Meghan’s Favorite Book: Alterknit Stitch Dictionary

If you know me, you know I love books. I studied literature in college, but long before that I was a book hoarder. When I began knitting over a decade ago, my ink and paper obsession carried over to knitting books. In the beginning I just bought pattern books, but as I matured as a knitter my focus shifted. The first evolution of my knitting library was refining the type of pattern books I collected—I went for the heavy hitters like Alice Starmore, Barbara Walker, and Elizabeth Zimmerman, to name a few. By knitting their patterns, I learned not just how to make a sweater, but also how to design a sweater. I had excellent teachers.

After several years of knitting others’ designs, constructing a garment became intuitive and I branched out to designing knitwear. And this was when my craft library exploded—I started collecting stitch books. As a designer, stitch dictionaries are the keystones of my library. They provide inspiration, guidance, and gentle nudges, but most of all, they’re really pretty.

I don’t mind investing in stitch books, but as the years have gone by I’ve refined my personal aesthetic, so these days it takes an extraordinary stitch book to get my attention. And one recently did: Alterknit Stitch Dictionary: 200 Modern Knitting Motifs by Andrea Rangel.
Alterknit Stitch Dictionary
This book is remarkably different from your standard colorwork motif collection. Andrea has delved deep and reinvented colorwork knitting for the modern knitter (and designer!). This book features a wide variety of motifs (including my personal favorite, American Southwest–inspired motifs), such as sheep, bugs, zombies, skulls, and—to the delight of my inner child—poopin’ pigs; there are also intriguing geometric designs, historical references, and motifs inspired by modern art and mythology.

And if you’re a Stranger Things fan like me, there is an alphanumeric motif that bears an uncanny resemblance to the Christmas light alphabet on Joyce’s living room wall.

alterknit stitch dictionary

I haven’t even scratched the surface of all the incredible motifs in this book. You’ll just have to get a copy to see them all for yourself. And as a bonus, this book isn’t solely motifs—there are also five modern, inspiring projects waiting for your needles. Plus Andrea shares tons of tips for successful colorwork knitting, from color choice to maintaining tension.

Get to making, designing, and knitting outside of the box with Alterknit Stitch Dictionary. This book will be at the forefront of my stitch book library for years to come, and I hope it makes it into yours as well.

Meghan Babin, editor

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