This year, Rinske gave me The Art of Knitting: Inspirational Stitches, Textures and Surfaces for my birthday. It’s an amazing book, with beautiful photography, and lots of inspiration for textures and stitch ideas (as the title might suggest). Most of the photographs of the knitted fabrics are macros and are juxtaposed with images from nature that reflect the texture and colors of the knitting.
This really is more a source of inspiration than a stitch library, although it does include instructions for some of the patterns – both in form of hand-knitting charts and machine-knitting charts. The instructions mainly are for machine-knitting, and much of the text describes how certain textures can be acheived with knitting machines of various types, but there is are good descriptions and discussions for hand-knitters. The emphasis within the book is definitely on textures and surfaces of various kinds – there’s no so much for people looking for complicated lace and cable designs (although there are some of these, usually in the context of creating a particular texture or effect).