I’ve been admiring Hitomi Shida’s stitch patterns for quite a while now and have been planning to buy one of her stitch dictionaries. So when Tuttle Publishing offered me a copy of one of her books in exchange for a review, I jumped at the chance. It wasn’t until after accepting that I realized that it was even more exciting than I’d thought: this is one of Hitomi Shida’s stitch dictionaries translated into English for the first time, with a complete glossary of the chart symbols and an explanation of how to read Japanese knitting charts.
Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible: 260 Exquisite Patterns by Hitomi Shida, translated with an introduction by Gayle Roehm, will be available on October 10. You can preorder it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or through your local bookstore.
I’ve flipped through a few Japanese stitch dictionaries at fiber festivals, and I’ve read a little bit about Japanese charts online, but this is the first chance I’ve really had to use any of these charts. Here are the things I knew before even opening the book:
- There would be a lot of gorgeous stitches that aren’t in any of my other stitch dictionaries.
- Japanese knitting symbols and charts are completely standardized; once you know how to read them, you can open any stitch dictionary and understand what’s in front of you.
- They are also different from any of the English language knitting charts I’ve encountered. This makes having an English language guide to Japanese charts valuable.
So, what did I think of the book? The short version is that aside from a very few minor quibbles, I was impressed. Moreover, I would have been willing to spend twice the list price of $17 to get this book.
Recommended for: cable lovers, knitting designers, and confident knitters who are ready to move beyond basic lace. This book will be especially useful for anyone who wants an English explanation of untranslated Japanese stitch dictionaries.