In today's post (from the knitting bookshelf), I'll be reviewing "The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns."
What? You call yourself a serious knitter? What, you don't own this book? Why the hell not?
This book is amazing. Think of the patterns in this book as providing a skeleton and you choose the skin for your projects.
Say for example that I wanted to knit a pair of mittens (which I really should do before next fall). Now, like any knitter I have an obscene amount of stash and thus, it would be prudent (prudent, knitting, really Nicole?) to use some yarn from my stash, and there is two colors of worsted weight wool that I think would be particularly awesome.
Now, I know that I knit worsted at 4.5 sts per inch (size 8 needles), but I want my mittens to be tight so that when I make snowballs, I don't get wet hands. So, I try knitting the yarn with size 5 needles to get a nice, tight fabric and I get 7 sts an inch. Then, I use this number (7sts per inch) and the size I want to follow the pattern and knit myself some mittens.
This book includes patterns for knitting mittens, hats, gloves, scarves, tams, socks, a vest and a sweater at whatever gauge you want, with whatever yarn you want.
This is a perfect book for you if you are interested in basic and classic designs or if you are wanting to dip your toes into designing.
I've heard critiques that the way this book is written out can be confusing (pages can look like a big matrix of numbers) and true, it may be intimidating the first time you try to knit with this book. I suggest making copies of pages and highlighting the numbers that pertain to what you're knitting. You could also type the instructions out for more clarity. Or, you can do what I did (below, when I was knitting socks) and use cute post-it notes to mark the numbers that pertain to your particular pattern.
The best justification of this book is that it will save you money. Buying a new pattern or book each time you want to make a pair of mittens with a different yarn would add up (and mean less money to spend on yarn). Using the basic skeletons provided in this book means that you can jazz it up or dress it down depending on what you prefer. This book is the first step in true pattern liberation.
The Final Verdict:
Patterns – Amazing, simple, beautiful
Techniques/explanations – Pretty clear if you have a basic level of common sense
Entertainment Value – This is practical. Not so entertaining.
Price/Value – worth every penny (especially if you get it 37% off at Amazon)