Friday, 20 February 2015

Review: Big Book of Knitting

It is, as the name says, a big book! Published in 2013 by Dorling Kindersley Ltd. and 320 pages long, The Big Book of Knitting contains 100 knitting projects suitable for knitters of all levels. Personally, I would say it is particularly aimed at beginners and intermediate knitters. All necessary techniques are explained and shown in photographs so you should be able to make everything published in this book. Like other knitting books by the same publisher, there is also a little stitch library at the back of the book.

Striped tassel-end scarf

What's in it?

There are projects of all kinds: from smaller things such as hats and scarves to jumpers and even blankets, cushions, bags and more. The book is divided into three main sections covering clothes, home and accessories, and basic equipment and techniques. The first of these sections covers cardigans, sweaters, hats, scarves, gloves and socks. For the home, they have compiled blankets, cushions, bags and toys while the final section covers anything and everything from yarns to techniques, stitches  (including colourwork), embroidery on knitting, seaming, blocking and more. Quite comprehensive! There are also a glossary and index if you need to quickly find something specific. 

As always, the clothing patterns cover the usual sizes for children and adults (S-XL), so if you are a plus size like me and don't know how to alter patterns to make them fit, these patterns are a bit useless. Of course they are still great for knitting for others and there are some stitch pattern details that look interesting enough to incorporate into other projects.

Wave and shell throw



Even though the section on techniques is fairly large and varied, it does not allow for much detail in the descriptions. The patterns are, without a doubt, the main focus of this book. Personally, I found the mere presence of a techniques section to be a bit annoying because I expected only patterns. All the information found in it you will either already know or it can be found elsewhere thanks to numerous online tutorials in writing and video format.

I think I would like the book more if it were focused on just one or two things. As it is, it tries to offer a little bit of everything and therefore moves on too quickly from anything that interests me. There are a lot of patterns that do not appeal to me or seem to simple or too playful for my taste. It is, after all, a book meant to appeal to a general, wider readership and knitting community.

I would recommend The Big Book of Knitting to beginners who want to learn more. If you are an experienced knitter, this is not a good choice and you would be better off looking for books with a specific focus on pattern types and techniques you are interested in. I imagine this book would also make a great gift to someone you know who has started knitting more recently.


  1. Hmm doesn't really sound like a book that appeals to me unfortunately. Are the patterns at least interesting enough?

    1. The wave and shell throw above is the only pattern I would knit, I think. I always find such books difficult because they try to apeal to a broad readership. I prefer more specialised, complex patterns.