Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Review: How to Knit by Hamlyn

How to Knit How to Knit by Hamlyn

Picked this up from my local library as I wanted a step by step guide to refresh my knitting skills. I was already familiar with the basics of knitting, but needed a little clarification here and there. This was a fantastic guide and it is suitable for the knitting novice as well as those alreday familiar with the basics.

In the introductory part, you will find a section on essential tools and basic techniques, including yarn, needles and needle sizes. This is followed by a number of chapters covering various topics from knitting in the round to cables as well as finishing techniques. There is even a section on sock - knitting and how to turn the dreaded heel. I didn't attempt to knit a sock, but found the instructions rather clear and less confusing than in many other books of this kind.

In the second half of the book you will find a number of projects suitable for knitters of all levels. Again, everything is clearly explained and the diagrams are superb. There is only one point of criticism: A large proportion of the projects featured are baby - knits and if you do not have a baby in your immediate orbit, you might want to look elsewhere for a suitable project.

In its last section the book features a stitch gallery, which is definitely the highlight of the book. Every possible type of stitch is covered and accompanied by the picture of a swatch.

All in all a well - designed introduction to knitting for the advanced knitter and the absolute beginner, well worth a look!

Review: Louisa Harding's Hats, Gloves and Scarves

Hats Gloves Scarves: Easy Designer Knits for Family and Friends Hats Gloves Scarves: Easy Designer Knits for Family and Friends by Louisa Harding

Does exactly what it says on the cover - knitting patterns for hats, gloves and scarves. Most of the patterns are easy to follow and can be adapted to suit the beginner and intermediate knitter. At the time of its publication, Louisa Harding was still designing for Rowan Yarns and - surprise, surprise (!) - most of the yarns used for the patterns are Rowan.
I love Rowan yarns but as we all know, they are rather pricey. Some of the yarns featured have been discontinued and you will have to go on a hunt for substitutes. Even though Harding advises against this, I have successfully substituted some of the yarns and really don't think it makes such a big difference. As mentioned above, some of the patterns in the book are suitable for beginner knitters or can be adapted to suit the beginner's needs, but I would sincerely advise all beginners to have another reference book at hand when attempting a project.
Even though basic knitting and finishing skills are introduced at the onset, the explanations and illustrations are not very detailed and some of the techniques used in the patterns lack clarifications. That said, the patterns are clearly written - as you would expect from a professional designer.
The designs itself are BEAUTIFUL and varied - some chunky and playful, others are elegant and delicate: Something for everyone and every occasion!
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