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Mary Thomas's Knitting Book Paperback – June 1, 1972

31 customer reviews

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Mary Thomas's Knitting Book + Mary Thomas's Book of Knitting Patterns (Dover Knitting, Crochet, Tatting, Lace)
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

There is a knitting book as dependable as your own private instructor, as complete, as explicit, and equally as helpful . . . Mary Thomas's Knitting Book. It's a veritable encyclopedia of knitting, clearly and definitively explaining and illustrating every method, operation and stitch, and a good number of the patterns you are ever likely to need or use.
After an engaging history of the craft and its implements, Miss Thomas carefully lays the foundation of knitting in the opening chapters―how to hold needles, wind yarn, gauge stitches, control tension, etc.―and builds gradually upon it in the following sections. These explain in lucid progression every operation in common knitting, from basic knit stitch and purl, casting on and casting off, shaping by decreases and increases to turning, triangular shapes and mitres, and knitting on the diagonal or bias.
For the reader who has mastered these fundamental procedures, Miss Thomas devotes the remainder of the book to fancy knitting stitches and techniques, including color knitting by stranding and weaving; pattern weaving; knitting woven, by frame with its complement of stitches (plain, raised, rib, etc.), looped, beaded, embroidered by chart, using cross stitch, honeycomb, etc.; and making patterns for garments and working out their details (armholes, belts, buttonholes, collars, hems, necklines, pockets et al). To put what the reader learns into practice, she offers instructions and patterns for making various Shetland shawls, gloves, and socks.
More than 250 technique diagrams clearly illustrate every operation and pattern as to position of hands, yarn, and needle, so the knitter will have no trouble in following along. For all knitters, whether beginner or adept, a chapter of helpful knitting hints on blocking, picking up dropped stitches, lengthening, knitting up, mending, taking-back (correcting), etc. completes these invaluable and personalized lessons.
Unabridged republication of original (1938) edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (June 1, 1972)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486228177
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486228174
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #238,111 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

143 of 143 people found the following review helpful By Mary A. Morley on May 22, 1998
Format: Paperback
This edition is a reprint of a book first published in 1938. Some of the language seems a little old-fashioned and quaint, as do some of the references to "new" items,(rayon yarn for example) but this only adds to the charm of the book.
The descriptions are precise, the illustrations are clear, and the techniques themself are classic. This book is loaded with interesting ways of doing things that I have never seen before. I would imagine that without books like this, some of these techniques and historical tidbits would stand the risk of being lost. That fact alone makes this book priceless. I would enthusiastically recommend it not just as a basic reference for any knitter, beginner or experienced, but for anyone interested in craft history.
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48 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Adam's Mom on December 19, 2003
Format: Paperback
As with many Dover books, this one is information dense and packs a lot of detail in a small space. It covers a wide variety of knitting techniques and the accompanying hand-drawn diagrams are straightforward. While other knitting books may overexplain a technique to the point of confusion or boredom, this one is economical and precise. It serves well as a reference guide and learning book.
Not only is it of value in terms of technique, but it serves as a wonderful primer for the history of knitting.
The only caveat is that if one is an absolute beginner with no background in knitting, then the "Knitting for Dummies" books is easier to digest.
All in all, a wonderful find at a wonderful price.
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By D. Tzoutzouraki on March 3, 2006
Format: Paperback
I was surprised to find in this book many of the things that appear in newer how-to knitting books eg the spiral sock that is on page 229, 230. And this not the only material that you will see that's in other books. In this book the material is in a rather condensed form. In the newer books it appears with color photographs and modernized. But still I find this a good book and especially at this price you can see where it all begun.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By KnittingMom8 VINE VOICE on November 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is such a fun book. I have read a little more than half of it now, and skimmed through the rest, and there is so much here. The history of knitting that she gives at the beginning as well as sprinkled throughout the text is very interesting. She shows ways to do things that I have never heard of, and explains some things so that I finally understand them! I don't know if this would be good for the complete beginner. But then, I think that knitting is easier learned from a person than a book. But, once you have a few basics down, this book will teach you a lot.

The writing style makes you feel as if she is sitting there talking to you. And the words "hip", "funky", and "not your grandmother's...", are never used. That is a real plus to me, as I find that whole trend rather irritating. (But that's a whole 'nother topic.)

Here are the chapter titles to give you an idea of what is in the book:
History
Knitting Implements, Ancient and Modern
Knitting Yarns
Gauge and Tension
Knit Movements, Stitch and Fabric
Selvedges. Casting on. Casting off. Edges
Shape: Increasing and Decreasing
Colour Knitting
Frame or Rake knitting
Looped Knitting
Beaded and Bead knitting
Embroidered Knitting
Garments
Details of Garments
Shetland Shawls
Gloves
Socks and Stockings
Knitting Hints

I found it very interesting that there was a chapter about rake and loom knitting, as that has become so popular again. I do knit on knitting boards too, and the directions and illustrations were the same that you would see in a more "modern" book. There really is nothing new under the sun! The spiral sock pattern looks fun too. I want to give that a try soon.

Overall, this book is full of interesting information, and while not as glitzy as the newer books, it would make a great addition to your knitting library.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Marilyn Graulau on February 21, 2007
Format: Paperback
I've taken my time between receiving the book and writing this review. This book has so much going for it I didn't know where to start. This is so information packed with techniques that I thought were "new" such as knitting with beads, looped knitting and felting.

I know how tempting those big books with all the beautiful color pictures are but you'd pay three, four or five times as much as you would for this little gem. It provides a surprisingly interesting chapter on the history of knitting.

It has an old-fashioned feel to it that is totally charming as are the illustrations which give the eye a rest among all the info provided. I purchased it mostly because I need techniques for Fair Isle knitting, and the book provides very good info on this.

Deserves to be in every knitters library no matter how hip you may be.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Thoughtful reader on November 7, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have a bookshelf of knitting books, and after reading over and over about Mary Thomas and her books, I finally broke down and purchased them. Wow! Am I impressed! She did an amazingly thorough job of writing, and of illustrating her volumes. Treat yourself to this classic:-) and its companion volume.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Scottish Gypsy on September 21, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A must have knitting book. Mary Thomas, Barbara G. Walker, Elizabeth Zimmermann's and Barbara Abbey's books are all must have books for any serious knitter. You can't go wrong purchasing any of their books. Don't pass up this little gem of knowledge.
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