Sunday, March 15, 2009

Knitting books in Review

Knitting books find their way to my house quite often. A bibliophile at heart, I love books more than I love yarn. (GASP!) I edit my books with pencil notations and even if the mistake is terribly irksome, with White-out. (With as many basic typing mistakes as I have, this may come as a shock to my blog readers.)

Today with in the first 10 minutes of playing with the book Knitting: The Complete Guide, I was horrified. I would not show my face if I were the editor. I feel horrible for the poor author. All the work of putting together a book and it is a disaster. It is heartbreaking.

JUST THE TABLE OF CONTENTS! The page numbers are totally wrong. Sections are either out of order or duplicated.

Then there is the entrelac photo for undulating dropped stitches, the bobble edging photo for all over bobbles, the poor bobble stripes chart… Did I mention entrelac directions are nowhere to be found? I am truly scared to look in depth at the rest of it for fear if I find a stitch I like, the directions will be wrong or the photo that drew me in is a tool of deception.

Oh the hours of swatching stitches that must have been wasted!
Can you issue errata for almost an entire book?!

The Field Guide to Knitting however was an unexpected delight. As the author states at the beginning, “This easy to carry book contains instructions for each stitch pattern along with such valuable information as the characteristics of the fabric it creates (Will it stretch? How will it drape? Does it lie flat? Will it distort?); the amount of yarn it will consume, history and background of the stitch and ideas for how it is used.”

There are little symbols for if it is a stitch that you can do while watching TV, whether the stitch eats up yarn, if it can be used in the round, etc… This takes a lot of doodling and swatching and planning out of a design and helps narrow things down a bit faster. (Like some people hate long division, there is a short cut with this reference tool!)

I used to call my mother when we were separated by states, and have her interpret pattern lingo to me. Being very wise she made sure I learned to read patterns and charts. This is invaluable to me today. However there is something that “knits you together” with another person as you step by step go thru the way the fiber curls, loops, and dips, and what it should look like. The Field Guide to Knitting really does have an open friendly feel as if Jackie Pawlowski is sitting at your side teaching you about each stitch. Like Elizabeth Zimmerman, Jackie believes you should know how to read your knitting and offers you the tools to do so.

If you are without an LYS, (or if they are one of those that charge an arm and a leg if you bought the yarn somewhere else and have the audacity to ask them for help) get this book! (And if you don’t know about, go there too!)

There’s my 2 cents. hope you find some lovely books... and pass on the titles to me???


Brooke Knits said...

Nice book reviews..Too bad the first one bites. Guess who is getting a loom?? No, guess.. Nope guess again.. YES!! ME!! I am pee my pants excited!!

Diana said...

So strange about that book and how it even made it into print. Doesn't the author get to give it a passing grade before that happens?
And, you're not the only one who loves books more than yarn!!! ;) But I am sure in our fiber circle we would be thought of as very strange!

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