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The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns

Pattern Templates Make Knitting Easier

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The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns

The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns by Ann Budd.

Interweave Press.

There comes a time in every knitter's life when she wants to knit a basic something -- maybe a hat, or a sweater or a vest -- and she doesn't want to have to hunt down a pattern that's the right size or the gauge she wants to use. Luckily Ann Budd is out there to do all the math for us, and the basics for eight different kinds of garments and accessories are provided in her book The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns: Basic Designs in Multiple Sizes & Gauges.

Since this book was first published in 2002 it has helped untold numbers of knitters produce basic garments, giving them confidence to try more involved patterns, as well as giving more adventurous knitters a blank slate on which to play.

About the Book

  • Pages: 114
  • Format: hardcover with interior spiral binding
  • Number of patterns: basic patterns are given for eight categories of garments and accessories, with variations and other options
  • Sizing: children to large adult sizes are given; for instance the sweater chapter covers a child's size 2 to an adult with a 54-inch chest
  • Illustrations: some full-color photographs, lots of one-color drawings and large black and white schematics
  • Knitting lessons: a glossary in the back covers cast ons, increases, decreases, bind offs, grafting, picking up stitches and other basics
  • Publication date: 2002

The Patterns

The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns provides basic patterns for different kinds of knitting: mittens, gloves, hats, tams, scarves, socks, vests and sweaters. Each pattern is described and then you'll find the instructions for knitting it, with the numbers in chart form.

First you'll see the sizing options and finished measurements so you can pick the size you need and know where to look on the chart. You need to know the gauge you are getting with the yarn and needles you intend to use, then you can find where your size and gauge intersect on the chart (the gauge chart has whole stitches from 4 to 9 stitches per inch, so you may still have to adjust a bit if you get half stitches, or decide if it's OK for your finished object to be a little bigger or a little smaller than you intended).

For each step in the pattern there are written instructions and a chart where you can find the number that corresponds to your size and gauge. Just follow along and you'll have a simple Stockinette item without having to worry about the math.

For each chapter there are tips to make knitting easier or to alter the pattern. There are also "personal touches" in some of the chapters such as different options for edgings for hats and vests or sweaters.

At the back of the book there's also an "expanding your options" section, which talks about adding stitch or color patterns and adjusting for gauge such as if you get a half stitch as mentioned above.

There's nothing fancy about these patterns, but that's the point. They are a complete blank slate for learning or for adding your own touches without having to think much about the technical details.

Bottom Line

The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns is an essential guide for both new and more experienced knitters. I use it often when I'm designing to remind me of things like how many stitches are needed for the thumb on a mitten or how many stitches to work at the beginning of a heel turn on a sock. Using this math doesn't take away from my enjoyment of the knitting or the mineness of the design, it just means I didn't have to guess or remember what I did last time.

So even if you never knit one of the plain vanilla patterns, you'll probably still find uses for this reference. And if you're relatively new to knitting and afraid to try things like a sweater or a pair of gloves, these straightforward patterns will build your confidence so you can move on to the fancy stuff quickly.

The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns is now available both as a print book and an ebook. Keep it on your iPad like I do and you'll always have these handy patterns close at hand.

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