July 23, 2006

Book Review - Knitting Rules! by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

Knitting Rules! by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

This is one hilarious knitting book. It is the first book in a long time, maybe since I started knitting last year, which I've put down my knitting to read other then to look at knitting pattern books. I gulped it down in two readings.

Stephanie has a wonderful and humorous writing style, as is evidence by her online blog, Yarn Harlot. There she gives a daily glimpse into the life of harried knitter trying to find a balance between writing, knitting, and family.

In this latest book, Knitting Rules!, Stephanie offers knitting advise that is both informative as it is funny. I felt like I was sitting in the presence of one of those women you find in knitting circles across the country that knows everything about knitting, is willing to help you no matter what, and makes you feel better about your own mistakes by telling you about her own knitting fiascos. You know those women. You just love them!

The other great thing about this book is the easy way that Stephanie presents the various patterns in her book. They aren't dry instructions but more along the line of an experienced knitter sitting down with you, telling you the basics, offering you advise, and letting you come up with your own take and style of the item.

I especially liked the chapters on hats (page 102) and scarves (page 152). She offers simple directions on knitting these items while presenting great ways to make them your own.

I was even able to use Stephanie’s sage knitting advice right away. I was knitting a double cable scarf that had a cable motif at either end of the scarf. The center portion was K2 P2 ribbing. Since I was using different yarn then the pattern called for I didn't know when or how to get both ends knitted with the cables without running out of yarn or having too much left over. And there was the answer in the scarves chapter on page 166!

Here are some quotes from the book that I particularly liked:
"Stash has a tendency to multiply. This is independent of your tendency to keep buying it, so don't bother resisting the urge. Note: This rule is true only of stash that's hanging around being decorative. Once you start to knit with it, it doesn't multiply...as any knitter who has run out of yarn a half-sleeve short of a sweater can testify." - page 32

"Sweaters are clothes, not just knitting, and because there is more to them, there is more that can go wrong. A bad scarf can still be charming on some level and the consequences will never make your breasts look saggy, but a bad sweater has impact." - page 188

On the "I could Never Knit a Sweater": Ten Reasons Knitters Give and What I Wish I could Say to Them on page 196:
"4. I’ve tried and the sweater was crap. That's no reason to quit. I knit tons of crap. Crap all the time. The path to a good sweater is paved with crap. There's a magic number of crappy things you have to knit before you're released from the crap and can get a good sweater. You must work through the crap to get to the light. It's either that or you don't follow directions well. One of the two."

I highly recommend Knitting Rules! by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee to any knitter. It will have you rolling on the floor with laughter as you identify with all the craziness that is knitting. This is definitely a book worth putting your knitting needles down for.

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