five different mittens is spelled out in detail. But it is the 35 pages filled with charted motifs that are most exciting!
Paperback; 90 pages.
Oh my! Page after page of small patterns collected from mittens in the Estonian National Museum, with historical notes in Estonian and English. No step-by-step instructions are included–you can use any basic mitten pattern or let your mind run wild with ideas for using the motifs in other garments.
Hardback; 240 pages.
Hundreds of Celtic designs–geometric knots and sinuous curves–charted! Inspiration for a lifetime of adventurous knitting. Warning: the charts are small. And yes, the $4.95 price is correct.
Paperback; 65 pages.
This charming autobiography and pattern collection includes many patterns that are perfect for Shetland jumperweight yarn:
- The iconic Fair Isle Yoke Sweater (with Henley-neck variation). Note: I would suggest using the updated yoke decrease rates. Contact me for information.
- The Pi Are Square Shawl, which makes an easy-to-wear wrap that can be adapted to use any garter-based lace pattern.
- The darling Baby Bog Sweater
- The Moebius Scarf
- The 3-in-1 Sweater, which was written for a worsted-weight yarn but can easily be adpated to a finer weight–this one is next on my “to-knit” list.
A hardbound edition of the classic, with larger print than the paperback version. But that’s hardly the draw! There’s added material: color photographs introduce each chapter, the index has been expanded, the February Lady Sweater pattern by Pamela Wynne is included, and the front material–what can I say? Very touching preface by Meg Swansen, introduction by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, letter from Barbara Walker, and watercolor by Andrew Wyeth (who knew a Maltese Fisherman Hat could look so very fascinating?).
Hardcover, about 170 pages
This little gem of a book is divided into 12 chapters chock full of knitting tips and observations. Each chapter also includes several knitting patterns, written in general terms and then as specific patterns for those who feel a little unsure of themselves. Of particular interest to Fair Isle knitters is the Chainmail Sweater that incorporates travelling stitches–although written for a sport-weight yarn, this pattern can easily be knit in Shetland jumperweight yarn.
Many of EZ/s classic patterns that use Shetland yarn are found in Knitter’s Almanac:
- the infinitely adaptable Pi Shawl
- the nameless square shawl/baby blanket with a simple lace pattern
- the “Baby Sweater on Two Needles, Practically Seamless” (known popularly as the February Baby Sweater)
- baby leggings
- the “Open-collared Shirt from the Neck Down”
Knitter’s Almanac is not a festival of flashy photography, but I guarantee that you will find yourself reading and re-reading the chapters while mentally knitting along with EZ, chuckling at her idiosyncratic instructions (“Keep calm” is how she opens the discussion on raglan sleeve shaping).
Paperback; 150 pages.
Six of the 25 beautiful patterns in this book call for Shetland jumperweight yarn: the Irish Diamond Shawl (shown in the photo), with an interesting construction; the Fir Cone Square Shawl, a classic square Shetland shawl shape; the North Sea Shawl, a pretty rectangular stole; the Box-Lace Shawl and the Basic Black Shawls, both large square shawls with simple lace patterning; and the Sample Shawl, which incorporates five different lace patterns.
Paperback; 143 pages.
by Joen Wolfrom
This is a companion volume to Joen’s 3-in-1 Color Tool. The book expands upon the 24-color wheel–Joen discusses the complements, split-complement, analogous, and triadic relationships for each color family, with lots of photographs and illustrations. An excellent volume for your library if you are interested in how colors interact.
Paperback; 144 pages.
by Joen Wolfrom
This book, written for quilters, shows how many different people use a source of inspiration to guide their color choices. Joen offers insightful comments about how the colors are used, what works and what doesn’t. This is the way I choose colors for my stranded colorwork; if you are intrigued by this method, you will find this book very useful. Joen is the author of Color Play and the 3-in-1 Color Tool.
Paperback; 96 pages.
by Jean Wells
This playful book, written for art quilters, has lots of value for knitters as well. The author uses photographs to develop her pieces; she covers issues of proportion, abstracting a design from a photograph, and color intensity, personality, and temperature. Although roughly half the book focuses on quilting issues, I think it would make a good addition to the library of any color-obsessed knitter who already has the basics.
Paperback; 96 pages.
This is a comprehensive and accessible guide to color relationships. Deb Menz, a master a color in fiber, looks at such elements as value keys, color harmonies, saturation, proportion–nothing is left out! Menz shows how this information translates into different media by offering samples of spinning, knitting, weaving, embroidery, beading, quilting, paper collage, and surface design that demonstrate the principle being discussed. To top it off, there are pull-out color tools (including a color wheel) in the back of the book!
Spiral bound in hard cover; 116 pages text; 32 pages color tools
Special sale price: 20% off!
Nineteen patterns inpsired by the knitting traditions of Scandinavia, Iceland, and the Shetland isles. Two Fair Isle designs are included: the Fair Isle Pullover, a simple sweater that is constructed without steeks, and the simple Nell Shetland Cap, which would make a good introduction to stranded knitting. The Hester Chevron Lace Pullover uses 8 colors of Shetland jumperweight. (Note: none of these patterns specifically call for Spindrift.)