Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Knitting Book by Frederica Patmore and Vikki Haffenden

The Knitting Book is a reference book for knitters with 250 techniques, 120 stitch patterns and 40 projects. It can be used by those just starting to knit or seasoned knitters with years of experience. It contains materials, basic techniques, advanced techniques, projects and stitch patterns.

This book is fantastic! It contains tons of information about materials, techniques and patterns. The techniques section takes up the majority of the book and is quite extensive. It covers basics (casting on, casting off, knitting, purling, picking up a dropped stitch, ripping out, following a pattern, increasing/decreasing, etc.), more advanced techniques (cables, lace, colourwork, textures, structures, circular knitting, finishing details), and a whole lot more.

  Even though I've been knitting for years, I still learned a lot from this book. For example, I didn't realize how many different methods there were for casting on stitches. I only ever used one, the knit-on method. I had a little trouble deciphering some of the photographs and explanations to go with them because I'm left handed. It was not usually a problem, but for figuring out new stuff, it was a little confusing.

The tools and materials section featured large colourful photographs and clear explanations. I had no idea there were so many different kinds of yarns, needles and other equipment. It was definitely educational. I loved that the yarns and needles format included advantages and disadvantages for each of the items. While I had heard of both fair isle and intarsia before, I didn't really know what they were or how they differed. The book did a wonderful job of explaining both. Not that I'm going to be doing either of them soon, but it's always good to know these things. ;)

The pattern galley is really cool! I loved the large photos, which allow the knitter to see the stitches up close. However, I'm not sure why though they stuck the instructions for the patterns in the back of the book. I would have preferred to have the two of them together.

The book also featured several large photographs on double page spreads of various knitting techniques, like lace, beading, cables etc. I loved these. It was awesome to see them up close and in such a large size.

I was particularly interested in recycling yarn from old sweaters (page 267) or using unusual yarns for knitting (page 268-271). I loved the idea of cutting up rescued yarn into lengths, then knotting it together with other yarns to form a "new" variegated knotty yarn. That would make an unusual, yet wonderfully unique, scarf or other knitted item.

The book contains 40 projects of varying degrees of difficulty. The projects included scarves, toques, gloves, arm warmers, socks, bags, baby stuff, blankets, as well as novelties items like toys, pillows, and coasters. There were probably only a few that I would do, but I liked that they authors provided a wide selection of different items. A few of the chosen colours were a little too bright for my liking, but I suppose I could always pick a different colour. My favourite pattern was for a Campfire Blanket (page 348-349). The earthy colours and pattern were quite lovely. The pattern was written in chart form only, which I've never used before. If I decide to make project, I'll be learning another new thing from the book.

The table of contents is adequate, but I wish that they had listed the projects. The glossary is pretty good and defines some of the terms used in the book. The index is fairly extensive and should aid the knitter in finding items in the book.

Highly recommended for all levels of knitters.

For more information about this book or to browse inside, please visit DK's website.

I'd like to thank those nice people at DK Canada for this review copy.

The Knitting Book by Frederica Patmore and Vikki Haffenden, Dorling Kindersley (DK), ©2011. ISBN 9780756682354 (Hardcover), 400p.


  1. You've probably heard me carry on about how bad I am at knitting. :) I really envy anyone who has mastered this craft. This book sounds like lots of fun. Maybe someday... :)

  2. Even after decades of knitting, I still need to refer to a book when I need a specific type of cast on. Always a good idea to have a reference book.

  3. I love to knit but am still basically a beginner. My mother-in-law gave me an old knitter's bible reference book that sounds similar to this.


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