New knitters who are ready to move beyond scarves can easily be intimidated by all the choices of pattern books in the bookstore, but Knitting Beyond the Basics: Skill-Building Lessons and Must-Have Projects by Rebecca Lennox is a good place to start.
At the beginning of the book all you need to know is how to knit and purl, and by the end you'll be making sweaters with interesting stitch patterns and cables. Each project offers new lessons to help you along your knitting journey.
Knitting Beyond the Basics is divided into chapters, each one of which adds another skill (or several) that are then used in the project or projects presented in that chapter.
The first chapter, for instance, includes casting on, knitting, purling and binding off and offers a pattern for a Mistake Rib afghan.
A later chapter covers buttonholes (which are actually first used earlier in the book), while another looks at intarsia knitting and another using stitch patterns.
Skills are illustrated with drawings as well as good text instructions, which should be sufficient to pick up most of the skills (not all techniques are illustrated, but most of the major ones are).
Sixteen patterns help knitters learn the basic concepts that are required for most knitting projects, from increasing and decreasing to adding edging, making buttonholes, color knitting (only intarsia, not stranded knitting), using new stitches, adding beads to projects and working lace.
A section on math in the back also helps knitters convert from yards to meters and figure out yarn needs when substituting yarns.
Most of the patterns in the book are for sweaters, tops and jackets. There are also four bags, two scarves and an afghan among the 16 patterns.
Many of these patterns are pretty basic, which is the goal, though there is a nice cabled sweater than can present more of a challenge, as well as a beaded lace shell, a linen stitch shell and a cardigan knit side-to-side in self-striping yarn that are all labeled as being for experienced knitters.
A knitter working through this book would do well to pick one project from each chapter and work through them progressively to ensure they understand all the concepts.
Some of my favorite patterns in the book include the Sideways Summer Shell, knit in a pastel self-striping cotton blend yarn; the Double-Moss Chanel-Style Jacket, which has a nice, easy style and a chunky, homey feel; and the Beaded Lace Shell, which combines a lovely lace pattern with subtle clear beads.
This book offers a good place to start for knitters who need help developing their skills beyond the basics. If you like a somewhat casual look and the idea of building your skills one step at a time, you'll enjoy learning from and knitting with this book.
Publication date: April 2007.