The Yarn Harlot is well-known in knitting circles for her blog full of amusing yarn related anecdotes and Knitting Rules! is written in that style, but also contains lots of helpful knitting content. You can easily read it through from start to finish, or just look up the information you need.
If you’ve ever felt bad about knitting too much, having too much yarn or not being able to get through a conversation without mentioning knitting, then Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is here for you and even has handy tips and quizzes to help you deal with it. The first two chapters are “What is Knitting and How Does it Get Like This?” and “Yarn and How Not to Feel Guilty About It” and are recommended reading for any budding knitting-addict. The section on identifying mystery yarn is something that all knitters will find comes in handy at some point, and contains multiple ways of identifying fibres, weights and yardage.
Highlights include “Five Reasons Why People Don’t Knit” (and why they’re all poor excuses), a quiz to assess your level of knitting obsession (I come out as a Scientist, unsurprisingly), a letter to the inventor of ziploc bags thanking them on behalf of the knitting community. It also has a section on identifying mystery yarn, which is something that all knitters will find comes in handy at some point and contains multiple ways of identifying fibres, weights and yardage.
Chapter Three is called “Know Your Stuff” which is all about stuff knitters use that isn’t yarn, i.e. needles, bags, patterns and notions (it has a handy list of what should be inside a model knitting bag). l. It’s also the only book which I’ve seen mention casein needles. I inherited some casein DPNs from my grandma and can attest to her point that they taste very, very bad, despite being made from milk protein.
The next chapter is “Gauge, Swatches, and Learning to Accept Them” which includes 10 Times When You Should Worry About Gauge” and “5 Times You Don’t Need to Get Gauge”, to cover all the bases. She includes a cautionary tale to remind you about the perils of ignoring gauge, but in a very amusing way.
The final four chapters are about different types of project: hats, socks, scarves and shawls, and sweaters. Each gives 10 reasons to knit that type of object (the socks chapter has 10 reasons not to as well) and then has basic patterns for everything other than sweaters, including size charts to fit almost anyone. There are then suggestions on how to build on the basic patterns to make more interesting things.
For a small book, it packs in a lot of information and in a very accessible way. While the technical bits are probably more suited to a beginner knitter, I think all knitters can get something out of this book as Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is a very relatable writer. Not only does Knitting Rules contain guidelines for knitting, it’s also a celebration of knitters everywhere and the crazy things they do for love of the craft.
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