Disclaimer: I purchased this book at full price for my own use. I did not receive it as a gift nor was I asked to write this review. All opinions are my own.There are no affiliate links in this post.
I should explain first of all that this isn’t a detailed “How to knit” book. I think that it works best in partnership with YouTube as probably the best medium for learning how to knit basic stitches and focusses instead on ways in which you can make your basic projects into professional looking articles. I refer to this a lot, especially to refresh my memory after I haven’t knitted for a while.
Boosting Your Knitting Ninja Skills
The retailers recommended price on this is £8.99 (although, at time of writing, The Book People seem to have a good deal on copies) this puts it at up to £10.00 cheaper than a lot of books covering similar subject matter. Plus it is the size of a small notebook which makes it incredibly handy to slip into your knitting bag. My version is paperback, which keeps weight down, although I know that a hardback version is published.
I like the fact that it is clearly written by a Brit and consequently talks in British knitting terms all the way through. It has a particularly useful needle size conversion chart for UK to US sizes but one of the few tricks I think it misses is including a chart to translate UK to US yarn weights. I have printed out my own and glued it into the back of the book for reference
Knitting patterns use abbreviations, you can find lots of keys as to what these mean (including one in this book) but what is often not covered are commonly used expressions, such as “place markers” or “easing in any fullness”. The author covers these common terms too.
The “Fixing Mistakes” section is probably one of my most thumbed. Picking up dropped stitches and untwisting them is something we all tend to need at one point or another! My other gem from this book is the demystification of the fabled “thumb cast on”. I still don’t like it but at least I now understand how it works in both the UK and European version!
I actually bought this book after attending a day workshop on finishing techniques because it has a really clear section on types of seams and where to use them.
Beware Of The Knitting Purists
On the negative side it makes me smile how Debbie Bliss covers “Yarns” without mentioning that synthetic yarns exist. It fits in with her ethos of only using natural fibres but they aren’t all that is out there! Her edging reference section has some gorgeous ideas for decorative finishes for your projects and the book tempts you with more advanced things such as intarsia and bead work. It doesn’t provide an exhaustive guide to these though and you may well want more information before embarking on them.
In short this is a book that I would recommend for any “not quite beginner” which will last into expert-hood.
Are there any knitting books that you wouldn’t be without? I’m always on the look out for new titles to recommend to people attending my workshops (plus I need to feed my book addiction somehow!)