Japananese Knitting Stitch Bible - Book Review

Exquisite they are. 260 Exquisite Patterns by Hitomi Shida; Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible is full of intricate, elegant stitch patterns that you didn't realize were missing from your knitting. Whether you are a knit designer or knit for yourself, this book has earned its spot in any knitters library.  I am happy to have chosen for my first "book report" in 15 years.

There are indeed 260 unique patterns, each as beautiful as the last.  Hitomi has organized stitch patterns in several categories; Lacy Patterns (with bobbles, scallops, and smocking), Overall Patterns, Crossing Stitch Patterns, Pattern Panels, Pattern Arrangements, Round Yokes and edgings.  Who knew there could be as many categories, but having seen them all grouped together each feels necessary. Sprinkled throughout are a few simple garments made special by Japanese stitch work.

I would definitely classify these stitch patterns as mindful and not mindless knitting. Do not crack this book for an evening of Netflix and knit. Put on a podcast or your latest audio book and focus on each stitch. You'll be twisting stitches, working cables and lace knitting all in each pattern. These are heavily detailed with up to 50 row repeat patterns with no reprieve on the wrong side rows. I quick worked up a sample of a Lacy Pattern, #58, this morning to test my abilities. There are a lot of new symbols for us American knitters and some even change pattern to pattern. I suggest taking the time to copy out which ever pattern you decide to work from and create a stitch key you can work side by side with. Like I always teach my students, do not depend on standardization in knitting, always refer to a patterns stitches and abbreviations list for each pattern or designer.

The Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible will keep experienced knitters on their toes and give intermediate knitters a chance to learn something new.  Stitch descriptions are clear and simple to follow. My hope is to see more timid knitters gain the confidence to add different design elements to their favorite patterns making one of a kind garments and accessories. Even if you never knit a stitch from it each page will you fill you with inspiration.  

Happy Knitting!

Knit Swatch of pattern #58 Knit on U.S. size 7 needles in worsted weight yarn.

Knit Swatch of pattern #58 Knit on U.S. size 7 needles in worsted weight yarn.

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Ellen Coy is the knit designer behind Ellen Rose Knits and can also be found teaching Knitting Classes of all levels at Knitty Gritty Yarns in Syracuse, NY.

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