Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible Review

Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible – Amazon link

I’m not sure I have words to describe this book.  It’s amazing, wonderful, exciting, terrifying – all at the same time.  The terrifying part is trying to puzzle my way through the charts and the complicated stitches.  Which is also the exciting part.

The book itself is good quality, although I’d have preferred a spiral binding.  I’ll be spending a lot of time flipping back and forth and it would be nice if it laid flat.

Now on to the contents.  There are 11 pages just explaining the symbols plus 8 more pages of picture tutorials for certain stitches.  The pictures of the stitch patterns are fairly large and clear.  It’s easy to see details.  Everything is charted – there are no written instructions.  Now I can barely read charts in English.  I’ll have to translate these to written instructions before I can start knitting.

The stitch patterns themselves are gorgeous but very few of them can be called simple.  Most have lace, cables (called crossings) and/or bobbles – frequently all three.  The Japanese do things to their knitting I think would never occur to most English speaking knitters.

For example:  The very first pattern calls for a Five Stitch bobble from 3 rows below.  This is one the stitches with it’s own picture tutorial.  If I understand this correctly (and I’m not sure I do) you pickup stitches plus do yarnovers using a stitch 3 rows below the one you are knitting.  Then you drop a stitch and complete the row.  On the next row, at this set of loops you picked up, you purl,  Then on the next row you slip some stitches, k2tog, pass the slipped stitches over.   So basically you’re involving stitches from 5 or 6 rows to make a bobble.  I don’t know about you, but I’m quite positive this would never have occurred to me to try.  I see why they had to invent their own set of knitting symbols.

Honestly this book is so hard to describe.  I would recommend that everyone buy this book if only to marvel over the beautiful patterns.  This book will keep me entertained for months, if not years.  I see lots of swatches in my future.

Disclaimer:  Book was bought with my own money.  All opinions are mine and mine alone.  I don’t even get any money if you buy through my link above.

Edited to add:  After spending a couple of hours transcribing/translating 2 of the simpler (simple being a relative term) patterns to written instructions and more time just paging through the book, I’ve decided to swatch my way through this book.  I won’t do every pattern, just the ones that interest me (which is still a lot).  I’ll sew them together into a blanket at the end.  I’ll work my way up to cables, bobbles and my personal dreaded stitch – twisted stitches (I don’t mind them on knit stitches but they annoy me on purl stitches.)


Book Review: Hot Knits


I’m starting a new feature for my blog: Book reviews.  This will be a sporadic thing as I don’t buy many books.  Some will be ones I get from the library or, like this one, books I stumble upon at the thrift store and therefore they will not the newest.  If at some point I am lucky enough to be given books to review I will be sure to state that fact and I will always give my honest opinion.

Hot Knits – 30 Cool, Fun Designs to Knit and Wear by Melissa Leapman (Published in 2004)

This is a book of mainly sweater designs.  Sizes run from Extra-Small (36 1/2 inch bust) to Extra-Extra- Large (48 1/2 inch bust), depending on the pattern.  There is a large assortment of patterns, from long coats to pullovers to cardigans and more.  They’re meant to be trendy (now 12 year old trends) so while there are instructions for larger sizes, some patterns may not look so good on not-skinny-not-a-model bodies.  There are cables, lace,  colorwork and simple stitch patterns so something to fit every taste.

I’m not a sweater knitter but I do like some of these patterns. A few might even tempt me into knitting them one day.

Jenny – A long coat in heavy worsted held double.  I’d not use the mohair used in the instructions but it’s a nice simple shape and it even has pockets.

Deborah – A stockinette and garter jacket in bulky weight.

Maria (which seems to have missed out on getting a pattern page) – A tunic in a simple textured pattern in sport weight.  I’d likely change it to stockinette simply because I despise k1, p1 and avoid it whenever possible.  I suppose I could substitute a simple stitch pattern that I like better.

Erin – A colorwork pullover in light worsted.  I rather like this although I’d definitely change the colors.

Marla (and you can even buy this one as a single pattern) – A bit of pretty cabled lace in sport weight.  The neckline is intriguing with the lace design continuing up both sides.

There are tips scattered throughout the book on things like avoiding pooling, carrying the yarn up the sides, adjusting the length of the sweater and more.  There are charts for all the cabled patterns as well as the lace.  I find the instructions to be a bit confusing for a beginner sweater knitter but that seems to be normal for sweater patterns in books.  I’ve had some trouble deciphering the instructions for my Dressing Gown, which is from a book.

There are lots of full color pics, including close ups of the stitches.  Each pattern has a suggested skill level.

Overall, there are good layouts for each pattern and a really lovely table of contents with thumbnails of each sweater.  A large variety of sweater types and shapes as well as yarn sizes and types.  Something for nearly everyone.

The book appears to be out of print but is available used on Amazon.  If you’d like to buy this book or anything else through Amazon I’d appreciate if you could use my associate link: Dystini’s Amazon.  Every little bit helps and eventually I might be able to buy new and current books to review.