We’ve ordered and reordered these two books several times in the past few months, and with good reason. Charts Made Simple and Cast On, Bind Off are the kinds of knitting books that any knitter can use. Rather than tempting you with pretty patterns and project ideas, they give you the information you need to tackle whatever pretty projects you’ve already picked. I mentioned them briefly on the blog in August, but thought they deserved a closer review, as well.
JC Briar’s Charts Made Simple teaches how to read knitting charts, which are often used in cable, lace, and colorwork patterns. Charts are used in place of (or sometimes alongside) written directions because many knitters find them faster and easier to read, and because they give a sense of how the knitted fabric will look as you’re creating it. Many knitters are intimidated by charts, though, and don’t find them intuitive at all. This book gives all kinds of useful hints for chart-reading, and explains how to do it in plain language, giving examples along the way that illustrate the concept. I’ve been slowly reading through it over the past few months in an attempt to become a more competent, confident reader of knitting charts. I have no doubt that this book, along with some practice and knitting, can get me there. Check it out if you’d like to do the same.
Leslie Ann Bestor’s Cast On, Bind Off is perhaps even more useful for the every-knitter. It covers, as its straightforward title suggests, a wide range of cast-ons and bind-offs, showing how to do them with photos and text. Most helpfully, the cast-ons and bind-offs are sorted by kind, helping you to decide when and how to use them. Not only is this knitting-bag-sized book good for looking up an unfamiliar technique, it’s also good for making changes to a pattern, or designing your own. You know you want your cast-on edge to be stretchy, and you can easily flip to the Stretchy section to select one. Handy, no?
Come by the shop to find these two excellent knitting resources on the teacart.