Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Stitch 'n Bitch by Debbie Stoller

(this is a slightly cheaty review for my 50 Books thing but I made up the challenge so I get to decide what counts) (also, this is really boring... but I wanted it to get up before I got anymore behind on the book thing)

This week I finally got a copy of Stitch ‘N Bitch: The Knitter’s Handbook by Debbie Stoller. This book by Bust editor Debbie Stoller, must be one of the few knitting books that has a discussion about feminism and craft in the introduction. Thanks to things like Bust (and their Craftaculars) I think of craft as a feminist thing, I honestly don't see how learning to make stuff could ever be considered unfeminist and this is Debbie Stoller's view as well. 

I got this book for the jumper patterns and techniques because I can do all the basics and I’ve made hats and stuff now, but I want to take the next step towards becoming a super knitter. The book has all the basics – knit, purl, cast on, bind off and explains both English and continental knitting but then it also has instructions on knitting with colour and how to fix mistakes. 

I have another knitting book – Knitty Gritty by Aneeta Patel which is intended for absolute beginners, and it is a useful book although I found most of the patterns aren’t things I actually want to make – who on earth would want to wear a knitted tie? But I chose Knitty Gritty initially because it’s by a British author and there would be no need to translate measurements or need sizes and because it has a lot of good reviews. Over all Knitty Gritty is good a good guide to getting started, and the instructions and pictures are helpful, but I think Stitch ‘n Bitch is the more useful book because it's designed more like a reference book than a course to work your way through.  Despite being much older than Knitty Gritty (the mobile phone in one picture even has a little aerial), the patterns in SnB are much more wearable, if a little dated, whereas most of the patterns in KG are for baby clothes which I have absolutely no interest in making. I know that they are quick and a good way of testing out techniques, but I know no one with a baby and it seems a bit jinxy to knit for a baby that doesn’t exist. And it’s a massive waste of time. Having said all this, I do want to get Aneeta’s next book Knitty Gritty: the next steps because the reviews are pretty promising and the book is probably more my level anyway. 

Stitch ‘n Bitch is great for beginnerish knitters who don’t want to be patronised and I like that Debbie Stoller has included sections about social knitting, online communities and how to set up a stitch and bitch group and the book also includes patterns for knitting accessories to sew. Stitch ‘n Bitch is really useful and I can’t imagine that I would give it away anytime soon whereas I could happily be parted from my copy of Knitty Gritty.

Next review will be of a proper book! Lynn Shepherd’s A Treacherous Likeness, sequel(ish) to Tom-All-Alone’s


  1. I thiiink I'm going to put this on my birthday list. Because KNITTING! (Even though I totally only knit in the winter and it's more sewing weather now... Oh well! I'll still have it in November :) )

    1. depends if you want to knit in the winter or wear your knitted items in the winter...