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Stitch 'n Bitch: The Knitter's Handbook

Stitch 'n Bitch: The Knitter's Handbook

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Stitch 'n Bitch: The Knitter's Handbook

4/5 (241 ratings)
660 pages
4 hours
Nov 1, 2012


It’s the essential guide for chicks with sticks—because knit happens.

From the tools of the trade to the knitty-gritty of techniques and patterns, all with easy-to-follow step-by-step illustrated techniques. Stockinette stitch, rib stitch, seed stitch. Increasing and decreasing. All the bells and whistles: fringes, tassels, cables, intarsia, crab stitch, and Fair Isle. Plus the stitch doctor’s own special bag of tricks and how to hook up with other knitters. After the how-tos come the why-to: forty hop, stylish patterns, as good for beginners as they are for purely pros.

  • Coney Island fireworks scarf
  • Punk rock backpack
  • Crickets technicolor techno-cozies
  • Pippi knee-stockings
  • Big bad baby blanket
  • To-dye-for sweater
  • Princess Snowball cat bed
  • Queen of Hearts bikini
Nov 1, 2012

About the author

Debbie Stoller and Laurie Henzel are the founders and publishers of BUST magazine—Stoller is the editor in chief and Henzel is the creative director. Stoller is also the co-author of the BUST Guide to the New Girl Order and the Stitch ’n Bitch knitting book series. Stoller and Henzel both live in New York City.

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Stitch 'n Bitch - Debbie Stoller

Stitch ’n Bitch


by Debbie Stoller

Illustrations by Adrienne Yan

Fashion photography by John Dolan


Dedicated to Johanna Cornelia Borsje-Gorissen

May 26, 1899 – March 20, 2003


Lots of people helped to make this book come together. At Workman, I thank Jessica Firger for approaching me with the idea in the first place and getting this knitting party started. I am deeply indebted to Ruth Sullivan, whose careful and patient editing greatly improved the copy and helped to make my words make sense. I’m particularly amazed that she—a nonknitter—was able to get through the many rereadings of the technical portions of the text, even though they made her eyes glaze over. Thanks to Janet Vicario for creating the exceptionally cute ’n sassy design, and for holding my hand through the cover shoot, and to Leora Kahn, for putting together a photo shoot that made the projects look so cool. Rebecca Schiff has been a great help, especially in pulling together a resources section when other demands kept me from being able to do so myself. Thank you to Betty Christiansen, a fine knitter and possibly even finer copyeditor. Finally, I’m very grateful to Eve Ng, who served as technical editor on the patterns in this book—if it weren’t for her attention to the knitty-gritty details, some of these scarves might have turned out to be sweaters, and vice versa.

I wish to thank the many designers who contributed their patterns and their time—they deserve such a huge part of the credit for making this book what it is—as well as the helping hands who volunteered to knit some of the projects included here: Molly Steenson (Skully), Anna McElheny (red Pippi Kneestockings), Galit Ben-Baruch (blue Pippi Kneestockings), Marney Anderson (bunny Punk Rock Backpack), Tracie Egan (Ribbed-for-Her-Pleasure Scarf), and my late-night, last-minute knitting crew: Meema Spadola, Jackie Broner, Stephanie Sterner, Barbara Pizio, and Sonya Laska.

Melanie Falick is one of my knitting in pirations and was gracious enough to share her invaluable advice with me on this book, and I’m also thankful that Mark Mann agreed to take a break from his usual celebrity work to take some pictures of me for the cover.

I want to thank Johanna and Bernard Stoller, and especially Michael Uman, for supporting me throughout the emotional process of writing a book and trying to meet seemingly impossible deadlines, and I’m particularly grateful to my awesome business partner, Laurie Henzel, and the rest of the staff of BUST magazine for allowing me the time I needed to get this cat in the bag.

Finally, I want to give a special shout out to everyone who’s attended New York City Stitch ’n Bitch sessions over the past four years; you all have kept knitting fun and alive for me.


Part One: Stitch ’n Bitch

Take Back the Knit

Why Young Women Are Taking Up Knitting Once More

My Crafty Family • I Knit, Therefore I Am • The New Knitting Craze

Plus: A Stitch in Time: A Brief History of Knitting

What a Girl Wants, What a Girl Needs

Tools of the Trade

Everything You Need to Know About Yarn (and Sheep) • Yarn Weights • Tools of the Trade • The Long and Short of Needles • How to Read a Yarn Label • Making a Center-Pull Ball

Plus: Managing Your Stash

The Knitty-Gritty

Learning to Cast On, Bind Off, and Knit

Casting On Using the Double Cast-on Method • Knitting in Both English and Continental Styles • Yarn Holds • Binding Off Your Work • Starting a New Ball • Changing Color • Making Stripes • Weaving In Yarn Ends

Plus: Beginner’s Basic I: Go-Go Garter Stitch Scarf

Purl, Too

Learning to Purl and Make Simple Stitch Patterns

Purling in Both English and Continental Styles • How to Make Stockinette, Rib, and Seed Stitch • How to Tell Whether to Knit or Purl • Making Stitch Designs • Reading Charts • Edge Stitches • Binding Off in Pattern • Using Circular and Double-Pointed Needles

Plus: Beginner’s Basic II: Ribbed-for-Her-Pleasure Scarf

Shaping Up

Learning to Increase and Decrease

How to Increase • The Bar Increase • The Make One Increase • The Yarn Over • Decreasing Stitches • Knit Two Together • Slip, Slip, Knit (ssk) and Slip, Knit, Pass Slipped Stitch Over (skp) • Single and Cable Cast-on • Beginner’s Basic III: Kitschy Kerchief

Plus: The Rules of Engagement: What Not to Knit for Your Boyfriend

Finishing School

Learning to Sew Seams, Pick Up Stitches, and Block Your Work

Joining Knit Pieces Together • Sewing Side Seams Using Mattress Stitch and Backstitch • Connecting the Tops of Knit Pieces • Joining a Top to a Side Edge • Fake Grafting • The Kitchener Stitch • The Three-Needle Bind-off • Learning to Pick Up Stitches • Blocking for Blockheads

Plus: Never Look a Gift Hat in the Mouth: The Fine Art of Knitting for Others

Getting Knitty with It

Fancy Things to Do with Needles and Yarn

Bells and Whistles: Fringes, Tassels, Pom-poms • How to Make Blanket and Duplicate Stitches • Making Cables • Advanced Color Knitting • Intarsia • Fair Isle • How to Make a Crochet Chain • Single Crochet • Crab Stitch • I-Cord

Plus: In the Loop: Crochet Tips

Oops, I Knit It Again

The Stitch Doctor’s Guide to Fixing Mistakes

Picking Up Dropped Knit and Purl Stitches • Changing Purls into Knits and Vice Versa • Fixing Extra Stitches • Unknitting—One Stitch at a Time • Unraveling Rows of Knitting • Tightening Saggy Stitches • Adding Length to an Unintentional Crop Top • Frogging Your Work

Plus: Quick-Fixin’ Tricks

A Loosely Knit Group

A Guide to the Wonderful World of Knitters

Starting Your Own Stitch ’n Bitch • Virtual Knitting Communities • The KnitList • Online Knitting Blogs • Free Knitting Patterns • Computer Programs for Knitters • Real-Life Knitting Organizations • The Best Knitting Books • Magazines for Knitters

Plus: A Field Guide to Knitters

Part Two: Stitch ’n Bitch Patterns

How to Read a Knitting Pattern


Scarves and Hats

Coney Island Fireworks Scarf

Windy City Scarf

Alien Illusion Scarf

Hot Head

Sparkle Hat

Adults-Only Devil Hat and Official Kittyville Hat

Loopy Velez Cowl


Chinese Charm Bag

Zeeby’s Bag

Meema’s Felted Marsupial Tote

Punk Rock Backpack

Cricket’s Technicolor Techno-Cozy

Fluffy Cuff Mittens

Pippi Kneestockings

Powerful Wrist Protection

Baby Stuff

Big Bad Baby Blanket

Umbilical Cord Hat



Under the Hoodie

The Go-Everywhere, Go-with-Everything Cardigan

To Dye For

Cape Mod

Big Sack Sweater

Pinup Queen

The Manly Sweater

Cowl and Howl Set

Peppermint Twist

Summer stuff

Tank Girl

Little Black Top

Queen of Hearts and Wonder Woman Bikinis


Princess Snowball Cat Bed

Sewing Projects

DIY Tote Bag and Iron-on Patch

Roll-Your-Own Needle Case

Circular Knitting Needle Holder

Resources and Yarn Stores


Stitch ’n Bitch

part one

Take Back the Knit


My Crafty Family

My grandmother sits, straight-backed, in the living-room chair, her feet planted firmly on the floor in front of her. As always, her hands are in motion—constantly in motion—as her knitting needles go back and forth, yarn feeding through her hands from a ball that unwinds slowly at her side. My grandmother’s hands are old and so smooth they seem to have had the fingerprints worn off them. Her sister, my great-aunt Jo, sits beside her, tatting lace onto the edge of a handkerchief. My mother and Aunt Hetty work on their own embroidery projects, and, along with the other aunts and uncles who are visiting, all of the adults are engaged in a lively conversation, punctuated by rounds of hearty laughter. Too young to join in the grown-ups’ discussion, I sit on a small stool, quietly eating cake. After all, this is a birthday party.

My mother met my dad and moved to America when she was twenty-four, but for most of my childhood we spent our summers back in Holland with her relatives. Between my grandmother and her eight sisters, and my mom and her two sisters, there were always aunts and great-aunts around. Women filled every room. And whenever the relatives were gathered together, the women’s hands were always working. With very few exceptions, and with barely any attention paid to what was going on below their elbows, the women would be busy knitting or sewing, darning or tatting. It didn’t so much matter what they were making—after all, what purpose is served by hand-tatted lace sewn on the edge of a handkerchief?—as long as their hands remained in motion, for, as my grandmother used to say, Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.

But there was something else behind all this activity as well. The handwork of my grandmother and great-aunts seemed to provide comfort and serenity. Seated at these family gatherings, their purposeful motions gave them a focused air of self-containment, an earthy solidity. They were, after all, women who had learned their crafts as children, and who had practiced these skills throughout their lives—before and after the birth of children, the loss of husbands, and through two world wars. Their knitting was as regular and rhythmic as their breathing, as familiar as the feel of their own skin, and just as much a part of them.

My grandmother and her sisters were too humble to consider their work expressions of their creativity. They were craftspeople, plain and simple, who were capable of taking on the most complex of knitting projects but who, for the most part, were content to keep themselves working on functional items whose patterns they knew by heart. From the time she first learned to knit, at age six, my grandmother was responsible for knitting socks to cover each of the thirty feet in her family. In the evenings, the boys were free to do anything they liked, she once told me, with a lingering tinge of resentment, but all the girls had to sit and knit. Later on in her life she made more extravagant items, including a fanciful knit suit in a beautiful, dusty-rose-colored nubby yarn, which my aunt still talks about to this day. But my grandmother always returned to her sock knitting. Even in her nineties, when her eyesight began to fail, she could still turn out perfect pairs of socks—the memory of their creation so well worn into her hands that she could knit them practically by feel alone. My grandmother’s hand-knit socks are still the only thing my father ever wears on his feet.

My grandmother, age twenty-one, poses with her parents, eight sisters, and four brothers, 1920. A knitter since the age of six, she was responsible for knitting socks to cover the thirty feet in her family.

My first, unsuccessful, knitting attempts.

My grandmother shows me (age twenty) the ropes once more.

In my grandmother’s time, knitting was not just a way to keep one’s hands busy—it was also a way to save money. When my mother was small, it was standard practice to buy yarn and knit a sweater for a child, then, a year or so later, unravel and reknit it, with a bit more yarn, when the child had outgrown the original. Then there was the time, during the Second World War, that my grandmother had to unravel an old cotton bedspread—which her own mother had knit—to make underwear for her children. My mother still remembers sitting on uncomfortably hard wooden school benches, the bumpy side of the knit underwear leaving marks on her behind.

In America my mother carried on the frugal family tradition and made almost all of the clothes my brother and I wore. Those girls are handy with a needle and thread, my grandmother would often say, proudly, about her daughters. The sight of my mother’s heavy gray sewing machine set up at the end of the dining table was so familiar to me that it almost seemed like another sibling, and when she wasn’t sewing, she was knitting, or embroidering. Walking through a department store, my mother would often finger the material on an item of clothing, then check the price tag and sniff, I could make that myself. A few weeks later, I’d be presented with a hand-knit sweater or dress that was virtually indistinguishable from the store-bought variety.

Spending summers at Aunt Hetty’s house in Holland as a child, I was in awe of the beautiful tapestries she had made using a combination of appliqué and embroidery, and, of course, she also sewed and knit. And then there was her homemade jewelry—long strands of pink and purple glass beads that hung around her neck and dangled from her ears. On rainy days, when Aunt Hetty would set me up at her kitchen table with scraps of yarn, colorful beads, and embroidery floss left over from her projects, I’d feel like Hansel and Gretel arriving at a house made of candy. Only in my fairy tale, there was no witch and nothing to fear.

I Knit, Therefore I Am

My earliest attempts at knitting were a disaster. At the age of five, I remember fumbling with a pair of aluminum needles and the squeaky pink acrylic yarn my mother had given me to practice with. My sweaty, dirty child hands made the needles sticky and slowly turned the yarn from light pink to gray. No matter how hard I tried to get the loops to appear in nice, orderly rows the way my mother had shown me, I couldn’t do it. My yarn would get tangled up, my stitches would fall off the needles, and I’d give up in frustration. That’s when my mother would take the work from me—These needles are so sticky—gently put the fallen stitches back on the needles, straighten up the few stray loops I had managed to make, and hand the mini torture device back to me. But I never got any better at it, and the needles and yarn would be put away until the next time.

I wasn’t a clumsy child—I had learned to do cross-stitch, and I could even sew dresses for my Barbie dolls on a mini sewing machine—but I just never seemed to be able to get the hang of knitting.

But unlike my grandmother, I didn’t need to know how to knit. And soon the world began telling me that I’d be better off not knowing how. I was only ten years old when I first became aware of women’s libbers, but as Helen Reddy’s I Am Woman blared from my transistor radio, I became completely swept up in the ideas of the women’s movement. Taking their cue from Betty Friedan’s influential book The Feminine Mystique, feminists were claiming that anyone who spent her days cooking and cleaning and her nights knitting and sewing, all in an effort to please her husband and her children, was frittering her life away. Women were made for greater things, they argued, so why, in a world of dishwashers and ready-to-wear, hadn’t their time been freed up to pursue loftier goals?

I quickly became convinced that being a housewife was a dead end. After all, wouldn’t my mother, with her careful attention to detail and great storytelling ability, have made a wonderful writer? Wouldn’t Aunt Hetty, with her exceptional visual sense, have made a great decorator or graphic designer? I saw the limitations of their lives as a great tragedy, one that would never befall women in the future, least of all me. So my needlework and crafts went the way of my pink frilly dresses.

Yet, every time I’d return to Holland, my fingers would get itchy to do something crafty, and I’d pick up a cross-stitch project to work on in secret. When I lived in Holland for a year in my twenties, I had a particularly talented roommate who inspired me to give knitting another try. With a strange mix of excitement and trepidation, I asked my grandmother to reintroduce me to the ways of wool.

Under her skilled and patient guidance, I succeeded at making loops of yarn the way they were intended to be made, although my knitting progressed slowly—very slowly. By the time I finished the project I had started that winter—a Yohji Yamamoto–inspired boxy black number with punky holes purposefully sprinkled all across it—the damn thing was no longer in fashion. Besides, it looked terrible on me. I didn’t wear it even once.

Knitting just took too long. It required patience and an almost painful attention to detail. I tried another sweater a few years later and didn’t get past the first sleeve. That unfinished sweater and the remaining balls of wool stayed in my closet for years, mocking me and reminding me of my failure. I’d take the piece out and bring it with me when I’d go on long vacations—to the beach, to the country—hoping that, with some time and a change of scenery, I might have the patience to get it finished. But each time, I would only manage to knit another few rows before giving up.

Finally, in 1999, I was scheduled to go on a cross-country book tour. Since flying is not one of my favorite things, I had arranged to do a good part of my travel by train—including a three-day trip from New York to Portland, Oregon. Afraid that I’d be bored out of my gourd with that much time on my hands, I packed my bags full of things to keep me occupied: books on tape, a laptop loaded with computer games, cards, books, and, yes, that long-suffering half-made sweater.

On the second day of my trip, I took the sweater out of my bag. As I stared at the needles and yarn, I tried desperately to remember how to cast on that first row of stitches. With a bit of fumbling and a few glances at the knitting primer I had brought for backup, it started coming back to me. Then slowly, like some sort of sense memory, my hands began casting on stitches with a deftness and agility I didn’t even know they had. I took the needles in my hands and instinctively tucked the right needle under my right arm. I wrapped the yarn around my hand and started making tentative knit stitches. After a little while, the yarn was flowing from my finger comfortably, and I found myself making perfect little rows of stitches in time with the rhythm of the swaying train carriage. I looked through the window at the passing pastures outside and felt a sense of exhilaration. It had finally clicked! My hands and my body and my brain and my eyes had finally gotten into sync, and knitting felt comfortable, pleasurable—relaxing, even. I couldn’t stop knitting. And each time I’d come to a difficult point in my work—when I’d have to increase or decrease stitches, for instance—I’d just walk up and down the length of the train until I saw another woman knitting in her cabin, and ask her to help me over the hump. By the time I arrived on the West Coast, my sweater was done.

After I returned home from the tour, I sought out my local knitting store and bought yarn and a pattern to make another sweater, which I completed on my next train trip a few weeks later. I couldn’t get enough of my newfound love—I would borrow every book I could find on the craft from my local library, then lie awake in bed late at night reading them. I found my eyes opening up to details I had never noticed before: the way that sweaters are constructed, the way that different fibers produce different knit textures, and the huge variety of objects that could be made from simple knit and purl stitches. I was hooked.

When I’d tell people about my latest obsession, I’d invariably get one of two responses. The first, Can you teach me, too? was a common and very welcome reply. But other friends responded with Really? or How interesting, both spoken with an air of disbelief, even a touch of disdain. After all, I had gotten a Ph.D. in the psychology of women and had started BUST, a feminist magazine—what was I doing knitting? Soon it occurred to me that if I had told these folks I’d been playing soccer, or learning karate, or taken up carpentry, they most likely would have said, Cool, because a girl doing a traditionally male activity—now, that’s feminist, right? But a girl doing a traditionally female activity—let alone one as frivolous and time-wasting as knitting—well, what were they to make of that?

It made me rethink my original feminist position. After all, it had been thirty years since the feminist revolution of the 1970s and housewives as we knew them had pretty much gone the way of the dinosaur, so why, dammit, wasn’t knitting receiving as much respect as any other hobby? Why was it still so looked down on? It seemed to me that the main difference between knitting and, say, fishing or woodworking or basketball, was that knitting had traditionally been done by women. As far as I could tell, that was the only reason it had gotten such a bad rap. And that’s when it dawned on me: All those people who looked down on knitting—and housework, and housewives—were not being feminist at all. In fact, they were being anti-feminist, since they seemed to think that only those things that men did, or had done, were worthwhile. Sure, feminism had changed the world, and young girls all across the country had formed soccer leagues, and were growing up to become doctors and astronauts and senators. But why weren’t boys learning to knit and sew? Why couldn’t we all—women and men alike—take the same kind of pride in the work our mothers had always done as we did in the work of our fathers?


Angela Bassett

Audrey Hepburn

Aunt Bea, The Andy Griffith Show

Bette Davis

Betty Rubble, The Flintstones

Betty White

Bob Mackie

Brooke Shields

Cameron Diaz

Carol Duvall

Carole Lombard

Caroline Rhea

Charlotte York, Sex and the City

Courtney Thorne-Smith

Daryl Hannah

Debra Messing

Dorothy Parker

Dr. Laura Schlessinger

Eartha Kitt

Edith Piaf

Eleanor Roosevelt

Elke Sommer

Frances McDormand

Goldie Hawn

Gromit, Wallace and Gromit

Harriet Nelson, Ozzie and Harriet

Hawkeye Pierce, M*A*S*H

Hilary Swank


Ingrid Bergman

Isaac Mizrahi

Jane Jetson, The Jetsons

Joan Blondell

Joan Crawford

Joanne Woodward

JoBeth March, Little Women

Joey Tribbiani, Friends

Julia Roberts

Julianna Margulies

Julianne Moore

Kate Moss

Katharine Hepburn

Laura Ingalls Wilder

Laurence Fishburne

Laurie Metcalf

Lucille Ball

Madame Defarge, A Tale of Two Cities

Madeleine Albright


Margaret Hot Lips Houlihan, M*A*S*H

Marilyn Monroe

Martha Washington

Mary, mother of Christ

Mary-Louise Parker

Megan Mullally

Monica Geller Bing, Friends

Monica Lewinsky

Phoebe Buffay, Friends

Queen Elizabeth II

Rita Hayworth

Rose McGowan

Russell Crowe

Okay, there is some debate about whether this one is true or not, but there are some fetching photos of Russell holding knitting needles.

Sandra Bullock

Sarah Jessica Parker

Scarlett O’Hara, Gone with the Wind

Tiffani Amber Thiessen

Tyne Daly

Tyra Banks

Uma Thurman

Whoopi Goldberg

Wilma Flintstone, The Flintstones

Winona Ryder

You Ain’t Shit if You Don’t Knit

I had a mission. It was time to take back the knit. Not only was I determined to improve my own knitting skills, but I also wanted to do everything in my power to raise knitting’s visibility and value

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What people think about Stitch 'n Bitch

241 ratings / 47 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    Lots of info, lots of projects, lots of attitude. So it's a bit dated. I'm still glad to have it.
  • (5/5)
    This is a great how to book. It's humorous and Stoller's writing style made it a book that I couldn't put down. It has a lot of great pattern ideas, and a funny precursor on fibers and stitches. This helped me re-learn how to knit and I keep it on hand for ready reference whenever I need a refresher.
  • (5/5)
    Amazing!!! This book is the only thing that actually works for me when it came to knitting!!!
  • (5/5)
    Knitting is hot, with 4 million newcomers in the last few years joining a core group of 38,000,000 knitters nationwide. And these are primarily young, creative, connected chicks with sticks who are coming together in living rooms, knitting cafes, and chic yarn stores, and making everything from funky hats to bikinis.In Stitch 'n Bitch, Debbie Stoller-founder of the first Stitch 'n Bitch knitting group in New York City-covers every aspect of knitting and the knitting-together lifestyle: the how-to, the when-to, the what-to, the why-to. Writing with wit and attitude (The Knitty-Gritty, Blocking for Blockheads), she explains the different types of needles and yarns (and sheep, too) and all the techniques from basic to fancy, knit to purl to cast-off. She also shares her special brand of corrective surgery for when things go wrong, and offers fun and informative sidebars on such topics as how to find the best yarn for less, how to make a buttonhole, knitting etiquette, and what tools to keep in your knitting bag. At the heart of the book are forty stylish patterns: Alien Scarf, Big Bad Baby Blanky, Mohair Hoodie, Kitty and Devil Hat, Cell Phone Cozy, and Wonder Woman Bikini. And for anyone interested: how to start a Stitch 'n Bitch group.
  • (4/5)
    oooh yeah
  • (3/5)
    first ever knitting book. I learned a lot from this one!
  • (3/5)
    Slightly more helpful in getting me going with knitting; in particular, picked up good technique for holding yarn while working. Only made one pattern, and that was a basic ribbed scarf. Wouldn't mind trying some other things if I pick up my own copy.
  • (5/5)
    This is a great how to book. It's humorous and Stoller's writing style made it a book that I couldn't put down. It has a lot of great pattern ideas, and a funny precursor on fibers and stitches. This helped me re-learn how to knit and I keep it on hand for ready reference whenever I need a refresher.
  • (4/5)
    I've never known anyone who knits and this book allowed me to teach myself how to!
  • (4/5)
    Not finished with it yet . . . . we'll see how good I think the book is once I've finished (or even started) a project, but for now it seems like a good beginner's how-to resource!
  • (5/5)
    This book is written with humor and very informative. It's very clear at instructing the reader how to knit. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn to knit. There are some clever patterns in the book also.
  • (4/5)
    A great book to learn from! Debbie Stoller writes clearly, and the illustrations give a very good idea of how to actually perform each stitch or twist or color change or whatever! It's a great book for beginning knitters, and there are some nice patterns in there as well.
  • (4/5)
    This book is funny, plus i love the part where they describe the lango of knitting. That was the best for me wip. ect..
  • (5/5)
    Clear instructions, wearable designs, and very readable - a fantastic first book for beginners. Cleverly chosen projects with results far outweighing the amount of skill required, and techniques introduced in a sensible order, make knitting accessible and non-intimidating. Inspirational.
  • (4/5)
    A highly romantic tale of star-crossed lovers and piracy this doesn’t seem like the kind of thing I’d like or even read, but I was in a funny mood one day and decided to buy it. Sometimes a girl needs something light and romantic and there aren’t many books of this description on my shelves. That said I wasn’t going to get just any chick lit; it had to be quality. Having read three other du Maurier novels I thought this was a safe bet.And it largely was. Nothing was particularly subtle here. Husband was a dullard who was primarily interested in gambling and drinking. Wife was comparatively brilliant and suddenly possessed of a desire to better herself. Best friend was rapacious, sly and had sway over the husband. Pirate was suave, daring and sensitive; just the ticket for a bored housewife. Local gentry were oafs with high opinions of themselves. All deliciously rendered for scorn and admiration all around.After a slow and deliberately tortured build-up, Dona finally leaves her matron self abed and goes adventuring with her pirate. It is very romantic; forest walks, charcoal sketches of the beloved, banter, fishing, dining al fresco, more banter, moonlight swims etc, etc, etc. However enjoyable it is, they both know it can’t last and most of their conversations are about this. Even after a horrific battle, capture and escape we know they are going to part and because of the graceful and attentive way it was done, we don’t even mind. There are hints of possible meetings to come and that gives one hope. But we’re proud of Dona because she chooses her married life. It’s unselfish and honorable. Now she’s tasted freedom, she can bear her fallow domestic existence with equanimity. The memories of her wild adventures, unknown by her family, will carry her though.
  • (5/5)
    This is the first book I bought to learn how to knit. It was more than worth the money. Easy to understand instructions, great diagrams, and stories. I use book all the time to reference for stitches and yarn substitution.I once took the book on vacation and when we pulled into a rest area I put the book into the pocket on the front door. I went to put something in the garbage and left the door open. As I went back to the car I heard a gasp and saw a young girl who spotted the book and was pointing it out to her father and said "See the title?". Her father grinned at me and they left. I would definetly buy this book is one of my favorites.
  • (4/5)
    A well explained guide to knitting. Pictures are clear and the language is direct and easy to follow. I've knit the striped scarf and really want to knit a bunch of the other projects in the book such as the Skully sweater, the hoodie and the most backpacks!
  • (4/5)
    A wonderful learn-to-knit book I refer to this often while working on knitting projects of all kinds. An especially nice pattern feature is that they have the required skills listed amongst the required supplies so that you can choose a project based on your abilities.
  • (4/5)
    I got this book hoping that it would teach me how to knit. It didn't. I eventually did learn and I was able to knock out a few patterns featured in the book. The patterns are written clearly enough to understand. I recommend it if you're a beginning knitter.
  • (5/5)
    This book taught me to knit. It's fun, informative and has all the information you need even if you've never knitted before. If you're not a complete beginner, you will still find it a good addition to your shelves as there's plenty of intermediate level instruction in here, such as cabling and fairisle. You might even pick up a new knitting style - I was happily converted from English to Continental.The diagrams are clear and easy to follow, and the whole thing is written in a slightly irreverant style which stops the learning part from becoming dull. The patterns may not be to everyone's taste - I've never tried any of them - but if you want something to have a go at there's patterns for all levels. Try the knitted bikini if you dare.
  • (5/5)
    TAKE BACK THE NEEDLES! For years and years knitting was what your grandmother did. Women involved in the women's movement didn't knit. Now it's what the young and hip do because they want to. The women's movement moves on to a new generation and a new chapter. Knitting like racing cars or running corporations is a way a woman asserts her independence. That was the message of this book. It intrigued me on so many levels. When I picked up this book I was a brand new knitter who had barely learned the knit and purl stitch from a kit. I have made a hat and a sweater directly from this book. I enjoyed that any stitch or technique you were using was quick referenced on the pattern to the page in the book. I've since taken a sweater pattern, and using just the front of the sweater, started making a cable shawl from some of my 50/50 camel/silk homespun. (I'm also a spinner.) This book inspires that much confidence in your abilities.
  • (5/5)
    The great thing about this book is that it's got a variety of easy but non-boring patterns. How much you like them is a matter of taste, but I've made two kitty hats and the alien illusion scarf. They came out perfect, even though I used different yarns.
  • (4/5)
    Very useful for patterns, though not as helpful as a reference resource.
  • (5/5)
    I learned to knit solely from this book- its instructions are straightforward, down to earth, and point you in the right direction for other great resources. I constantly refer to it for certain techniques, and I love the totally modern patterns.
  • (4/5)
    Three years ago I tried, quite unsuccessfully, to teach myself to knit using another book. I gave up, thoroughly convinced that I would never be able to knit. Stitch 'N Bitch, thankfully, has proved me wrong. This is a wonderful book for a new knitter! Stitches are clearly illustrated and the step-by-step instructions are easy to follow. Something I found incredibly helpful was Stoller's explanations of the differences between types of yarn, yarn weight, and types of knitting needles. I've already finished my first project, the Go-Go Garter Stitch scarf, and I am well on my way to completing several others. I wish I had had this book three years ago!
  • (4/5)
    I am left-handed and easily learned to knit using this book and positioning my hands just like in the pictures.
  • (5/5)
    Most useful book I've ever bought for knitting.
  • (5/5)
    This book is amazing - I have completely taught myself to knit (and purl, change colours, bind off, increase, and decrease so far) from it. There are a few things that I find very helpful: the order in which new skills is introduced is very sensible and not intimidating. I trust that I won't be scared off by the next new thing each time I'm ready to move on. Also, the diagrams show the HANDS - so many books show the position of the needles and yarn, but not how your hands hold them. This is very helpful. Finally, each of the fancy projects in the back of the book (after the main instructional part) have a small chart that lists which skills you need in order to attempt it. It's really easy to see what you have the ability to make, and which projects you'll be able to make soon. Great knitting book for beginners!
  • (3/5)
    A good book to make knitting hip. It's good for basics, though definitely not the bible on knitting. Most of the patterns are too trendy to make or too basic. Though I did learn some basics for finishing.
  • (5/5)
    I loved every page. Great starter book as well as reference book.