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The Knitter's HandbookBook Review: The Knitter’s Handbook: Essential Skills and Helpful Hints from Knitter’s Magazine

List Price: $19.95

Zinio Price: $9.95

The Knitter’s Handbook is a guide of essential techniques and skills for knitters. It has 16 chapters covering a wealth of knitterly know-how: basics; bind-offs; buttons, buttonholes & zippers; cables; cast-ons; circular knitting; color; crochet; decreases; edges & borders; extras; grafts & seams; increases; lace; shaping; and symbols & charts.

There is so much useful information; I’m really impressed with how much they packed into a such a slim volume. The basics section has things like how to knit, purl, and standard stitch orientation but it also contains tidbits I wouldn’t necessarily expect to find – like how to fix a missed yarn over and how to knit and purl in reverse. There are 7 different cast-ons in the cast-on section, and an additional one in the section on circular knitting. The crochet section covers the basic stitches (very useful for edgings) while the extras section has 13 types of embroidery stitches as well as directions for knitting with beads and making cords and tassels. I especially liked the bit on how to make cuff-links out of two buttons.

I wish I had owned this book 3 months ago when I was debating how to work the buttonhole on a dress for my friend’s baby or trying to remember how to lay the strands of yarn when switching colors in intarsia. It would have saved me so much time and energy.

With the clear headers and layout (plus index) I can easily find the information I’m searching for. The step-by-step directions are accompanied by illustrations and many parts also have photos of actual swatches to show you what the finished cast-on/bind-off/cable/etc looks like in real life. Additional helpful hints and tidbits are given throughout the book. I also love the fact that The Knitter’s Handbook has a covered coil binding, so it lays flat. (That’s a must if you are trying to knit and look at the directions at the same time.) If you think of something you want to jot down, the end of each section has a page or two of lined paper for adding your own notes.

The Knitter’s Handbook measures 8 inches tall by 6.5 inches wide, so you should be able to easily slip it into your knitting bag or purse. It takes up even less space if you purchase the digital edition that is now available from Zinio. With the Zinio app you can have your Knitter’s Handbook on your computer, iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and even some android phones.

The Knitter’s Handbook will be a great addition to your knitting library. Most of my knitting books are on a small bookshelf in my bedroom, but this one is going to stay in my knitting bag so that I have it wherever I and my knitting go.