The Readers Speak (Hopefully!)

Ola! It’s snowing here. Wet snow, but still – it’s snow.

A reader has contacted me asking for a Christmas gift book recommendation. (I’m not going to say which reader – she knows who she is! – for fear of inadvertently spoiling any surprises.) Someone she knows wants to start knitting. She asked if I could recommend a good beginner knitting book.

SnB knitters handbook500x300

Ooh, good question! I learnt the basics as a child at my mother’s knee, so I’ve never really had to buy one of these books. Off the top of my head, I thought about Stitch’N’Bitch: The Knitter’s Handbook. A lot of people love this! But from looking at the restricted and expensive numbers available on Amazon.co.uk, I wonder if this book is no longer available in the UK?

So I thought I’d put the plea out there. Readers, do you have a beginner knitting book that you’d recommend? Or would you direct a person towards a DVD? I’m not sure Youtube and online recommendations are going to work – this is for a gift that someone wants to open on Christmas morning.

Next up, leather!

leather

I’ve had a growing urge to sew with leather. Handmade Jane has kindly offered to donate a leather skirt for me to experiment with. (Is Handmade Jane an angel sent from heaven, or simply the nicest woman in the blogosphere? I just can’t decide…) Anyways, up! I’m very excited. I’m thinking a thigh-length A-line skirt with leather panels. I’m thinking, leather and wool. I’m thinking, Ooh, something new to try. 

So, any tips for working with leather? I know I need to buy a leather needle. What else should I be aware of? Cos, believe you me, I ain’t got a clue…

UPDATE I have some beautiful dark navy wool that I bought in Edinburgh almost a year ago. Navy wool and black leather – could I pull this off, or would it just look like bad colour matching? Decisions, decisions…

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58 Responses to The Readers Speak (Hopefully!)

  1. There are a fair few leather work books (Tandy from the ’70s) on Amazon (.com and .uk) depending on what you’re looking to focus on so you might want to do a targeted search. On a slightly unrelated note you might want to link that image to its Wikimedia commons page-the some of the objects on it appear to have branding/ trademarks which may cause you problems down the road..

    • Thanks for this! The image is listed on Wikipedia as being in the public domain, which is why I chose it. I work in an industry that relies on the respect of copyright, so I always try to be careful. Though undoubtedly you know something I don’t! Wikemedia what what?! Thanks for help.

      • Wikimedia commons see the link below the image. The description says “This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. See Commons:Licensing for more information.” i.e. that brand stamped on the leather. I haven’t checked what they mean by copyright tag required-but there’s a link below so just check to make sure. You might just have to state usage and link back to the original, which is pretty usual (things on the Flickr commons and other commons use it too). I use the src img bookmarklet (there are other options which might be better for you depending on the OS and hardware you are using, also the browser you use) to check on the origin of all the images I use. I think Thea mentioned others in my SisterMag article. Most of them you can just drag to your toolbar (in chrome) and click to activate when required. Best of luck.

  2. lucyl12 says:

    I learnt to knit from a beginners baby knit book. I was pregnant at the time so my mum gave me Debbie Bliss Beginners baby knits and a pair of needles and wool, in a lovely tote bag she made. That got me me going and I still refer to the techniques section in this book. We were camping at the time and did have quite a laugh trying to work out the diagrams with my husband getting involved to see where I was going wrong. For quite a while I was unknowingly twisting a lot of stitches. Picking the right wool and needles is a bit of a minefield when you have no idea where to start so I think getting all the materials for a particular pattern was what really got me going…. rather than just thinking…oh that would be nice and not doing it.

  3. sorry, can’t help at all with a beginner knitting book as, like you, I learnt by doing. I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with in terms of the leather. I’m sure it will be excellent.

  4. punkmik says:

    i would love to know about more beginner to intermediate knitting books too. but more for myself lol! wow she sounds like a lovely and nice blogger! makes me feel all christmassy and your skirt idea sounds amazing. i know you will share your experiences and i cant wait!

  5. Shivani says:

    All I know about working with leather is that pins will leave a hole, so you’ll have to mark with chalk. And also you should use a slightly longer stitch length.

  6. Like you I learnt to knit as a child so have never really needed a book. Personally I don’t like stitch & bitch (I get bored of the feminist angst) and in places find it overly complicated. After all you don’t need lots of different techniques to make nice jumpers. Just good design and basic cast on & off, knitting & purling.
    I would suggest your friend tries one if the Debbie Bliss books which are simple & have lovely patterns. There are a couple she’s written which have adults patterns as well as instructions & they would be good.

    • Miriana says:

      Debbie Bliss taught me too – Baby knits for beginners. Nice small projects which taught a different skill with each one. I think you may need to be pregnant (as I was) or have lots of friends popping out babies for that one. I think there is a market for an accessories knitting book (as garments brings with it rather tricky fitting issues) that does the same sort of thing – a garter scarf (knit stitch), a hat (ss and decreases), a cowl (knitting in the round) etc..

      One has to branch away from DB pretty quickly though to realise that there is a world free from seaming out there though.

    • Molly says:

      I get the same feel from Stitch and Bitch, I considered it as a gift for a very tomboy friend when she was learning but I didn’t think much of the patterns and the pseudo-aggressive approach. Debbie Bliss patterns are so lovely.

  7. Samantha Hall says:

    I have used The Knitters Bible to teach myself how to knit and often still refer to it now as I’m progressing to more advanced projects. It’s not a particularly sexy or glamours ‘coffee table’ book but its done me well. And just checking amazon it’s a good price too. http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/0715317997/ref=mp_s_a_1?qid=1354700649&sr=8-10&pi=SL75

  8. Molly says:

    I too am going to recommend the Knitters Bible which Samantha linked to above. I found it a very useful, basic reference, easy to follow without going into anything overly complex. I got the version that is combined with crochet as I have yet to learn that. Also both sections have some lovely patterns that, shock horror, I could actually imagine making!

    That said I don’t think there are many people who can learn to knit from just a book, its a very three dimensional process and photos and diagrams are too flat to be able to demonstrate it. And how do you know if you’re doing it right? Or wrong? So I know you said no online stuff, but…. after several failed attempts to learn over the years, the woman who got me finally knitting (and well) is Stephanie Japel on her online course at Craftsy. These classes are ridiculously cheap and excellently done and can be purchased as gifts or gift vouchers What I liked about Stephanie’s class is she just calmly took the beginner through the various stages of a scarf and instead of just teaching knit and purl, she snuck in variations in pattern, lace and buttonhole work so not only was the end result beautiful, there was no rut to think, “I’m too scared to try… patterns/lace/buttonholes… it looks complicated” because they were already done. I’m not afraid to try anything thanks to this teaching approach. The class is currently £12.50, access is for “life”, there’s a teacher and student forum for questions and link is here: http://www.craftsy.com/class/Knit-Lab-Projects-Patterns-Techniques/17.

    Re leather, you’ll probably find it much easier than you think, I was certainly pleasantly surprised. It’s *recommended* to use a teflon or roller foot, but I’ve managed to get it through the (very) old Singer with just the normal foot with no glitches and a ma-jig (jeans thingummy?) helps with the feed. The holes is a very important point, if you need to baste, use masking tape, glue, thick paperclips or bulldog clips to hold it together because those holes are permanent and very noticeable! I did use pins in my seam allowance and had to use those extra long, extra thick quilting pins (they were my colleagues, a few may have inadvertently ended up in my pin box, *ahem*, but they are great for really thick fabrics).

    • Molly says:

      (Oh yes, and my alarm call this morning was excited three year old screaming “SNOW!!!! It’s Snowing!!!”)

      • This is all REALLY helpful. Thank you! Good point about Craftsy. Thanks for the leather tips, also.

      • Molly says:

        Always glad to be some nugget of help. I can at least relate to being a beginner adult knitter which kind of makes me feel hard done by – why did my grandma not teach me to knit?! 😉 Its hard to believe I only learned in February (over a couple of days using the course) as it feels like so much longer (I did fall in love with it) and my theatre students often compliment the stuff I’ve made in disbelief that I have been knitting less than a year. However I do think it has helped immensely being a seamstress and pattern drafter, I am able to understand and adjust patterns quite easily and envisage the result which definitely comes from sewing experience. As for leather, I should probably have said that it was quite thick leather I was working with – more akin to accessories and furnishing. I have yet to make anything from light weight leather that I couldn’t get away with hot gluing together!

  9. I bought ‘Purls of Wisdom’ by Jenny Lord on a whim a couple of years ago and used it to teach myself to knit again – it’s a lovely book: first half basic knitting techniques and second half projects that range from beginner to intermediate! http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1846143020/ref=oh_details_o04_s00_i04

  10. Catherine says:

    Purls Of Wisdom http://www.amazon.co.uk/Purls-Wisdom-The-Book-Knitting/dp/1846143020/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1354703884&sr=8-1

    Good history of knitting included too, and conversation charts for American / English needles and yarn..

  11. Betty says:

    Ohh a leather paneled skirt! Can’t wait to see it! I love working with leather.

    With regards to sewing leather, if you’re just doing a little bit, you’ll have no worries on a domestic machine. Most clothing weight leathers are lighter than leathers for handbags. All I would say is just grab yourself a leather needle, a walking foot and you’re all set. 🙂 If you don’t have a walking foot, a teflon one should be ok too. Just go nice slow so as to not overwork the machine and you should be fine. Oh and use a longer stitch. You don’t want to sew too close together as it will cause perforations in the leather and weaken your seams. Try a few samples and see which one you like best.

    Since you can’t use pins, I find that the Clover Wonder Clips work well on seams. Although, I don’t think you will need them. I tend to use notches on leather as its easier to see and line up. If you do want the clips, you can get them online or from U-Handbag. You can also make marks on it with a silver pen that you can buy from Tandy’s leather. It comes off the leather easily.

    With regards to making sure the seams stay nice and flat, its best to use glue to hold them down. With my handbag making, I use a neoprene contact adhesive. It is a bit smelly though. You may be able to get a water based one that doesn’t have so many fumes. You need to apply it to both sides of the leather that you want to stick down and let it dry a bit. I think you can also get that from Tandy’s. Just be sure that you are ready to stick it down as it really does stick straight away. Don’t ask me how I know. 🙂

    Also, don’t panic if you make a mistake. You can easily unpick and restitch in the same holes. Just line your needle up and go back through them. I used to panic about unpicking leather but actually, its all good so long as you sew back in the holes you’ve made.

    Since it’s clothing, I’d say you’d be ok with a cotton thread. But if you want longevity, look for a polyester thread at Tandys. I’m not sure what weight will go through a domestic machine but try to find the lightest weight one. Colours aren’t great but you won’t see it if its inside.

    Whew, sorry for the info overload! If you do want any more info on sewing leather, feel free to shoot me an email. 🙂 Leather handbag making is kinda my passion at the moment. Good luck!

  12. Michelle says:

    I don’t think you can go wrong with the Debbie Stoller books – The Happy Hooker is the book I tell all beginner crocheters to beg, borrow or buy.

    Whoo! Leather! Looking forward to seeing your adventures in THAT!

    • woolmix says:

      Good to hear a recommendation for the Happy Hooker as a beginner crochet book. I’ve had a copy for a few years but have not yet plucked up the courage to learn. It just seems so complicated …

  13. Anna says:

    I taught myself to knit primarily from a book, but I was checking youtube videos and googling things all the time too. The book helped as it guided me through all the steps, and had useful tips on mistakes and info about needles etc. And then when I didn’t understand the photos or came across something in a pattern that wasn’t in the book, I googled.

    The one I used was Knitty Gritty by Aneeta Patel. It’s very detailed and very basic, but because I had no one to show me how to do things in person, I found this very helpful although the tone is a bit irritating sometimes because it’s written as a one-on-one lesson. But because it’s so basic, I had no use for it very quickly. I only started knitting about a year ago and I sold it on last summer summer. There’s a second book in the series now that covers next steps like circulars, colourwork etc but if money is no issue I’d get both for a beginner for the reason I mention above and also because some of the things in it (eg knitting in the round) I think are useful for a beginner too.

    When I was looking to move on from knitty gritty no 1 the second book wasn’t out yet and I got The Knitter’s Bible. It’s very good and covers everything the KG books cover and more in one book but I didn’t find it as user friendly. I don’t think I’d have learnt as well using just this book. Having said that at least the bible is the sort of book you hold on to and go back to a lot for reference unlike the KG books. An online course also sounds like a good idea too though. I’ve never done one, but I think a combination of an online course for beginners and a reference book would be the ideal.

    Can’t wait to read your adventures with leather! Wool and leather is one of my favourite combinations ever. A wool blazer with leather elbow patches, or something with leather details at the pockets… The most expensive item of clothing I own and by far my most favourite one is an Ally Capellino backpack I got a couple of years ago. It’s Harris Tweed and leather and it’s just beautiful, and of course extremely well made. I think it’s a men’s backpack but its simplicity and functionality suit me perfectly. I know whatever adventures I get into in the future, good or bad (and there will be many!) this backpack will be a faithful companion.. Yep, I luuuuurve it. Here it is if you need visual inspiration, from Steve Salter’s fantastic blog:
    http://stylesalvage.blogspot.co.uk/2011/01/back-to-school-feeling.html

    • Lucy says:

      Oh good, I’m not the only one who found the tone of Knitty Gritty annoying then. That daid, it is very clear, has excellent diagrams and – yes! – a section dedicated to correcting mistakes.

    • Geri says:

      I learnt from a combo of Knitty Gritty and the Knitters Bible too. Knitty Gritty was a god-send for all my beginniner mistakes (drop stitches, extra wrap arounds etc etc) and the step-by-step photos are awesome. The woman who wrote Knitty Gritty also has a SOS Knitting Service – basically you can email her or come to her free knitting sessions when you have a knitting disaster – I’ve not used it but reassuring to know theres someone I can contact for help!! My boyfriend basically taught himself from the knitty gritty book too ( apparently Anita Patel is less annoying than me as a teacher :P) – so I would definately recommend for a complete beginniner. Someone with a bit of experience will probably not get too much out of it. The other book that I found great was Ann Budd’s Getting Started Knitting Socks -> things like picking up stitches, short rows and even different cast-ons -> all stuff I’ve used heaps for non-sock related items.

  14. I learned to knit as a child, then forgot about it for many years. When I came back to knitting again a few years ago, I used the Debbie Stoller book you have mentioned and I found it really helpful. Other than that, http://www.knittinghelp.com/ and youtube were my friends when I needed to learn a new technique.

  15. Ann says:

    I started learned to knit this fall, with a combination of taking a class at a local yarn shop, plus the Craftsy “knit lab” course which someone already mentioned. The Craftsy class was great! Though an in person class helped too. I’ve taken a bunch of knitting books out of the library (including Stitch n Bitch) but haven’t found one yet I’d like to buy. I wish I would, I’ll continue to watch these comments! Thanks!

  16. rehanon says:

    I’m v much a newbie knitter and I took a couple of classes but when I went to pick up some wool the other day. I also bought the Grannies Inc guide to knitting and it’s excellent. Lovely pics and wording and very simple to follow. Highly recommend http://www.amazon.co.uk/Grannies-Inc-Guide-Knitting-Techniques/dp/0091943612

  17. lauriesannie says:

    The last posting on LindsayTSews was about making a leather shirt. It’s an old one, a year and a half maybe and Meg has moved on to other things. I hope you can get it as it is an excellent article.. http://www.lindsaytsews.com/ Wish it was snowing on this side of the pond.

  18. Ginny says:

    You’ve already had some good tips for working with leather, so I’ll just add a couple more.

    Always use polyester thread, NOT cotton, as the chemicals used to tan the leather can easily rot the cotton thread over time (plus poly thread is much stronger so better suited for leather). I’ve sewn garment weight leather with normal sew-all poly thread with no issues.

    If you find that the leather is sticking to the machine you can lay a strip of tissue paper on either side of the seam to stop it. Using a roller, teflon or walking foot will help reduce it sticking to the foot but it may well still stick to the machine bed. Also, the feed dogs can scratch the leather when sewn with the right side against the feed dogs, so use tissue to protect it here. Tear the paper away along the line of needle holes after, and use tweezers if necessary to pick out any little bits.

    For the seams, you can either topstitch them or glue the seam allowances down as someone else mentioned. You may need to hammer the seam allowances open first to encourage a crease: I use a wooden mallet and pieces of scrap leather to cover the seam as I hit it to prevent marks. Test on a seam in some scrap first.

    For marking in places where it won’t be concealed within seams (eg pocket placement) I use an opaque pastel coloured gel-ink pen, which wipes away quite easily with a leather cleaning wipe.

  19. Jane says:

    Just noticed this tutorial for sewing a leather pouch on Kitschy Coo’s blog:
    http://kitschycoo.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/tutorial-sew-leather-iphone-cover-with.html
    I know it’s not a leather skirt, but she includes lots of good tips and, more importantly, photos of how to pin the leather together etc. Oooh, leather plus navy wool is going to look fab!
    And yes, I am indeed an angel, sshh, don’t tell anyone. x

  20. Kerry says:

    I would have also recommended the Debbie Stoller book so that’s a real shame if it is not so easily available anymore. Another book I refer to frequently is Knitting in Plain English by Maggie Righetti but it might not be as good as Stitch and Bitch for complete beginners.

    Good luck with your leather sewing – sound exciting!

  21. colleen says:

    I, too, am looking for a beginning knitting book so this is really great. I am gifting my daughter two lovely soft skeins of wool and a size 13 needle. She knows NOTHING. I learned to knit using a book filled with diagrams and found it pretty easy to figure out. I would NOT recommend Stitch and Bitch because it goes into way too much detail before it gets to the instructions and I find it a little dated by now. Odd, huh — it’s not even 10 years old, right? Although I did make a brilliant knitted backpack from that book with a lovely kitty face on it! It was easy and fun. Hmmmm.

  22. woolmix says:

    I think I taught myself to knit from the Brownie Guide Handbook – my mother tried to teach me but I just couldn’t get the hang of it. (I’ve since realised that it was because I really, really can’t make my brain work with the yarn in my right hand; my mother thinks this is wrong, if not downright freakish.)

    On coming back to knitting, I bought, love and heartily endorse the Stitch ‘N Bitch books. Expensive, but well worth the money. Following on from Colleen’s comment above, I can see the point that the first SnB book has a lot of stuff ahead of the (k)nitty gritty (sorry). The second book – Stitch ‘N Bitch Nation – has all of the technique info in an aide memoire section at the back, plus lots more patterns.

    Alternatively, Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Knitting Without Tears is very good indeed, with calm, soothing advice and guidance on how to make things as you particularly desire – rather than rigid patterns in a chosen brand of yarn – from the very start.

  23. MrsAlex says:

    I learned using Sally Melville’s The Knit Stitch, which has loads of patterns for really nice (and grown up!) garments to make using just (surprise, surprise) the knit stitch. I still have the pullover I made. Purl is covered in the next book, with colourwork and so on in further ones. But there’s a great sense of achievement in making something to wear instead of miles of garter stitch scarf!

  24. LinB says:

    I can still recommend the old standard Coats & Clarks little booklet, “Learn How to Knit/ Crochet/ Tat/ Embroider.” They have been re-issuing it for at least 50 years … it may be that it is available in four separate pamphlets now. I really, really like Elizabeth Zimmerman’s “Knitting Without Tears.” I like it not so much for detailed instructions on how to start knitting, but for her breezy, conversational writing style as she outlines her philosophy of the craft. There are some really interesting patterns in there, too.

  25. Stacy says:

    The knitting book I have found most helpful in my journey of learning to knit is Knitting Without Tears: Basic Techniques and Easy-to-Follow Directions for Garments to Fit All Sizes by Elizabeth Zimmermann. She talks a lot about knitting styles and how to before delving into garment construction. Great book.

  26. megthegrand says:

    I think you could definitely pull off navy wool and black leather – I think it would be a spectacular combination. As for knitting, I was unable to use books, I ended up taking classes at a local knitting shop. I found that really helped me because I had someone to watch what I was doing and correct any errors as I went along!

  27. Sewing leather is fun, I make a jacket, skirt, and a couple of soft suede t-shirts (which I actually a lot, so luxe) lots of good info above in the comments. For the glue I used rubber cement, works great and can be peeled away if need be. Dry iron presses beautifully. I only worked with suede so I think with leather you have to protect the surface more. Good luck! also – the rubber mallet for smashing the seams as someone mentioned above.

  28. Caroline says:

    I learnt to knit when I was about 11/12 using a book my granny gave me for christmas – the Usborne Guide Knitting From Start to Finish: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Knitting-Start-Finish-Practical-Guides/dp/0860209830/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1354725960&sr=8-4
    I still go back to it now for techniques (I switched from knitting to sewing and only started knitting again in my late 20s). It has very clear diagrams of how to cast on/off, all the different stitches, correcting mistakes etc. There are some basic patterns through to more complicated things like jumpers with cabling. I think ti’s a pretty comprehensive guide, even if the illustrations are pretty amusing/dated! I don’t know whether it is still in print though.

  29. In knitting, I think you can learn just about anything you want from a book, youtube, etc., but it’s so so helpful to have an actual person show you the very beginning, especially someone who knows more than one way to knit and can help you figure out what will work for you. Full disclosure, I teach knitting (in Flagstaff, AZ, USA) so you can guess I would recommend a gift certificate to take a local knitting class! If that’s not available, then the Craftsy class a couple of readers mentioned might be a good option. My favorite book is The Knitting Answer Book by Margaret Radcliffe, it’s small enough to carry in your knitting bag and manages to answer just about every question I could possibly think of.

    • Molly says:

      That’s exactly why I liked the Craftsy class, having someone so patient show us over and over (and of course over and over and over if you use the 30-sec repeat function!). What was interesting to me is that I assumed because I could not follow my mum, who knits “English” style, when she tried to teach me that I therefore must be a Continental knitter and it turns out my natural inclination is to knit the English way. So now I believe that it can make a difference as to how you are taught and to persevere. The other thing about the Craftsy class is it encouraged me to go out and look for knitting books, much more aware I what I needed and what I wanted from them rather than buying blindly. I have Radcliffe’s Circular Knittting book and I love it, and that’s just the look, smell and texture before I even get to the content!

  30. Katrina says:

    What about one of the basic knitting Craftsy classes?
    (I can’t knit, but would rather learn at first with one of them than a book…)

  31. Clio says:

    Oh! I just finished a leather jacket and I documented it pretty exhaustively on my blog with links to all the resources (and other sewy bloggers!) that I found helpful. All the posts are here: http://fivemuses.blogspot.com/search/label/Leather%20Jacket

    I can’t wait to see how you do with the leather!

  32. Angela says:

    For learning I totally recommend the Klutz books: http://www.amazon.com/Knitting-Learn-Knit-Great-Projects/dp/1591743842/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1354740272&sr=8-1&keywords=klutz+knitting. My teenage daughter taught herself to knit using this book. I taught myself to crochet using their Crochet book. They’re well-written, plus they come with materials to get you started. Once you get the basics down, you can move on. My daughter learned to knit in the round using a Susan B. Anderson book, “Itty-Bitty Toys.”

  33. velosewer says:

    I’ve only just started sewing with leather and I use the techniques that Betty has already given you.
    On my machine I use a teflon foot and I drop the feeders a notch. I’ve also enjoyed using the double sided tape to seal the seams.
    Having a practice piece of leather that costs you ‘nix’ is a great way to get confident with leather and work out how your machine will cope with leather.
    Now to wait and see how you go.
    You’ll be fine!

  34. Anne-Marie says:

    oh, snow in December – I long for that – after more than 30 years in New Zealand I’m still not used to Christmas in summer. I’ve got a half-made bombshell dress; I’ m making it for my daughter but each time I fit it on her her size appears to have changed. I’m, also finishing a cardigan that will go with summer skirts.
    Can any of your lovely readers help? I’ve got a box of accessories for a Bernina 930; there are a few generic feet included, one of them contains two small, patterned (so not smooth) rollers, one in front and one behind the opening where the needle goes. The footplate with the rollers is very flexible. What is it for?
    Love your blog Karen, you look like a fun person to know.

  35. Elisabeth says:

    I’d like to leave an “anti-recommendation” for learn to knit books. Do NOT get a booklet from Leisure Arts called “I Can’t Believe I’m Knitting.” I taught myself to knit from that book and learned the knit stitch wrong (I was actually knitting through the back loop which is okay to do if that’s what you’re intending to do but can cause some issues if you aren’t doing it on purpose). I always thought that it was just me not reading the directions very well, but I’ve met other people who learned from that booklet and had the same problem!

    Usually, I refer people to the Stitch ‘n Bitch book because it’s fairly comprehensive and has good diagrams. I didn’t learn the basics from it, but early on I used it as a reference for how to increase and decrease, and it’s the only book with instructions for kitchner stitch that I could actually understand.

  36. dottiedoodle says:

    A book I wish I’d been given as a novice knitter is Jane Brocket’s The Gentle Art of Knitting. I’m not sure how good the basic instructions are (I got it from the library a while back) but it is full of simple patterns that a beginner knitter might want to make – egg cosies, dishcloths – then moving on to scarfs, socks. Has mixed reviews on amazon, but I liked it very much.

  37. Trisha says:

    Oooh, I love black and navy together– I think that would look smashing. I sewed leather and wool for my Sewaholic Cordova jacket. The combo worked well, but I must admit that sewing with leather is a bit nerve-wracking. You want to get it right the first time! I practiced on the small bits of extra leather, and that gave me the confidence to sew the real thing.

  38. Well, I do agree the Stitch n’ Bitch book is fabulous for beginners but I guess that doesn’t help if it’s difficult to get over there now! I really loved her conversational tone, it make it feel very un-intimidating when you were learning about things most knitting books don’t tell you, like the proper way for stitches to face the needle, etc.

  39. Molly says:

    Flash update: Craftsy Knit Lab (beginners class) has just gone on sale for $9.99 (ca £6.50) and advanced beginners crochet class on same offer. Not sure how long for.

  40. I found the Chicks with Sticks Guide to Knitting to be useful – although some of the images can be confusing. It does give a great introduction to the skills required and includes some great patterns that beginners can dive in and start creating pretty early on.

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