Book Review

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  The Ultimate Knitter's Guide: Patterns and Techniques
by Kate Buller
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You can find several good knitting technique books out there, and just as many knitting pattern collections. But try to find a good technique guide that also has great patterns and the list gets considerably shorter.

Pleasant Surprise

I'll admit, when I first spotted Kate Buller's book, I thought it was just another textbook-style knitting guide. And it is, except for one thing: Kate Buller just happens to be the retail manager for Rowan Yarns.

This means she had carte blanche to use some of the most beautiful designs in the Rowan archives. You'll find fashionable patterns for women, children, and men from Kaffe Fassett, Kim Hargreaves, Louisa Harding, and other Rowan designers. And if you were wondering, this isn't just a redundant rehash of what's already been included in The Best of Rowan.

Covering Good Territory

The patterns are only part of the story here. Buller does a lot to earn this book its "ultimate" title, especially considering it is only 176 pages. Explanations are well-written and clear. Photo illustrations are abundant and always show the hands manipulating the stitches (something I find helpful).

I particularly appreciate the fact that Buller does not preach one technique alone. Rather, she strives to show all your options.

For example, she illustrates not one but three methods for holding yarn (Scottish, French, and Continental), and then later demonstrates multiple ways to do colorwork depending on which yarn-holding technique you're using.

Even if you're beyond the beginner stage, there is still more wisdom to be found in this book. For example, I learned a crafty new technique for spacing buttonholes properly.

Innovative Design

The book is designed using a spiral-bound, split-page format; the top two-thirds of the book is bound separately from the bottom third.

The top section is dedicated to patterns, while the bottom area covers stitch and technique information. It's easy to look up a stitch quickly without losing your place in the pattern.

Potential Pitfall

The only problem I foresee is in regular wear and tear. Although the cover is extraordinarily strong, the pages themselves began to show signs of tearing from their spiral binding after just a few days of regular turning.

And when I stood the book upright, the bottom section had a tendency to sag and stick out from under the cover.

Is it a Fit?

Patterns range from moderately easy to relatively complex, making this book more appropriate for the advanced beginner and beyond. If you already know the essentials and want to take your skills to the next level, this book provides plenty of inspiration.

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