New knitters often have anxiety about learning new skills such as knitting lace or cables, but master knitter Jennifer E. Seiffert shares a series of lessons that will help newer knitters learn the basic skills without fear in Fearless Knitting Workbook: The Step-by-Step Guide to Knitting Confidence.
The book covers basic knit and purl patterns, shaping techniques, cables and crossed stitches, lace and openwork and knitting in the round.
Learning the Basics
Each chapter in Fearless Knitting Workbook covers a general knitting skill and includes general information and several knit samplers to try out your new skills.
Most of the sample projects are intended to come out as 8-inch squares, which can then be joined together to make a scarf, a pillow cover or even a baby blanket or afghan.
Each project has very detailed instructions, translating the knit speak into more understandable language, as well as describing why the instructions call for doing certain things (like binding of ribbing in pattern or how and why border stitches are maintained on a swatch).
There are also tips for success with the projects scattered throughout, such as using the position of the cast-on yarn tail to show you which side of the knitting is the right side (or where the end of a round is in circular knitting) and advice on how to read your knitting so that you can easily keep track of where you are in a pattern and when you need to do something different like twisting a cable.
Each chapter other than the circular knitting chapter also has an "extra credit" project that's a little more difficult than the swatches (such as a Reverse Stockinette Stitch swatch with an oak leaf worked in knit stitches, a heart-shaped leaf, a plum tree square with traveling stitches and bobbles and a lacy square with leaf motifs and ladders).
At the end of the book there's a final exam: the Enchanted Cottage Pillow, which has knit and purl textures, cables, lace and bobbles.
As a knitter works through the Fearless Knitting Workbook, he or she will gain a lot of confidence in working knit and purl patterns, shaping, making cables and lace knitting.
But this is a book that is begging for a sequel that includes some of the topics that knitters are really afraid of, like knitting short rows, grafting and knitting garments.
Still, for new knitters who know how to knit and purl but haven't moved much beyond Garter and Stockinette Stitch, this book is an able guide to get them beyond the simplest of projects to knitting cables, working lace and shaping knitting with confidence.
The book is large, with an internal coil binding so you can keep it open to whatever lesson you're working on, which makes it handy as well as a useful way to learn the concepts presented. Photos illustrate the projects and some of the concepts, while detailed drawings show various knitting skills.
For knitters who need a little push into territory they might not have entered before because they feared the skills required were too difficult, Fearless Knitting Workbook proves that there is in fact nothing to fear when it comes to learning new knitting skills.
Publication date: November 2009.