Sticks & String

A podcast by an Australian bloke who knits.

Knitter’s Handbook – Montse Stanley

Knitter’s Handbook

This was the first knitting book I bought (other than pattern books) and it’s still one of the ones I use the most often. The book is full of clear, concise descriptions of techniques with simple 2 colour drawings to help illustrate them. It’s also comprehensive, in the section covering methods of casting on, there are dozens of different methods with their characteristics listed and advantages and disadvantages of using them – there is even a small photo section showing what some of them look like in practise.

The book contains no patterns, although there are some garment photographs to show what many of the techniques look like in practice. Similarly, it is not a stitch pattern book, of course it has all the standard patterns such as garter, moss, stocking and so on, and a section on cables, but it’s not a reference you’d use for inspiration – it’s the one you’d go to when you want a quick how-to for a technique you don’t know or have forgotten.

As a reference I have found this book to be invaluable, it is never far from me when I’m knitting. I would recommend it as the most comprehensive reference I have found so far.


  1. How would this book compare to “Principles of Knitting” which is impossible to find, unless I pay hundreds for it on ebay?

    Comment by Mary | 23 March 2007

  2. Hi,
    really glad to hear you have found the book so useful.
    It was a bit of a mind-bending project translating all of Montse’s samples into diagrammatic illustrations, but I shall never forget her unending patience and enthusiasm…..and attention to detail!

    I was so sad to discover that she had died shortly after we finished it, but her
    energy is still clear in my memory – and the fun of holding knitting discussions complete with bags of yarn and samples on various railway station platforms.

    She was a star, and I treasure my own copy of the book, now very well thumbed……

    All best wishes
    Elaine Franks (Illustrator of the handknitters handbook)

    Comment by Elaine Franks | 31 October 2008

  3. I am having trouble making the tubular cast on on page 70 of The Handknitter’s Handbook. I am wanting to do a tubular cast on for double rib, which I understand on the following page, but I have got to get the single rib tubular first. I have spent a day and half trying to get to grips with it. I am an experineced knitter of 70 years.

    Thank you for any help – Clare

    Comment by Clare Hadaway | 2 January 2011

  4. Thanks for an interesting array of articles. Montse Stanley was also the first book I bought back in the 70’s. I think I have memorised the whole book!! I have now passed it on to a young man who works with me. I am pleased to report that it has now also become his knitting bible.

    Comment by Judith | 2 February 2011

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