Knitting in Plain English by Maggie Righetti might not be, as the cover suggests, the only knitting book you'll ever need, but it is an incredibly handy and knowledgeable reference that includes some of those basics every knitter needs to know and things it's impossible to remember but that you need to be able to find when you need them, such as how to knit a good-looking buttonhole or add a shawl collar to a sweater.
Lessons in Knitting
The tone of Knitting in Plain English is encouraging and funny, as Righetti offers a "been there, done that, and here's the easiest/best/fastest way you can do it, too," approach to knitting. It is like having a knitting instructor in your house, one who is always on your side and always has a solution for your latest knitting problem.
The book covers the basics, from choosing a pattern (and understanding which patterns you see in magazines or books you might not want to knit), to the characteristics of different kinds of yarn, cast on and knitting methods and more.
It also delves into territory you don't always see in knitting instruction books, such as thoughts on different construction methods and what might work best for the project you're knitting, what to put in your knitting bag, how to knit a hem and ways to alter knitting after the knitting is done.
The book includes three patterns for beginning knitters (a Garter Stitch triangular shawl, a scarf with pockets and a dropped-stitch capelet) and three for intermediates (a top-down baby sweater, hat and booties to match). The patterns have quite detailed instructions and make useful basics as well as giving knitters a practical grounding in the basics of knitting.
If You Don't Own This Book, You Should
The bottom line is this book belongs on every knitter's bookshelf -- or in every knitter's work basket -- where it will become a much relied upon and steady reference for many of your knitting questions and will give you the confidence to tackle those techniques you might not have otherwise understood or felt courageous enough to try on your own.
Publication date: April 2007 (revised edition)