Updated: Aug 3
I've been teaching and writing for a while now, and there are things I point knitters towards time and time again. It's time to round them up!
Level up your knitting skills
The Principles of Knitting, June Hemmons Hiatt This book is an absolute encyclopedia, roughly 700 pages of knitting knowledge. Personally, I've referred to this book for edgings, pockets, and new cast-ons and bind-offs.
Finishing School, Deborah Newton Knitting is one skill, but finishing is a whole different sport. Seaming, blocking, adding trim - this is where all of the hard work on your garment comes together. This book gets you there.
Patty Lyons' Finishing Tutorials Patty has three tutorials I refer knitters to regularly, including in my patterns. Mattress Stitch, How to Seam: Set in Sleeve, and Finishing: How to Seam Shoulders in Knitting. You can find those on YouTube.
Improve your fit
The Palmer/Pletsch Complete Guide to Fitting, Pati Palmer and Marta Alto Although this book is written for sewists, all the same skills apply for handknit garments. When you're trying to diagnose a fit issue and figure out where to add or remove fabric, turn to this book for page after page of visuals that will help you improve your garment.
Little Red in the City, Ysolda Teague I especially love this book for adding bust darts, and for finessing waist and other shaping along the vertical axis.
Blog post: How SHOULD a Sweater Fit? Fit is subjective, right? This post will help you determine whether you've encountered a fit issue in the sweater you just finished - and help you better predict the outcome of your efforts in later projects.
Choosing a pattern
Blog post series: Evaluating Patterns: How it Looks on the Model, Schematics & Other Designer-Provided Info, and Other Knitters' Projects Knitting is most satisfying when we know we're going to love what we make. This series is intended to give you tools to choose and execute patterns wisely.
Blog posts: Your Raglan Sweater Needs Front Neck Shaping, and Add Neck Shaping to Your Raglan with Short Rows Sick of sweaters that rise up and choke you? Me too. For an explanation of why that's happening and how to fix it, check out these two posts.
Blog post: Evaluating Raglan Patterns What am I looking at when I choose a raglan pattern to cast on or recommend to a friend? This post lays it all out.
Design your own
Amy Herzog's Ultimate Sweater Book This book walks you through drafting your own sweater in each of the major constructions. I like this book for the clear explanation of how to draft a set-in sleeve, for the notes on distributing the increases in a circular yoke sweater, and for the discussion on making a raglan fit you better by adding extra length in the back yoke. As a bonus, there are patterns! I use them mostly as benchmarks.
Knitwear Design Workshop, Shirley Paden This book is a wealth of information about design, and is especially valuable for the robust discussion around all different types of necklines.
Blog post: Raglan Shaping Formulas This post covers basic raglan shaping rules, coming up with your desired yoke depth, and information on how to shape the yoke. This is a question I get again and again, so all my favorite answers are inside!
Blog post: Design Your Own Sweater Inspiration, choosing yarn, swatching, writing the pattern, finishing - this post gives you a blueprint for the process of designing your own handknit sweater.