Sunday, July 27, 2008

Book Review: Knit Aid

Knit Aid
by Vickie Howell

So I got really excited about this book when I watched this video of Vickie's which I linked to from some crafty blog I read on myspace. Oh coolness! She's posted more instructional videos and tips to accompany her book! You can link to them from the video link above.

Vickie is certainly a crafty icon of mine. I have many! It seems like so many crafty powerhouses come out of Austin. Don't mess with Texas, I guess. :o)

Vickie does such a great job of explaining all of the book features on her video, I don't want to simply repeat what she says here. What I can tell you is that to a new knitter like me, this book is incredibly valuable. Before getting the book, I had already learned to knit and purl, but not much else. I'd been watching instructional videos and I've been waiting to find a pattern to speak to me- but I didn't understand them!! Vickie's book is a godsend as it explains all of the cryptic abbreviations that are so intimidating for a new knitter. Next time I see a gorgeous knit pattern, I will be literate!

I tried the gauge exercise she includes in her book. I loved it because it included MATH! I love regular math, higher math, etc. Even these basic exercises make me happy. :o) The exercise is to make a little cozy for your ipod, phone, or whatever small item you keep in your purse. I decided to do one for the book I'm reading. Then I got a little ambitious and decided to make a curved flap for over the top by adding rows and decreasing. (I think I did that a little too quickly, but the techniques that Vickie shared worked!) I also added a buttonhole, also included in Vickie's book.

Well, my tension was not so good on the buttonhole, but it was pretty consistent on the body of the sleeve. I also used the mattress stitch (guess where I learned it) to seam up the sides. It worked! I was amazed. I felt like I did when I first started making origami forms. I would always think, 'is this really going to come out the way it looks in the picture?' Then it did! Magic!!

Vickie also includes instructions on embroidering on knitting. I'm going to try to jazz up this plain green sleeve with some of those instructions. While I was home, I bought a stitch marker to measure gauge, but I am thrilled that if I ever misplace it, there's one bound into this book for me to keep forever!

And super-kudos, Vickie, for including standard sizing measurements for women sized XS-5X. Yes, I do fall somewhere in between those! She also lets you know how many inches you need to add for ease in your garments. How invaluable. Who wants to spend hours upon hours (as well as dollars upon dollars) on a garment that is too tight or too loose?

This book amounts to a compact, lightweight, logical reference book with refreshers for the experienced knitters. If you've never knitted before and want to learn, make this book your second one, or pick it up after taking the basic class from your yarn store.

It was also such a steal at $7.95!!! Buy it full-price, people. Ten percent of the proceeds are going to aid victims of disaster through the Buy the book here, on!