It used to be that special knitting stitches were passed down from mother to daughter or from one family member to another, carefully written down in the pages of a book or knit out in the form of a sampler. Now Stitch Libraries are in books. While there are not too many available, there are many more than there used to be.
Stitch libraries are the dictionaries of Knitwear Designers – at least – that is how I use them. They are collections of stitches, separate from patterns, that are written or charted out in a row by row format. These stitches can be used in any type of pattern, from socks to sweaters, and from scarves to shawls. Some stitch libraries cover only lace stitches; Some cover cabled or travelling stitches; Some are written for knitting in the round; Some are old and reliable; Some are very new; Some are collections of many styles of stitches, and all are useful! They are now from all over the world and most are available everywhere!
Not a knitwear designer? Are you looking for something to jazz up a boring scarf, or maybe to add a panel of something more interesting to that plain sweater? A stitch library will offer many possibilities. Best yet, stitch libraries easily available to most knitters, your local bricks and mortar library will most likely have a few or be able to order them in for you or your local knitting or book store should have some!
I love to look at my stitch libraries. They are often jumping off points for a new design and are full of ideas. Try one on for yourself and knit some swatches and see where they take you!