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Take Control of Your Knitting

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Domiknitrix by Jennifer Stafford.

North Light Books

So many knitters seem to be intimidated by different aspects of the craft, whether it's turning a heel on a sock, knitting lace or felting.

While Jennifer Stafford's book Domiknitrix: Whip Your Knitting into Shape doesn't cover every fear or problem area knitters might posses, it's designed to give knitters enough confidence in their ability to accomplish the basics that they won't be afraid to venture out into the more challenging parts of the knitting world.

Knitting Boot Camp

The first thing that sets Domiknitrix apart from most other knitting pattern books out there (other than the vinyl cover) is the wealth of knitting instruction at the beginning of the book.

The projects don't start until page 97, which should give you an idea of how much room is devoted to instruction and tips. And this isn't just the basics. There are four kinds of cast on, as well as basic instructions for English and Continental knitting methods.

In addition, you'll find tons of more technical information, such as:

  • How to splice yarn when you start a new ball
  • How to make short rows
  • Picking up stitches
  • Duplicate stitch
  • Circular knitting
  • Mattress stitch and grafting

This book would be worth the price just for the knitting education you receive from reading it, but there's more to this book than just that.

The Patterns

Domiknitrix includes 20 patterns for knitters of all skill levels (classified in this book as novice, apprentice and domiknitrix). Even the basic patterns include details like increasing and decreasing and knitting i-cord.

The patterns are decidedly punk (to me, though Stafford resists labels), modern and unlike what you'll see in most knitting pattern books. Examples include:

  • Conversation-heart-shaped pillows with the phrases "bite me" and "spank me" on them
  • A vest with Bob Dobbs, an icon of the Church of the Subgenius, in duplicate stitch on the chest
  • Devil and "snow devil" hats with horns
  • A mohawk hat, complete with neon green hair

The final chapter of the book involves patterns knit in an unusual way, such as a hat knit sideways out of short-row wedges, a top and a coat knit side to side, and a pair of sweaters so diabolical in their construction the patterns were too complicated to print (they're available online with the help of a secret code.)

The patterns are adventurous and different from the norm, but that doesn't mean there aren't things here to make most knitters happy. The Little Red Riding Hoodie would be adorable in any color, and the sweaters and vests with motifs on them could always be knit plain if you didn't like the look with a design.

The Bottom Line

Domiknitrix is all about giving knitters of all skill levels the confidence to try new things with their knitting. While we all know on some level that the worst thing that can happen while knitting is that we mess up and have to rip our work and start over, we're still often scared to try new things or knit something up just to see what happens.

Or, as Stafford puts it, "I discipline my yarn. I force it into the form I want it to take. I am persistent, firm and commanding. I am the DomiKNITrix. If the yarn is wayward and the pattern not quite right, I rip out and reknit until I get what I want. It's classic, really. Pain begets pleasure--They're really not so very far apart."

This book is a fun, feisty companion on your knitting journey that will make you want to branch out and try something new. And that's really what we all should be aiming for.

Publication Date: November 2006.

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