Saturday, November 28, 2015

What you make of it...

A review copy of Debbie Bliss's latest, The Knitter's Book of Knowledge, arrived at just about when I needed a refresher on how to make buttonholes. How lucky was that?

I was finishing a Barbara Cowl for my friend Barbara, and as often happens when I'm in the middle of a pattern (or recipe), I realized I wanted to change something. The thing about this pattern is that you knit it as a scarf on straight needles, then sew it together. Since no provisional cast-on is required, you're left with a long rectangle that has a short seam, rather than an invisibly grafted-together loop. Had I realized this before I began knitting, rather than plunging right in, as is my s.o.p., I would have done the whole thing differently...but so it went, and there you have it. I needed to finesse the issue of a visible and clunky seam.

The fix was, I decided, to put in some buttonholes near the end, and sew on some matching buttons. That's where this lovely Debbie Bliss book enters the scenario. The book offers four really good methods of buttonholing (plus helpful ancillary information about reinforcing them, etc.), and I followed the instructions for one of them, and it all turned out very well.

Now Barbara can choose to wear her Barbara Cowl as a cowl or a scarf (hurray for versatility!), and she will be none the wiser as to the snafu I encountered.

Often when I receive books to review for this blog, I peruse them, but don't use them--that is, I never take the time to knit up one of the many patterns contained therein (most are pattern books), but merely ascertain from reading them whether or not I could in good conscience recommend them to you, gentle knitters. Those I can't recommend I simply don't review, as I don't feel it's an effective use of my time to write the hard truth about a problematic tome. But those I do recommend, I'm happy to extol, because they have appeal, utility, and durability. The Knitter's Book of Knowledge by knitting guru Debbie Bliss is one of these.

It's not just that I used it, and can verify the clarity of instructions, illustrations, and layout. It's also that it's a great reference work.

Reprinted with permission from The Knitter’s Book of Knowledge © 2015 by Debbie Bliss, Lark Crafts, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Photography by Kim Lightbody. Illustration by Cathy Brear.
And while it's pitched to a wide audience--knitting lessons are contained within (see above), as well as more advanced instructions--that's also part of its beauty. A decades-experienced knitter like moi consulted it and found interesting tips on how to make a better buttonhole and inset pockets (file for future reference). A neophyte will appreciate the sections on yarn suitability, color theory, trouble-shooting, etc., and especially enjoy the way in which processes like casting on and binding off (to mention only two of many) are broken into comprehensible steps. And there's also the fact that it's attractively designed and laid out.

So, in my considered opinion, this is a book worth owning. Or giving. I'm sure you know a knitter who'd enjoy this as a holiday gift.

No comments:

Post a Comment