Book Shelf

Knitting Rules, by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, is an excellent voyage into the mysteries of knitting.  The writing style is relaxed, funny and a good lazy day read.  There are basic patterns explaining the real construction of projects, and plenty of wonderful information to improve your technique.  She makes great use of proportions of the human body, which I knew from my many hours of figure drawing, but somehow never applied to knitting.  The book is full of tricks and tips to improve your technique and boost your confidence.  It is a good read for beginning to expert and will be loved by all knitters.  This is a book worth every penny.

Spin To Knit, by Shannon Okey, was published in October of 2006.  The book is a very nice introduction to basic spinning equipment and techniques.  It also features many lovely and unique designs, many of which feature the beautiful textured yarns of beginning spinners.  The pictures were clear, as well as concise, with concise descriptions and an easy to follow format.  The writing was interesting as well as packed full of wonderful ideas for constructing your own tools, easy to find fibers, and many useful and fun little bits of knowledge.  Overall I would recommend this book to someone wanting to join the ever growing crowd of handspinners.  It would be a nice addition to the beginner's library, especially paired with a book that focuses more on spinning techniques.  It has enough information about spinning to stand on its own, but it focuses a bit more on patterns and fun things to do with the yarn, making it the ideal companion book for a book focusing on technique.  This is an excellent value even at full price.

Knit Two Together, by Mel Clark and Tracey Ullman, is the knitter's dream come true for knitting new and lovely designs.  I have to say that the unique wit of Tracey Ullman shines through in hilarious stories, and the beautiful designs by Mel Clark are absolutely stunning.  The garments are classic, feminine, and things that almost anyone would want to wear.  From lacy shrugs to lovely hooded scarves the projects are fresh, beautiful and fun to knit.  The patterns range from beginning to expert, and there is a little something in here for everyone.  I ordered this book for a friend, and now I must have my own copy!  Just reviewing it and handing it on, is not going to happen.  The lovely patterns and funny discussion of common problems make this book a great resource as well as a fun read.  This book is a great value, even at cover price, but I got mine fairly cheap, making it a steal!

The Twisted Sisters Knit Sweaters - A Knit to Fit Workshop, by Lynne Vogel, features many ways of constructing sweaters with any yarn for any size.  The instructions are clearly written and are in an easy to read format.  There are basic patterns, with many variations, as well as lots of tips and tricks to make your own designs that are unique to you.  The fitting instructions, charts and explanations clearly explain the ins and outs of knitting for a perfect fit.  I found this book to be extremely informative and interesting, and now feel confident to start my own sweaters, with my own design.   This book can take the pattern follower to the next level of pattern designer.  I would have liked to see more of the fibers and yarns used in the patterns before it was knitted up, but other than that, everything was covered.  This book is great value.

Teach Yourself Visually Knitting, by Sharon Turner, is described as a very good book for learning to make your own designs.  My first impression of the book was good, and still is, but there are a few problems with this publication.  Several of the pages are slightly blurred, including the pictures, this is a printing problem, which could be restricted to my copy.  There are also two editions of this book, so one may be better than the other.

Some of the garments look pretty amateurish in construction, but it's difficult to know whether the pattern is to blame, or the knitter.  Many of the projects have tight and loose rows of stitches, and there are also some fairly alarming construction issues.  That being said, there is a lot of good information for basic construction, and the patterns seem accurately written although it is impossible to be sure without a test knit.  It covers a lot of information on technique which is very well presented and clear, with lots of color photos.  From the knit stitch to kitchener, just about everything you need to know to learn how to knit.  I think this is a good book, the technique sections alone give it great value, but I felt it was slightly over-priced, so look for a bargain.