Knitting (Idiot's Guides) Paperback – September 3, 2013
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Now, why am I reading a beginners book? First, I like to have something to recommend to new knitters because I remember being terribly frustrated when I started out. I ended up learning from a mish-mash of friends looking over my shoulder, YouTube videos, and mediocre beginner books from my library. I’ve been on the hunt for a program that involves slightly less cursing.
Second, there are still some things I don’t know how to do. Colorwork is a big one for me. For years, after some huge failures, I just avoided doing anything more complicated than stripes. I think, once I whittle away at my queue a bit, I’m going to give it a try again.
Anyway, the review.
Is this book really for beginners?
I’m happy to report: Heck yes. It covers techniques at a glacial speed, with a great mix of diagrams and photos. This is just what a beginner needs. Too many books try to teach casting on, knit stitches, purl stitches, and binding off in the first few minutes.
Even with going slow, though, she manages to cover a wide array of techniques. She goes all the way up to cables, colorwork, and knitting in the round! I think this is the first time I’ve seen a book cover this many things and still be a beginners book.
Goodacre also covers things most beginning books avoid. I’ve never seen a book talk about picking out yarn (most just say to use the yarn in the pattern), or the differences in various kinds of yarn. I learned how to substitute through guessing, and that’s an expensive way to learn.
Finally, she goes over mistakes. This is something I wish I’d had, back in the day. The only solution from my knitting circle? Rip back and try again. *sad trombone* She goes over dropped stitches, fixing stitches, and getting rid if stitches you don’t need.
The patterns are actually nice (most beginner books suffer from having incredibly ugly patterns), and the author takes care not to use any techniques or stitches that haven’t been explained before. I’m going to be trying several out!
My only critique has to do with the digital version. I read mine on my Kindle Fire, and it was pretty obvious that they weren’t planning for a digital audience. There’s no useful table of contents for tablets. The index only has page numbers (so no hopping around). I couldn’t zoom in on text, which was an issue for some pages, since the text and color caused some weird dithering. I could still read it, but it wasn’t pleasant.
Also, I’m on the biggest Fire. Had I been on a smaller tablet, I’m pretty sure this book would have been unusable.
I hope that they fix this in the future, because this would be an awesome book to have on your phone, knitting on the go.
The one thing for beginners this book is really missing is how to achieve straight edges. The first thing you typically learn in knitting is garter stitch. What you need to do to get straight edges with garter stitch is to slip the first stitch of every row purlwise. To learn how to do that I’d recommend the Jenny Knits video on YouTube. She also has good videos on tinking which is how to unknit & unpurl your stitches when you’ve made a mistake on the current row you’re working on. Tink is knit spelled backwards. This book has instructions for tinking knit stitches but not for purl stitches. Another thing is seed stitch isn’t in this book but moss stitch is. It’s a little confusing because she lists it as Moss (Seed) Stitch. It’s moss stitch and seed stitch is different.
As a brand new knitter I think this is a good book from what I’ve read of it but it does seem to leave out a few things. Hopefully I won’t find more is missing as I get further into it.
The basic patterns are great, covering simple stuff like scarves, but some very pretty patterns and knots for jumpers and what not.
Well worth getting if you're a beginner and even if you're not.