Review Month at HalfSoledBoots
Volume 10, Number 4
by Lily Chin
This book has me at a bit of a standstill. I don't want to need it but, gallingly, I think I might.
Let me explain.
Lily Chin seems like an interesting character. She's quite keen to impart her knowledge to those of us so unfortunate as to not be able to take one of her 'popular', 'instant-sellout' tips and techniques classes. I raised an eyebrow at her assertion that many of the tips are not common knowledge, but "have become more popular, I'm sure, as a result of the classes that I have taught almost every month since 1994. Word gets around. Thus, some things may be familiar to you..."
That slightly patronising little gem is on the second page of text. The first page looks like this.
I have such a hate-on for this trend - outsize fonts in mid-page.
But then, just as I had defiantly decided there wouldn't be anything truly necessary in the book (I'm reactive, what can I say), she came out with two really useful bits of information. One was a little page on knitting with ribbon yarn, which has been the stuff of my nightmares for some time now. I've got a Clapotis in the works, using ribbon yarn, and it's frustrating me so much I'm afraid I'll go off in an apoplexy. Lily advises me to sew the yarn ends together with needle and thread...not to weave in the ends...and it's so obvious I can't believe I didn't see it before. She also advises me to set up my yarn ball on a knitting needle axis, so it behaves like toilet paper. Huge reduction in twisting.
The second useful thing was her explanation of combination knitting, and exactly WHY, when I knit stockinette using the continental method, my purl rows are almost always a little looser. It's a matter of yarn path, it turns out, and it's fixable. I'm going to try combination knitting in the new year and see if I can't retrain myself.
I haven't read the whole thing, and I'm sure that I'll find a lot more techniques to improve my knitting skills. I don't ever have to reread the first two pages, after all, so they won't be a long-term issue. I'm actually looking forward to reading the rest of it, and finding out what else I didn't know I didn't know.
Overall I like this book, and it will live on my shelf despite its off-putting, annoying-fonted first pages. I give Chin credit for the knowledge she has amassed, but, as a final note, I do take humorous issue with the following. I can think of so many adjectives to describe this piece of advice, including "incongruous", "laughable", "amateur", and "outrageous".
And to that an extreme "WTF?!"
It's not perfect, but it'll be useful. It's small - a good knitting-bag size. It comes from one of the most respected designers (and Vogue-appointed Master Knitters) in the textile world, and most knitters will need what's in this book, one way or another.
Lily Chin's Knitting Tips & Tricks gets:
Given to Others: Probably
Book plate: Why not.
A Note: Lily has also published "Crochet Tips & Tricks". If I were a crocheter, I would actually buy that book just on the strength of this one. Bound to be good stuff in there.