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Saturday, 30 October 2010

Simple Knitting by Erica Knight

Following the success of Simple Crochet, Erika Knight has turned her attention to the novice knitter with this unique workshop-based how-to-knit book. With Simple Knitting you will learn to knit whilst creating your own accessible yet highly desirable basic projects that are at once essential and inspiring. Each of the 20 projects in the book teaches you a new skill, and builds upon and consolidates those knitting techniques already learnt from the proceeding projects, until you have mastered a wide repertoire of skills and amassed an enviable collection of gorgeous knitted items. More and more people are discovering the pleasures of knitting, yet many of today's new knitters have not had the same opportunity of previous generations to learn the necessary techniques. Who better to learn from than Erika Knight? With a series of workshop-style masterclasses which you work through as you create each knitted project, Erika guides you through all the key techniques, from plain stitches to more advanced cables and shaping, as well as broader design principles, such as putting together a colour palette. Simple Knitting provides a unique opportunity to learn the design secrets of one of the world's most highly respected knitwear designers. With inspiring photography by Yuki Sugiura that showcases each of the beautiful designs perfectly, supported with clear charts and artworks, Simple Knitting is the ultimate book to learn to knit from.

I love the layout of this book. There is a great introduction where Erika herself states 'i want to share the simplicity of knitting with you' and I believe this book does try to do this. There are 20 projects in the book, each teaching a new skill. The projects are all graded to skill levels (beginner, easy, intermediate and experienced). The first section is all about materials and techniques, explaining yarns, fine, medium and thick, the types of equipment which are useful when stitching and a great techniques section. This techniques section is very detailed along with great diagrams. The section includes basic knitting, both knit and purl stitches, casting on and off, increasing and decreasing, knitting in a round and, something which has always puzzled me, making a tension swatch. There is a detailed page listing abbreviations and another on terminology. There are also pages on understanding patterns which I found very useful when looking further into the book at the design patterns. Following this is a page on reading charts and also after care of knitted items. I think this first section is a very useful one and this book would be a great addition to any knitting bag as a resource for understanding any pattern looked at in the future.

The next section of the book is a stitch library showing photographs of knitted squares of different stitches, each photograph accompanied by a pattern of how to knit each stitch. There are basic stitches such as garter stitch and stocking stitch, as well as rib, moss stitch, herringbone stitch and cable stitches, followed by stripe sequences.
There then follows the project workshops, starting with beginner projects and moving on throughout the book to advanced projects. Each project aims to teach you a technique and lists the stitches used in the project, along with the finished size, a materials list and the tension.
The beginner projects are for scarfs, dish clothes and cushions and as projects get more advanced others include hats, bags, jumpers, mittens and throws. There is one project in the book, a rag bag, that uses lengths of light-weight cotton to knit with.
I really like this book and think it is a great accompaniment to the Debbie Bliss book reviewed below for someone who wants to begin knitting or is coming back to knitting like I am. The book is ideal for a beginner but also for a more advanced knitter who wants to maybe learn a new technique.
Thank you to Quadrille Publishing for sending me this book to review.

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