400 Knitting Stitches: Great Stitch Patterns – Book Review

400 Knitting Stitches Book Cover

Hi Friends,

Welcome to the first ever book review on Knitkatpaddywhack. I hope you enjoy it! The book is called 400 Knitting Stitches: Great Stitch Patterns, and TL;DR, I like it.

It has been a whole week since my last post. Since we last spoke, I’ve been consoling my baby girl who is teething, sick, and grumpy in the hot weather we’ve been having. She is a little trooper though, and considering all she’s going through, she has been in good spirits, and the hot spell has now passed (yay!). I hope that means I can go back to bi-weekly posts!

400 Knitting Stitches: Great Stitch Patterns, published by Murdoch Books, is a book I came across recently, though my edition was published in 2007. I can’t find anywhere online that has it currently in stock at a reasonable price unfortunately, but I borrowed mine up from my local library so you may have luck at your own. You can ask Book Depository to notify you if they do get it in, by following this link. Since I enjoyed it so much, I decided to post this little review in case any reader comes across a copy.

It’s a stitch dictionary, and it has a huge variety of stitch patterns, many of which are creative, unusual, and lots that I haven’t come across before. From basic knit-purl patterns to cables, lace, slipped stitches, twisted stitches, and lots more, there is just an abundance of choice. Is it just me, or does a smorgasbord of options set all your creative pistons firing? I’m all like “ooh, I could make a cardigan with that! And a hat with that! What if I modify this one a little?”. I’ve been trying out a few stitch patterns from the book and I’d like to share what I think of 400 Knitting Stitches with you.

Close up of Ladder Rib stitch
This stitch pattern is called “Ladder Rib” and it’s from the Slipped Stitches section of the book. I love how simple but striking this stitch is.

What the Book Says About Itself

I think this is a good place to start when reviewing a book. Let’s see what it says for itself and I can tell you if it delivers. Well, it states that its stitches can be used in all kinds of projects. Sounds good to me. It advertises that all stitches come with a close-up photo, written instructions, and a chart. This is great, although I did find one omitted chart which I’ll mention later. The book also claims to be categorised in a way that makes it easy to find the right stitch for you. This is pretty key for a usable stitch dictionary in my view.

Does it Deliver?

Yes! Well, on the whole, but I really think this is a worthwhile book to have. This is a great resource of stitch patterns, with a versatile range of patterns which can be used in a lot of different projects. Some of the patterns are kind of cute and retro, which I love, like this one from the “Lacy Stitches” section. The stitch is called Hyacinths. I could totally picture this on a tablecloth in my Grandma’s house.

Hyacinth Stitch Pattern swatch

At the same time, there are more modern-looking patterns like the one below called Woven Chevrons in the “Slipped Stitches” section. It’s subtle and unusual. It’s the kind of pattern that I’d see on a garment in a shop and stop to scrutinise it to try and work out how it is worked.

Close-up of Woven Chevron stitch pattern

I did find a pattern which didn’t have a chart. It’s this stitch pattern below, called Ripple in the “Cast-off Stitches” section. It’s not a big deal for this pattern because it is a relatively simple one, but I want to point it out only because the blurb did claim that all the patterns had their own charts.

Close up of Ripple stitch pattern

Overall Impression

I’ve had a great time with this book, and I think it’s well worth making a place on your shelf for it. It’s a shame I can’t seem to find it for sale at a reasonable price currently! I only stumbled across it one day when I took my daughter to the library to get her a few books, so I’m glad I wandered past the knitting books.

The book’s main strengths are 1) its huge diversity of stitch patterns, 2) its clear instructions, including a chart for (almost!) all patterns, 3) its clear layout which makes for easy location of the right stitch pattern. All these features make it ideal for anyone who likes modifying patterns or designing patterns from scratch.






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