Book Review: The Knitting Book
Over ten years ago I was dragged into the woolly world of knitting, and have been kept there ever since. I've knitted everything from socks to crazy creatures, and some of them have even found their way onto the street in the form of graffiti.
The Knitting Book by Frederica Patmore and Vikki Haffenden (published by Dorling Kindersley) sets out to encompass everything to do with knitting - from teaching you the basic stitches through to completing tricky and advanced techniques.
Most of the time I bumble along with my knitting, learning new techniques as I come across them in patterns and purposely ignoring mishaps along my way.
Each time I come across a new technique, I hastily run to youtube and look up the 'how to' instructions.
So, when I heard about a bible encompassing everything knitting and stitch related, I was obviously quite excited and when I flicked through the hardback cover, I was certainly not disappointed.
Above: The techniques are described with really clear photographs.
What's it about?
This is a huge guide to everything you need to learn and know about knitting, including different fibres, tools, stitches and some projects to put what you've learnt into practice.
There are five main chapters: Tools and Materials, Stitch Pattern Gallery, Techniques, Projects and Stitch Patterns. Each chapter guides you through with large beautiful photography and easy to follow instructions.
It's a little strange, however, that the stitch pattern gallery is before the techniques and the actual pattern instructions are at the back of the book. I've found myself skipping the gallery and looking instead at the pictures next to the pattern instructions themselves. This is such a minor problem though, and the huge techniques section more than makes up for it.
The projects section includes 40 projects, ranging from beginner to intermediate. A lot of them are quite basic, but that's exactly what I would want from a book like this. There are plenty of books out there which have highly complicated patterns, and this book doesn't need to have overly difficult designs.
They are good basic projects that are great reference, if you are more of an experienced knitter, and especially good for when you want to design something yourself but need the basic structure with which to work with.
Above: The Jelly Fish hat pattern. All the patterns in the book have clear images of the finished article without the distraction of models or set dressing.
What else is there?
Scattered through out the book are lots of little ideas and projects that link in with the techniques described. They even detail how to make 'plarn' (plastic yarn), and with 23 different cast-ons, you certainly won't get bored!
It's quite inspiring as you look through and leaves you reaching for the needles.
At the back there is also a Stitch library with 88 different stitch patterns, as well as flower and edging patterns.
Knitters of all persuasions: from those addicted to knitting and happily wandering around woolly headed, to those wanting to pick up a pair of needles but have not known where to start.
The Knitting Book is THE bible of knitting. It has so many different techniques and instructions I really didn't know where to start reading. Having said that though, it's not a book that you pick up and read all the way through, this is a delve in and out 'how do I do that?' kind of book.
It's a craft classic and one which I feel every knitter should have.
Have you found any craft classics? Let us know in the comments below.
[All images © Dorling Kindersley]