New knitters and crocheters have many options for learning their desired craft. There are websites, books, magazines and DVDs devoted to attracting legions of new crafters. This can only be a good thing, since different people tend to learn in different ways, and the instruction that is off-putting to one person is sure to strike a chord with another.
Knit.101: The Indispensable Self-Help Guide to Knitting and Crochet form the editors of Vogue Knitting's Knit.1 magazine, is clearly geared toward younger crafters, those who might be tempted to pick up needles or a hook because they think it's cool.
Learning for Life
The book argues, however, that the trendiness of craft is not the reason one should start knitting or crocheting:
The thing about something being "in" is that it implies it will eventually be "out." And one thing you will discover as you start knitting and crocheting is that these arts never go out of style. What better way to express yourself than by wearing a one-of-a-kind creation made with your two cute little hands!
The book is evenly divided between instruction on knitting and crochet. It first goes over the basic supplies needed for the crafts, how to make a slip knot, cast on, form the knit stitch and bind off.
There are lots of good-sized pictures on these pages as well as decent written instructions, so they should be sufficient to help someone grasp the basics.
After this introduction the knitting section alternates between instructions and patterns to use those skills.
The only trouble is, this section isn't very well organized in terms of introducing skills before they're called for. The second project in the book, for example, a messenger bag knit in Garter Stitch, involves a fair bit of sewing, but how to sew seams isn't covered for another 70 pages.
Patterns use stripes before the section on knitting with color, call for working in the round before that skill has been introduced, and a sweater pattern appears about 10 pages before the instructions on how to put a sweater together.
Despite these organizational problems, many of the patterns are pretty cute and provide a good range of skills for the new knitter to develop and practice. The book starts with a couple of plain Garter Stitch projects: a giant scarf knit on size 50 needles with three strands of yarn held together and the aforementioned messenger bag. I have a bit of a problem with both of these for true beginners. First, I wouldn't suggest using giant size 50 needles for a first project, since they're pretty unwieldy. Second, a project with a lot of seaming may turn new knitters off, as it's lacking in instant gratification.
Other projects include an Mp3 armband, a fun fur scarf, legwarmers in self-striping yarn, cozies for terra cotta planters, armwarmers, a sweater with an intarsia guitar on the front and a super cute cropped cardigan. All of the patterns use Lion Brand yarn.
There's also a pattern for pedicure socks (where the toe part can flip up to expose your digits), but there's no detailed instruction on how to turn the heel, which could intimidate and confuse some new knitters.
In general the patterns are cute and do represent a nice building up in skills from basic rectangles and squares to more shaped pieces. While I don't think a new knitter gets all the instruction she or he needs to complete some of these projects in the book itself, it's easy enough to find that information online and it shouldn't stop knitters looking for somewhat trendy patterns from picking up this book.
Publication date: March 2007.