The Principles of Knitting- a beginning knitter’s review

I posted last week that I had gotten a couple of exciting new knitting books in the mail. Well, I’m finally getting around to reviewing them now. I thought I’d start off with The Principles of Kitting as it is probably one of the more well known knitting technique books.

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I’ve heard this book described as “The PhD thesis of knitting” and I completely agree with that statement. This book probably has enough techniques to keep you busy most of the rest of your life. While it does get very technical at points (especially describing various stitches) it also has a great section for beginning knitters that gives a quick overview of basic knitting methods including the essentials like casting on, knit/purl, and casting off.
To keep this review from getting long and boring, I decided it might be better to make a pros/cons list:

Pros
-Gives a good overview of basics
-Has advanced techniques and more obscure methods of others
-Occasionally, it gives an opinion on what method is best- these are well explained and don’t seem too arbitrary or bossy.
-Decently well organized. A good table of contents to help you find what you need; the index is also helpful
– If you are used to using youtube to figure out how to do things, this book gives a nice collection of techniques all in one place. Plus, you don’t have to click through several videos until you find a good one.
– The pictures, while sparse in some sections, are very helpful at showing the big picture of what a technique is accomplishing. This is especially great in the section on different stitches.

Cons
-This book is incredibly heavy- like a dictionary- so it is definitely not portable (although there is a kindle version available)
-Once you get past the section for beginners, some of the techniques are not as well explained- they seem to assume you know pretty well what’s going on (which I sometimes don’t)
-Some sections don’t have as much information as I’d like. For instance,
– The section on lace is about 2 pages long. Instead of explaining what kinds of stitch
patterns are used, it basically says “lace uses knit, purl, and variations like everything
else so we don’t need to talk about it. You’ll figure it out”. As someone who is pretty new
to knitting and who has never attempted lace, this was a little off-putting.
-Another thing I would have liked, as an inexperienced knitter, is a more detailed description
of blocking garments. This process kind of scares me since I’ve never done it before and
there seem to be a lot of dissenting opinions on it. The blocking section here is wedged
into the swatch section. The later chapter on garments just refers the reader back to this.
It is not organized as clearly and it would be nice if it were more detailed
-this isn’t that important, but I wish the pictures were in color. They are effective but it makes the book seem more textbook-like

Sorry that this post is so long. I hope you got something out of it (or at least didn’t die of boredom)
You can find Principles of Kitting here or at your local yarn shop.

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2 comments

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