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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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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 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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on 11 November 2010
I am quite an experienced knitter and serial buyer of craft books. Sometimes I buy a book and find I like just one project (usually the one on the cover) but I want to knit everything that I see in this book. Simple should not be mistaken for easy, the deliciously elegant projects are graded according to skill level, from first timers to old hands. All the instructions are clear and easy to follow, the introductory chapter contains much more than basic skills and each project, with its masterclass text box, teaches a new technique.

Everything about the book is cool and sophisticated; from the photographs reproduced on heavy quality matt paper to the hand drawn instructions for the basics. I love the stitch library so much I am planning to make a sampler afghan using all twenty four of the patterns. Erica Knight as chosen to use beautiful, unusual yarns in soft neutral colours displaying them on pieces of natural linen and in baskets, it is all such a delight. Although I hadn't heard of some of the yarns before, particularly those from Japan, I had no trouble obtaining them from UK based internet suppliers

The first project I tackled was the little notebooks. I have made several, intending them for Christmas presents for special friends, but two have been snaffled already, by my son and my daughter's boyfriend (his book is for his mum). I think I will make the fold over cushion next, or perhaps try some knitting with strips of shirting fabric
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on 14 May 2010
An entry level knitting book, raised above the ordinary by its beautiful pared down styling.

My favourite element is the stitch library, which illustrates the texture of 24 stitch patterns in a clearly photographed swatch.

The 20 project patterns included manage to be basic to knit whilst hugely desirable and include hats, scarves, gloves and socks as well as cushions, throws and bags. They build upon techniques already covered to arm you with a full knitting arsenal.
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VINE VOICEon 10 October 2011
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
To put this in context, I am not a beginner knitter, I've been knitting on and off for about 20 years. I was taught by my mum as she was a keen knitter, and to be honest I am not suprised complete beginners had trouble learning to knit from this book. The simple reason being that for the vast majority of people a manual skill is really only learnable by actually seeing someone doing it in the flesh. That said, it might be possible by using some of the excellent YouTube videos alongside this book.

However, for those who know the very basics, or who have taken a long break from knitting, this book would be a fantastic resource. It contains all the basic stitches, the qualities those stitches give to the resultant knitted fabric, yarn weights, abbreviations etc etc. The best bits are the patterns as they are stylish yet timeless, and all those I have tried from this book were easy to follow and turned out as specified (even allowing for my outright refusal to ever knit a tension square!).
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on 27 August 2013
I'm a proficient knitter, and I like this book. I bought it because of the reputation of the author and have knitted quite a number of the patterns (jumper, gloves, socks, cushion cover etc.) but there are niggles that surprised me. I bought the specified 8 balls of yarn for the jumper and found that this wasn't enough for a size 16 and it ended up sleeveless as there wasn't enough to complete two sleeves. I wasn't too pleased about that. This pattern does not list the range of quantities for different sizes. The cardigan does I noticed later. I also found that the longevity of the book will be limited unless you make a note of the metres per ball for the specific yarn listed. It details the specific manufacturer and brand of yarn required. I went through the book and put post its all over to tell me what to buy in 5 years time because by that time the specific yarn type probably wont be available. It would have been better to say the quantity of metres, the type of yarn (alpaca, merino etc.) and weight. Maybe put a footnote under the picture to tell the reader what was used for that item.

Other than the above, a lovely book, good and practical range of patterns that turn out (mostly!) true to the description. It's a well used book.
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on 1 September 2011
I got this book from the library but am going to buy a copy as I would like to keep it long enough to make some more of the patterns in the book, and also find it useful for reference.

The start of the book explains about different yarns, types of equipment, has diagrams/drawings showing how to do the basics, info about tension squares, and explains how to read a knitting pattern with a useful list of abbreviations and an explanation for what different instructions mean - I will certainly be referring to that section again and again having been baffled by some so-called easy knitting patterns before.

It then has a "stitch library" section showing how to acheive a range of different stitches (including cables) with photos of each one. I worked my way through some of these, making squares of each one for practice, which I found a really useful way to learn.

The range of patterns is good for a beginners book, including a cable scarf, hats, mittens, a couple of nice cushion covers, two methods of making socks, a basic v neck jumper and a boyfriend-style cardigan - I've only made 2 things so far but they worked out well. The designs are all aimed at adults though the socks have child and adult sizes, and are unfussy designs that would appeal to lots of people. The jumper and cardigan sizes are from 32" to 40" chest.

I was not a complete beginning so I don't know how helpful it would be if you've never knitted before. I could already cast on and do basic knit and purl stitches but not much more than that. I'm finding it a helpful and straightforward book to take me past that basic stage, and it's nice that the patterns, though straightforward, are for things I would actually want to wear or use.
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on 24 July 2014
Erika Knight has wonderful simple designs and I live her approach to producing yarn locally in the UK, very admirable.
This book has some great projects including simple hats and scarves, cushion covers and a very cool handbag. Well worth the money, clearly explained and includes masterclasses to advance certain skills. In addition it is very stylish in its layout which I found extremely nice.
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on 5 October 2012
I'm not a complete beginner to knitting, but have never really advanced past the basics, so thought this would be a good way to teach myself some new techniques. The book looks beautiful, and I love the stitch library at the beginning, but I find some of the patterns - for example the mittens (which I am currently stuck on!) - very hard to understand. Perhaps this is what all knitting patterns are like, but as a book for 'beginners' it would be nice if they took a bit more time to explain things in more detail. I had to take to google to try to decipher a few lines, and even my mum (an experienced knitter) admitted she couldn't understand what they meant. If I hadn't spilt my cup of tea over the book whilst trying to work out what they meant (!), I think I would definitely return this.
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