With every artform, there occasionally come along people who are so talented that they push its limits — they expand everyone’s understanding of what, actually, is possible to achieve with that artform. Would you be interested in getting your hands on a knitting stitch dictionary authored by such a designer — one who is doing some seriously creative and innovative design work in the medium of knitting?
If so, you’re going to want to pick up a copy of 250 Japanese Knitting Stitches: The Original Pattern Bible by Hitomi Shida. Tuttle is the publisher.
The stitches in this book draw on historical knitting tradition, utilizing the same familiar knits, purls, yarnovers, and twists we know and love — but transforming this vocabulary into complex and masterful combinations that are unique, appealing, original and magnificent. If you’re an intermediate or advanced knitter, and you’d be interested in designing and knitting some seriously impressive projects, this is a book you do not want to miss out on.
What You Need to Know About This Knitting Stitch Dictionary:
Author: Hitomi Shida
Translator: Gayle Roehm
Publisher: Tuttle Publishing
ISBN 13: 978-4805314838
This book is available in the following format(s):
Number of Pages: 160
Topics Covered in This Book:
- How to read Japanese stitch pattern charts; symbol definitions
- How to interpret the charts when you’re knitting back and forth
- How to interpret the charts when you’re knitting in the round
- How to knit “knot” stitches
- Openwork knitting patterns
- Overall knitting patterns
- Pattern arrangements
- Patterns with crossing stitches
- Panel patterns
- Knitted edging patterns
- Knitting symbols and their meanings
The Best Things About The Japanese Stitch Bible
The knitting stitch patterns included in the book are all interesting, beautiful, appealing and totally usable. They’d make lovely wearable projects or home decor items.
The photography in this book is excellent. The swatches are photographed cleanly, and the stitch definition is evident in every swatch.
I’ve already raved about the quality of the design work you’ll find in this book, but it bears repeating. These stitch patterns are the stuff that haute couture is made of.
250 Japanese Knitting Stitches is an incredible value for the money you’ll spend on it. In my opinion, you’ll get much more than your money’s worth when you buy this book.
Other Observations About This Book
There is a TON of fantastic information packed into this relatively compact 160-page volume. I’m convinced that the team that put the book’s layout together is comprised of graphic design geniuses. There’s NO wasted space in the book, yet it doesn’t seem overly cluttered or “busy”.
There are a couple of tradeoffs for having this unheard-of amount of information packed into such a relatively small number of pages. One of these tradeoffs: the symbols are presented in one compact 19-page guide. You’ll need to refer to each of these symbols for knitting multiple stitch patterns in the book. To avoid doing a lot of page flipping, I found it helpful to photocopy the guide to the symbols. Before I thought of doing that, I was spending a lot of time flipping back and forth between that section and whichever pattern I was looking at or attempting to work on.
If you aren’t already used to working with Japanese knitting patterns, you will most likely need to spend some time getting comfortable with them before you can successfully knit these patterns. There’s a learning curve that isn’t the fault of this book. The author and translator clearly communicate the concepts, but despite that, it could take you some time to figure them out.
The other tradeoff: Most of these stitch patterns are presented using symbols only; written-out text instructions are not included unless the author and /or translator felt words were necessary to describe some aspect of the pattern. However, in the back of the book, there are multiple pages devoted to step-by-step photo tutorials with text. These tutorials will teach you how to do some of the knitting techniques that might be unfamiliar to you. So, you have the information you need to work these patterns if you’re willing to familiarize yourself with the symbols that comprise these charts.
I highly recommend this book to other knitting enthusiasts, particularly intermediate and advanced knitters who are looking for insanely gorgeous and sophisticated stitch patterns to use for designing their own knitting projects.
This is NOT a beginner’s knitting book — but if you’re a beginner, 250 Japanese Knitting Stitches could possibly be a good buy anyway if you want some motivation and inspiration for taking your knitting skills to the next level. It depends on your goals for your knitting.
If your goal is simply to kick back and relax with your knitting, this may not be the right book for you — because most knitters are not likely to find these stitch patterns to be particularly easy or relaxing. But if your goal is to knit the most magnificent, the most sophisticated and the most enchanting projects possible, 250 Japanese Knitting Stitches is exactly the book you want to reach for.
Where to Buy 250 Japanese Knitting Stitches: The Original Pattern Bible by Hitomi Shida
More Japanese Knitting Books and Stitch Dictionaries
- Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible: Learn to Knit 260+ Spectacular New Lace and Cable Patterns — This book is also by Hitomi Shida, the same author as the book I reviewed above. This book is every bit as lovely as the one described above — and it also includes patterns for making multiple finished projects. I highly recommend both books. Both of them deserve a place of honor in the serious knitter’s library.
- Japanese Knitting by Michiyo — If you’re interested in knitting or crocheting patterns for stylish finished womenswear projects such as sweaters, ponchos, arm warmers and slippers, this book is worth your consideration. It includes patterns for knitting and crocheting unique and lovely wearable projects.
- Japanese Knitting Stitches From Tokyo’s Kazekobo Studio — This is a beautiful, practical stitch dictionary that’s suitable for total beginners to knitting as well as more experienced knitters. This book includes knit and purl stitch combinations, complex cable and twisted stitch combinations, lace knitting stitches and more.
- Keiko Okamoto’s Japanese Knitting Stitches: A Stitch Dictionary With 150 Amazing Patterns — This book includes a broad variety of lovely knitting stitch patterns, plus instructions for knitting some finished projects, too. The stitch patterns in this book are remarkable for their variety, ingenuity and creativity.
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About Your Book Reviewer: Amy Solovay is a freelance writer who holds a degree in textile design and previously enjoyed a career in the textile industry. She has been crocheting and crafting since childhood, and knitting since she was a teenager. Her work also appears at AmySolovay.com, ArtsWithCrafts.com and Crochet-Books.com.
This page was last updated on 10-6-2020.