Today I’m reviewing Vogue Knitting Stitchionary Volume One: Knit & Purl in paperback. I recently received a review copy, courtesy of Sixth & Spring Books.
This is a paperback version of the previously published Vogue Knitting Stitchionary Volume One: Knit & Purl. (I assume the content is the same, but since I don’t own the hardcover version, I haven’t verified that assumption.) After a foreword explaining the original motivation for publishing what were to be three volumes of the Stitchionary, the book opens with the How to Use This Book section. This section explains that stitches in each chapter are arranged in order of difficulty and that selvage stitches and rows were added to each swatch to keep them relatively flat with minimal blocking. The yarn used in this book is Lana Grossa Cool Wool 2000, and all the swatches were knit with Lantern Moon size 6 (4 mm) needles.
The stitches are organized into four chapters: Knit & Purl, Lace, Traveling, and Unusual. Like other books in this series, it ends with Abbreviations, a key to the pattern abbreviation terms which includes a US/UK conversion chart for the crochet terminology; Yarn Overs, an illustrated guide to forming different types of yarn overs; and Glossary, which explains pattern essentials like “rep from *, end…” and “stockinette stitch.” The book is beautifully presented with great colors and photography.
What I like about this book
- Each stitch includes a large swatch which is clearly photographed. Each chapter uses one color of yarn for all of the swatches, so there is a uniform appearance which makes comparison between similar stitches easier. The book’s color palette is in the green family and feels very springlike.
- The book is well organized (by stitch type, and then by difficulty level through each chapter), so it would be easy to find a stitch you like later.
- The book is beautiful to look at, and is one of those stitch guides that makes you want to pull out your needles and start experimenting.
- Although the book is paperback, the binding allows it to lay somewhat flat. That combined with generous white space around each pattern allows you to knit and read at the same time. And, just in case, each cover also has a flap that you can use to hold your place.
- You can find errata online at the Sixth & Spring website.
- I’ve brought quite a few stitch guides to my knitting classes, and this is the only one a student has ever asked to borrow. I think that says it all.
What I don’t like (or what’s missing)
- I’ve mentioned in previous reviews that I prefer when a stitch guide includes basic information for a newbie (e.g., illustrations of how to form basic stitches). The book is written with the presumption that you already know how to knit.
- The patterns are written very concisely (perhaps to keep the generous white space around each picture). It can sometimes be unclear what is happening at the end of a row as a result. For example, a pattern might say: K5, *p3, k3; rep from *, end k1. I would prefer a more detailed description (such as K5, *p3, k3.* Repeat from * to * to last 4 sts, p3, k1). I have been bringing the book to my knitting classes and this has been a point of confusion for some students, too.
- There are no stitch charts used in this book. This isn’t a concern for me, but I know that some knitters prefer charted patterns to written patterns.
This book is a great addition to the library of any knitter who has already mastered the mechanics of forming the knit and purl and has familiarity with written patterns. A more experienced knitter might think the book is geared towards beginners, but there is actually a range of stitch types which include slip stitches, increasing, and decreasing to create interesting textures and designs, though the patterns are limited to one color. If you love symbol charts, you will wish they were included. If you are a relative newbie, you may want to hold off on buying this until you feel more comfortable with pattern reading (or be prepared to jump onto Ravelry with questions). I would give this book 4 out of 5 stars.