a knitting book review

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Well, here is something new for me. I was contacted by Artisan Books not long ago to see if I’d be interested in reviewing* a book that was recently published: Susan B. Anderson’s Kids’ Knitting Workshop.

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Book Description:   Beloved knitting instructor Susan B. Anderson presents her first book targeted at a young audience. This accessible introduction to knitting in the round includes easy-to-follow illustrated tutorials on techniques from casting on and binding off to joining colors to make stripes, and 17 progressively challenging knitting projects—beginning with simple infinity scarves and hats and building to supersweet toys and decor. Step-by-step text and photographs that kids can read and follow on their own mean they will be knitting independently in no time! Also included is a chapter on stocking your toolbox and sourcing yarn; plus advice on starting a knitting group, connecting with local knitting communities, charity knitting, and more.

I’m all for teaching anybody to knit, young and old. I’ve taught one of my three children (the other two haven’t been interested, but when they are…!) and it’s something that she still does when she has the time to devote to it. Once you’ve learned, I think it’s something that will always stick with you even if you don’t knit for a while. I’ve taught friends to knit and really honed my knitting skills when I worked in a yarn shop many many years ago when we lived in Ohio. I sure could have used a book like this!

This is a beautiful hard-bound book with a spiral binding. I love a spiral-bound book, especially when you want it to stay open on a page, like you would do with a knitting tutorial and pattern.

With beautiful photographs, diagrams, and clear and careful explanations, she guides the reader through the basics of knitting: the tools and yarn, how to read a yarn label, how to wind a skein (all things that by now we experienced knitters take for granted), how to fix mistakes, and something that I think is most valuable… how to unknit. And yes, I learned a thing or two here!

She starts out with simple projects: a Little Hat, Wrap Bracelet, Cowl, Stripy Tube Scarf and Stripy Hat, which is the first pattern I decided to knit.

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It’s adorable and I had lots of little bits of bulky yarn to use up… perfect!

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I do cast on differently than what she describes in the book, so I did it her way. The description and diagram makes it very easy to do. I also do a different method for attaching the next colour of yarn, so again I followed Susan’s instructions and I think I’ll stick with her method, which is to hook the new yarn around the previous stitches instead of attaching the new yarn with a knot. That knot has always bugged me.

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I’ve never made a pom pom before. Hard to believe in my long years (long!!) I’ve never done one, so this one is my first. It’s a little ragged looking, but it’s a pom pom! More pom poms are definitely in my future.

There are a couple of patterns that I’m going to give a try next. In the Intermediate Skills and Projects chapter, I think the Toasty Headband is pretty cute. Also included is Hat with a Rib, Cuffed Basket, Stripy Leg Warmers and Tablet/Journal Pocket.

I decided to knit the Cuffed Basket out of some handspun I have had for a few months. It’s a lovely wool and silk noil blend, spun as thick and thin singles. I love the simplicity of it.

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And is a nice addition on my table.

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For the Advanced Skills and Projects chapter, the patterns are really cute: a Snowman, Mason Jar Cozies, Fox Pillow, Puppy & Bunny Hand Puppets and Owl & Kitten Toys.

If I have one little criticism, it is that it would have been nice to have a listing of all the patterns in the table of contents for quick and easy reference. But really that is very minor.

I think this is a wonderful little book to get young people knitting. Let’s keep the tradition alive!

About the author:

AUTHOR PHOTO. Susan B. Anderson. Credit Evan AndersonSusan B. Anderson is the author of Itty-Bitty Hats, Itty-Bitty Nursery, Itty-Bitty Toys, Spud & Chloe at the Farm, and Topsy-Turvy Inside-Out Knit Toys. Her popular knitting blog, susanbanderson.blogspot.com, won the Reader’s Choice Award on About.com for the top-knitting blog/website in 2012. Susan also has a YouTube channel with dozens of instructional knitting videos that can be found under SusanBAnderson. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with her husband and four children.

*This book was provided to me by Artisan Books. All opinions are entirely my own.

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3 thoughts on “a knitting book review

  1. I anxiously read your review because I had seen that book and wondered about it as a gift for one of my granddaughters who loves to do crafty things. Thank you. And I love that darling hat.

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