Book Review: Ladybird Knitting Book
When I was around 10 years old, my mum tried to teach me to knit. Speaking to the ladies in our Knit and Stitch group, I found a difference of opinion between is. Those of us who had learned to knit in the north of the country had been taught by our mothers to tuck the knitting needles under our arms for stability. The rest of the group look at Sheila and I like we are bonkers!
Mum would always do the casting on and then she would guide me through what this book calls Plain Knitting. I then quickly lost interest as I discovered Cross Stitch and that became my love.
This year at Christmas I was reminded of this, and decided to have another go to see if I really did dislike it or if I should give it another go. I had a bit of a go again at Plain Knitting and found it fairly straightforward. Then I came across the Ladybird Book about Knitting as I was pootling around one day and thought: I’m going to try and learn properly.
It’s a reprint of a book that was first published in 1972, for teaching children. The first few pages cover do’s/don’ts and all the supplies you will need to complete the basic projects in the book.
I started at the beginning with casting on. I must admit I did struggle a little with this – it seemed like I had done it ok, but it didn’t look perfect. Then I knitted a bit and cast off. I was happy that I remembered Plain Knitting so I skipped the ‘Hairband’ project and went to the next section.
Little did I know I would struggle with the next knitting project for weeks. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what putting the needle through from behind meant. I put the book down for a couple of weeks in frustration. But when I picked it back up today, something about the picture clicked and now it seems so obvious. It still felt very unnatural trying to actually do it, but after 30 minutes or so it was much less difficult and more natural.
I managed to knit/purl some rows and produce stocking stitch, even though there were a few mistakes and I managed to make extra stitches. On the plus side, this meant I was able to make use of a very helpful section on decreasing the number of stitches used. The book explains this rather well, it’s very straightforward.
Towards the back of the book are a few projects which I think would still be great for someone learning to knit today– Purse, Baby’s Ball, Egg Cosies, Blanket. The book doesn’t just explain how to knit them, but also how to put them together.
As a knitting beginner, I felt it was a good book, and fairly straightforward. However you might find it useful to have someone on hand with more experience, just to check the things like casting on and doing the basic stitches. Once those are learnt, the rest of the things in the book are very straightforward.
Find A Ladybird Book: Knitting and many other craft resources and patterns in the Stitch & Craft Library
Reviewed by Jo, who is an avid cross-stitcher, in addition to managing the Stitch and Craft Library.