Studio Book Picks National Reading Month

March is National Reading Month (which I think is a great thing to celebrate, by the way). There are lots of bestseller lists for books in general, but I thought I’d share the crafting/how-to books I find most helpful as a designer.

When I first started crocheting, and then knitting, I used to go to the library and check out as many books as I could carry home. Honestly, I think I’ve been through the Burbank library’s entire knitting and crocheting collection. I was interested in the history, different techniques, different designers, patterns…you name it. But once I started buying books and building my own little library at home, I quickly realized certain books were more helpful than others, and really, if a book was just a collection of patterns, I probably wouldn’t use it more than once.

This is a list of the books I refer to all the time when working on a project, and especially when I’m designing. I refer to them all the time, and they are well worth the space they take up in my living room.

  1. I don’t know if these should even be on my list since they’re a given, but Barbara Walker’s stitch pattern volumes are definitely the books I use the most. I have the entire collection, and when I’m stuck, they’re the first place I look to choose a stitch pattern or consider how to combine textures.
  2. Knitwear Design Workshop by Shirley Paden. Maybe some designers have it in their heads how to work V-necklines or different sleeve openings, etc., but I don’t. Whenever I am designing a garment, I refer to this book to refresh myself on construction.
  3. Finishing School by Deborah Newton. Finishing is just a pain, and alot of us really hate doing it, but if you take the time to finish your project like a pro, it looks like a pro made it. This book is extremely detailed and thorough, and has helped immensely in getting me through those last details at the end of a project.
  4. A Treasury of Crochet Patterns by Liz Blackwell. Not in print, so you have to look for a used copy, but it’s like the Barbara Walker for crocheters.
  5. The Knitting/Crochet Answer Books. These are the reference books I use when I forget what a certain symbol means or have to look up terms I’m not familiar with. Or for instance, with crochet, if you forget how many to chain up for triple crochet, you can look it up and make sure you’re doing it right.

None of these are books I would sit down and read from cover to cover, but they are always sitting on my shelf waiting to provide answers to all those little questions I run into as I’m working on something. I hope you find this list helpful, but if you think I’ve left something out or you have recommendations, leave me a comment!

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