Daily Archives: February 9, 2007

Book Review: Knitting Tips & Trade Secrets

This is the second in a series of blog book reviews I am writing for Random House Canada. Today I take a quick peek at:


This is a recently updated edition of this book, which has been in circulation for more than a decade at least. It’s an extremely handy little book, and one that would partner well with technical reference books like Vogue Knitting: Quick Reference, and similar volumes.

Knitting Tips & Trade Secrets is not a pattern book, but it isn’t exactly a reference book, either. It’s quite a handy book to have, as I say, but it’s easily overlooked since it’s not very flashy or revolutionary, and I have the feeling it is the sort of printed volume that is losing a bit of spotlight due to the abundance of wisdom that exists in the unprinted form in cyberspace. It is a volume of collected pieces of wisdom from experienced knitters, assembled thematically. There are chapters such as ‘Yarn’, ‘Hand-Knitting Techniques,’ ‘Garment-Making Tips’, and ‘Managing Your Knitting’ – in short, it contains all the little tips and tricks that experienced knitters have learned, the knowledge that technical manuals like Vogue Knitting don’t necessarily stop to tell you about.

For example – any knit-bloggers who spend time on online knitting communties or message boards will have seen the inevitable series of newbie questions or practical questions (and may have asked plenty of such questions themselves). Things like, “how do I keep my yarn from rolling all over the place when I knit?”, and “how do I know if I have enough yarn left to cast off?” or “how can I twist a cable without a cable needle?” or “how do I make a buttonhole without it coming out all wonky?” Well, these are the kinds of answers that rest inside this book. They are the kinds of tips that now exist helter-skelter in various locations in the blogosphere, accompanied by a few schematic images and an index in one handy printed location. This is the kind of book that would make a good gift for the knitter who is either a) new, or b) in need of a single place to look when searching for ways to improve their knitting life.

My sister received a copy of this book from my mother years ago when she was first learning how to knit, and it bears the distinction of being the book that successfully taught her – from pictures – how to do the long-tail cast-on method. If that’s not a ringing endorsement, then what is? ;)

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In the next review: Glamour Knits, by Erika Knight.

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