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Mary Thomas's Knitting Book Paperback – June 1, 1972
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From the Back Cover
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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Yes, there are more exhaustive tomes out there, and I'd be happy to have them as secondary references, but this one is my "essential" being both concise (only 256 pages to cover its subject) and compact (only 5 3/8" x 8 1/2").
That said, I must advise those with delicate sensibilities that this book is a product of its time (1938). The kindly might call some of its sidebar illustrations "misguided and culturally insensitive". The plainer-spoken might call them "offensively racist". For those who can acknowledge such missteps and move on, it holds a treasure-trove of indispensable **knitting** information—to those for whom this is a step too far, I advise (with some regret) that you look elsewhere.
I love this book. Received it yesterday and stayed up all night reading. Her description and illustration of Invisible Cast On, which has terrorized me for years, was immediately understandable -- worth its price for that alone. And why would i care about the different methods of knitting -- crossed and uncrossed, Eastern and Western, etc? To give me an opportunity to explore knitting in that style, and using it creatively for my own purposes! Mary Walker Phillips uses a lot of these tools in her (also fabulous!) book "Creating Knitting", which is where i want to be now. This book will help me get there.
Here in the 21st Century, we like to think that we are SO cutting edge, in every industry. This tiny but mighty book proves indisputably that knitting has been a serious art form for centuries -- i challenge anyone to prove they can knit silk at 36 st/inch (with no errors!) as shown by a knitting fragment from Egypt in the 6th-7th century.
Impressive book. Very inexpensive. Great for a beginner, who wants to explore knitting in greater depth, without the errors so tragically frequent in the (many beautifully seductive) knitting books published today. Check it out!
So I bought two, one for me and one for my sis. And I am so glad I did, as I'm re-teaching myself to knit correctly by working through this book. It's fun to actually find out why things are done certain ways and explore the possibilities that open up once that understanding is there. THANK YOU, Mary Thomas!
That said, for the interested reader, this is a truly fascinating book that is densely packed with information.
You will be happiest if you can borrow it from a library before buying it to be sure it is your cup of tea.