My reviews are listed below, but you can also click on this link to buy & find reviews of even more Knitting Books
(Titles are listed A-Z by author. Check side bar for links to book reviews covering different stitch techniques. Please feel free to add comments – especially if you disagree with me!)
How much do I love this book? Actually, not quite as much as I love the idea of it. The beginning of the book is great, with an introduction to colour theory (always useful when thinking in terms of design!) and a separate section n design itself (not quite as comprehensive). This is followed by a detailed secion on how to knit and crochet ‘fragments’. A similar number of pages as dedicated to all these things combined towards the back of the book details ‘FUNky FX’, both knitted and crocheted.
I guess the thing that I don’t quite love in the book is the middle section, more than twice the length of the bits described above, which is purely project based. I guess the trick is (if, like me, you don’t really want to be replicating designs) you use the projects as learning additional elements of design, and just extract from each pattern the section that you want to learn. There are some interesting bits such as knit & crochet with beads & (separately) with wire; and although most of the projects don’t actually inspire me greatly, at least they are not prescriptive and unoriginal like the majority of knitting/crochet books around. Project-based or not, at least the book encourages people to experiment with design, and to look outside the box.
Even though I don’t quite love this book in its entirety, it is still a brilliant starting point, that will hopefully kickstart inspiration within people who would like to explore knitting and crochet with a bit more creativity.
I was very excited about the author’s first book on this subject, ‘Freeform Knitting and Crochet’, but it didn’t go quite as far as I had hoped it would. This new volume, however, is far closer to the book I had initially hoped for. There are expanded sections on design and colour theory, and more helpful motifs and versatile principles to adapt according to your own taste. There are still a few projects to follow if you like, but in my opinion, this title is a far more practical guide to freeform knitting and crochet than its predecessor. Together, it would be fair to say they make a winning team!
WOOL’N MAGIC by JAN MESSENT
This really is a great beginner’s guide to knitting, wih clear, colour step-by-step photos for each project and potential problem. The text is informal and jargon-free, ‘translating’ the traditional knitting pattern text as you go along, so you will be able to follow standard patterns more easily later. There are lots of extra tips and question/answer sections as you progress, and it feels like a very friendly way to learn.
Unfortunately, I just don’t like the patterns in this book. They are very basic. Okay, ideal for beginners, but surely they could be a little more stylish, too? For such a well-presented book, it’s a shame. More than a third of the projects are for children’s items, which is probably fine for many people, but means a lot of irrelevant patterns for me. For examples of funky styles possible from basic stitches and paterns, see instead Fast Knits Fat Needles by Sally Harding.
Some links to more books about knitting that I haven’t read, but look quite interesting!