Like many of the designers I know, I very very rarely buy pattern books. Part of this is because I don’t have time to knit other people’s patterns (I don’t have time to knit my own patterns), and part of it is because I don’t want to accidentally see something someone else has done and have it lodge deep in the back of my brain and come spilling out in one of my own patterns.
This rule does not apply with stitch dictionaries. Those I buy with complete and utter abandon. If I see a new one, I buy it. The weirder the better, and double bonus points if it’s in some other language. I buy them, leaf through them, swatch from them, and mark them up with lots of of notes and sticky flags. Now I almost never use the things in them unaltered, but they are a really excellent starting point for learning what happens if you do this…or this…or what about this funky thing over here. I recommend everyone with any interest in knitting at all pick up stitch dictionaries and dabble, as they’ll dramatically increase your knitting vocabulary.
But, sadly, I must make one warning. If you have a Barry, or a kitten overlord in any way like Barry, do consider putting those sticky flags on the side instead of on the top. Otherwise they may not be there when you want to consult them.