Knitting Book Reviews

Field Guide to Knitting: How to Identify, Select, and Work Virtually Every Stitch
by Jackie Pawlowski

The rise in popularity of knitting has led to a plethora of knitting books being published. Along with the books featuring beautiful designs or reflections on knitting, an important subset is the books on techniques and stitch patterns. Field Guide to Knitting: How to Identify, Select, and Work Virtually Every Stitch by Jackie Pawlowski falls in this category.

As knitters gain in experience and begin to experiment, they will reach a point when they need to acquire a stitch dictionary. With so many to choose from, how does a knitter decide? Like many other decisions it comes down to personal preference. Field Guide to Knitting: How to Identify, Select, and Work Virtually Every Stitch, as its name suggests, is structured like a birder’s field guide rather than a typical stitch dictionary. The colour photos of the swatches are numbered and found in the centre of the book. Each entry has a number to the left of the stitch name which corresponds to its photo. A table of contents is at the beginning but to find a specific stitch, knitters will need to reference the index at the end of the volume.

Like many other stitch guides, designers have selected a single colour to work each "family" of stitch patterns (edgings in brown, ribbings in purple). Each pattern has standard information included: general description and history of the stitch, best stitch gauge to achieve pattern definition, stitch properties, suggested uses of the stitch and the stitch instructions. One item not found in other stitch guides is evaluating the stitch pattern on the amount of yarn consumed (1 skein (efficient) to 5 skeins, the black holes of knitting), a very useful tool when planning a garment.

Field Guide to Knitting: How to Identify, Select, and Work Virtually Every Stitch is not designed to be a knitter’s primary stitch dictionary. Its small size, and approximately 200 stitch patterns and variations, make it a wonderful tool to pack in a knitting bag; however, knitters will want to complement it with an exhaustive stitch dictionary for their reference shelf.

Reviewed by Janelle Martin

Janelle is an addicted reader and a book reviewer for
Armchair Interviews . A passionate knitter in what remains of her free time, she wonders, "Why can't we knit at work?". Her blog can be viewed at http://antheras.blogspot.com

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