Friday, January 13, 2006

I have started a new Yahoo Group featuring my (ahem) esteemed opinion on knitting books. Here's one that I posted on Amazon a while back that I think is worth reading... this really is a great book, rather obscured by the fact it's PKR (Pre-knitting revival. Geeze, I can barely remember those days...). It's a rather good book, though, with all kinds of nice little historical tid-bits on knitting thrown in here and there. I especially liked the bit about knitting in Peru, where it's done by MEN. According to Stanley, a young man in Peru must knit himself his own hat before he begins to date. Here's the catch, though... they make said hat using wire. Wire. Quad zero's. In the words of the irrespressible Ron Stoppable (I have a nine-year-old girl, remember?) "I didn't know there were that many zeros!" Yup. Here's a picture:

I don't know if you can tell it or not, but they hold the yarn around their necks. Now I've tried knitting Turkish, Scottish (of course), Continental, English, and a couple of other ways, but this is a new one on me. I haven't tried it, and I will be sure to post an embarassing entry if I do.

Anyway. Here is my review on Montose Stanley.

Reader's Digest Knitter's Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide to the Principles and Techniques of Handknitting by Montse Stanley
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $28.00
Availability: This item is currently unavailable.

2 used & new from $52.99

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful:
The Book You Need. Period., May 21, 2004

There are very, very few knitting books that I acutally buy, as I am a person that knits without patterns, and usually make my own designs. Hence, there are very few knitting books that I can honestly recommend and actually own myself.

So I'll cut to the chase and put it this way: if the house was on fire and I was told I could grab one knitting book, it'd be my Montose Stanley. That's a very strong recommendation that I'd like to back up.

There isn't one single question that you have about knitting that would not be covered in this book. It is unparalled for its historical coverage of knitting through the centuries and fascinating bits about knitting in different cultures, it's easy to follow diagrams, and it's seemingly endless bits of useful information.

With all knitting books, I suggest you take it home from your library first. But if you are past beginner and feel that you need to build a knitting library, this book is the one for you. Unfortunately, it is not as well known as some of the other books that are carried in book clubs, such as the almost useless Big Book of Knitting, which has techniques but then no diagrams or instructions, or the Ultimate Guide To Knitting which is a very lovely book to look at, but doesn't deserve the title "Ultimate" by any silly-putty stretch of the imagination because it includes very few techniques, tricks, or tips. This modestly wonderful book has languished unknown because so many people would see the much more flashier, newer books and grab them instead. This was written long before our current knitting revival, but still remains the most comprehensive book on the market. I thank the good Lord above the Memphis library was across from the knitting shop, or I'd never have seen it. I promptly went out and bought it. I use it more than any other book I own, aside from the Knitter's Handy Guide.

The best way to describe its format is that it is written very close to a textbook--it includes the diagram immediately after the descriptive text. If I ever took a full-fledged course on knitting, I wouldn't be surprised if this was the one book everyone would be required to buy, hands down.

If you are a newbie, then I suggest you pass on this for the time being and buy the Idiot's Guide to Knitting and Chrochet, another must have, esp for the beginner, and for the person the beginner will someday teach in the future. But put it on your wish list, and when you start wondering how to make a cheveron go to the left or the right, or why men in the Andes knit more than the women, or another perhaps easier way to make a loop while knitting, then this is the book for you.


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