But still a very nice review!
Book Review: The Chicks With Sticks Guide to Knitting by Nancy Queen & Mary Ellen O'Connell
Written by Alyse Wax for Blog Critics Magazine
There are lots and lots and lots of “learn to knit” books. Does the marketplace need another entry into this market? If it is as rockin’ as The Chicks With Sticks Guide To Knitting by Nancy Queen and Mary Ellen O’Connell, then yeah, the marketplace needs it.
This book is not for grandmas and it’s not for kids. Written for teens, 20-somethings, and the young at heart, the instructions are straight-forward and breezy without being cheesy or condescending.
It is divided into “lessons”, starting with the very basics, and moving up in difficulty chronologically, ending with seaming and blocking. Overall, it feels as if it is written to be done from cover to cover, as each new chapter, or “lesson,” builds upon the techniques learned in the previous one. Each pattern includes a cheat sheet to the abbreviations that are used in that particular pattern.
Regardless of skill level, there are some genuinely wearable projects in this book. Far too many beginner projects look like beginner projects – big, bulky sweaters with no shaping or ugly little handbags. Just because you are a beginning knitter doesn’t mean you can’t look good while learning.
My favorite project in the book is the Twist & Shout camisole, an intro to cables project that replaces real cables for mock cables, but with beautiful results. The Boyfriend Basket Weave Scarf is a great unisex project that looks far more complicated than the knits and purls called for. The Town & Country Tee is a simple, flattering shape with seed-stitch edging to make it stand out. The Five Below Sweater is a simple pullover with gentle shaping, a flattering V-neck, and a suggestion of a funky thick-and-thin yarn that makes it more textured and interesting than a standard beginner’s sweater.
There are a couple patterns that miss the mark a bit, like the Artisan Belt – does anyone actually wear knitted belts? – and the Girls’ Night Out Shrug, which could be attractive in a nicer yarn.
However, really nice features, good projects, and concise, friendly writing make this a great beginner’s book.