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Book Review


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  How to Knit: The Definitive Knitting Course
by Debbie Bliss
Buy it Now at Amazon.com

It takes an enormous amount of patience to sit down and teach someone how to knit. This book is the equivalent of a master class, with Bliss as the teacher. It is thorough, easy to read, and well-illustrated. It makes even hard knitting projects look relatively easy -- a trademark of Debbie Bliss' designs.

Layout

The book is divided into nine workshops: Beginner's, Simple Stitch Patterns, Aran, Color, Lace, Entrelac, Decorative Details, Design, and Finishing.

Each workshop contains information about the techniques and stitches common to that subject, followed by one or more sample projects you can try if you want to get your feet wet. The back of the book has a Basic Information listing of abbreviations, including the most helpful Aran Stitch abbreviation glossary I've ever seen.

The Patterns

Here's where the fact that this book is by Debbie Bliss matters most. These aren't just your run-of-the-mill patterns. You get over 15 projects total, each with its own distinctive style and flair, from a beginner's garter stitch bag to a textured entrelac sweater. The recommended yarns are Rowan.

What It Isn't

In her introduction, Bliss says this book is for anyone looking to improve their knitting skills. She covers a lot of intermediate-level territory that could easily intimidate the beginner. To test my theory, I shared this book with a friend I'm trying to get involved with knitting. Within minutes she was overwhelmed.

For established knitters, this book covers material that will follow you through your knitting life. I also see it as a good pick-me-up for when you're feeling bored and want to tackle a new knitting technique.

Despite the book's "definitive" title, this book is not an encyclopedia, and I don't think Bliss intended it to be marketed as such. If you're looking to have only one knitting reference book, you'd better stick to Vogue Knitting or the Big Book of Knitting. If you already have such a book, however, you should seriously consider adding this to your collection.

Presentation

From a pure design perspective, this book is so beautifully laid out that I can't help but keep reading, even if it's a subject that doesn't interest me.

My only peeve is that, while the illustrations clearly demonstrate all the steps leading up to a stitch, they don't show the end result on your right needle. I like to know what I'm shooting for.


A Must-Buy

How often do you have insight into the life and mind of a renowned knitwear designer? Not very.

That's why I like this book. Bliss presents each lesson in a personal, sympathetic voice. She shares her opinions, secrets, and stories.

Not only does this book exude the style and meticulousness upon which Bliss has built her reputation, but it also gives me a sense of who she is as a person.

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