Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Musings by Knitwits - Beyond Knit and Purl by Kate Atherly review and giveaway.

Once a month Christinabean and I like to bring a craft, knitting or cookbook to your attention. We both love to pick up a pair of knitting needles or some other type of needle, or putter about in the kitchen and we like to share the love when we find a book that will help. This months selection is:

Published: 2012
Publisher: Cooperative Press
Pages: 131
Copy: From Author

This month it is especially fun to review  a book where I know the author.  Only a little bit, mind you, but it does add a different dimension.  I first met Kate a few years ago when we were both working the Creativ Festival in Toronto at the booth for 'A Needle Pulling Thread'.  ANPT is a wholely Canadian magazine that highlights Canadian designers who work with any type of needle and thread/wool.  Kate is the knitting editor for the publication. ( I contribute embroidery designs, in case you're wondering.)

Kate has offered me many knitting tips over the years (how to knit entrelac being my favourite) and when I found out that she was branching out with her own book I was really excited to see it. To my surprise I couldn't find it - because her first print run sold out so quickly, it turns out.  I was thrilled when she agreed to let me review  her book and even more thrilled when I actually saw it.

Kate has produced a book that takes knitting absolutely back to the basics and then expands from there. Divided into 11 chapters, each one is well thought out and easy to follow.  Chapter 1 Choosing a pattern; 2 Prepping for success; 3. Working from a pattern; 4 What patterns don't tell you; 5 Frequently asked questions; 6 Shaping; 7  In the round; 8 Socks; 9 Cables; 10 Lace; 11 Colourwork

The first few chapters give advice and how to's with lots of Quick Tips, Knitterly Advice and Dirty Secrets. There are an abundance of charts detailing things from different needle sizes to what to knit next after a scarf. The one thing I was very aware of as I was reading Beyond Knit and Purl is that Kate does not assume that you know what she's talking about.  She explains things as if you are finding out for the first time, but she manages to do it in such a way that the knitter will never feel talked down to.  Nothing is too small to be explained, and explained in clear, precise language that even the absolute beginner can understand.

The second half of the book goes into a little more detail about stitches and projects.  There are an abundance of clear, close-up pictures that make it easy to see and understand what is being explained. Oh and there are patterns.  Several of them in fact, that illustrate each technique that is explained.  Each new technique has a very simple pattern for you to try out first, before moving on to something a little more complex.  How about practicing your knitting in the round by making a cat toy first, then going on to a slouchy hat and wrist warmers? Start sock knitting with a training sock, big enough for a baby or doll, before you tackle a full size sock, toe-up or top-down, your choice. Want to try cables, try a coffee cup cozy.  Lace? How about a simple scarf and then move onto a shawl.

Really, with Beyond Knit and Purl, the sky's the limit.  I have been knitting for a long time, but I have to admit that I learned several new tips from the book and I'm very proud to recommend it to anyone who is thinking about picking up needles for the first time, or who's been knitting for a while and is ready to branch out into new territory.  It's the quintessential reference book for knitters and should be on every shelf.

Kate has been kind enough to offer up a digital copy of Beyond Knit and Purl for one of our lucky readers.  If you think you'd like a copy, leave a comment with your email address and we'll pick a winner in 2 weeks.  Good luck.

If you can't wait, the second printing is now available and you should  find a copy of Beyond Knit and Purl at most local yarn stores, Knitpicks.com and http://www.cooperativepress.com/shop/ for physical and digital copies..

Knitterly Advice: If in doubt, ask another knitter - you'd be surprised how happy 99.9% of knitters are to be helpful and share their experience - Susan Clifton, knitter.


  1. My friend knitted me a purse and it's awesome.
    I'd love a copy. My email is pam@moonlightreader.com.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  2. As I attempt to move beyond scarves, I think this book would be invaluable. Thanks for the recommendation, and the draw. amethystars at gmail dot com