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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 19 August 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I already had another Erika Knight's book and was happy to get my hands on this one. It didn't disappoint. The book sets out to be a primer, containing the information you need to start knitting and it is just that.
The sections are laid out clearly; a materials and techniques chapter has 34 pages of clear photos and diagrams showing all the basic stitches and skills needed in the book, from casting on to ladder seams, while another 20 pages have the most useful stitches laid out with photos of tension squares clearly showing what they should look like. The projects range from the very basic garter stitch scarf to what is described as a timeless cardigan and all the instructions look clear and concise. Like Dumbledore, I enjoy reading knitting patterns but due to (ahem) time constraints in the summer holidays haven't yet managed to make any of the projects. Come the long winter evenings, though, I can see that my needles will be busy casting and cabling through.
Although Erika is a fan of quality yarn, she does understand that budgets don't always allow for cashmere. I love the very basic idea of a rag bag, literally a bag that she knitted from shirts cut into strips. I'm already eyeing my husband's ghastly maroon number as a possible, along with the jade one he has had since our marriage (17 years and counting) and wondering what he would say about the result (Nice bag? This old thing? I've had the material in the house for years)
The projects are mostly accessories and household items, a round cushion, throws with blocks and stripes, a cable hot water bottle cover that is just soooo Dahhling! Most are in wool or cotton, one is in silk, but the weight of the yarn is always clearly stated and substitutions would be easily made. Like a lot of fashion and homewares the book has a limited colour palette, mostly beige, cream, charcoal and brown, but personal preference would alter the appearance of the items.I'd love a deep red hottie cover, just in time for Christmas.
The writing is clear and concise, the photographs are a dream to look at, with projects presented in situ and studio. It won't look too out of place left nonchalently open at a page, much better than the creased middle pages of Woman's Weekly.
If I have a criticism of the book, it is only this; that the colourwork section projects leap from a colour block throw through a 2 colour Fair Isle pattern from a chart and finally into a really complex intarsia knit tea cosy with 11 colours of wool and a chart with a key. It's just too far a jump from the Fair Isle, and I wonder if a simpler introduction to intarsia wouldn't have been better. But that's nit-picking, and I'm sure that any reasonable knitter would substitute a different pattern for the complex one, I could imagine a really effective heart pattern would have been possible. Think I'll go look for my red and blue wool.... if you want me, I'll be by my fireplace frantically knitting....
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What I like most about Erika Knight's designs is the focus on quality of yarn to counterbalance the simplicity of her designs. This book absolutely lives up to its title. The instructions are clear and I very much like the library of stitches as well as the progression in skills level of the projects; the book has inspired me to attempt a couple of simple variations on some other patterns that I have knitted already.
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VINE VOICEon 3 August 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have long wanted to learn to knit but have absolutely no experience (was not taught in my school and my mother cannot knit) and have found it can be difficult to follow printed diagrams for this sort of skill. But after a quick flick through this book (which is stunningly produced, with beautiful photography and drawings throughout), I armed myself with a ball of wool and some chopsticks (didn't have any knitting needles, a problem I have now corrected!) and got down to business. There are clear instructions for two methods of casting on and a library of basic stitches and I was soon knitting away, experimenting with increasing and decreasing stitches, etc. When I decided to try casting off, that was easily done as well with the help of the author's instructions. A week later and I have two scarves on the go and am feeling confident enough to experiment with creating different effects.

There are a couple of minor issues however. I have found that for some points - eg starting a new ball of wool (knot it into first ball or knit it in in some clever way?) or changing colours for stripes - there are no real instructions given. I am unsure whether this is an oversight or whether the author has assumed these are such basic skills that we should know them automatically (this beginner doesn't!). I also found that special instructions for each project can be less explicit than I would have liked. Perhaps I just need an unusual amount of hand-holding? For these points I have marked this book down a star, but mostly I am just thrilled to be knitting!
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VINE VOICEon 30 October 2010
I love the layout of this book. There is a great introduction where Erika herself states 'i want to share the simplicity of knitting with you' and I believe this book does try to do this. There are 20 projects in the book, each teaching a new skill. The projects are all graded to skill levels (beginner, easy, intermediate and experienced). The first section is all about materials and techniques, explaining yarns, fine, medium and thick, the types of equipment which are useful when stitching and a great techniques section. This techniques section is very detailed along with great diagrams. The section includes basic knitting, both knit and purl stitches, casting on and off, increasing and decreasing, knitting in a round and, something which has always puzzled me, making a tension swatch. There is a detailed page listing abbreviations and another on terminology. There are also pages on understanding patterns which I found very useful when looking further into the book at the design patterns. Following this is a page on reading charts and also after care of knitted items. I think this first section is a very useful one and this book would be a great addition to any knitting bag as a resource for understanding any pattern looked at in the future.

The next section of the book is a stitch library showing photographs of knitted squares of different stitches, each photograph accompanied by a pattern of how to knit each stitch. There are basic stitches such as garter stitch and stocking stitch, as well as rib, moss stitch, herringbone stitch and cable stitches, followed by stripe sequences.

There then follows the project workshops, starting with beginner projects and moving on throughout the book to advanced projects. Each project aims to teach you a technique and lists the stitches used in the project, along with the finished size, a materials list and the tension.
The beginner projects are for scarfs, dish clothes and cushions and as projects get more advanced others include hats, bags, jumpers, mittens and throws. There is one project in the book, a rag bag, that uses lengths of light-weight cotton to knit with.
I really like this book and think it is a great accompaniment to the Debbie Bliss book reviewed below for someone who wants to begin knitting or is coming back to knitting like I am. The book is ideal for a beginner but also for a more advanced knitter who wants to maybe learn a new technique.
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VINE VOICEon 22 July 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
My wife recently got back into knitting having learnt as a child. She's produced all manner of gloves, hats, scarves, cushion covers and handbags but is severely allergic to twee knitting books with wool in pastel shades. This book is the antidote!

It is stylishly photographed and most of the wool used is in neutral shades. The patterns look do-able (she hasn't quite gotten around to knitting anything yet) and are not like anything she has come across previously. The patterns are for a muffler (not the kind that is a car exhaust pipe, rather it's like a wide scarf), a dishcloth, cushion covers (2 x square, 1 x round), a notebook cover, a shopping bag, a throw, beanies, a rag bag, fingerless mittens, a cable scarf, socks (a 2 needle version and a 4 needle version, a hotwater bottle cover, a fair isle pin cushion, a v neck sweater, a tea cosy with rose motif (the only twee pattern in the book!), a cardigan and a throw. The patterns all have suggested yarn types as well as what has actually worked and my wife loved that the parns were all natural fibres (no nylon in sight!).

My wife dropped a star from the review as the book is slightly light on certain techniques. For example, there are only 2 cast on methods shown, but then again, you can get this sort of information through other sources.

Happy Knitting!
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VINE VOICEon 14 October 2010
Having knitted a little as a schoolgirl, I have been reading this book in an attempt to regain my old skills and find something to do with my hands that didn't involve tapping away at a computer.

It's an unfussy, streamlined guide aimed at adults who want to make beautiful or useful items for themselves or their homes. The basics and more complicated stitches and techniques are clearly explained and illustrated, and the suggested projects begin with the truly user-friendly and progress gradually towards the more challenging items as skills (cable knits, Fair Isle, using four needles...) are gradually acquired and practised.

Erika Knight is not one to stint on cost, though - even the total beginner's scarf is a glorious fashion item to be constructed out of silk or alpaca - although it would be a relatively easy matter to substitute cheaper yarns for those suggested here, if you don't have a small fortune to invest.
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VINE VOICEon 25 August 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I found this book a 'good looking' book, well designed and laid out, one you wouldn't mind lieing around the house on show. The items which can be made, (mittens, socks and hats etc), all look as though they wouldn't be out of place in a boutique fashion catalogue. However as someone who has never knitted I found the instructions confusing and not very easy to follow. I am sure someone who has had some prior knowledge / experience of knitting would find it useful but, perhaps, it is not quite there for a complete beginner.
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VINE VOICEon 21 July 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I can usually be found in the evenings, crocheting like mad, and I gave up on knitting years ago because I get the tension horrifically wrong and inexplicably increase or decrease stitches every time. But I thought I'd give this book a whirl and try again. I really liked this book, it has very clear illustrations on how to work the different stitches, some lovely projects to work on and lots of glossy pictures of the finished items to motivate the reader to get knitting. I love the rag rug especially and am going to try it out soon. I recommend this book to beginners and experts too - it definitely inspired me to pick up my knitting needles and try again :)
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on 6 March 2011
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I've read a few how to knit books over the years, none of them have succeeded in teaching me what I needed to know but this looks like it might (finally!) do the trick.

There is a very easy to follow, clearly illustrated list of stitches. The secrets of yarn weight, stitch and style, how to interpret the mysterious knitting pattern and the differences of knitting using wool, linen and silk, is all explained in the easiest-to-understand terms.

Simply explained and beautifully presented with a pared-down, minimalist appearance, this is the most attractive and easy-to-follow book on the subject I've seen.
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VINE VOICEon 16 November 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I really enjoyed this book, as a knitter, as I hadn't done any knitting for over 10 years and wasn't sure if I still knew how to.
It really is a simple read, with beautiful illustrations (if you like colour beige) and useful diagrams.

If you've never knitted before, you will find easy instructions and after a few minutes you will be creating your first project.

I gave this as a gift to a relative who has never knitted, and is now hooked ( excuse the pun!) and she loved it:)
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