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.
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.
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: Continue reading