Howdy, knitting friends! Welcome to another edition of the KnittingDaddy blog. If this is your first visit, thanks for stopping by and I hope you keep coming back. You might want to read my knitting origin story to see how I got started on this journey. If you’re a regular reader, I’m glad you’re back! Today, I’m going to be reviewing Susan B. Anderson’s newest book: Susan B. Anderson’s Kids’ Knitting Workshop: The Easiest and Most Effective Way to Learn to Knit! (affiliate link, see Sponsor Page for details). Before getting to that, however, let’s take a look at the things that have been happening in my knitting world lately.
Recently On My Needles
I’ve had a productive week of knitting! First, I’m excited to report that my Tiny Tea Leaves Cardi is complete. I haven’t managed to get Blueberry to wear it and stay still long enough to capture a picture yet, but here it is on the blocking mats:
This was such a fun knit, and I’m thrilled with the way it came out. My wife found some perfect buttons for it and the whole thing is a cute as can be.
Work on my two pair of socks also continues nicely. I’m almost to the heel flap for my #ChristmasDayCastOn sock, and I finished the Eye of Partridge heel on my other sock.
Finally, I’ve been making great progress on my Fireflies Rising shawlette. One of the things I love about Helen Stewart’s patterns is the percentage checklist style she uses. This way I know just how far along I’ve come (right now, it’s about 40%). I love how the sock blank is working out — with the yellow transitioning into the orange and the red just around the corner.
Book Review: “Kids’ Knitting Workshop”
Today I’ll be reviewing Susan B. Anderson’s Kids’ Knitting Workshop: The Easiest and Most Effective Way to Learn to Knit! (affiliate link, see Sponsor Page for details). Disclosure: I’m a huge Susan B. Anderson fan, so my review already comes with that bias (but it’s deserved!). I bought the book myself, and the review isn’t sponsored by anyone. The links to the book on amazon are affiliate links, so if you click through and subsequently make any purchase on Amazon, it will throw a little bit of change my way to help with the blog and podcast expenses.
Having said all that, this book is WONDERFUL. I highly recommend it. Let’s take a closer look at some of the features.
The very first thing that strike me about this book is a feature that I wish every knitting book shared: it’s a spiral-bound book, which means it easily lays flat when you’re working out of it. I think this is an essential feature for a pattern book — when you’re in the middle of manipulating yarn on your needles, you don’t want to have to mess with trying to figure out how to keep the book open. This is a feature in all of Susan’s books from Artisan, and I heartily applaud the publisher for doing this. I’m sure it costs a little more to manufacture, but I think it’s well worth it.
Looking at the book content, it is easy to be deceived that this is solely a book for teaching children how to knit. Do not be deceived! This book is perfect for any beginning knitter — child or adult. The book provides plenty of instruction for knitting techniques, and it ties that instruction to projects. This helps hold the new knitter’s attention, because the knitter is working towards a finished project as she learns new techniques. Projects include hats, scarves, cowls, toys, and other fun items. All of the projects are knit in the round on circular needles, which I thought was an interesting decision. The more I considered it, the more it made sense — so much of what we, as knitters, do is in the round now, and knowing how to use circular needles is just a tiny step different from using straight needles. By starting in the round, it easily leads to your first project being a nice hat, which is so much more exciting than a dishcloth or scarf.
The book is well-organized, starting with a couple of notes to the reader. First, there is a note for the knitter, talking about how awesome knitting is and describing how to use the book. Then, there is a note to adults who are teaching children how to knit. Susan has a ton of experience teaching both adults and children how to knit, and it shows in her clear teaching style, which is conversational and easily approachable.
Before introducing any patterns, Susan takes the time to lay down the fundamentals of what goes into knitting. Namely, yarn. There is a section in the book describing the different fiber content of yarn, how to read a yarn label, different yarn weights, and how to roll a hank into a yarn ball. Her instructions for casting on, casting off, and weaving in ends are easy to understand and follow. When she introduces stitches, she describes both Continental and English style knitting, which is such a great thing to do from the very beginning. There are lots of ways to knit, and I’m a big fan of using the method that is most comfortable and enjoyable to you. Having several options detailed in this beginner book is a great reminder that there are lots of great ways to enjoy our hobby.
When patterns are introduced, they are easy to follow. The projects are interesting enough to keep the knitter’s attention, but simple enough to be finished quickly. They really are the perfect set of projects to introduce new knitters to the hobby. As the book progresses, the patterns become increasingly complex, with new techniques being introduced when they are needed.
When Blueberry gets more serious about knitting, this is going to be our go-to book for teaching. Right now, at just three-and-a-half, she’s a little young. As I mentioned in last week’s blog entry, Blueberry is interested in knitting. She’ll sit on my lap and hold her hands on mine while I form stitches, or let me hold my hands on hers and help her form stitches. That lasts for a few stitches before she loses interest. But I’m sure at some point, she’s going to be interested in creating her own projects. When she is ready, it’s going to be great to be able to pull this book down off the shelf. In the mean time, I will wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone — child or adult — who wants to learn how to knit, or who wants to have a good reference when teaching someone how to knit.
Until next time, keep on knitting for the ones you love!