10 March 2014

Review: Get Started Crochet and Get Started Knitting


DK's Get Started Sewing is one of my favourite sewing books (and it really did get me started), so when I was given the chance to review the Crochet and Knitting books in the Get Started series, I didn't hesitate. What I particularly enjoy about the Get Started books is that they methodically take you from the basics to more elaborate techniques and projects in a natural progression. As you complete one project and move on to the next you'll painlessly pick up new skills until you've mastered the craft.

For those of you unsure what the difference is, Knitting and Crochet are both ways of turning yarn into decorative objects, blankets, clothing, and other items. The main difference is that knitting generally uses two needles (sometimes more) to complete projects, while crochet utilizes a single "needle" with a hook on the end instead of a point. The tools used affect technique and results. Both Get Started Knitting and Get Started Crochet feature similar information and chapters, though obviously specific to each craft. The books aren't interchangeable, so don't get one expecting you'll be able to apply it to the other skill as well.

Both books have some great projects. Personal favourites that I'll be making include a phone case, leg warmers, a stuffed monkey, and nifty cushion covers in Get Started Knitting; and towel edging, toy balls, a clutch bag, and a lacy scarf in Get Started Crochet. There are cute baby projects too, for those of you who want to tackle booties, hats, and wee cardigans. Bonus: there are numerous fancy stitch patterns also offered in each book, including lace, filet, and fair isle. These can be used for a variety of larger projects but I could have fun just making swatches of them.

Where I felt these books dropped the ball was in the how-to for basics like casting on. As a mostly self-taught knitter and crocheter I know the importance of clear instructions and good photos, but I found the photos in these books confusing. Not enough close-up shots and annoying squiggly arrows (attempting to show what you're supposed to be doing) just gave me a headache as I tried to figure them out. The written instructions, luckily, were clearer, and using those along with the photos as a reference, I could probably manage. My recommendation to anyone who has never tried knitting or crochet is to find someone who can show you the first steps. Once you've actually made a slipknot or knit a few stitches, it becomes much easier to decipher more complicated directions. Besides, it's more fun to have someone with whom to share a love of crafting. 

Other than that quibble, both books have plenty of good information on types of available materials and tools (including the wide variety of yarns). There are also yarn weight charts (with helpful photos), conversion info (a size 6 needle does not mean the same thing in Canada, the US, and the UK), pattern abbreviations, and stitch-symbol charts. Basically, whatever your ability level (except maybe for the pros) these books have you covered (and if you can figure out the instructional photos better than I can, then you won't need any further help to learn how to crochet or knit).

I'm happy to add Get Started Knitting and Get Started Crochet to my shelf, and I expect to be consulting them frequently and having a great time making the projects. If you've been wanting to learn knitting and/or crocheting, or if you want to expand your skills or get some new project inspiration, these books are a solid choice. Even better, DK is having a March Break sale. If you have some free time, why not grab yarn and a pair of needles or a crochet hook and save money while getting started on something new.

http://cn.dk.com/static/cs/cn/11/nf/features/march-break-boutique/index.html

Get Started Knitting and Get Started Crochet by DK.

No comments: