Top critical review
261 people found this helpful
Much needed resource, but could be better
on August 1, 2007
Like most of the other reviewers, I was super glad when this book came out. I'm a complete knitting moron and I was really struggling with the loom I'd gotten last Thanksgiving. Isela has been a great teacher for me through her web site articles and so I was excited that perhaps this book would collect stuff idiot n00bs like me should know, all in one place.
Well, there is a lot of good info in the book. But for me, it was a bit hard to use. Some of the topics are not grouped logically so I found it hard to understand why they appeared where they did. For example, in the Round Loom Knitting chapter, the book talks about making a slipknot, casting on, some basic stitches, and finishing. Ok so far. Then the book goes into left field for a moment with explaining gauge, and then makes a U-turn back to other cast-ons, knit/purl combos, and binding off after sticking in a couple of practice patterns.
Now, before anyone crucifies me for nit-picking, I should say I write technical books for a living. I know topic organization (as well as editing) and unfortunately, this book needs some...badly. The book isn't doing me any favors when it tries to make me practice the "simple hat" pattern after it inexplicably talks about gauge and before it talks about "more cast ons." Such mixing of conceptual and procedural material is at once confusing and rather off-putting, especially for anyone like me who's never knitted before. It makes me think that either knitters are a scatter-brained lot who can actually follow these meanderings (which I know is not true) or that I'm just stupid for not getting it (which I also know is not true).
That said, once I got past the crappy sequence of info, I started having fun learning the basic stitches and making something. I particularly like the diagrams -- they do a very good job of depicting what's happening when, especially with increases and decreases. There's a lot of new terminology in knitting and the book explains it all.
I think the key to really getting the most out of this book is to use it as a reference. If you're looking only for patterns, buy a different book. The patterns in this book are for practicing, not for actually showing off your mad knitting skillz. Personally, I have no call to knit my own hats and socks, but I probably will knit some so I can practice the stitches and techniques. However, I will refer to this book many times as I get more comfortable with knitting.
If the book was organized more logically, I probably would give it another star. Still, there is a ton of good info here and, organization aside, I'm a lot less frustrated because of this book.