Knit Aid by Vickie Howell is a small, hardbound and spiral-spine volume, perfect for tucking into your knitting bag. The subtitle, “A learn it, fix it, finish it guide for knitters,” sums up this book perfectly. A wide variety of topics are covered, making it a great guide for beginners or a refresher for more experienced knitters. Vickie Howell writes the guide in a young, relaxed voice, but never sounds like she is trying too hard, or pandering. It is a fun, natural tone – a tough thing to accomplish.
Possibly every aspect of knitting is covered in this book. Everything from knitting-book stand-by's like a glossary of abbreviations and instructions on basic knitting stitches. There are also lots of interesting tidbits that are not as frequently written about. One section gives a thorough description of all the different kinds of knitting needle materials – including the pros and cons of each. Other sections include a thorough dissection of yarn weights, care instructions, and sizing; the basics of reading a chart, creating cables, and making buttonholes, intro to intarsia and Fair Isle, felting, how to correct common mistakes, and much more. It even includes a chart that you can remove, copy, and use to create your own charts for color work, as well as a removable gauge ruler.
This book is meant for “knitters-on-the-go.” It is compact in size, has a sturdy hard cover, and a hidden spiral binding which allows for the book to lay flat without worrying about the wires snagging your yarn. It is truly perfect to slip into your knitting bag. I have only one complaint, but sadly, it is a big one. The illustrations suck. They are terrible. Proper images are key, no matter what your experience level. I consider myself an intermediate knitter, yet when I needed a quick refresher in increases, I was lost. The illustrations were basic line drawings – which is fine – but they could have at least used different colors to differentiate between knitted yarns and working yarn. Good illustrations can make or break a useful knitting instructional, and unfortunately, these illustrations break it.
This book won’t break the bank – only $8.00, compared to most knitting books which will set you back over $20 each, which easily makes it worthwhile to own. There is plenty of useful information to go around.