Wednesday, November 11, 2015

jean reviews The Knitter's Book of Knowledge, A Complete Guide to Essential Knitting Techniques, by Debbie Bliss

The Knitter's Book of Knowledge,
A Complete Guide to Essential Knitting Techniques

by Debbie Bliss

Cosy up to this book and discover the joys of knitting!

The Knitter's Book of Knowledge, A Complete Guide to Essential Knitting Techniques, by Debbie Bliss is a massive compendium of everything one might want to know about knitting. Although it is large, it is not unwieldy. The reader will be able to keep it by her side as she knits, to refer to when she has a question of any sort.
Debbie Bliss is a top designer and instructor who is internationally famous for her patterns and her teaching. This guide contains a distillation of her years of knitting in an easy to understand, helpful and user-friendly guide.
The book is divided into eleven parts. There is also an introduction (as well as resources and graph paper at the end).
Chapter 1 contains information on the basics of "Yarns, Needles, and Other Things". This is a great beginning chapter which explains everything the reader might need. It goes into specific types and weights of yarn specifically and thoroughly. The photos are glorious. If you have never knitted before, this is a perfect place to begin. There is a list of equipment which will eventually be required as well, such as knitting needles of various sizes. Also explained are items such as row counters, scissors, cable needles, crochet hooks and more.
Chapter 2 is titled "First Steps".  The knit stitch and the purl stitch are taught here. Readers who have already learned how to knit might want to check this beginner chapter out as well, as there are techniques for casting on and binding off which may be helpful to them. The great illustrations by Cathy Brear, which are essential to understanding exactly how something is being done, and which appear throughout this beautiful book, are in evidence here. They really assist in making the author's instructions that much clearer.The knit stitch and the purl stitch are also offered in their versions both in US and UK, as well as Continental! How cool! For you left-handed knitters, you are not left out either! The Knitter's Book of Knowledge has everyone covered. This is the chapter you will go back to again and again as you bind off, too. It has all the different methods here in one spot.
Chapter 3 is called "Understanding Knitting". Here the reader will be exploring some of the technical aspects of knitting, as well as the language and terminology used. Basic knitted fabrics are explained, and how to read a knitting pattern and a charted pattern. You will learn how to knit a gauge swatch, and why. Certain basic essentials such as how to substitute a yarn and joining in a new ball of yarn appear here. A number of techniques including picking up stitches are included in this chapter.
Chapter 4 is titled "Shaping". The reader will be learning more on how to add or subtract stitches and how to dome and disk shapes, for example, a sock heel.
In the case of the sock heel, a special technique is provided to dispel any concerns about knitting socks. How cool is that? This book is truly fantastic and only gets better!
Chapter 5 is called "Knitting in the Round". Circular knitting goes way back. Early knitters originally created garments in this manner. As the author says, "[this is] perfect for knitters who tend to work a purl row tighter or looser than  the knit row, which can result in an uneven fabric." Within this chapter you have circular needles, double-pointed needles, and a great method is explained concerning when and how to use the magic loop. Among other techniques in this chapter, a pattern for medallions is offered. This is very lovely.
Chapter 6 is all about "Knitting Texture". This is a fascinating chapter which included patterns for all sorts of cables,back cross and front cross, a number of bobbles, knitted lace and more. Textural stitches explained here include the elongated stockinette stitch, elongated garter stitch, dip stitch and ladder stitch. This chapter is packed, as there are even more including loops, tucks. picots, and one of my special favorites, the entrelac technique.
What a gift this book would make for the aspiring knitter in your circle of friends or family! It truly bursts with tons of information on knitting--and it is not done yet!
Chapter 7 is an explanation of "Color Knitting". This will teach the reader all about patterns which use color as part of their design. There is a color wheel and discussions of color families and color values. I found this chapter to be wonderfully useful for any sort of designer of any kind of craft.. The author explains how to work from a chart, using color. She discusses techniques such as controlling multiple yarns. Stripes of all sorts and carrying multiple yarns are discussed here. Slip-stitch knitting and intarsia, vertical color change and how to hold different numbers of strands of yarn in your hands are all explained. Weaving in is explained here as well as edge stitches in color knitting.
Take a breath; it is on to Chapter 8. This gorgeous chapter concerns embellished knitting. The reader will be adding embroidery, duplicate stitch, decorative stitches (wait until you see the offerings!), and bead knitting of all sorts, never forgetting to include how to finish your piece. Trimmings, fringe, pom-poms and other embellishments such as crocheting are offered in this chapter.  It is a mindblowing collection which will embellish the reader's plainer knitted pieces and adds that wow factor we all love.
Chapter 9 is titled "Finishing".  As the author says, "[Finishing] seems to be something that many knitters find rather intimidating". However, she is reassuring, even as she stresses the importance of finishing your work properly. The reader will learn how to block, how to pin out on a blocking board, how to mattress stitch on stockinette,mattress stitch on reverse stockinette, on single rib, double rib and other patterns. Slip stitching and sewing on cast-on and bound-off ends are explained for the reader. As this is a very important part of the knitting process, there are pages and pages more on how to finish specific kinds of knitted pieces. The reader will be able to find and clearly understand  exactly what she needs in this very thorough and useful chapter.
Chapter 10 is titled "Designing Knits". What a lovely introduction the author provides concerning designing your own projects!
She explains that if the reader has been less than confident concerning her own designs, she might look back to the first thing she ever made. Possibly it was a scarf, self-designed. As she says, "And the steps from designing a scarf to designing a sweater are smaller and easier that you might think."
This chapter goes from finding inspiration, to photography, to mood boards, scrapbooks and sketchbooks to creating a collection. Then the author discusses designing to fit and basic garment shapes.The reader will be constructing a diagram and developing a design. Insight into the use of patterns and their practicalities are given. Color-effect yarns and textures are discussed. Every single chapter which came before this one contributes to this elegant coming together of making a pattern. Then, the reader will learn to write a pattern, calculating yarn quantities, and considering whether this will be for a baby, an adult, a boy or a girl. Included are accessories and homewares such as blankets and pillows.  It is very cool at this point to realize what you have learned from this marvelous book by Debbie Bliss, The Knitter's Book of Knowledge, A Complete Guide to Essential Knitting Techniques. What a great job she did corralling all the information you might need into one really fine reference book!
The following chapter is one we all need at one time or another: Chapter 11, "Troubleshooting". Here is where the reader will learn how to correct mistakes if they have been found early enough. The author assists the reader with dropped knit stitches and dropped purl stitches, up to multiple rows down, as well as dropped stitches on an edge and unraveling. Twisted stitches are resolved, as are extra stitches. There is a wealth of errors which are fixed for the reader in this chapter. Even mending and darning are included within this chapter. What a consolation to have this book when you realize you have made a mistake while knitting. It's terrific!
The resources (international as well as US), including sites where the reader can obtain Debbie Bliss' own brand of yarn, and knitter's graph paper wind up this lovely and useful book. What a super wonderful find for any knitter, beginner or otherwise. The Knitter's Book of Knowledge, A Complete Guide to Essential Knitting Techniques, by Debbie Bliss is a must for the library of a fan of knitting!


Robbie said...

Very night and detailed review! THANKS!!!

Jean Baldridge Yates said...

you are very welcome! :)