Book Review

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  Baby Knits for Beginners
by Debbie Bliss
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Debbie Bliss knows babies like Martha Stewart knows housewares. She has hundreds of published patterns to her name. And although she has been branching out to adult patterns lately, her trademark work is for babies and children.

In fact, Bliss has published so many children's patterns over the years that they can easily blur together into one adorable little garment.

How does Bliss keep from repeating herself... or does she? That's the question I pondered when I set out to review this new book.

Bliss for Beginners
As the name suggests, this book is primarily intended for rank beginners. The book begins with 39 pages of basic knitting instructions that are well-illustrated with photographs and/or drawings.

Then we arrive at the patterns. Each is intended to demonstrate a new technique or stitch type. Bliss begins with an extremely simple garter stitch scarf (intended to be the very first piece of fabric you knit) and colorful garter-stitch blanket. Then she introduces stockinette with three simple sachets.

Sweater Styles
Bliss covers most sweater styles and shapes, from boat-neck to v-neck cardigan, from seed stitch-bordered jacket to shawl-collared jacket, with several more styles in between.

She also teaches you how to make baby bootees (including assembly photographs I found particularly helpful) and socks on two needles.

True Bliss
You can easily recognize a Debbie Bliss pattern, not only because it calls for Debbie Bliss yarn but because it almost always is written with elaborate row-by-row instructions. Some knitters love this style, others find it too nitpicky (pardon the pun).

In the past, many knitters have commented that Bliss' patterns were too complex and intimidating. In this book, Bliss has simplified things significantly -- you'll find none of her usual elaborate stitchwork or color patterning.

More of the Same?
There's no denying that this book has some stiff competition, most notably from Kristin Nicholas and Melanie Falick's Knitting for Baby and Erika Knight's Simple Knits for Cherished Babies. The book even competes with bits and pieces of Bliss' earlier books.

Its uniqueness lies in its blend of learn-to-knit basics and truly adorable -- and extremely simple -- children's patterns. Kudos to photographer Sandra Lousada for producing a bookload of jaw-droppingly beautiful images as well.

The images are so beautiful, in fact, that I could see this book serving as a recruitment tool for new knitters. One glance at this will convince even the most non-knitterly of friends to join the fold.

Try Before You Buy
If you want to sample a project from the book, you can download a free copy of the ribbed cushion pattern from Bliss' Web site.

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