The Knitting Textbook

The second edition of Principles of Knitting by June Hemmons Hiatt is available!* If you’ve never heard of this book here’s the short version of the story. It was published in ’89 and widely regarded as the most knitting knowledge consolidated into one book ever. It has more than 40 different ways to cast on. This book explains not only how but also WHY you might choose one over the other.

Then – according to internet rumors** – the original plates were destroyed in a fire and the book went out of print. And the author has been working on retyping and updating it for a decade.

I got my copy in the mail yesterday and Neil’s first comment was “wow, that’s like a textbook!” And he’s not wrong. Let’s compare:

Principles of Knitting vs. Principles of Conservation Biology***

POK cover

PoK: 736 pages, 4.4lbs
PoCB: 779 pages, 4.2lbs

POK index and biblio

PoK: 39 pages of index, 8 pages of bibliography
PoCB: honestly, I didn’t count them…

POK charts

PoK: Graphs, charts, diagrams, photos! Cleverly outlined and bulletted lists to focus on and compare specific points.
PoCB: Graphs, diagrams, photos! Questions at the end of each chapter so the teacher can make sure you’re reading.

POK the textbook

I think the textbook comparison is apt. This book covers the hows AND the whys of more knitting techniques than I even knew existed. I can continue to learn new stuff about knitting for years with just this book. I will keep it on my shelf as the main reference for trying new things. It’s certainly not the only knitting book you’ll need (it’s not a stitch dictionary, for example) But if you could only get one, I’d suggest starting here.

I feel like there should be an exam at the end of the term. But like my ornithology class, I’m actually looking forward to that test…

*Actually has been for about a month now…
**I’m not kidding, I swear I read this somewhere on the internet, and now I can’t find it. So if I’m horrible wrong, please forgive me for repeating these rumors.
***I chose this textbook because it’s the one that also has “Principles” in the title.


3 responses to “The Knitting Textbook

  1. Thanks for reminding us about this wonderful book – I’d read somewhere that it was back in print. I’ve just ordered it in hardback even though the Kindle version is half the price. I wouldn’t feel like I “owned” it otherwise!

    • I know exactly what you mean, I prefer the hard copy of the book over the electronic one! Although having both would be nice because I think being able to use an electronic search function on this book could be very handy!

  2. I’ve just got my copy of this marvellous book. It’s HUGE!! It’s almost bigger than all by knitting “texts” put together. Wow – this is going to take some time to digest ….

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