Stitch dictionary’s are the foundation of any good knitting library. They allow you to make sampler afghans, add details to simple patterns, or inspire new designs altogether. Most knitwear designers use them as starting points for new garments. They are essential if you want to increase your knitting vocabulary and improve your craft. Having a good set of stitch dictionary’s to reference is key to becoming a great knitter.
Here is a comprehensive list of knitting stitch dictionary’s. Click the book image for more info on each title (we do get a very small commission if you buy it).
Barbara Walker Treasury of Knitting Patterns
These books are landmarks of modern knitting history. Barbara Walker collected over 1,000 knitting stitch patterns for decades and these books have become staples in any great knitting library. These four volumes include short descriptions of each stitch, along with charts and clear black and white photographs.
A Treasury of Knitting Patterns
A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns
A Third Treasury of Knitting Patterns
A Fourth Treasury of Knitting Patterns
The Harmony Guides
For over thirty years The Harmony Guides from Interweave Press have been a standard go to for great collections of stitch patterns. In 2007 they were reorganized by category and edited by famed knitwear designer Erika Knight. With some of the most beautiful photography of any stitch pattern books, each documents 250 different stitches from each type of knitting. In 2008 they also released a quick card reference with 101 stitches that is more compact.
Harmony Guides: Knit & Purl
Harmony Guides: Cables & Arans
Harmony Guides: Lace & Eyelets
Harmony Guides: Knit Edgings & Trims
Harmony Guides: 101 Stitches to Knit
Vogue Knitting Stitchionary Series
These hard cover books cover 300 stitches each with high quality photos, charts and illustrations from the professionals at Vogue Knitting. The layout of the books make each stitch easy to understand and give suggestions on how they can be incorporated into other projects. With six volumes, this is one of the more extensive collections of stitches you will find.
Vogue Knitting Stitchionary Volume One: Knit & Purl: The Ultimate Stitch Dictionary from the Editors of Vogue Knitting Magazine
The Vogue Knitting Stitchionary Volume Two: Cables: The Ultimate Stitch Dictionary from the Editors of Vogue Knitting Magazine
Vogue Knitting Stitchionary Volume Five: Lace Knitting: The Ultimate Stitch Dictionary from the Editors of Vogue Knitting Magazine
Vogue Knitting Stitchionary Volume Six: Edgings: The Ultimate Stitch Dictionary from the Editors of Vogue Knitting Magazine
365 Knitting Stitches a Year Perpetual Calendar
This stitch a day calendar was the inspiration for New Stitch A Day. Every day has a different knitting stitch, clearly photographed with step by step instructions. This is a great way to learn new stitches every day of the year.
Knitting Edge Series by Nicky Epstein
Not exactly a stitch dictionary, but a useful resource of edges, borders, cuffs, and collars to finish and embellish your projects. Between all three editions there are almost 900 different techniques for adding knitted details to the edges of your garments.
Knitting on the Edge: The Essential Collection of 350 Decorative Borders
Knitting Over the Edge: The Second Essential Collection of Over 350 Decorative Borders
Knitting Beyond the Edge: The Essential Collection of Decorative Finishes
This reprint of The New Knitting Stitch Library is a compact guide to more than 300 knitting stitches. It contains a great section on knitting basics and is photographed well.
The Knitting Stitch Bible
This is not the best stitch dictionary out there. It does contain about 250 knitting stitches which may be useful if you do not have any other guides. The spiral binding is also convenient for laying the book flat. One unique feature is stitches that incorporate beads and sequins.
The Essential Stitch Collection: Creative Guide to the 300 Stitches Every Knitter Really Needs to Know
This guide includes advanced techniques like entrelac, double knitting, and mosaic patterns. It also contains and knitwear design directory which gives tips on incorporating your favorite stitches into other designs.
400 Knitting Stitches: A Complete Dictionary of Essential Stitch Patterns
This comprehensive guide to knitting stitches is one of the larger collections out there. It contains eight different categories of knitting stitches.
Big Book of Knitting Stitch Patterns
This collection of knitting stitches is the smallest on the list with less than 150. The nice thing is this book includes charts for most of the patterns.
Field Guide to Knitting
This book will help you identify particular stitches within a pattern. Each entry reveals the history of the stitch, the best stitch gauge for achieving pattern definition, the garments most suited to the pattern, and more. With more than 200 stitches this is a must have for learning how to “read” your knitting.
The Ultimate Sourcebook of Knitting and Crochet Stitches
This Reader’s Digest collection is the largest on the list with 900 knitting and crochet stitches. The guide is very comprehensive and includes the difficulty, drape quality of the fabric, and written instructions. If you only want one book this will give you a lot of bang for your buck.
Mon Tricot Knitting Dictionaries
These older collections of knitting stitches from the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s are incredibly difficult to find and often very expensive. If you are fortunate enough to find one at a garage sale or on ebay snatch it up. You’ll find a wealth of knowledge and history in these wonderful books that generally have more than 1,000 stitch patterns.
Did we miss something? Add your favorites in the comments!