Knitting stitch dictionaries (or stitchionaries) are books that contain pattern repeats that knitwear designers or adventurous knitters can use as a source of inspiration. Some of these books contain also several garment or accessory patterns and basic knowledge of the related topic and are thus a great source of inspiration for beginner-level knitters as well.
I have created for you a list of 9 knitting stitch dictionaries that in my opinion are very inspiring and contain plenty of interesting knitting stitches. I have included books for cables, lace and stranded colorwork but also for brioche and slip-stitch knitting. If you are looking for a book that covers a wide range of basic stitches I recommend you to take a look at the book 400 Knitting Stitches: A Complete Dictionary of Essential Stitch Patterns.
1. Japanese knitting stitch bible by Hitomi Shida
The Japanese knitting stitch bible is probably one of the best-selling stitch dictionaries during the past few years and there have been recently plenty of indie designer patterns clearly inspired by this book. The book contains 260 beautiful original patterns with cables, lace, bobbles and wrapped stitches. There are also special sections for edgings and patterns that can be used on circular yokes.
One could say that this book is “just” a stitch dictionary. It contains the stitch charts (no written versions) and a few accessory patterns as well as instructions for knitting the stitches but not much more. I have to say that the stitch patterns are also mostly somewhat complex. That’s why I recommend this book for designers or adventurous knitters.
2. & 3. Knitted cable and Twisted stitch source book by Norah Gaughan
Norah Gaughan is a knitwear designer who has worked for several yarn companies and also as an indie designer. She talks about the Knitted Cable Sourcebook on Vogue knitting knitterviews and tells that during the 30 years she has been designing and selling stitch patterns there were several she just saved in a box and the book is now a collection of some of those stitches.
The book contains 152 different cable patterns and 15 beautiful garment patterns. The designs are both written and charted. First, she explains the basics of cable knitting and as the chapters progress, she introduces you to more and more complex patterns. She also shares valuable tips on how you can design your own cabled patterns.
This book is available on Amazon but the Kindle edition has gotten some poor ratings because of its readability so I recommend you to get a physical copy of this book. I have a hard cover version of this book and I love it!
Like the previous book, this one contains stitch patterns as well as a few garment and accessory patterns. In addition, the author gives you guidance on how you can start to design your own patterns.
4. Knitting Fresh Brioche by Nancy Marchant
Brioche knitting generates a cushy and reversible fabric. The basic stitch looks like ribbing but the feel of the fabric is different because there are two layers of knitting. In brioche knitting, you make the patterns by combining different increases and decreases.
This book is more than a brioche stitch dictionary. In addition to the 75 stitch patterns, the author explains the very basics of brioche knitting and gives several tips for instance on how to repair mistakes. In my opinion, this is a great book for brioche beginners with a plenty of useful information for more advanced knitters as well.
In addition to the stitch patterns the book contains 12 scarf & wrap patterns.
5. Mosaic Knitting Revised Edition by Barbara Walker
Mosaic knitting is a style of colorwork knitting where you work with one color at a time as if you were knitting stripes and the patterns are formed by slipping the stitches from the previous row. You get to make colorwork without having to worry about catching long floats or carrying two or more strands at the same time.
This book was originally published already in 1976 but this one is a revised edition that contains 116 new charted mosaic designs to complement the 157 charted designs featured in the original edition. This book is just a stitch dictionary so I recommend it for knitwear designers and adventurous knitters.
6. The Art of Slip-Stitch Knitting by Faina Goberstein and Simona Merchant-Dest
This book contains both slip-stitch stitch patterns as well as patterns for garments and accessories. There are a total of 40 stitch patterns both one and multicolored and 16 unique projects such as pullovers, cowls and shawls. One of my favorite things about this book is that many of the stitch patterns are reversible and the fabric looks more woven than knitted.
This book also covers the basics of slip-stitch knitting which makes it suitable for beginner level knitters as well.
7. & 8. Scandinavian and Fair isle Motifs by Mary Jane Mucklestone
These two books by Mary Jane Mucklestone contain traditional stranded colorwork charts originating from two different regions: From Fair Isle (one of the Shetland islands) and from Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, and the Faeroe Island). In addition to the motifs the author provides also other useful information such as the basics of color theory and some advice for yarn selection and steeking.
Traditional Fair Isle patterns use only two colours per row but the garment or accessory might have several colours on them. There are certain way colors are used on traditional patterns and the repeats are also quite short.
The 150 traditional Scandinavian knitting motifs contains motifs such as snowflakes, stars and hearts as well as a few accessory patterns. Similarly to the 200 Fair Isle Motif book, this book covers the basics of stranded knitting as well.
9. AlterKnit Stitch Dictionary by Andrea Rangel
If the traditional colorwork motifs are not your thing you should check out this book. It contains 200 modern colorwork motifs accompanied by a few accessory patterns. The author covers also the basics of colorwork knitting.