Melissa Leapman's Knitting Beyond Scarves: Easy Lessons that Let You Knit What You Never Thought You Could is a great choice for new knitters looking to build their confidence in the craft.
Even if you've never or rarely picked up needles before, this book will guide you through 21 patterns of increasing difficulty along with 16 lessons that teach the skills necessary to complete the projects.
School's in Session
The book is designed like a knitting workshop, beginning with the most basic skills: forming a slip knot, doing the cable cast on and forming the knit stitch.
The majority of projects in the book use garter stitch as their stitch pattern, giving new knitters ample opportunity to get comfortable with the basics.
While all these patterns are lovely, one can imagine that even a new knitter would want to try something different after knitting a 19 inch by 53 L-shaped wrap.
The lessons take knitters through working with two colors, increasing, decreasing, sewing up projects, knitting in the round on double-pointed and circular needles, adding fringe, knitting buttonholes and picking up stitches. They provide a well-rounded education for new knitters, and some tips that might be helpful to more seasoned knitters as well.
The patterns include two hats (one knit flat, one in the round), a wrap, a poncho,three bags, two skirts, six pullovers, two cardigans, a sarong and a handful of other projects.
The book is entirely skewed to female knitters. Large photographs show off the patterns, and detailed drawings illustrate the skills needed so that you'll be sure to know what is going on.
Since most of the patterns are knit in garter stitch, they're very accessible to new knitters. Only the projects at the very back of the book--a ribbed camisole, shaped pullover and tie-front cardigan--rate a skill level of three on the three-point scale Leapman uses. Even these are not that difficult, they just require more skills than the other pieces.
Some of the more difficult (and therefore more interesting) patterns would also be appropriate for knitters who have already moved "beyond scarves," but most of the straight garter stitch patterns at the front of the book would only be fit for TV knitting.
Still, for completely new knitters or those who lack the confidence to try something more complicated on their own, Leapman offers a wise book that will help new knitters build their skills (and their wardrobes) quickly.