Newest Review: ... and gives you all you need to know about converting between the two, with useful conversion tables for needle sizes, yarn types and terms... more
A great buy for most levels of knitting expertise!
Member Name: PlaysNicely
Advantages: Clear layout, lots of tips and how-to information, very useful conversion and abbreviation info
Disadvantages: Could use more step-by-step images; patterns could be categorised by level of difficulty
Ok, I love this book, so after my local library refused to let me have it any more (quite rightly really) I bought it from Amazon and here's why:
* Knitting pattern books can be very hit and miss in terms of content, usually at least half of the patterns can be dismissed as impractical, ugly, too complicated, waste of time, plain mad etc - all depending on your skill level and personal taste, of course! However, this is one of the first books that I've ever had where the majority of the projects are actually practical as well as pretty (aside from the knitted cakes and felted bowls - no call for those in my house, but that's probably just us)!
* It's a UK publication but there are lots of US terms throughout, to make it appeal to the US market as well I guess. Normally I don't like this too much in a book (having been bought up to know UK knitting terminology before I even knew nursery rhymes), but this book presents it all as a great blend of UK / US terms and gives you all you need to know about converting between the two, with useful conversion tables for needle sizes, yarn types and terms. It's easy to overlook the overt Americanisms because I find the whole thing comes across as being for those who love knitting, wherever you are based!
* It's a well designed book! The covers include flaps which serve as book marks and these are thoughtfully listed with all of the abbreviations and a useful rule for measuring, so you don't need to flick around mid-pattern. You're not paying for any white space - the layout is purposeful and clear.
* There are lots of basic how-to instructions at the back of the book, useful for beginners I would think - again very easy to follow with clear visuals.
* Patterns and charts are mostly very easy to follow (although a couple are in black and white only, where colour would be preferable). There are lots of pictures to give you visuals on how the items should look once finished.
* Projects include: beanbag/footstool; pillows and throws; shaker heart; dog blanket; lavender bags; bathmats; tea cosy breakfast set including tea cosy, placemats and egg cosies; shopping bag; table runner; storage pockets - as well as those knitted cakes and vegetables and felted fruit basket and bijou boxes.
* Many of these projects are easily adaptable for use in other items (for example replacing the lavender bag image pattern with a shaker heart pattern, or making a bobble bag by combining the lavender bag basic bag with the bobble instructions on the storage pockets). Alternatively there's lots of scope for creating matching sets by using complementary wool colours across a range of the projects (for example matching the breakfast set with the table runner) etc.
* On a final note about practicality of the patterns, I loved the idea of making a dog blanket for my dogs' beds that matched the decor of the hallway, but of course now I have to stop them playing tug of war with my hard work (a practical project in theory, but in practice dogs can prove very unappreciative) - bear this in mind before you try this project!
I guess the only thing left to say is please bear in mind that I'm reviewing as an experienced knitter, so that's the context that this review should be seen in. I do think it's possible that some of the projects could stand to have a few more pictures of the work in progress to help beginners or highly visual knitters. You're alright if you know exactly what the pattern means and can visualize the process for yourself, but beginners might find this a little difficult and would probably benefit from extra images of the different stages.
Additionally the projects aren't individually rated for ease and some are clearly much easier than others, so it's a case of finding what suits your level. Having said all that though, I would still recommend this book for beginners because there is a wealth of tips inside and some of the easier projects are simple and very pleasing to do as a beginner, plus there are so many projects to do that there is something for most stages of a knitter's experience!
Summary: If you can only afford to invest in one book of patterns for the home, I'd recommend this one.
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