The original Stitch'n Bitch book came along at just the right time that it was responsible for a lot of people learning to knit in the early 2000s. The book -- and subsequent followups -- made knitting accessible and fun for legions of new stitchers who might have previously thought of the craft as stodgy.
Debbie Stoller is back with another Stitch'n Bitch book, Stitch'n Bitch Superstar Knitting: Go Beyond the Basics, which aims to help knitters build their skills in areas such as colorwork, lace, cables and embellishments.
Learning with a Laugh
Stoller again brings her snarky, spirited style to teaching knitters a host of new skills, including:
- knitting stripes and using slip stitches in color knitting
- knitting intarsia
- stranded knitting
- ways to embellish knitting
- fancy cast ons and bind offs
- kitchener stitch
- short rows
Topics are well described in words and also illustrated with drawings to aid in comprehension. The sections are all pretty short, meaning knitters unfamiliar with these skills won't get too overwhelmed by information and knitters who just need a refresher can quickly find what they need.
In addition to all of these skills, the book also covers how to design your own knits by taking knitters through the math required to knit a custom sweater with drop shoulders (or modified drop shoulders), raglan sleeves, a circular yoke and set-in sleeves.
The math may get a little mind-boggling at times for knitters who haven't done any designing before, but the instructions are really straightforward. Reading the section with your own measurements in mind and doing the math along with Stoller should make any of these patterns well within reach.
You can't have a Stitch'n Bitch book without patterns, and Stitch'n Bitch Superstar Knitting includes 41 of them, all using the skills covered in the beginning of the book. The patterns are arranged by skill in the same way as the tutorials were in the front of the book, so it's easy to read about a skill and find a pattern that uses it.
The patterns are mostly for women and feature the classic funky feminine (some might even say girly) style fans of SnB have come to know and love. There are also some projects for the kiddos and men in our lives, and of course a couple of projects with skulls for good measure.
Some of my faves include the Tulip Top, a blouse with knot embellishments and an I-cord tie at the neck; Tiptoes, a pair of striped toe socks; the classic Fair Isle sweater The Life Aquatic, which features a fish motif for extra funkiness; the pretty and easy Lotus Bag worked with intarsia and double knitting; Saxon the City, a pair of amazing braided cable thigh-highs; the pretty Nip/Tuck top, which has a diamond lace pattern and a "bib" of twisted rib; and the super-cute Tiger Lily, a knit tiger sporting an adorable little dress.
Given the nature of this book, the patterns are better for advanced beginner to intermediate knitters, and some require more skill. But all of the concepts needed to create the patterns successfully are described in the book, so confident knitters of any skill level who can follow directions are sure to be able to work these patterns out.
Fans of the previous Stitch'n Bitch books are sure to enjoy Stitch'n Bitch Superstar Knitting, especially for the patterns and the instructions on how to design your own sweaters. Knitters who learned when the first Stitch'n Bitch book came out might already have learned a lot of these skills (Stoller herself notes that this book was the "most postpondiest book ever," an indication that the book should have been out sooner, perhaps to help teach those who learned on the first books) but will still enjoy the attitude of this one.
For skilled knitters who haven't made the leap into design, the section on sweater design is really straightforward and could be a big help to giving them the confidence to try, and, of course, the patterns are nice if you like the S'nB style.
Publication date: November 2010