Below are some suggested books, articles and free sites for knitters; this page will continue to be updated and please feel free to send me suggestions for more stuff to add to this page in the future.
Best Basic Knitting Books that no prepping family should be without!
While there are many wonderful knitting books on the market, these three books between them have nearly every basic pattern, instruction and size calculation that the average family is going to need for basic prepper knitting.
Knitting Without Tears is the best, knitting how-to book for beginners that I know of, and also tells you how to make a sweater in any size uses a simple formula and a tape measure.
The Opinionated Knitter was published after Ms. Zimmermann’s death in 1999, and contains patterns for long winter under-ware and a couple of other must-have prepping items that make it a good supplement to the basic how-to book.
The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns is a basic pattern book, in multiple sizes and gages of yarn for nearly every basic pattern a family might need. It has socks, hats, mittens, gloves, vests and sweaters in everything from premie sizes to extra-extra large adult. Each item has the basic pattern charts and instruction (very simple) with suggested variations. The only thing I don’t care for in this book is that sweaters are knitted flat not round (as I prefer to make them). But anyone with a small amount of knitting experience (and the other two books) can covert them pretty easily. Not to mention if all you’ve got are flat knitting needles, you may want to knit some sweaters flat anyway.
The first book No Idle Hands, is primarily a fascinating look at the role knitting played in the social history of the United States. It includes a lot of interesting stories war time knitting from the Revolutionary war through WWII. It also shows how important knitting was in the early colonies and on the frontier from a practical point of view.
The Second book, A History of Hand Knitting, covers a much larger period of time. Now out of print, this book is well worth picking up if you see it used or on-sale anywhere. It covers knitting from its earliest days in the Middle East (3rd to 7th century AD) right down the modern era. Useful for both historians and for knitters, it has actual photographs of caps found on the Mary Rose (Tudor War ship) as well as many historical paintings and other information not often seen in other books.
Links to free Patterns and websites
Here is a list of some (but by no means all) good sources for free (or nearly free) knitting patterns, on-line help and information. Even if you only have a dial-up connection, many of the pattern sites can be a bit help, especially if your finding it hard to spend money on knitting books and patterns. I still have a two binders full of dot-matrix printed patterns from early in my marriage when new to Europe, I had a hard time getting books in English to feed my new hobby (while living in Sweden).
Here are some of my favorites
Ravelry Web Site - thought of as “THE” site by many knitters and crocheters, Ravelry does required registration but is otherwise free. Here you will find not only patterns, but forums, tips and a place you can display your talents.
Knitting About – One of the oldest free pattern sites on the web, many of my binder finds were downloaded from this site or posted on the original Usenet’s forum. Patterns to keep you going for a long time, with a special section of easy patterns for those starting out on their knitting adventures.
Kitting Pattern Central – a new site (to me) but is linked to the old free kitting pattern pages. I really liked the presentation and the patterns appear to be ones I’m familiar with – some of these lists will repeat as the data bases of several have been up since the early 1990′s.
Knitting on the Net – I found this site last Winter and it has many free patterns and lovely photos.
Purple Kitties’ Free Vintage Knit Patterns – I love this site and it is one of my favorites (great mailing list too). You can download vintage patterns for free as individual patterns or entire e-books of old patterns for a small fee. If you like old fashioned knitting and miss the patterns of yesterday – this site is for you! You’ll find many patterns for preppers like “soakers” for baby diapers (if you can’t get plastic pants), many of which are no longer popular.
Lion Brand Yarns Free Patterns - Lion Brand yarns, like the yarn companies of yesterday, has a large selection of free patterns they are hoping you will buy their yarn and knit up. You don’t have to use Lion Brand yarn of course (and sadly since most of it is synthetic I don’t) but it is very nice of them to provide such wonderful resources. Many of the patterns are aimed at beginning knitters, so its a good place, if you are just starting out. Acrylic yarns are useful for some projects and are very cheap to practice with, so you can start with a child’s simple tunic sweater or hot water bottle cover.
Knitting Help.com – a store site with free “How to Knit” videos, I haven’t reviewed them but they look helpful. In the Good Old Days, yarn companies published guides to get people knitting, today wise shops put up how to’s on video and You Tube.
The Snuggles Project – Charity knitting for animals in shelters but also a great pattern resource when knitting beds and blankets for your own pets. Make one for home and one for an animal in need – some very simple patterns, easy for learning knitting with and a perfect use for cheap or left over yarns.
That’s a quick list, if you have your own favorite send it to me and I’ll try to get it up here. There are also, many excellent You Tube videos (mixed in with a few confusing ones) which can make long distance learning much easier if you don’t have a knitting grandmother or aunt Martha to help when you get stuck.