While I was ordering yarn for holiday gifts, I took advantage of the KnitPicks 40% off book sales to buy Japanese Stitches Unraveled. I was so impressed with the last Japanese stitch directory I bought, I have been eyeing this one for a while.

My initial response was an emotional roller coaster. First, I was super impressed to discover that this is a big hardcover book, not a narrow paperback like most knitting books today. This is like a Barbara Walker stitch compendium.

Unfortunately, if you have Barbara Walker stitch directories, you already have most of the stitches in this book, or very near relatives.

I was disappointed that most of the stitches are common, simple ones. But as I read through, I found some snazzy new ones.

They have good names, too. This pretty one is called “Figs.” I’ve seen this around a lot, but it’s nice.

This one, definitely new to me and quite appealing, is “Blooming Ginger.”

I like this combination of cables and eyelets.

Here’s an intriguing ribbed pattern with a horizontal focus.

There are a lot of textured stitches. With names like “Centipede Stitch,” “Lizard Lattice,” Prosperity Ribs,” and “Ancient Blocks,” they’re fun to think about. Each one has both traditional written instructions and charts, in flat and in-the-round versions.

So it’s a good stitch dictionary, even if it doesn’t have the dazzling patterns I associate with Japanese knitting. I guess Japanese knitters need ordinary stitches, too.