Elevate Difference

Stitch ‘N Bitch Superstar Knitting: Go Beyond the Basics

I have a confession to make: I am not much of a knitter. I feel like I should be, and I’ve tried to get beyond the basics numerous times in my life, but to little avail. My mom was a fantastic knitter. She inspired me to try it as a child, but I never quite got the hang of it. I focused instead on cross-stitch and other needlework and yarn crafts, as well as other art and craft forms more generally. Maybe the knitting talent skipped a generation. If so, my niece should be an excellent knitter (my sister-in-law is an admitted failure at knitting too and I don’t think my brother has ever tried it).

Lucky for me, my partner is an extraordinary knitter. Between holidays and my birthday, I’ve probably received six new and gorgeous knitted gifts from her this past year, with arm warmers, a hat, a cowl scarf, and a headband just in the past two months. She inspires me and makes me jealous at the same time! I want to be able to make her and the rest of my friends and family knitted gifts too! So, when I had the opportunity to read legendary yarn artist Debbie Stoller’s newest knitting book, Stitch N’ Bitch Superstar Knitting, I took advantage—and learned a lot.

By now Stoller has made a serious name for herself in the word of knitting and crocheting, with no less than eight books, journals, and calendars published under the Stitch N’ Bitch name, plus many more patterns published in various online locations. In addition, she’s the co-founder and editor-in-chief of BUST magazine. It’s no wonder why her knitting and crochet books are so popular; Stoller imbues them with a feminist irreverence and sense of humor about crafting mixed with a celebration of what has traditionally been considered “women’s work” for multi-gendered audiences. She makes knitting fun and accessible to a wide range of people—even those of us who have tried and failed to grasp anything more than the basics too many times to count.

Stitch N’ Bitch Superstar Knitting is divided into two sections: the first describes in detail various kinds of advanced knitting techniques, such as intarsia, cabling, lace knitting, and adding embroidery and beads to knit objects, while the second consists of knitting patterns for projects that make use of these kinds of techniques. It is the first half of the book that is particularly stellar here. Stoller excels at writing in a fun, instructional manner for knitters of all stages. She presents the goals of each technique in clear, conversational language and explains through drawings, photographs, and charts what each step of the process should look and feel like. Stoller makes seemingly-complicated procedures, like that of creating cables in a knitted work, seem a natural part of the kitting process. She even critiques or “re-writes” certain conventional knitting instructions to make them easier to understand.

Debbie Stoller’s Stitch N’ Bitch Superstar Knitting: Go Beyond the Basics is a thorough and helpful addition to her catalogue of yarn art texts. It will motivate even the most basic of knitters to want to try something new and more complicated than the stockinette stitch or the potentially monotonous back and forth of a scarf project. I’ve got plans for trying to complete the Hip Hop Bunny Blanket pattern, from the second half of the book, for my niece’s first birthday present in October. Thank goodness it’s ten months away! It might take a while to complete for this still-novice knitter, but with Stoller’s help, I think I’ll make it just in time.

Written by: Stefanie Snider, February 3rd 2011