For those who have never before knitted a sock, this is a good way to begin. If you can knit and purl, you can do this. For those sock knitters unfami...moreFor those who have never before knitted a sock, this is a good way to begin. If you can knit and purl, you can do this. For those sock knitters unfamiliar with the two circular needles technique of knitting a tube, this is the one book you'll need.
I love the author's humor; no other sock pattern I've seen includes the instruction: "Make yourself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch...." or this "Please repeat it back to yourself so you don't forget." or this "When you calm down...buy a ticket to Switzerland." or this "The beautiful meadow begins...."
The instructions are clear and simple, she errs on the side of too much information rather than too little, which is fine with me.
This would be a good one for my keeper shelf if I hadn't checked it out from the library.(less)
It is pure coincidence that I picked up this book from my huge to-read box on September 11, but it is apropos. This is part memoir, and part interview...moreIt is pure coincidence that I picked up this book from my huge to-read box on September 11, but it is apropos. This is part memoir, and part interviews. It was published shortly after the 2001 attacks, and though it does not deal directly with the subject, the inteviewees, especially those in New York, cannot avoid the subject.
The theme of this book seems to be "why I wanted to learn to knit and who taught me". It is an exploration of just what it is about knitting that draws devotees. I like that the author, Lela Nargi, shares her own reasons and those of others without academic detachment. She tells us how she came to research and write this, and how the stories she collected affected her. Reading it feels like listening to a friend share. Even her husband puts his two cents in, as if he'd stepped in from the den for a snack. There is none of the irreverence of a Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, but there is plenty of Nargi's understated charm.
I will say that I would not recommend anyone to use this as a guide to the online knitting world, it is sadly out of date for that. Those who read it and want to connect to that world should start with the Ravelry website in my opinion, it is a lot like a knit and crochet version of Goodreads.
I feel anyone who enjoys quilting, crochet, or other handicrafts will like this book.(less)
This is the best knitting book I've come across to date, and I've read more than a couple of hundred, so that's really saying something. There are man...moreThis is the best knitting book I've come across to date, and I've read more than a couple of hundred, so that's really saying something. There are many excellent color-coded drawings to accompany the verbal instructions, so that I was easily able to visualize any unfamiliar technique. Should that not be sufficient, the text contains "links" to video demonstrations on her website.
One good thing is that her sock construction method has no short rows, no "turning the heel", and no working back and forth. If you can knit in the round, you can do this. I would rather have learned this method before taking multiple classes to learn how to knit socks. As a matter of fact, I'd like to teach classes from this book. You can succeed with having never made a sock before, or even knowing another who has made a sock before. She teaches simple increases and decreases with the same open, friendly tone she uses to teach some of the more advanced ideas.
I loved that this method of sock construction makes it equally simple to replace worn parts of the heel, sole, or toe without starting from scratch, which most sock construction techniques cannot claim. I also loved that this technique is so repeatable. Once you've made a perfectly-fitted sock, you can repeat the success with minimal reference to notes, you can even change the thickness of the yarn, without negating the usefulness of the template. In fact, I think an experienced knitter will be able to make the seventh, eighth, or sixty-fifth sock without having to look at any instructions at all.
I've got to say, I've been knitting for nearly 40 years, designing and teaching for over ten years, and some of Bordhi's ideas and techniques were new to me, particularly the way she goes from knitting a toe straight to the heel with only a placekeeper for the leg of the sock, and a cast-on/first round increase method, and a yarn-over stretchy bindoff method. She does give credit where she presents techniques "unvented"* by someone else. Even those techniques from others are contained in video demonstrations at the author's website. I plan to try them all, and use them in other applications.
I think her method of delineating the leg opening is a huge improvement on Elizabeth Zimmerman's "afterthought thumb", so I'm going to be making mittens with Bordhi's technique in mind.
I picked up this book because my husband had diabetic surgery a few years back that left him with an oddly-shaped right foot, and no toes. I made one sock for it, using a toe-up method, that fit all right but left me feeling inadequate as a knitwear designer. Using the method in this book, I believe that I'll be able to knit a perfectly-fitted sock for the strangely-shaped foot every time. The confidence is worth the price of admission (which as I've checked the book out from the public library, is nothing yet).
I'd say the only weakness in her method is that it won't help me make socks for my new grandson. Each time I'm sure I've got it right, he'll grow and change. That's OK, he lives in Texas and doesn't need handknit wool socks.
I've got to get myself a copy of this book, even if I cannot find it for less than <***gasp*** 'oh, the horrors' ***shuddering***> full retail. I'm going to renew this copy as much as they'll let me before I return it to the library. If ever I would need to get rid of 90% of my knitting books, I'd be keeping this one.
*For those who are unfamiliar with "unventions", knitting goddess Elizabeth Zimmerman coined the word to reflect her belief that there is truly nothing new under the knitting sun, we are not "inventing" anything, just rediscovering a lost technique. Whether she is right or not, I like the word, along with another I discovered in one of her books, antepenultimate (the next to the next to the last).
For those looking for a copy of this, I can tell you that my public library had it coded as 746.432 B729P under the Dewey Decimal System.
I gained confidence and got cheered up merely by reading this, which is unusual in a how-to book. I hope this book can do the same for the reader of my reviews.(less)
I think the patterns in this book gave me a better idea of what is involved in designing a pattern. Bordhi doesn't only show us "what" or "how", she s...moreI think the patterns in this book gave me a better idea of what is involved in designing a pattern. Bordhi doesn't only show us "what" or "how", she shares her "why". Those who might be ready to try a bit of redesigning sock knitting patterns could certainly justify the cost of this book.
The only reason I'm not rushing right to my stash to begin some of these is because I read the second book first, and wanted to try that version.(less)
Interesting patterns around the paranormal theme. Nothing truly new or outstanding, I'd recommend French Girl Knits for those who find this not quite...moreInteresting patterns around the paranormal theme. Nothing truly new or outstanding, I'd recommend French Girl Knits for those who find this not quite what they were looking for.
My public library has Vampire Knits under 746.432 M468, dewey decimal system.(less)
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, AKA The Yarn Harlot, has deviated from her earlier formula. The other books looked like, and probably were, collections of blo...moreStephanie Pearl-McPhee, AKA The Yarn Harlot, has deviated from her earlier formula. The other books looked like, and probably were, collections of blogs and/or essays. They were funny. We all wished for more. Here it is.
This book is written as a travelogue through the land of knitting. One point of view shown is that of a newbie who becomes a Knitter (with a capital K), and is exposed through letters written by that person along the journey, as if she were in that land writing home.
The rest is shown much as one would find in a Fodor's guide. We learn how to get there, what to pack, the history, etc. All of this is tongue in cheek and screamingly hilarious. There are health warnings about the dangers of startitis, finish-it-itis, whiplash, and the dreaded viral second sock syndrome. Each lists symptoms and treatment. We learn of endangered species such as the wild argyle. There are biographies of prominent knitters, such as Nancy Bush and Madame LaFarge (yes, I know she's fictional). There are translations and customs and etiquette. (One may only knit at a funeral if the deceased was a knitter.) We are given lists of appropriate music and books. There are knitting sports, arts, culture. There are pests such as the Long-Tailed Stash Scooper. Religion and the justice system are discussed in proper knitting context.
She even shares a pretty good stash-busting afghan pattern.
I'd like to share the final sentence with you, it kind of sums it all up for me:
"We know it looks like yarn, but it's love...and for this it's worth giving up all your closet space."(less)
First let me state my qualifications to review this book: I've been knitting for over 30 years, and have taught at two shops.
This lovely book is part...moreFirst let me state my qualifications to review this book: I've been knitting for over 30 years, and have taught at two shops.
This lovely book is part pattern collection, part stitch dictionary. I'm sorry I did not stumble across this 2008 release sooner. I'll probably make some of these one day. (I may make the blocks for my grandson.) Some pattern authors are married to their abbreviations to the point of obscurity, that fault is not found here. What I read of the patterns I liked a lot, except that Leapman does not seem to share my prejudice for working in the round whenever possible. She has written these so one only needs one or two sets of straight needles. (I think we're intelligent enough to work a collar in the round without saving one seam for last.) Her caps are worked in the round.
This book reads very well for a how-to guide. The explanations are complete, detailed, and readily understandable. The illustrations are well-drawn and large enough to see clearly. There are photographs of everything charted.
A beginner might be better off starting with the book to which this is a sequel, Melissa Leapman's Cables Untangled: An Exploration of Cable Knitting. I have not seen it, but if it is as well done as this one, it will be great. I'm planning to check it out of the library to see if I wish to buy it. (My current favorite cable reference is the old version (out of print) Harmony Guide.)
I really liked that this book is organized so that every chart has its symbols defined on the same page. There is no need to flip back and forth from a glossary. Some might be intimidated by the fact that the dictionary section relies on charts and not line-by-line written instructions. Should you be one of those, give this a chance. There are detailed directions for the design element accompanying each glossary item. For instance, instead of just saying "M = M1" or "M = Make 1" as some do, it says, "M = M1 Knitwise = Insert LH needle under the horizontal strand between two sts from front to back and K it through back loop." This is also taught more completely with illustrations and complete paragraphs in the beginning of the book. The same is true from the simplest twists and cables through the most complicated cables where one needs two cable needles. (Should one find this too intimidating, perhaps Barbara G. Walker's Charted Knitting Designs: A Third Treasury of Knitting Patterns will help.)
Instructions on these moves, and the section on what a chart is and how it is to be read, would work well for any instructor's class. I know that should I return to teaching, this could be a powerful reference. It would also be a great text for a class on this topic.
Back to the topic. Melissa Leapman assumes one has never made anything more complicated than a ribbing. The tone is neither paternalistic nor condescending, but confidence-inspiring. I really liked that several of the more complicated instructions, such as how to increase one stitch into five invisibly, suggest that one has a friend read the steps as they are attempted, so that there is no need to go back and forth from looking at the printed page to looking at one's needles.
In short, I suggest all yarn shop owners, knitting teachers, and knitwear designers should own a copy of this; everyone else could check it out of the public library to see if they would want to buy it.
A clear and understandable reference for beginning knitters ready to attempt colorwork. This book deals only with striping and mosaic techniques, but...moreA clear and understandable reference for beginning knitters ready to attempt colorwork. This book deals only with striping and mosaic techniques, but goes into depth on the multitude of ways these can be used.(less)
These are some good designs in the traditional construction mode (no Cat Bordhi alternative lifestyles here). I'd suggest that the instructions might...moreThese are some good designs in the traditional construction mode (no Cat Bordhi alternative lifestyles here). I'd suggest that the instructions might be easier to follow had one already knit socks before, but they appear to be complete. Some of the colorwork charts would be easier to read had there been more contrast between the colors used. The lace and cable charts were easy to read and big enough that I felt no temptation to enlarge them on a copier.
As to the "must-knit" factor, I saw nothing that made me feel the need to rush right out to the yarn shop for the materials. The designs were good enough that were I to plan a pair of socks as a gift for a woman, I'd check out this book again for ideas.
My public library had it labeled as 746.432 K 835 in the Dewey Decimal System.(less)
This book is in three parts. The first part is a history of the tradition. The second part contains directions to make several projects. The third par...moreThis book is in three parts. The first part is a history of the tradition. The second part contains directions to make several projects. The third part is a stitch dictionary for designing one's own projects.
Whether or not I ever make a shawl from this book, I appreciate the well-researched history lessons and also the fact that some of the patterns have been adapted for more modern techniques.
The dictionary of lace stitch pattern graphs in the back is worth hte price of the book.
My public library had it as dewey decimal no. 746.226 B978.(less)
Though this book is aimed at knitters, with several authentic patterns, the explanations, charts, sidebars, history and geography lessons take up more...moreThough this book is aimed at knitters, with several authentic patterns, the explanations, charts, sidebars, history and geography lessons take up more than half of it. I learned that the locals view bird symbols as bringers of good luck, and trapezoids as symbols of mother earth. I learned the difference between an alpaca and a llama. I read about the fibers of the carawata bromeliad. I learned about the fortune-tellers who use coca leaves. I learned that one can do a lot with coca leaves that does not involve cocaine production. We see photos of spinners, dyers, and learn that in this region men knit as much or more than women do.
Fascinating lore is shared. I think any crafter or designer would enjoy this one.
Judged purely as a knitting book, I did not like it very much. It is so authentic that designs which have little or no use in modern American culture make up most of the patterns. I will probably use the mitten chart and some of the others in my own designs, but I may never make any of the projects in this book unless I make a cap or one day have a granddaughter for whom to knit the doll-form purses. The authentic colors chosen are not my favorites.
I'd recommend checking this out of the public library and seeing whether or not you agree with my review.(less)
This was an uninspired collection of boring-to-mildly interesting garments that seemed mainly designed to sell Rowan yarns. I am...moreThe title says it all.
This was an uninspired collection of boring-to-mildly interesting garments that seemed mainly designed to sell Rowan yarns. I am glad that I found it at Half Price Books, more glad that it was marked "Super Buy $3.00", and gladder still that I had a 15% off coupon to bring the price down to $2.55. Had I paid the $27.95 cover price, I'd be kicking myself.
With that out of the way, I'd say I do like the excellent instructions and the clear and understandable charts and illustrations. There is a good page on how to measure a teddy bear in order to design the right size sweater for it. Plenty of value for $2.55.
I'll hang onto this as a reference for my own designing, as with four grown children there's a high likelihood that I'll have plenty of grandchildren and grandchildren's teddies for which to knit. (My only grandchild to date is a bit young yet to have a preference.)(less)
These aren't your run of the mill projects...this is the most creatively unique collection I've ever run across. I won't be knitting any of them, but...moreThese aren't your run of the mill projects...this is the most creatively unique collection I've ever run across. I won't be knitting any of them, but my imagination as an amateur knitwear designer was stretched by what I read. I think anyone who has ever knitted a scarf ought to look through these. [My library had it as Dewey Decimal No. 746.432 EPS:] Enjoy!(less)
These wild projects are sized for the small set. None of them are too difficult. There is a mobile, the obligatory blanket, a poet coat, lacy angel wi...moreThese wild projects are sized for the small set. None of them are too difficult. There is a mobile, the obligatory blanket, a poet coat, lacy angel wings, Scenester Leg Warmers (if you have to ask what a Scene-ster is you're too old to understand the answer, my daughter tells me) and much more adorable stuff.(less)