Knitting Book Reviews

Knitting in the Old Way
by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts & Deborah Robson

I~ez_rsquo~ll confess right away that this book has been one of my favorites for years. I have the 1985 edition, and pull it off the shelf every time I start thinking about designing my own sweater.

Why is this one so good?

It~ez_rsquo~s not filled with trendy patterns. In fact, it~ez_rsquo~s exactly the opposite. It~ez_rsquo~s filled with old, time-honored sweater shapes, from the oldest, knitted blouses to saddle-shoulder Aran styles.

Along the way, she discusses, well, everything! Knitting techniques. Ways of adding color. How to do cables. When to do color and cables. How an Icelandic pullover differs from a Fair Isle one.

All the different shapes, patterns, and techniques are accompanied by clear, hand-drawn schematics.

Obviously, if you~ez_rsquo~re only interested in more modern shapes, more trendy designs, this won~ez_rsquo~t be the book for you. But for a look at the history and reasons for some of the designs that have been around for donkeys~ez_rsquo~ years? I can~ez_rsquo~t think of another book in my library that~ez_rsquo~s as all-around useful.

Oh, and as to the two editions? With the exception of a final chapter on spinning yarn that~ez_rsquo~s in the earlier book and not in the newer one, the information all seems pretty much the same. The organization, however, is different. Things are shuffled around to different chapters, but it~ez_rsquo~s all still there. True, the 1985 edition was spiral-bound, which made using it as a reference a little easier, but the perfect binding on the new edition is likely to last longer.

Really, it~ez_rsquo~s a great book. I mean, why else would the publishing gods have granted it a new life? It~ez_rsquo~s a classic.

Reviewed by Deb Boyken

Deb has been knitting since 1987 and has accumulated quite a collection of knitting books over the years. Her website, Knitting Scholar, can be found at
http://knittingscholar.com .