Friday, March 15, 2013

Book Review - Complete Knitting Skills


Complete Knitting Skills

By: Debbie Tomkies
Publisher: Barron's Educational Series
Publication Date: March 2013
ISBN: 978-1438001715
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: March 15, 2013

I’ve always wanted to learn how to knit. When I was a child, my mother, a fabulous knitter, tried teaching me. Alas, she failed miserably (my fault, not hers). Then, a few months ago, I stumbled upon a “knitting loom.” I taught myself how to use it and actually managed to make a few respectable scarves. The loom, however, is a bit limited and I really, really wanted to succeed at traditional, two knitting needles, kind of knitting. That’s why I was so excited to see Complete Knitting Skills come across my desk. Would this book be able to teach me to knit?

Complete Knitting Skills is divided into seven chapters which cover everything from the very basic (choosing needles and yarn, casting on, binding off), to more advanced techniques (buttonholes, pockets, lace, cables,). My favorite is a chapter called “Knitting SOS,” (yes, a chapter on avoiding problems and how to fix those that you’ve, well, bumbled into). A final chapter on “The Knitting Community” offers advice on finding other knitters, selling your work, as well as knitting terminology.

I must compliment the author on writing a book that is very easy to understand, as well as pass along kudos to the publisher for a great design job that makes this title so easy to view. In addition, probably the best part of the book is that there are so many, many clear and concise photos. I once had a book with all the knitting photos in black and white, photos that were tiny and fuzzy, and I finally gave up. In contrast, the photos in this book are bright, easy to follow, and perfectly complement what the author is saying. For example, when teaching the “Russian Join,” a technique to join two skeins of yarn of the same color, there is a sequence of six photos, using two different colors of yarn so readers can easily see how the yarn is joined. No trying to figure out what the author is explaining; it’s clearly shown on the page.

Finally, there are 27 "how-to" brief video clips to help teach various techniques. A link, as well as a smartphone code, appear on the pages where the technique is explained. There's also a notation in the Table of Contents next to each topic that has a teaching video. How easy is that?!

So, the answer to the question asked in the first paragraph, would this book be able to teach me to knit is YES! I’m so excited to finally be able to knit and have all sorts of projects in mind. With a newly discovered, HUGE knitting store just a few towns away, watch out because I’m going to be visiting often. Thank you, Debbie Tomkies for writing this fabulous book!

Quill says: If you’ve always wanted to learn how to knit, rush, don’t walk, rush and get a copy of Complete Knitting Skills!