Domiknitrix: whip your knitting into shape, by Jennifer stafford, published by North Light Books.
I have to start off by saying – that I LOVE THIS BOOK. On the surface it looks like it might be just another gimmicky book. But it is not. It is a fantastic resource of knitting techniques, styles and designs. It has a really fun book style, with edgy fonts and illustrations, and it is a good handy size – to fit neatly into your bag. This book has personality too, and is a good read. Yes fun to read with quirky headings and lots of innuendo to snigger at while you knit up a storm.
The book is organised really well – with patterns in the back half – referencing techniques that are explained in the front half. Each pattern begins with a sexy photo of the knitted piece with skill level and introduction, but best of all a list of “what you will learn” For example, the “L’il red riding hood hoodie” is skill level apprentice, this is recommended to wear while watching the movie “freeway”. What you will learn includes symetrical increases and decreases, twisted knitting, picking up stitches, pockets and kitchener stitch. And these stitches and techniques are all explained with photos in the front section. So very handy.
The techniques section in the front is really detailed, with clear photos of step by step techniques and stitches. This section is really fantastic and worth getting the book for this alone. From casting on to purling, working with circular needles, picking up stitches, binding off, grafting – well I can’t list the entire contents, but suffice to say there is more … lots more.
The very beginning of the book, the introductory essay is great, but best of all are the 8 rules – the guiding principals to knit by include such gems as “choose your battles wisely” (rule no. 2), “clothes should be fitted and wearable” (rule no.7) and “quest for perfection” (rule no.8) which starts off by discussing the human spirit and our desire to learn and grow and stretch and improve – to better ourselves.
For the patterns, these are rich and elegant and fun and a little bit grungy. They start of easy with the “tasty morsels – knitting quickies” section, this is what it says, and among these quick knits include the “thin mint scarf” (you will learn knitting a tube, removing a cast-on edge and kitchener stitch). I love the “valentine candy pillows” with ‘spank me’ and ‘bite me’ knitted onto them (you will learn raised and mirrored increases, mattress and kitchener stitch and basic embroidery). The mohawk hat is making a comeback and ‘pretty in punk’ has a version, but this one is different with more of a helmet shape and a bigger hair section in the middle (you will learn symmetrical increases and decreases, picking up stitches, fringe) – there is a pic of this hat on Jennifer’s website.
Next level of knitting is called “on the level – knitting in the missionary position” – simple straightforward knits that are nevertheless satisfying. This section is mainly made up of sweaters and vests, with a bit of info on the sweater curse – and some practical ways to get past it. I really like the “big bad wolf pullover”, its a basic shape but with an interesting garter neckline and cuffs and scary shadow design on the front (you will learn intarsia, short rows, seaming garter, mattress and kitchener stitch).
The last section is called “side to side and on the bias – knitting when you want it hard” – lots of experimentation and adventure in these patterns. A beautiful fitted slinky cap sleeve top (you will learn provisional cast on, raised increases, removing cast on edge, grafting ribbing, short rows and kitchener stitch).