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I first picked up Simply Knitting in 2005 just after it launched. It coincided with me starting to knit again after a period of about 5 years so I was pretty rusty. Simply Knitting was a godsend as it is aimed at beginners or people returning to knitting after a long break. There is a great choice of patterns and they are all really easy to follow with clear pictures. Any difficult stitches are usually explained in a sidebar with handy pictures showing you what to do.
The magazine starts off with news and events and any new products or patterns that have come out so it's great to keep up to date with what's new in the knitting world. I then goes into any features and the patterns. Towards the back there is a useful Essential Guide which summarises the basics including an abbreviation glossary and how to knit and crochet. The magazine also includes a stitch library, reviews of new yarn and list of stockists.
The best thing is each issue includes a specially commissioned Alan Dart toy pattern. I love all Alan Dart patterns and it's worth it for this alone. They usually have a free gift which does vary in quality but I've had some lovely and useful things in the past like stitch markers, bag clasps and diaries.
It's very handy for quick knits and if you are looking for something quick to do seasonally such something for Halloween/Christmas or a Pudsey pattern for Children in Need. It's also great to use to teach friends and family to knit.
It is basic. As I've got back into the swing of knitting I now buy more in depth titles that offer more challenging patterns and more in depth features. Simply knitting can come across as a bit well "simple" but that's its target readership. I still buy it as a complement to other titles and its very comforting to turn too when you've been thwarted by a difficult lace pattern with mad decreases/increases as it restores your knitting confidence. It is also a little short without much content apart from the patterns so it's quick to get through.
Overall it's a good title and if you want easy to understand beginner to novice patterns that are pretty good then it's the title for you.
As a young and VERY keen knitter, I got my first subscription to Simply Knitting as I was still trying to build up some confidence with reading patterns. I found the stitch guides and how-to's very useful.
However, as I gained faith in my own skills I stopped attempting the patterns as the no longer seemed to present any form of challenge and in many cases the end results do not produce an item I would choose to have around had I not made it.
Although the yarn, needle, book and events reviews are still a good read I have often noticed as I became more aware of the knitting "scene" (it makes me shudder slightly to use that word, though there seems to be nothing more fitting) that Simply Knitting will often choose not to cover some fairly big events (for example the Ravelry in the UK events in London and Stirling during summer of 2010).
The regular freebies vary in quality, and I have noticed they recently seem to be getting better and better.
I am almost ashamed to admit that Simply Knitting has come in VERY handy when my levels of yarn-geekery have lead to a desperate seach for yarn shops while I have been away from home in other parts of the UK, as they feature weekly a list of nationwide yarn shops.
I have found that I am only really renewing my subscription to Simply Knitting through habit, although it IS quite comforting to sit and read yarn reviews, the patterns (which make up the bulk of the magazine) are somewhat old fashioned. I would therefore only recommend that anyone get into the habit of buying the magazine if they really like the designs.
I have been a knitter for some years and I am so pleased that people are taking up this useful past time again. The art of knitting seems to have skipped a generation. Grandmothers know the art, Daughters don't, but now Granddaughters are showing an interest.
Several years ago wool shops were closing down, things have improved on that score, but the biggest improvements are the publications like Simply Knitting. I have taken out a subscription by direct debit, paid quarterly, and receive the magazine through the post. By taking the magazine in this way I get it at a vastly reduced rate as against buying from a high street retailer.
Each month the Simply Knitting magazine has in the region of 20 of knitting patterns in it. At this point I mention that to purchase just two knitting patterns separately covers the cost of the magazine. The patterns range from crochet waistcoat, knitted cardi, men's rib jumper, teens jacket, toy knits (Alan Dart Exclusive), quick and easy knits and much more. Articles, yarn information and puzzles are also included. If you wish to learn to knit or crochet each month there is a "Start Here Guide" showing how to cast on and getting going.
I love this magazine and I was surprised on one review's opinion that they thought the magazine had too many adverts in it. This month's one hundred page publication has only 10 pages of adverts, but six of those pages are shopping guides of advertisers who are online and shop wool stockists and a selection of needlecraft and haberdashers. The remaining 4 pages are adverts on just the front and back of the magazine. To me more of use that a nuisance
When I was younger I used to knit all the time but eventually moved on to cross stitch. As my eyes began to fail (yes eventually I gave in and got glasses) so this magazine caught my eye - one cricket sweater later I have an annual subscription and look foward to each edition landing on my doormat.
The strap line is "Essential reading for every knitter" and I can see why. Each edition contains a mixture of patterns - typically seven or eight - and the patterns cover a multitude of projects and szes. As a larger lady myself there is often at elast one garment for me or could easily be adapted for me. Then there are are often some "quick and easy" projects - this month there are socks, hats and love hearts.
But I love the magazine for the Alan Dart pattern - each month Alan produces an adorable toy of some form - Noah's Ark, Circus Mice and, this month, two adorable Pierrot clowns. These patterns often turn into collectables with many forums involving a search for an Alan Dart pattern - buying this magazine ensures that you have them all.
Each pattern is easy to follow and uses yarn that is readily available. If the yarn is specialised in any way then there is usually an offer to help with the expense.
Along with the usual mix of articles and letters I cannot reccommend Simply Knitting enough.
Review of Simply Knitting Magazine.
Simply Knitting, as the name suggests is a monthly magazine dedicated to the craft of knitting. The magazine is available in newsagents and supermarkets at a cost of £4.99 or from various on line magazine subscription services, at a slightly lower rate.
I enjoy hand knitting when the mood takes me, sometimes I will knit every day for a month and then not touch my needles again for ages, I am currently in a knitting and reading phase, two things I find easy to do at the same time! Multi tasking, I guess!
**About Simply Knitting**
The magazine is a glossy treasure trove for all hand knitters. Each month the magazine contains a selection of knitting patterns for women, men, children or babies clothing and often patterns for toys and household goods. The patterns are written in a very clear and easy to understand fashion, each pattern has several pictures showing the front and back of the garment, unlike some which only show the front view. When a pattern has been designed to accommodate several sizes, each size is colour coded, for example in this months issue, a ladies jumper can be knitted in sizes 8, 10,12,14,16, or 18, each size has a colour allocated to it. Simply check what colour the size you want is depicted as and follow those instructions. Sounds harder than it actually is, but it really is simple!
Most months the magazine has a 10% discount offer for the yarns used in the featured patterns. As most of the patterns seems to have been made using fairly expensive yarn, this is obviously a good bonus. Luckily the magazine patterns also tell you which weight of wool the pattern is designed for so substituting a cheaper wool is always an option. (Experienced knitters will know that a tension square should be produced in order to ensure correct measurements are achieved).
There are usually one or two crochet articles and patterns in the magazine too.
The magazine also has a very interesting section on ideas and new trends in the world of knitwear. I must admit that some of the designs featured do not do much for me, but as the magazine is intended to appeal to all age ranges, I suppose that they have to have a wide variety. There is also a readers show and tell type letter page, where readers write in with photos of their handiwork and ideas, this is sometimes a real eye opener, such as the lady who knitted a wedding cake! Sounds bizarre, but it was really pretty and a totally unique wedding day memento.
The magazine has a help section, a stitch library for learning new knitting stitches, basic knitting technique step by step guide, a pen pal and knitting club page, crosswords, compensations and horoscopes, and of course, advertising.
This is my main criticism of Simply Knitting, the sheer quantity of advertisements carried in each issue. I understand of course, that advertising is big business, but I do sometimes wonder if it is necessary to have quite so many? Naturally, if you are seeking information or a particular service, then the ads are there for you to trawl through, but the same ads seem to crop up month after month, which becomes repetitive and stale once you have read a couple of issues.
Simply Knitting usually has a very good free gift, the issue I have in front of me as I write this (October 2009) has a free 2010 calendar which also contains 12 knitting patterns. November's issue will contain an attractive pair of shawl pins, for fastening a knitted shawl across your shoulders. In the past I have had a very useful set of stitch holders as a freebie and a row counter which is in constant use. I have to be honest and admit that I am not a regular purchaser of this magazine, I tend to buy only when I particularly like one of the patterns and the free gift is something I want too! This may sound extravagant to say I spend a fiver on a magazine simply for the patterns and gift, but knitting patterns can be very expensive nowadays, £2+ in some shops and the free gift is often worth several pounds.
**My Thoughts and Conclusion**
I have rated Simply Knitting with 3 stars for two reasons, I really feel the huge amount of advertising spoils the magazine and the price of some of the recommended knitting yarns are just too steep for me to consider buying, something I am sure others would agree with in these cash strapped times.
In spite of my negative comments above, I have to say that all in all, Simply Knitting is a very good resource for knitters of all skill levels, it is bright, glossy and packed with useful tips, articles and information, just too many ads for my liking!
I would recommend this magazine to fellow knitters.
Thank you for reading.
©brittle1906 October 2009
NB My reviews may be found on other review sites under the same name, brittle1906
I started knitting in 2006 in my mid twenties after it was recommended as an antidote to stress and anxiety and have been addicted ever since. I was a bit wary of knitting magazines, believing them to probably have hideous patterns with cheap yarn, so I was pleasantly surprised with Simply Knitting.
First of all there is often a really genuinely useful free gift. I have had a project bag that has been in constant use and still going, a set of stitch holders and markers and a needle gauge among others, including the odd set of needles and crochet hooks. These are things that I would have spent upwards of £3-£5 on so well worth the cover price and they work as well as singly bought shop bought ones.
Going through the magazine, there is a great news section and I also enjoy the letters page as it covers a wide range of ages and readers. There's often some good baby patterns (I don't have kids yet but am stockpiling knitted items and knitting for friends - Baby clothes are so instantly gratifying too!)
There are also good articles on item like hand dyeing and animals that yarn comes from which is interesting as I enjoy reading around knitting rather than just looking at patterns.
Finally the essential guides at the back are great for how to's on the basic stitches and other techniques in a step by step photo format. I really do enjoy this magazine and would recommend it to anyone at any level.
Simply Knitting is a brillaint magazine for those who have been knitting for years and for those who are just beginning. I finally subscribed to this as it became so popular I was at risk of missing out every month! Great pictures of the designs, very clear instructions for you follow. The monthly stitch library is also helpful and encourages you to try things you might not have done in the past. They also provide you with some options for yarns and talks about how to do things cheaper or differently. The "One Ball Pattern" feature is great fun. The designs are modern and they cover all ages and styles in the magazine. The main fault would be that some patterns are not sized big enough for the larger sizes and this has meant some patterns I couldn't make for friends as they are not easy to transfer however I understand they are doing their best to manage this going forward. Given the price of individual patterns or pattern books, this is great value for money considering how many patterns there are a month!
Simply Knitting is a great magazine for knitters , it costs £3.99 and comes out once a month. I usually buy Simply knitting from either Tesco`s or Asda`s. The magazine is packed with knitting patterns for the whole family , last month they had a pattern for a christmas tree and decorations by the designer Alan dart I really love his patterns!
You will also find a lot of hints and tips on how to improve your knitting skills and there is a knitting library which shows lots of different stitches , very handy if you are fed up with doing boring stocking stitch!
There is also a question and answer page which is very good as sometimes it gives you ideas and answers to your own question.
There are also pages for knitting stockists some of whom have web pages which I tend to look at a lot.
This magazine is for beginners through to experts , i have been knitting for nearly 30 years and I still have not learnt everything about knitting.
I have knitted since a very young age, although I did very little in my twenties and early thirties because hand knitting had become untrendy. In recent years, it has increased in popularity again - even superstars like Catherine Zeta-Jones enjoy the craft - and so I ended up picking up my needles again in early 2007. Since then, I've knitted a variety of jumpers/cardigans/hats both for myself, my sister and my about-to-be-born niece/nephew, several pieces of which I have made following patterns from this magazine.
Where to buy?
I have never seen this magazine to buy in a shop, although apparently it can be ordered from newsagents for £3.99 per issue. I purchase mine online via a website called myfavouritemagazines.co.uk. I have been paying £8 for three issues (there is one issue a month), but the price is now listed as £10 for three isses.
The magazine is divided into several sections, including:
Simply inspiring. This section includes a variety of articles and photos on patterns, types of wool and knitting events - basically anything that could potentially inspire a newcomer to the craft to get involved.
Simply patterns. This is the reason that I buy the magazine. Patterns tend to cost at least £2 each if bought separately, so the fact that there are usually eight patterns per issue means that the magazine is very good value. These patterns usually include four or five adult patterns (usually women's, but sometimes men's), something for a child (I have just knitted a baby's matinee jacket), something needing a small amount of wool, such as a scarf, or a bag and something for a child to play with - for example, in the October issue, there is a pattern for Wilhemina Witch. One of the patterns is usually a crochet one, although I haven't used any of these, so can't comment on the results. However, I have used three knitting patterns from different issues now and can confirm that the patterns are very clear, have all knitted up very well and range from the very easy to the fairly complicated. Most are very fashionable, so you don't need to worry that you will end up looking like a granny, although there are traditional patterns included to keep the older generations of knitters happy.
Most of the patterns are designed with a particular brand of wool in mind. This is often not a cheap option (although there is often a 10% discount offered for buying the wool through a particular dealer). However, the pattern does include the type of wool that should be used (chunky, double knitting or four ply, for example), so that the knitter can substitute a cheaper wool if necessary, which I did when knitting a matinee jacket. Of course, a tension square should be made up before beginning the pattern anyway, because not everyone knits to the same tension, no matter what brand of wool is used.
Simply solutions. This is a very handy section that includes a stitch library, which provides beginniners and seasoned knitters with a range of different patterns, an ask the experts part, which answers questions on a variety of knitting-related topics and an 'all about...' section - the last two issues have focussed on edgings.
Simply the best. This section provides readers with suggestions for the best books, yarns and patterns to buy and websites to peruse.
Simply for you. Dotted around the magazine are a series of snippets to keep the reader amused, and includes competitions, letters, how to purchase back issues and what is coming in the future issue. The letters are often amusing, because they include photos from both new and expert knitters - for example, one lady knitted a full-sized Shaun the Sheep, and then proceeded to photograph him in different locations and sent them in to the magazine! I don't do that, honest!
Finally, every issue has a section called the Essential Guide, which is designed to be torn out and collected in the form of a booklet. This section is really for the beginner knitter and crocheter, and gives tips on how to cast on, hold the needles, knit basic stiches, cast off and sew up. Obviously I already know how to knit, so can't comment on how easy the instructions are to follow for a complete beginner, but they certainly look very clear and there are lots of photos to illustrate what is needed. This section also includes information on abbreviations. These usually refer to abbreviations used in the patterns in the magazine, but as these are generally the same as those used in other patterns, they are very useful to have.
I have now had seven issues (seven months' worth); each one has come with a free gift, which, for a knitter, have been very useful and have included a good quality tape measure, a row counter, needle stoppers (these stop stitches from falling off the end of the needle when stored away), a knitting bag, a needle holder, and two separate publications - a pattern for a Noah's Ark plus animals and a calendar with twelve knitting patterns, designed according to the time of year. All of these have proved to be really useful and I have really appreciated them. In next month's issue there is a free diary, which I imagine will include some more free patterns.
The magazine has just over 100 pages. Many of these are full of adverts for patterns, brands of wool etc. However, I find these very useful - I like to know what new yarns and designs are available and I have knitted a couple of jumpers based on patterns I have seen in the magazine. The range of yarns and designs that exist nowadays is amazing and this magazine is a great way of finding out about them.
Next month's issue is due on sale on 11 October and will apparently include ideas for Christmas gifts as well as the usual patterns. I have got my eye on the patterns for a bolero which would be ideal for my sister.
Knitting will never be that trendy. When I tell people that I knit, they usually laugh. However, when they see what I have knitted, they are more often than not impressed - I have a wide range of knitwear that generally looks as if it has been bought in a shop, yet I have been able to adapt it to suit me. In the past, people knitted because it was cheaper that way. It is not always the case now - some of the fancier yarns are quite expensive - but I've still managed to save a fair bit by using cheaper brands of wool and I get the satisfaction of seeing the finished product and knowing that I made it. This magazine has really helped me to develop my ideas and more than once, I have been able to adapt patterns to suit me rather than follow them to the letter. I love the stitch library - a plain pattern can be made even more beautiful when a fancier stitch is used.
In conclusion, I think this magazine is well worth the money, particularly if you take advantage of the special rate online. It has a wide range of information for both the new and the seasoned knitter/crocheter and for the young and old; I have certainly had hours of pleasure (and a couple of fantastic knits) from it, as has my mum, and can definitely recommend it. Go on, go get your needles!