I’m starting a new series on my blog today – The Essentials. One of my favorite questions to ask knitters and other crafters is easy: “what tool can you simply not live without?” In this series, I’ll be chatting about some of my go-to knitting tools, references, and related products that seem to make my life simpler and give me more enjoyment of the craft. I may mention specific brands or publications, but I was in no way compensated for these posts. I simply want to share my favorite things with you!

Many knitters in my generation learned the skill from the Stitch ‘n Bitch books, so I understand that they already hold a special place in our hearts, mine included. However, after a certain point, the basics just don’t cut it anymore. Now that I’m a bit more advanced, the tome I refer to time and time again is the 2010 publication, Stitch ‘n Bitch: Superstar Knitting by Debbie Stoller. Any time I seem to have a question, this book is here for me.

The book is divided into chapters for different types of techniques. You’ll find information on practically anything – double knitting, buttonholes, bobbles, combining fair isle and intarsia, nupps, slipped stitching, lifelines in lace, color cables, beading – the list goes on. It also works a quick reference guide for cast-ons and bind-offs, increases and decreases, short rows, and the like.The second portion of the book addresses garment design and construction. If you have any interest in designing your own patterns, this is a good place to start. Topics include measurements, fit, ease, sleeve style, necklines, and buttonbands. While I wouldn’t consider this the most comprehensive text on the topic, it is a handy manual that I find most useful when making modifications to an existing pattern. You’ll also find numerous patterns utilizing the techniques outlined in the book.

The things that draw me to this book over other knitting reference guides are the clear, concise language and excellent step-by-step photography. Everyone learns differently, but I find it incredibly difficult to pick up a new technique by watching a video tutorial. It’s always something – poor lighting, a strange camera angle, the knitter works too slowly or too quickly – and I find myself confused and frustrated in no time. With Superstar Knitting, trying new techniques feels less challenging because I can look at the static images and work at my own pace.

I initially came upon this book at the library, but after renewing the it several times in a row, I figured it was one to keep on the shelf for good. Building a knitting library can be a bit of an investment, but Superstar Knitting is so comprehensive that to me, it was money well spent.

What is your go-to reference for knitting and why do you use it? Is there a crafting book that you find yourself turning to time and time again? Or do you prefer using online resources or in-person classes when tackling a new technique for the first time?

Happy knitting!!