Well, after my first all-nighter of college, I’m finally done with first semester of organic chemistry. Taking such a difficult class squished into 5 weeks has been taking away all of my knitting time. I did have time to go on a date with the boyfriend to Barnes & Noble though where I got to take a look at the knitting books. There were a ton of books with patterns,mbut with Ravelry, buying a book doesn’t really seem worth it. However, the technique books looked pretty cool- I especially want the one on finishing techniques since that is the most confusing part for me.
I still haven’t knit anything with an exact size or shape in mind and its kind of intimidating… Especially since I’m lazy and never really do swatches…
Besides the above books which I might look for on amazon, I bought my first knitting magazine just to see what they’re like. They basically seem like pattern books to me but with some articles on technique. Here’s the one I bought:
It cost a painful $15 but it was really the only one with patterns that I would actually wear. Most of the magazines didn’t have much geared towards a 20 year old so this one surprised me with its trendy patterns. I really want to make the two sweaters below. It also has an article on knitting with intarsia on an angle that looks really advanced. Maybe I’ll check that out someday.
Where do you guys get your patterns? Has ravelry and the prevalence of online patterns (especially free patterns) made physical books obsolete for you? Also, do you guys have any recommendations for a book on finishing techniques?
The last book that I’ve gotten in the past few weeks is Elizabeth Zimmermann’s classic Knitting Without Tears. In it, she describes different aspects of knitting in a very friendly and approachable way. The first chapter is called “The Opinionated Knitter” and boy is she ever opinionated. Her writing is punctuated by statements based on experience, but also with a sense of humor so her views are never over-bearing. This conversational style makes this a joy to read (unlike The Principles of Knitting which can sometimes read as an encyclopedia). I actually sat and read this book in one sitting.
Even if you know the basics of fitting garments and adapting patterns, I would still highly recommend this book for her memorable lines and encouragement:
“For people allergic to wool, one’s heart can only bleed… The allergic must be great full that they didn’t live in the dark ages of fifty years ago when one kept warm in winter with wool or froze to death in linen and cotton. Of course, some avoided pleurisy by swatting themselves in sables” (p.3)
“Loose knitting tends to make your stitches look somewhat uneven, but what of it?Are you trying to reproduce a boughten machine-made sweater?” (p. 6)
And this is only in the first few pages. Zimmermann is full of helpful tips, but she also includes several patterns for working sweaters the way she likes it (she is especially fond of seamless sweaters).
I would fully recommend this book to anyone who already knows the basics of knitting. Even if you are advanced and have many sweaters under your belt, it isn’t often that knitting books can be such a great read.
I’ll leave you with a parting quote from Zimmermann:
“Really, all you need to become a good knitter are wool, needles, hands, and slightly below-average intelligence. Of course, superior intelligence, such as yours and mine, is an advantage” (p.11)
Ok, after my more serious review of The Principles of Kitting, I thought I’d talk about something a little more fun! Here it is: Amigurumi Knits: patterns for 20 cute mini knits by Hansi Singh
I got this book at Michael’s last weekend mostly because it has a pattern for a knitted anglerfish which is so incredibly absurd that its wonderful. My boyfriend spotted this book pretty quickly too, and decided that I need to make him an anglerfish hoodie where it looks like the anglerfish is biting the head of whoever is wearing it. I’m not entirely sure how (or if) that will work so we’ll see if it ever really happens. Right now, I have too many other patterns lined up in my queue!
Anyways, back to the book. There is a great introduction to this book that covers almost all the techniques you’ll need to knit the patterns it contains. There are a ton of great color photos that help along the way. Then there’s the patterns. You can use this book to knit anything from a praying mantis to a tomato to the Loch Ness monster. Each pattern also gives a good overview that includes the basics like the needles and yarn you’ll need as well as an estimate of difficulty and a short description saying what techniques are needed.
All in all, this book seems great for beginners. Singh views these patterns as great ways to learn how to knit. This book looks like a ton of fun, and I can’t wait to try these patterns out!
You can find it here or at your local knitting shop.